NYC Bicycle Commuting Rises to Highest Level

Bicycle Commuter NYC

The city transportation department announced this week that NYC bicycle commuting rose 4 percent in 2014 over the previous year to an all-time high. The NYC DOT’s annual count, automated this year for the first time since data gathering started in 1980, clocked cyclist volume of 21,112 at key commuter portals.

This latest indicator of the growing trend toward traveling on two wheels results from 10 counts conducted weekdays between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during April through October at the Staten Island Ferry, the four East River bridge crossings and the Hudson River Greenway at 50th Street. [Click here to download PDF.]

The excerpt below shows comparative data and reflects significant growth, with increases ranging from 13 to 35 percent from 2006 to 2010. But cycling advocates point out that those gains have given way to single-digit grown since 2011. They say that more progress is needed in building bike lanes, including protected lanes, that help people feel safer on the streets.

NYC DOT Bicycling Screen Line Count 2014

Improving and adding to the city’s bike lane network, which currently comprises 420  miles, is also important to meeting the goals Mayor Bill Di Blasio has set in his plan for Vision Zero. It calls for bicycling to reach a 6 percent share of all trips by 2020. (It currently stands at about 1.5 percent.)

While the annual counts are good at indicating bicycle commuting trends, since they focus on people crossing into and out of the Manhattan central business district, they fall short of providing a comprehensive picture of bicycling in New York City. For example, people who typically ride bicycles inside the boundaries of central business district are not counted.

Meaningful additional studies might include, for example, gathering data within the Citi Bike service area, and also focusing more on activity in the outer boroughs, where bicycling is growing and some major cycling infrastructure projects are planned.

NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg acknowledged at a meeting of the New York Cycle Club last fall that the city needs to develop better methods to gain a broader picture of bicycling in New York City.

Further reading: Three Takeaways From NYC DOT’s 2014 Bike Count [Streetsblog]

Top photo: velojoy. Graphic: NYC Department of Transportation

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