2020 was a trying year to say the least, COVID19 changed the way we live our lives! NYC enacted “stay at home” orders, all non-essential businesses closed in order to stop the spread of the virus! While all of this was happening many New Yorkers rediscovered their bicycles!
TA coined the term “bike boom” to explain all of the excitement and renewed appeal of the bicycle during lockdown! Bike Shops and delivery cyclists/working cyclists were considered essential! Long awaited legislation was passed which made e-bikes and e-scooters legal. Bike shops were sold out of both regular bicycles and in some shops electric bikes. Early on in the pandemic, the CDC advised us to wear face masks and stay six feet apart to stop the spread. People who were able to, chose to dust off their bikes, get tune-ups and get riding! Frontline workers, doctors and nurses were choosing to bike to work so as to not put other NY’rs at risk of the virus. Since the “bike boom” depleted most bike stores stock TA also started a “Bike Match” program, to connect “essential workers” with bikes that were donated.
2020 we also saw the beginning of “Open Streets”. The pandemic caused most of us to stay at home but we still needed to go out for fresh air and some exercise. Outdoors was one of the safest places to be during the pandemic, provided one is socially distant and wearing a mask. The best “Open Streets” throughout the city were best maintained with a community partner, such as the one at 34th Ave in Queens or the Vanderbilt Ave in Brooklyn! The long awaited 2 way protected bike lane on Flatbush Avenue, between Grand Army Plaza and Empire Boulevard finally opened! This bike lane was long overdue because the Prospect Park West protected bike lane went in some 10 years ago! Residents of Flatbush east of Prospect Park now have a great protected bike path and better access to its amenities.
It’s now 2021, and thankfully COVID19 vaccines are on the way!! I am hopeful that our love of bikes and micromobilty will increase. TA helped fight for and win congestion pricing back in 2019. It is now being delayed and probably will not be implemented until 2022. Congestion pricing would charge cars who wish to drive into Manhattan’s Central Business district. The funding generated from congestion pricing will help fund our mass transit. NYC can’t be a world class city without mass transit.If 2020 was the year of the bicycle then 2021 should be the year of the “Bicycle Highway”! Since we have legalized, e-bikes, scooters, there has been a “bike boom”. There is also news of a massive drive for bike parking. There’s a saying “if you build it, they will come”.
Our current Bike Network is good but it could be so much better! If we are all to adopt cycling or micro mobility to get around it must be safe and it must be accessible to everyone! I thoroughly enjoy cycling in NYC and wish to share this joy with more New Yorkers for years to come adding more protected bike and pedestrian infrastructure would help accomplish this!
Former Brooklyn Organizer for Transportation Alternatives
Dulcie Canton is the Brooklyn Organizer for Transportation Alternatives a non profit bicycle and pedestrian organization. Dulcie was born and raised in the Bronx and has been a resident of BedStuy Brooklyn for the past 11 years. She started commuting to work full time in 2011. In 2015, Dulcie became a Brompton owner and never looked back! She appreciates its sturdiness, speed and the ability to fold away for storage. Dulcie has traveled to cities abroad such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Malmo and Stockholm. Stateside Dulcie has visited the San Francisco Bay Area, Atlanta and Washington DC! The Brompton is Dulcie’s preferred choice of transportation but she also enjoys being able to fold it up and take it on mass transit!
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