Cyclists in New York City are getting a little more room to ride.
New York will build more than 250 new bike lanes as part of a new master plan. The plan will also add more pedestrian space to the city.
Officials are hoping to “break the car culture” in New York. To do so, they’ll invest more than $1.7 billion in improvements.
The “streets master plan” is designed to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians.
The changes are being done in part because of pedestrian and cyclist deaths. Twenty-five cyclists have died this year, which is the highest number in 20 years, and the combined total of pedestrian and cyclist deaths are up 24 percent.
“The way we plan our streets now makes no sense, and New Yorkers pay the price every day, stuck on slow buses or risking their own safety cycling without protected bike lanes,” said New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, according to The Guardian. “I want to completely revolutionize how we share our street space, and that’s what this bill does.”
Cycling numbers are up in New York by 26 percent from 2012-2017.
The city’s master plan has money earmarked for other transportation areas.
A physical barrier or camera will protect about 150 miles of bus lanes. Then 250 miles of bike lanes physically separated from traffic will be built, along with other areas.
Unfortunately, Congress stripped cycling from being eligible for commuter benefits in 2017. A new bill has been introduced in Congress to make bicycle commuters eligible to receive $53 per month in commuter benefits. That’s a significant increase in benefits if approved as old legislation only allowed for $20.
Overall, less than 1 percent of commuters bike to work.
While commuter benefits are not available for cyclists right now, you can still get them for people who take public transit or rideshares or park in qualified parking lots. If you are interested in learning more, download the guide below: