Project Statement: Streets for Living reorganizes the streets of Midtown Manhattan to create a city that is exceptional for cycling and living. A toolkit of biking incentives and flexible responsive street planning work simultaneously to bring more people to bike as a viable form of transportation. This results in decreased pollution, noise, and traffic congestion and an increase in quality of life and overall health for residents and the city as a whole. Project Narrative: Streets for Living is a proposal to create a new connection to New York City by using the bicycle as a vehicle for both riding and reimagining how the streets are used. Biking is fun. The commuter who bikes exercises daily, saves money on gas and transportation fares, zooms past traffic jams and avoids being face to face with a sick subway rider during rush hour. The common problems that the biking commuter experiences are not enough biking lanes, dangerous biking lanes, not enough bike parking and bike theft. Phase one of Streets for Living uses New Yorkers and their bikes to aleviate the challenges and promote the benefits of biking to work. Biking is a viable form of transportation in the urban context when streets are designed appropriately. New York City has undergone a recent bicycle upsurge and new separated lanes have been installed in areas throughout the city. This proposal commends those efforts with an eye to the future for the continued expansion and, most importantly, use of bicycle facilities. To encourage more bicycle riding, an incentive program tracks how much people ride and provides rewards- like free bike tune ups- for biking to work. The route tracking system works by collecting data through the use of the QR (expanded barcode) sticker. A QR code sticker linked to street intersection coordinates is attached to bike racks. Cyclists in the incentive program scan the codes at the beginning and end of a journey. Data from the trip (the start, end, path taken and time) is recorded and saved to their profile on the Streets for Living website. The voluntary program keeps track of statistics to generate an online social network for cyclists who share biking tips, commuting routes and friendly competition. Experience points are generated with mileage and can be used at commuter stations for tune ups and safe overnight parking.
Step two of this data collection is to populate data for distribution of city funds for new biking lanes, maintenance, bike parking and development of The Living Bike Map. The Living Map is the ever-changing map of the populated data, where patterns emerge to guide bicycle planning. Its result is The Responsive Bike lane that uses a flexible curb system to expand and contract space for biking based on usage patterns. The built in flexibility of the Living Map and Responsive Bike lane allows bicycle use in New York to be a method of self generating street hierarchal typologies. Streets heavily used by bikers will have room for multiple biking lanes and operate at a much slower pace than those with more vehicle lanes. The increased safety and availability of proper biking lanes makes biking a practical solution to commuters troubled by traffic congestion and crowded subway trains. The sustained increase in biking commuters lowers the number of cars in traffic and people in rush hour subway trains. A positive feedback loop is created that leads to a higher quality life for New Yorkers by lowering the amount of emissions from vehicles, commuting times and transportation stress, and replacing it it with exercise, safer biking, saved money and streets made for living.