New York is the 8th Most Bikeable City in the US
New York City is famous for many things: the Empire State Building, Broadway, the New York Stock Exchange, storied sports franchises, the list goes on and on. One noticeable exemption from the list is bikeability. Well, that is quickly changing as New York — already the United State’s most walkable city — is quickly improving their bike score as well.
Home to over 8.1 million people, a big factor in NYC’s bike score is the sheer amount of things there are to do and the close proximity of resources like grocery stores. As the average New Yorker is able to walk to about nine restaurants, bars, and coffee shops within 5 minutes, a few neighborhoods are considered to biker’s paradises. In fact, Red Hook has a bike score of 99 and Bowery and the East Village are close behind with 96 and 95, respectively.
While a bike score of just under 68 won’t blow anyone away, New York has made strides in recent years to improve and it shows. In fact, just three years earlier the Big Apple wasn’t even on the top ten list and instead sat just below in the twelfth spot. This is due largely to the city’s effort to improve their bicycle infrastructure. While there are only about 23 and a half miles of bike lanes in the entire city, New York has plans to add 18.3 miles onto that total by the end of the year and then an additional 50 every year after that.
In order for New York to continue to improve its position on this list, however, this bike infrastructure will have to continue to grow. As it only takes a single bad intersection to ruin an otherwise great bike route, one thing the city can do is to install additional crossing islands. These raised areas in the center of crosswalks serve the dual purpose of forcing traffic to slow down near them and allow both bicyclists and pedestrians alike to only have to contend with one side of traffic at a time, increasing bike safety. Likewise, the Big Apple also needs to make sure that any bike lane approaching an intersection has a bike lane on the opposite side of the street as well. This is to ensure cyclists will have a safe, designated area at which they will arrive after crossing the street. Additional bike parking (such as bike racks, corrals, and lockers) are also important as they both provide bicyclists with a safe area to store their bikes and clear up the sidewalk for foot traffic.
Bike Score is calculated based on measurements of a city’s bike infrastructure (bike lanes, trails, etc.), hills, destinations and road connectivity, and the number of bike commuters in the city. Bike lane score is determined using data from OpenStreetMap, a city’s “hilliness” is calculated utilizing data made available by the United States Geological Survey’s National Elevation Dataset, and destination and connectivity are calculated using a modified version of Walk Score.