Thursday, November 01, 2012

Bicycling Hurricane Sandy

In the aftermath of hurricane Sandy it has been great to read about so many New Yorkers opting to hop on their bicycles in light of the ongoing transportation infrastructure turmoil going on in the city.  Likewise, it's been wonderful to hear of bicycle companies pitching in to get people mobile again until the city gets back on its feet.  Will this help accentuate the benefits of cycling in the city and motivate people to ride more often in the future?  Who knows.  But it certainly underscores the amazing practicality and versatility of pedal power in extreme conditions.

Excerpts from several reports:
In post-storm New York, the bike is having a moment of sorts.
Crowded shuttle buses helped supplement subway service on Thursday. 
With subways still not running under the East River or between Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, traffic snarled in many places and lines for buses stretching for blocks, many people in Brooklyn took to bicycles on Thursday to get where they had to go.
“I’m extremely glad I have a bike right now — it’s one of the best assets you can have,” said James Emery, 22, who was riding on Thursday afternoon from Williamsburg to Red Hook to help a friend whose screen-printing business had been flooded. 
Thomas Jarrels, 46, who biked home to Crown Heights from his job as a sous-chef at a Midtown law firm, said he was glad to have had an impetus to bike to work. He said he was a bike messenger in the 1980s and loved biking, but had never commuted by bike until the storm disabled the subway. Though it took slightly longer than the train, he said, he thought he would keep biking even after the subway started running again. 
“It saves money, and it’s less of a headache,” he said. “It gives you time to think, meditate and get your exercise on.” 
Susan Creighton, 26, a teacher who lives in Park Slope and is running in the New York City Marathon on Sunday, said she had decided to bike into Manhattan to pick up her number at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center after seeing the long lines for buses on the news. 
She said she usually biked only recreationally and had been intimidated by riding on more congested routes. “This kind of showed me it’s not that bad,” she said, adding that on Friday she might bike to the school in Williamsburg where she teaches.
Many frequent bike commuters said that, with sparse traffic in downtown Manhattan, conditions for biking were ideal. 
“I just bombed all the way down Broadway right now — I think I saw five cars,” said Jason Jaramillo, 34, who had just biked to Brooklyn from the Upper West Side. “I wish it was always like this.” 
But David Pimentelli, 42, said that biking in some areas of Brooklyn had been frightening on Thursday, with drivers waiting anxiously in long lines for gas and little police presence.
“I’m scared to be going back to Brooklyn right now,” he said, as he exited the Brooklyn Bridge after a trip to Manhattan. “People are running red lights, very agitated, they don’t care.” 
New York, once known as New Amsterdam, could soon look a lot more like...well, Amsterdam. 
In the midst of congested transit left in Super Storm Sandy’s wake, more New Yorkers are opting to ride bicycles.
Other articles:

“Yesterday we outsold our busiest summer Saturday,” said Emily Samstag, manager of Bicycle Habitat in Brooklyn, speaking to a surge in bike-related sales just one day after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast. “Our first customer walked in and said: 'The subways are down so I have to buy a bike'. That was standard all morning.”  Continue
The mayor had lifted the three-occupant limit for taxis and livery cars coming into Manhattan around 8:15 a.m. But even before that, some commuters attempted cab sharing, the delicate art of piling into a yellow taxi with strangers, which some cabdrivers declined to accommodate. A popular mode of transportation in Lower Manhattan — still dark from the loss of power — appeared to be bicycles.  Continue

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority restarted some subway service today and some commuter rail lines yesterday. With the unprecedented scope of the damage becoming clearer, authorities and New Yorkers filled in the gaps in rail service with new bus routes and schedules, cabs picking up multiple passengers, ferries plying the Hudson River and bicycles streaming across the Brooklyn Bridge.  Continue

1 comment:

jacobmontereal said...

I think they are really a positive people to do that after the hurricane. I'm sure some of the places are very dangerous at that moment.

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