The addition of urban bike lanes seems to be typically fraught with controversy.
- The bike enthusiasts are pleased as they have safer and more routes to bike.
- Drivers are in some cases up in arms, concerned about increased traffic by stealing lanes that were once used for cars.
I was lucky enough to attend the Vancouver talk by Janette Sadik-Khan, former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT), on her book tour for Streetfight.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of her presentation was data about the urban transformations made in NYC during her tenure. These data points are typically absent in our discussions of urban infrastructure. And perhaps because (then) Mayor Bloomberg is such a data guy, the budgets were made and the data collected to understand the urban impact of the changes they made.
When it comes to protected bike lanes, the data is clear that it benefits everyone:
↓58% bike injuries
↑49% in retail sales
↓66% pedestrian injuries
↓47% commercial vacancies
Sadik-Khan even presented data that protected bike lanes decreased traffic. How can we ensure that our cities collect this kind of data so we understand the true impact of our transformations, new and proposed?