This is the final piece in a five-part series by former NYC DOT policy director Jon Orcutt about the de Blasio administration’s opportunities to expand and improve cycling in New York. Read part one, part two, part three, and part four.
New bike lanes geared to Citi Bike expansion, bringing safer and more appealing cycling conditions to more neighborhoods, integrating the Harlem River bridges into the city cycling network: It all sounds great. But is it on the radar of new leadership at NYC DOT? Does the consensus-oriented de Blasio City Hall have the chops to make it happen in New York’s NIMBY-rich environment?
To a surprising degree, NYC’s cycling future looks bright regardless of the answers to these questions.
The main reason for that is today’s City Council. The Council slates elected in 2009 and 2013 included strong advocates of safe and bike-friendly streets, and their ranks grew from one election cycle to the next. Most of these Council members represent areas that are natural territory for the next phases of bike network growth. Many of them have already been vocal this year in demanding Citi Bike expansion to their districts.
Equally important, the de Blasio administration wants city agencies to work closely with and meet reasonable requests from local elected officials. If Council members want bike-share and additional bike lanes, City Hall will listen.
And finally, the cycling community today enjoys strong relationships with City Hall and much of the Council. The deft work of Transportation Alternatives led directly to the inclusion of Vision Zero and ambitious cycling goals in Mayor de Blasio’s campaign agenda. StreetsPAC, a new force in the city’s electoral landscape, endorsed and stays in touch with most of the Council’s bike-oriented cohort.
Last month, the Daily News chronicled the cycling habits of Brooklyn Council members Antonio Reynoso, Carlos Menchaca, and Robert Cornegy. In addition, consider the Council members representing areas spotlighted in parts two, three, and four of this series: