Bike Lane Love in the New York Times

It’s too bad that so many New Yorkers still complain about the bike lanes’ contribution to the inconvenience of urban driving instead of promoting them for their obvious role in helping solve the city’s transportation miseries, and for their aesthetic possibilities. I don’t mean they’re great to look at. I mean that for users they offer a different way of taking in the city, its streets and architecture, the fine-grained fabric of its neighborhoods…On a bike time bends. Space expands and contracts.

Check out this beautiful article about New York’s bike lanes, Pleasures of Life in the Slow Lane, by Michael Kimmelman in the New York Times. (Hat tip to reader David B. for forwarding it to us!) As Chicargobike said in her post about the article, the prose will make you swoon.

Reading a glowingly positive article about bike infrastructure in the mainstream media was refreshing and a lot of the author’s optimism can be applied to Chicago or any other city that’s beginning to take bikes seriously. I was especially interested to read that “London has lately turned into a bike capital too.” I’d love to hear what any Londoners out there think about that statement.

Speaking of New York, I found a little bit of NYC in downtown Chicago yesterday.  There is a new Magnolia Bakery on State Street.

I have mixed feelings about this.  On one hand, Chicago already has lots of delicious cupcake bakeries and doesn’t need New York’s second-hand ideas.  On the other hand, CUPCAKES!  :)

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10 thoughts on “Bike Lane Love in the New York Times

  1. Blithebicyclist says:

    I have to say Dottie I admire your enthusiasm for cupcakes. I have a long-term love affair with bakeries and, personally, feel there is a strong bond between cyclists and the more pleasurable means of reclaiming our energy stores, sigh! (Down with goop tubes, carb bars and energy shakes . . . grab a cake! :D)

  2. Sigrid says:

    I saw this yesterday and thought it was a great article. When I was in NY in August I was pleased to see so much bikishness going on. America is changing and I for one love this change. Biking makes SO much sense in a dense city like NY. I did also notice the last time I was in London (I think it’s been 6 or 7 years ago now) how much biking was going on then, I can only imagine now how much more is going on now! It was really invigorating and inspiring sitting and drinking my coffee on a London morning sitting out the window and seeing all the people rolling into work in the central city. Ahhh….travel…

  3. Guest says:

    I actually just moved to NYC from Chicago last week. I went for my first bike ride into and through Manhattan this weekend and was very impressed by the bike infrastructure. Although there is still work to be done, First Ave has a great bike lane and the Westside Greenway, although no Lakefront Path, is pretty convenient. Maybe because it was marathon Sunday when I went for a ride, but I was surprised that there were not that many bikers. Oftentimes, it was just me and the food delivery guys (who all have these cool electric bikes) in the bike lane. I don’t understand why there aren’t more bikes out there. I would rather be getting some fresh air and taking in the city than waiting for a train on a rat-filled subway platforms.

    • LGRAB says:

      Left Chicago for NYC? Traitor! ;)

      When I visted New York this summer, I also noticed that most of the bike traffic was delivery guys and there were not nearly as many regular, non-delivery bike riders as in Chicago. The First Avenue protected bike lane did have a lot of commuters during rush hour, compared to the other streets. I believe if the city builds safe infrastructure, the bicyclists will come, so the New York protected lanes probably just need some more time.

  4. Dottie says:

    I should add that Chicago IS perfectly happy to accept New York’s second-hand ideas on protected bike lanes, open streets, and pedestrian zones. :)

  5. Anonymous says:

    I walked past Magnolia on the day it opened and asked a girl in line what the fuss was about. “Do they have really good cupcakes or something?”. To which she simply replied: “It’s from New York!” Sooo? I just moved to Chicago a couple months ago but my stand-out favorites so far are Crumbs, Molly’s Cupcakes, and Alliance Bakery.

    • LGRAB says:

      Ha, yeah, I need a better reason than that!

      Alliance is in my top 3, with the other 2 being Sensational Bites and Sweet Mandy B’s.

      Welcome to Chicago!

  6. Jenn says:

    thanks for mentioning us Dottie! I love that the Times finally had a rave about the new lanes. Hopefully we won’t have to wait as long for the good reviews here in Chicago once we really get the new infrastructure going.
    Our guys and I rode by the Magnolia Bakery and we just had to stop. They liked their cupcakes but professed their true love for ….Sweet Mandy B’s.

  7. David B says:

    Thanks Dottie for linking to this wonderful article. To understand what it means to have a livable city you first have to get out of your car to experience your environs at a personal level like Michael Kimmelman did in his NYT piece.
    We may not have your world class Chicago cupcakes here in Grand Rapids, Michigan but Van’s Pastry Shoppe meets our donuts needs quite nicely, thank you.

  8. Kevin says:

    “London has lately turned into a bike capital too.”

    It’s no Copenhagen or Amsterdam, but bhere are certainly many more bikes on the streets of London than there used to be, due mainly to the congestion charge. This means that the drivers of most motor vehicles have to pay £9 or £10 (up to $US 16) per day to enter a large part of central London. The reduction in traffic was enormous when this was first introduced and bikes almost seemed the most common form of wheeled transport for a few days, and although the effect faded a little as time went by, it is still a dramatic change from what we had before.

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