“The ugly tendency to segregate by race and class will be, in a small way, mitigated here. By bikes!” Bike Share for All David ByrnePosted: May 27th, 2012
Our comment on the N.Y. Times: “Good for you David Byrne! You get so well the value of bike share, AND of equal access to bike share. “The ugly tendency to segregate by race and class will be, in a small way, mitigated here. By bikes!” This need is so clear, but often so overlooked. In Los Angeles, for example, a limited private bike share is planned for downtown and the tony Playa del Rey, Westwood, Hollywood and Venice Beach. While the company says “nothing has been formalized yet” on low income bike passes, it’s working on it, and that is good. But bike share needs to be in South Central L.A., East L.A. and other diverse areas. Bike offers benefits for all, especially low income communities and communities of color not yet covered by bike share. Thank you for calling attention to both! Robert Garcia, The City Project, www.cityprojectca.org.”
THIS summer the city’s Department of Transportation inaugurates a new bike-share program. People who live and work in New York will be able to travel quickly and cheaply between many neighborhoods. This is major. It will make New Yorkers rethink their city and rewrite the mental maps we use to decide what is convenient, what is possible. . . .
I’ve used a bike to get around New York for decades. There’s an exhilaration you get from self-propelled transportation — skateboarding, in-line skating and walking as well as biking; New York has good public transportation, but you just don’t get the kind of rush I’m talking about on a bus or subway train. I got hooked on biking because it’s a pleasure, not because biking lowers my carbon footprint, improves my health or brings me into contact with different parts of the city and new adventures. But it does all these things, too — and sometimes makes us a little self-satisfied for it; still, the reward is emotional gratification, which trumps reason, as it often does. . . .
I’ve used bike-sharing programs in London, Ottawa, Washington, Toronto, Barcelona, Milan and Paris. . . . In Paris, the Vélib program has more than 20,000 bikes and extends all the way to the city’s borders. Significantly, the banlieues, the low-income housing projects that surround that city, aren’t included, so the system reinforces a kind of economic discrimination, but maybe more coverage is coming. New York’s program will have some advantages over the Paris and London programs.
New York’s high-rise housing projects are scattered throughout the city, so neither they nor their inhabitants will be excluded from the covered bike-share program area. The ugly tendency to segregate by race and class will be, in a small way, mitigated here. By bikes!
Bogotá bike use has increased by a factor of five. Significantly, the increased biking has affected the city’s economy, as Bogotá recently extended a network of bicycle paths through lower-income neighborhoods around the city’s periphery, making it easier and more affordable for those who don’t live in affluent areas to get to work. Bike paths = jobs.
Questions [about quality of life] aren’t uncommon and spring from a sense that one’s life might be rewarding in ways that don’t have to do with material success, status or making money. . . . For me, and lots of other people, the answer to the question “What would improve the quality of our urban life?” involves simple things like . . . um . . . bicycles, which make getting around — and being in — the city easier, more pleasant and more affordable. New York is one of many cities that are creating all kinds of new green spaces, riverside parks and bike programs, all of which are symptomatic of our desire to make our cities into our homes.
Read the rest of this column by artist and musician David Byrne in The New York Times . . .
Click here for related work on biking the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway — and Hope for L.A.?