New York hits 200-mile cycle lane target

New routes encourage more Big Apple cyclists

New York City officials are celebrating the completion of 200 miles of new bike lanes in three years. The 200th mile was laid down on the Grand Concourse in The Bronx.

The Department Of Transport has also installed 20 sheltered bike parking units and 6,100 bike racks. As a result of these initiatives, there has been a 45 percent rise in people riding bikes in the city.

This isn't without its problems – riders say cars often block the lanes and there are now so many cyclists that they can get congested. "Sometimes it's so crowded on the lanes that it's hard to get around people," says Masa Omichi, a Park Slope resident.

There have also been complaints from residents. The Department painted 1.75 miles of bike lanes in Williamsburg last autumn, the first step of an ambitious plan to create a 14-mile bicycle and pedestrian path stretching from Greenpoint to SunsetPark and separated from vehicles by grass or shrubs.

While the plan, called the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, has been praised by civic groups and transportation advocates, house owners have complained about the loss of parking spaces.

The outcome of this battle will prove a vital test of whether more schemes can be pushed through in the face of local opposition to achieve the authorities' stated aim of 350 miles of cycle lanes.

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