The Bicycle Visionary That's Changing New York
Against what can only be described as a hysterical, fanatical opposition, New York's transportation commissioner Sadik-Khan has championed bike infrastructure and bike use with amazing results.
Since the mayor appointed her in 2007 and she began to bring her agency’s work more closely in line with his vision of a greener New York, the city has roughly doubled its miles of bike lanes, to about 500.This article in the New York Times looks at the small amounts of recognition being received, and the problems of bringing change to a world that loves its cars.
Biking, it seems, is an uphill ride, due largely to mathematics and a sort of Catch-22: with only a small percentage of Americans using bicycles as their primary method of transportation, there’s no huge public outcry for — or immediate political benefit to — remaking city streets so that they’re a little less friendly to cars and a lot more hospitable to bikes.But without that hospitality, primarily in the form of better bike lanes and more bike racks, biking isn’t convenient and attractive enough to win all that many converts and thus a political constituency.So if a city believes that biking is part of a better future, it must sometimes muscle through a reluctant, rocky present. That’s precisely what Bloomberg and Sadik-Khan have done, in a fine example of the way the mayor’s frequent imperiousness and imperviousness to criticism can work to the city’s long-term advantage.
Read on at the New York Times.