City’s pedestrian focus is growing - Metro US

City’s pedestrian focus is growing

Through 2009 New York City picked up the pace of its changes to how people get around. In 2010, transportation experts hope the Department of Transportation moves even faster.

The city agency once focused on getting cars from A to B, but it has changed its goals to work on improving mobility for pedestrians and bicyclists. Experts credit Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, appointed in April 2007, with creating miles of bike lanes and experimenting with turning swaths of Broadway into pedestrian zones.

“What she’s done is nothing short of a revolution,” said Jeff Zupan, a senior fellow at the Regional Plan Association.

The DOT plans to expand its Summer Streets program in 2010 and double bike commuting — just 1 percent of the total — by 2012. “New Yorkers … are voting with their feet, pedals and transit passes,” Sadik-Khan said last year.

There are critics. One state official called her “an anti-car extremist.”

Wiley Norvell, a spokes-man for Transportation Alternatives, said “the next wave of innovation is all about buses.” Subways are overcrowded, and bikes and underused buses are cheap ways to reduce congestion. The DOT’s challenge will be to expand and enforce bus-only lanes.

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