New York Summer Streets

New York City is a great place for bicycling, as long as you don’t actually want to be on the streets. Whether it is a quick ride across the Brooklyn Bridge, a loop around Central or Prospect Parks or even a ride out to Coney Island along Ocean Parkway, there are some great rides. Riding on the actual streets, however is a risky move, requiring nerves of steel and a rather aggressive outlook. Also, a helmet is a good idea for when you bounce off the fender of a car (twice, in my case) or fly over your handlebars trying to avoid a pedestrian crossing against the light (only once for me).

Fortunately, folks looking for a calmer ride on the city streets will get a great opportunity this August, when the City shuts down vehicular traffic on a route from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park on three consecutive Sundays Saturdays in a program they are calling Summer Streets.

“We anticipate that hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and visitors will take advantage of streets temporarily opened for recreation,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “We hope the Summer Streets experiment will become as much a part of the New York experience as strolling the Coney Island boardwalk, participating in the 5-borough bike tour, or listening to the Philharmonic in the park.”

“In Bogotá, they call it Ciclovia, or bikeway. In Paris, it’s the Plage, or beach. Here in New York, Summer Streets will literally turn the streets of our city into a pedestrian park,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “The streets themselves are among the most valuable public space that the City has to offer, and finding the room within our existing street space for those on two feet or two wheels is a true application of our goals for a sustainable future under the Mayor’s PlaNYC initiatives and the DOT’s strategic plan.”

I can’t wait for this to happen. I’m looking forward to getting my bike out and riding the length of the path.

Also, as a bit of a public service announcement, if you are considering taking advantage of the 5-borough bike tour as an opportunity to say DON”T DO IT. The crowds are ridiculous, and while riding on the BQE is fun, the overall experience is not one I can recommend.

Update: It is on Saturdays, not Sundays. And I missed the first one today. 🙁

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.