Sustainability

NYC Upper West Side Streets Renaissance Celebrates National Bike Month

National Bike Month celebrates how biking has grown as a popular means of transportation in the city.

By Reporter Evelyn Cheng

MANHATTAN — The ride for bikers of tomorrow just got a little smoother.

Some traffic lights along the Columbus Avenue bike lane feature signals for cyclists in addition to cars. Photo by Evelyn Cheng

Recent initiatives by Mayor Bloomberg and the Department of Transportation have led to the construction of 250 miles of bike lanes since 2006. These lanes include a mile-long strip of bike lanes, parking spaces, and pedestrian islands on Columbus Avenue between 96th and 77th St.

“This administration has been great, that Mayor Bloomberg and the DOT have been so progressive minded,” Tila Duhaime said, reflecting on the benefits she enjoys as a biker. Duhaime is community organizer and co-chair of NYC Upper West Side Streets Renaissance (UWSSR).

As one of the most active advocacy groups, UWSSR works to generate awareness about making the city streets more accessible to all people, primarily in areas between 59th and 110th St.

Pedestrians wait in automobile parking spots between the green bike lanes and car lanes on Columbus Avenue. Photo by Evelyn Cheng

UWSSR seeks to make the bike lane along Columbus Avenue a model for future bike lanes as it features parking spaces as well as pedestrian waiting areas with trees.

“Livable streets and streets that are more encouraging of biking and walking instead of zooming by in a car are more vibrant commercial areas,” Duhaime said. “It’s better for the local economy to have slower streets where people interact more. When you get better bike infrastructure your sidewalks become safer.”

Tila Duhaime, community organizer and co-chair of the NYC Upper West Side Streets Renaissance, has been working with the 300-member organization since 2007. Photo by Evelyn Cheng

Jacob Conner works for UNO Pizzeria on Columbus Avenue and makes about a dozen deliveries by bike per day. “[Bike lanes] make bike riding a dream,” Conner said.

James Temple is manager at Columbus Tavern located at 72nd St. just after the bike lane on Columbus Avenue stops. Although he does not bike himself, Temple said, “[With] more bike lanes I would be more apt to come into the city and stop and have a beer and a burger.”

May is National Bike Month and supporters hope this recognition will encourage others to be friendly to cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists alike.

Although the one-mile long bike lane on Columbus Avenue falls short of UWSSR plan for a two-way, avenue-long bike lane, Duhaime said: “We’re not done advocating for improvements like that.”

Bike lanes do not yet exist at 72nd St. and Broadway, forcing the many bike deliverers to vie with cars for the road. Photo by Evelyn Cheng

In honor of National Bike Month, UWSSR will be hosting a commuter bike breakfast every Friday in May in Riverside Park South near 70th St., between 7 and 10:00 a.m.

Reporter Evelyn Cheng can be contacted at echeng709@gmail.com.

Related Links:

New York City Works Towards Creating Bike-Friendly Streets


Many thanks to Tila Duhaime and Lisa Sladkus of UWSSR and Vinny Rose of Chick Chack and DirectRush.

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