The People Way


A lot of #BikeNYC commuters, when you ask, will tell you that they first started cycling during large-scale disruptions to the city’s subway system – the transit strikes of 1980 and 2005, the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, and in the days after Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

It’s not often cities get advance notice of such disruptions. Next year when the MTA shuts down the L-train for 15 months to repair damage inflicted by Hurricane Sandy, Brooklyn residents will lose a critical transit link to Lower Manhattan. New York City knows this is coming, and needs to do better than its currently woefully inadequate plans to make those 15 months bearable for transit riders – and for everyone else who lives or works along the affected sections of the route. So kudos to Transportation Alternatives for getting out in front of the #LTrain shutdown with its PeopleWay campaign.  Part of the campaign to pressure the city to improve its response to the shutdown includes running weekly biketrains – group bike commutes meant to be inviting for newer riders. I (Kimberly) might be biased — I co-founded  NYCBiketrain, from which TA’s #Biketrain effort draws some inspiration – but they are a great way to invite new folks who think biking might work for them, but could use a little support to get started.

Here in Seattle, transportation advocates are looking at our city’s plans  for when light rail nudges our buses out of the downtown transit tunnel and onto surface streets. And we are seeing signs of the same woefully inadequate response from city and regional agencies. The bus shift to the surface is just one reason we can’t wait for the #BasicBikeNetwork – are you listening, Seattle DOT, Metro, SoundTransit, Mayor Durkan? We need to prioritize moving people over moving cars, today and tomorrow. It doesn’t take a physicist or a transportation engineer to see that establishing dedicated space for people busing and biking that cars cannot easily impinge on is the most efficient way to do that.  It’s also the most fair. PeopleWay Seattle, anyone?