Well, this is something I never thought I'd see. One block from our apartment, the new bike share program has planted a forest of bike racks. Actually this is true both to the north and to the south. No bikes yet, but how cool is that? I haven't quite figured out the pricing yet, but apparently, I'm going to be able to walk out of the door, hop on a bike, ride for about 10 minutes to just about any place in brownstone Brooklyn or 15 minutes to lower Manhattan, and then drop the bike in a waiting rack. No muss, no fuss, no carbon emissions.
Could anything be bad about this? This is New York City, of course folks are up in arms. This will make parking tougher. The Citibank advertisements on the kiosks don't belong on landmarked blocks. It will block traffic. Restaurants won't have any place to put their trash. Our quiet neighborhood will be overrun by Dutch tourists smelling of beer and herring. . . Okay, I made up the last one, but give me a break.
I do think there are a few legitimate concerns. First, helmets are BYO and not required. Fair enough. Folks should wear helmets. But for those who would rather risk brain damage rather than experience hat head, I place my faith in Darwinian selection. Second, there are a few places where bike congestion may be a problem, such as the Brooklyn Bridge, which is already a pedestrian nightmare at peak hours. Third, a few of my treasured running routes may be overrun by the cyclists at certain times. Fourth, the current bike lanes are not sufficiently robust to accommodate the increased traffic.
These all seem acceptable to me. It might actually be a good thing for cyclists to reach critical mass as a transportation method. Can protected lanes be far behind??
UPDATE: With typical North Brooklyn irony, this post demonstrates that bike lanes might actually be safer if there were more bikes in them.