Opponents of bike lanes in New York City have argued that they take room away from cars and slow traffic down, but a new report is showing the opposite. The study, released by NYC’s Department of Transportation, found that car speeds have actually increased slightly over the past few years. To be fair, it’s not really clear whether the faster speeds are because of the bike lanes, but the findings do contradict those who said that the lanes would cause cars to move more slowly.
The annual Sustainable Streets Index study found that traffic in Manhattan below 60th Street improved with the average speed of taxis increasing by seven percent since 2008. GPS data shows that the average speed of a taxi trip was 8.9 mph in 2011, but rose last year to 9.3 mph. The increased speed is not the result of fewer cars on the road either, since the number of cars in the area rose from 756,000 to 764,000 between 2008 and 2012.
Bruce Schaller, DOT deputy commissioner for traffic and planning stated, “When we put in a bike lane, you think, ‘Oh, you’re taking a lane. But that left curb was always taken by the left-turning cars anyway. And the through traffic has the same number of lanes that it did before.”
Images © NYC DOT