Count on It: NYC Bike Commuting Climbs 26 Percent

bike_count_graph.jpgThe screenline count has risen dramatically since 2007. Graphic: NYCDOT (PDF)
Here's one indicator that's looking pretty recession-proof: New York City bike commuting shot up 26 percent in 2009, according to data released today by the Department of Transportation. The increase marks the second straight year of robust cycling growth in the city. Last year bike commuting rose 35 percent.

The new counts bolster the evidence linking safer bikeways to increased cycling. New York's bike network expanded significantly in the past 12 months, including protected paths on Broadway, Eighth Avenue, the Sands Street approach to the Manhattan Bridge, Allen Street, and Kent Avenue in Williamsburg.

DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan touted these improvements in announcing the new stats. "Cycling in the city continues growing rapidly as our bike network expands and becomes safer," she said in a statement.

The agency measures bike commuting by counting cyclists crossing 50th Street on the Hudson River Greenway, riding over the four East River bridges, and entering and exiting the Staten Island Ferry at Whitehall Terminal. Notably, cyclists riding across 50th Street on the avenues are not included in the count.

DOT staff tallied an average of 15,495 cyclists crossing this zone on weekdays between April and October this year. On one day in August, the bike count reached a peak of 18,223 cyclists. (For more on the data and methodology behind the bike count, read this PDF.)

Stay tuned for a Streetfilm from Clarence on this promising development. It's going to drop early tomorrow.