Looking on the Bright Side
December 22nd, 2005
As the transit strike enters its third day, the New York Sun has commissioned a team of writers to find its silver lining:
Russell Berman talks to bike shops and advocates, and finds that the strike has led to a biker boom. Sales have spiked, and bike riding is up 500 percent, according to Transportation Alternatives. Yesterday, the Brooklyn Bridge had eight times as many bike riders as it normally sees this time of year.
All this exercise, writes Jeff Stier of the American Council on Science and Health, is doing New Yorkers well. “The point should not be lost: It’s not a bad idea to squeeze some heart-healthy activity into a harried day instead of just swiping a Metro-Card before and after work,” writes Stier, who walked to work Tuesday, rollerbladed on Wednesday, and is considering biking if the strike continues.
Harris Silver of pedestrian advocacy group Citystreets writes that the traffic restrictions have been successful — and that they should be continued in some form after the strike ends:
“Because this strike is teaching us that we are dependent on mass transit, not cars, to travel in and around Gotham, we now have the freedom to rethink our outmoded policies of giving every inch of public space for the exclusive use of private automobiles,” he writes.
Silver would like to see the city continue requiring carpooling to get into Manhattan, while helping establish ride sharing programs. Fifth Avenue can’t be kept closed forever, he writes, but the city should consider closing off one lane on each avenue for emergency vehicles, and then letting bikers and rollerbladers use it as a way to commute without battling automobile traffic.
Pushing such reforms, he believes, “could very well be the legacy opportunity that the Bloomberg administration is searching for.”By Joshua Brustein on December 22, 2005, 10:11 am
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