Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on October 31st, 2012 at 12:33 pm
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)
Mass transit is a way of life here in New York City. The subway is the artery that allows the city to survive at its famous pace. But with significant water damage from Superstorm Sandy, the New York City subway is still not running. Buses are back, but with limited routes.
With people getting back to normal following the one-day hurricane holiday on Tuesday, that meant today was a work day. And without the subway; that meant many New Yorkers used their feet to get there. While streets were jam packed with cars, taxis and buses — most of them going nowhere fast — the bike paths and sidewalks were inundated with flowing human traffic.
I rolled over to the Queensboro Bridge to see how it played out. It was fascinating to see so much human powered commuting in action. It was so jaw-dropping, it became an event in and of itself. Even locals stopped to take photos of the scene.
The protected bike lanes are the new subway…
On the Manhattan side of the bridge, I met an Italian couple. I noticed them with their bikes parked, looking at maps, so I struck up a conversation. Graziano di Paola and Valentina Manacorda are from Rome and they’re celebrating their honeymoon. They got here last week before the storm hit. They didn’t let Sandy crimp their sightseeing plans. “We didn’t plan to bike; but without the subway, we rented them from a bike shop in Brooklyn. There’s no other way to get around!” said Valentina. They were in great spirits and even asked me to take their photo in front of the chaos.
Ciao from New York City. At this point, my flight is scheduled for Saturday afternoon (I hope third time is a charm).
— This post is part of my ongoing New York City coverage. I’m here for a week to cover the NACTO Designing Cities conference and the city’s bike culture in general. This special reporting trip was made possible by Planet Bike, Lancaster Engineering, and by readers like you. Thank you! You can find all my New York City coverage here.