New York’s Summer Streets Clears Roads for People

New York Summer Streets

Chicago Bike the Drive

Back in May, I posted a video of Chicago’s annual Bike the Drive day that attracts nearly 20,000 bike riders.

It was impressive to see what the streets would look like if they were covered with people biking, blading and walking instead of being cooped up in tin cans belching dead dinosaurs.

Imagine NEW YORK without motorized gridlock

2009 New York City Street Smarts

The Summer Streets program sounds like a great idea.

I’ve never been to New York. I never wanted to go to New York.

In fact, I always told my photo staff that New York was the exception to my rule, “I won’t send you anywhere I haven’t been or wouldn’t go.”

Because of that, this map doesn’t mean anything to me and 7.9 miles doesn’t sound like very fair.

Still, the video almost makes me want to go see what the city’s like when it’s set up for humans for three weekends: August 8, 15 and 22.

Like Critical Mass without the angst

One YouTube viewer commented, “That is pretty cool! It is like Critical Mass without all the yelling, angst, bloodshed and police brutality. :)”

Another suggested, “I think it would be better if once a year they opened those streets to cars and let people have them the rest of the time.”

21 Replies to “New York’s Summer Streets Clears Roads for People”

  1. Sounds great. Take the next logical step for Palm Beach County.

    Which road or section of road in Palm Beach County should be closed for our Street Freedom Day?


  2. Todd,

    I heard about it this afternoon. From what I can piece together from email I’ve seen, nobody in this particular incident is covered in glory.

    The sad thing is that it’s going to ramp up the anti-bike forces.

    I really don’t like riding A1A because of all the pack riders that take over the roadway.

    I’m going to hold off writing about the incident until the dust settles.

  3. I went and looked at the intersection in question on Google maps (street level view is amazing – I could be up all night planning out routes with this tool!), sadly I discovered bike lanes going both directions on A1A for several miles. That’s not going to make anyone (least of all the police) more sympathetic to the cyclists’ cause.

    And to contradict one of the initial comments from a cyclist on there (claiming they were doing the speed limit), I can see a speed limit sign of 35. Not likely unless they had Contador leading their group ride.

    And yes, this will only stir up the hornets’ nest. Glad I live up here in the sticks with only the occasional monster truck passing me. And they typically can just pass over me ;)

  4. On the New York video, I got a quick glimpse of a shirt that said “One Less Car.” I’d love to find a design with that on it down here. I haven’t looked online yet.

    On the local case, I agree that many on both sides look like hothead idiots. Some of the comments amaze me. It’s kind sad that folks like this are procreating.

    I guess I’ve been lucky and have had no run-ins with homicidal or distracted drivers. So far.

  5. Matt,

    It’s like a woman wearing exotic undergarments to the office. SHE knows they’re there.

    Besides, the price isn’t much more than what I’d pay for one of my regular high-viz jerseys.

    Besides, when the medics strip off my Camelbak, maybe the cop working the crash will see it and it’ll jog his memory about the 3-foot rule.

  6. I ride bicycles and a drive car. And I am inclined to side with the bicyclists, but on a gut level, I believe the guy in the car (via video)… unless it shows later that he’s a professional actor. Based on what I see in my town (many, many miles away)… there are groups of guys, (even two together) on bicycles blocking or hogging roads… they even “try” to run me off the road ON THE BIKE PATH! I don’t know what’s up except blind aggression looking for an outlet (glad the motorist kept his cool since he was packing a piece). Or its: you can’t brag, boast, or outride while in single file.

  7. To each his own, but my personal feeling on the “3 feet please” gear is that you’re just asking for some ticked off motorist to swerve in your direction out of spite. Maybe I’m too cynical for my age.

  8. BK: I spoke to a number of riders I respect have ridden with for going on two years. Serious riders. These people have ridden with the Boca group in question and won’t ride with them again.

    There is a subgroup of riders down there that are just stupid and aggressive. They’ll be cranking along in excess of 28 miles an hour and come up behind a car. They’ll be riding four or five rides wide and split the group going around the car. That’s right, they’ll actually pass the car on the left and right sides at the same time.

    I’d never do that on a bike and it would totally freak me out if I were in the car.

    I generally side with the cyclist and have even previously expressed my bias in favor of the cyclist. Still, in this case, I’d prefer One Less Bike.


  9. On a side note (well, not really as it pertains to the original post ;) the girl in the polka dot top has got me watching that video over and over.

  10. Thanks. That’s a really neat site. It’s not often you can get informative, humorous, and clean all on the same ticket but these Rocketboom folks have managed it.

  11. ToddBS, Part of Ken’s quote above, worth repeating… “woman wearing exotic undergarments” might get you to watch the video once again.

    Matt, your comment… “they’ll actually pass the car on the left and right sides at the same time.” Any idea why? Are they trying to make some kinda car/bike statement? Are they just jerks doing what jerks do, just happens something/someone is in their way? Is this a larger view of society in general? I really want to know whats what with this universal (USA?) problem.

  12. BK,

    I can’t speak specifically of the group Matt mentions, but I have heard the Boca Raton bike club members talking about “rogue” bikers who jump some of their events and got them banned from extending their Frank Stark ride into Palm Beach.

    It’s like a quote from a park ranger, “Most of our problems are when smarter bears interact with dumber humans.”

    Too often we have an intersection between Alfa Hotel drivers and Alfa Hotel bikers. Both are the minority, but they spoil it for the rest of the drivers AND the cyclists.

    I’ve been on my bike riding out two feet from the fog line when one of those packs comes up behind me. Suddenly I have riders on my left and my right. They sure have a lot more confidence in my ability to ride a straight line than I have.

  13. I think that’s it (if I understand you correctly), its an Alfa thing and the dynamics of bicycling riding lends itself to asserting dominance over Beta riders.

  14. Alfa Hotel in this case being NATO phonetics for the letters AH, or short for A**hole.

    I don’t think it’s an Alpha male thing so much as a passive-aggressive thing. Certain people just have that personality.

  15. BK: they just don’t want to slow down. When you’re riding four or five wide, it is hard to get everyone to the left side to pass, especially if there is oncoming traffic. So, half go left and half go right. They engulf the car. It’s stupid crazy.


  16. Thanks for cluing me in on the Alfa thing and the Alpha (sp) goof in my misguided text. Man, I’m losing it & outta touch.

    My latest ‘stupid crazy’ is riding on a sleepy country road (with stripes), the poor driver coming the other way had to get too close to me to avoid the two cyclists taking the whole lane the wanted to share with them. I suppose the car could have waited for me to pass but it happened kinda fast. He wasn’t trying to ‘buzz’ anybody.

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