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Trainspotter

Bike ridership has increased on all 3 Brooklyn bridges

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It's a Brooklyn biking boom. The number of Brooklyn bicyclists has soared since last year, with thousands of new riders pedaling over borough bridges back and forth to Manhattan, a city survey has found.

 

Bike traffic on the Manhattan Bridge accounted for the biggest increase citywide, with an average 2,232 bicyclists crossing the span daily, a 70% increase.

 

Bikers on the Williamsburg bridge quadrupled since 2000 - from 733 to 3,000 - and on the Brooklyn Bridge by 10% since last year.

 

Citywide, the Transportation Department study found that biking increased by 35% in the last year. From 1980, biking increased from 2,081 to 12,583 cyclists.

 

"This unprecedented increase shows we are well on the way toward our goal of doubling the number of bike commuters," said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

 

Bike advocates applauded the increased number of bike paths and other safety improvements that have lured more cyclists to the streets.

 

"This shows the city's investment in biking is paying off big in 2008," said Transportation Alternatives spokesman Wiley Norvell. "By the end of 2009, NYC will have doubled its bike network. This really shows us what good design can do for a city."

 

Norvell said the increased bike ridership is the result of the city's successful effort to create more paths across New York. But he also noted less than 1% of transportation trips are taken by bike in the city.

 

The Williamsburg Bridge, where daily bike ridership is up 400% from 2000, had benefited from better paths and consistent lighting, Norvell said.

 

At the Brooklyn Bridge, where no significant changes have been made in the last two decades, bike ridership increased by about 200 riders this year, the report found.

 

The biggest increases, said Norvell, appeared to be in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick, where cyclists were using the Williamsburg Bridge in record numbers.

 

Councilman David Yassky (D-Williamsburg) said legislation that would allow bikes to be stored in private office buildings would buoy ridership, which city officials hope will reach 18,000 by 2015.

 

The legislation, which could be voted on by the end of the year, would allow bike access in thousands of commercial buildings across the city, ensuring that all riders would have space to store their bikes during the workday.

 

"When we [pass the legislation], I predict the number of bike commuters will rise even further, making our city greener, healthier and less congested," Yassky said.

 

On the Manhattan Bridge, cyclists said they had noticed a surge in fellow bikers on the expanse, many of whom were still learning the lay of the land, some said.

 

"It seems like a lot of people are riding on the wrong side - the pedestrian side - but they'll figure it out," said David Corner, a Williamsburg resident who began riding his bike regularly a year ago and takes both the Williamsburg and Manhattan bridges on a daily basis.

 

John Adam Fahey, 37, a Prospect Heights artist and waiter who called himself a life-long bike rider, said even colder temperatures haven't kept cyclists from hitting the streets.

 

"In the winter when it got cold out bike traffic usually slowed down," said Fahey. "This year, it doesn't seem like such a big drop off. There's more people out there."

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I think it's picking up due to the cost of gas, not because more people want to be "green".

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Gas prices have been going down. I've seen people drive less and more bike riders than ever in the last year even before gas prices spiked. I have a feeling numbers will continue to rise, even in winter. It's a great way to keep fit and save huge bucks. I'm 28 and i don't drive, i use my bike. Allows me so much freedom. If rail service is restored to newtown you'll see me biking in nyc for sure!

 

- A

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Good to hear that bike riding is being encouraged somewhere and people are doing it. I'm a bike rider down here in AZ where the weather is good for riding but the roads aren't, thanks to unenlightened governmental leaders who are more interested in revenue than sound environmental policies.

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I don't mean to insult bike riders but the bike riders who use the Brooklyn Bridge are the most obnoxious group of people. They know that tourists like to stop and take pictures but they have an attitude when people accidentally step on the bike path. I've been insulted many times by overzealous bicyclists.

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