As we begin a New Year, the Bike New York team takes a moment to reflect on some of our favorite 2019 moments.
Nitasha Sharma, Youth Programs Manager:
“Over the summer, nine adventurous teenagers from New York City’s Sunnyside Community Service Center rode their bikes into the wilderness of New Jersey and Pennsylvania for four days and three nights of exploration–and I was lucky enough to join them for the trip. It was inspiring to see these young people take on challenge after challenge, hill after hill, only to end their days with positivity, gratitude, and support for one another. Truly the most magical ride of the year!”
MAURA CHOI, GEAR FEMMES Manager:
The biggest accomplishment for Gear Femmes this year was when participants in Recycle-A-Bicycle’s Mechanic Night became confident enough to help us fix up bikes for our Bike Swaps and the Bushwick BiCi Girls Club. This fall, Mechanic Nights were so well-attended that we added a few extra shop sessions in September and October so that volunteers could keep building their skills.
RICH CONROY, DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION:
“I’m proud that Bike New York’s Education programming continued to drive the expansion of an in-school bike education curriculum with the Department of Education in 2019. Our Bike Safety Program for 7th graders is now in use in all five boroughs, and it reached over 5,200 students in the past year. Additionally, over 131 sessions of our Field Trip program, we reached almost 2,400 middle and high school youth from around NYC.”
LAURA SHEPARD, COMMUNICATIONS & ADVOCACY:
• We provided expertise and detail to the City Council’s Streets Master Plan Bill, which passed in October. It commits the city to install 50 miles of protected bike lanes per year starting in 2022, and to measure bike network connectivity.
• Bike New York provided a broad set of ideas for Mayor de Blasio’s “Green Wave Plan,” issued in July. It raises NYC DOT’s target for protected bike lanes from 20 to 30 miles per year in 2020 and 2021. It also calls for more attention to the quality of barriers along protected bike lanes, bike-speed signal timing, and bike parking.
• We issued a Bike Network agenda to take advantage of congestion pricing (tolling for the Manhattan central business district is scheduled to be implemented next year). The DOT included similar language in the Green Wave plan.
• Bike New York has urged the City Council to make the “bike mayor” position currently under consideration a focal point for inter-agency coordination instead of just an additional advocacy voice on the bike policy scene.
• We urged the city to maintain the East Side bike access used during the United Nations General Assembly in September in place of the usual practice of suspending the bike lanes. DOT and NYPD responded with a plan that worked beautifully. We are hoping to replicate this success during Fleet Week along the West Side waterfront in April.
• We gathered support for separate walking and biking lanes on the Queensboro Bridge from NYC Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer and Ben Kallos, NYS Senator Michael Gianaris, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. The city says it is still examining feasibility but has not ruled our request/position out.
• With Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and Transportation Alternatives, we released a comprehensive map of protected bike lane networks in Long Island City, which has seen several cyclists fatalities in recent years. We await the release of DOT’s lineup of bike lanes for 2020.
• We’ve urged NYC DOT to take a more “operational” approach to the bike lane network in terms of maintenance and developing detours around intrusions like construction sites. DOT is now advertising for bike lane inspector positions!
BIKE COMMUNITY HIGHLIGHTS
SHARON POPE-MARSHALL, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY OUTREACH & MEMBERSHIP:
“In 2019, Bike New York participated in over 60 community-based events, taking us from Ocean Hill, Brooklyn to Belmont, the Bronx and spots in between in all five boroughs. Our team distributed almost 800 free front and rear bike lights sets in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx during our annual Bike Light Giveaways. We even partnered with the Port Authority and Clif Bar for a special one-off giveaway at the George Washington Bridge–with the help of some of our best Bike New York volunteers, we gave away Bike New York lights and Clif bars to over 300 bike commuters!”
2019 was also a great year for our Membership program–almost 1,000 new Bike New Yorkers joined our family! Around 500 Members met up for 17 Member Rides, riding together for a total of nearly 240 miles.
Have a 2019 bike highlight of your own? LET US KNOW in the commentS!