Most of the time we think of NYC innovating policy and then sharing it with the local suburbs and beyond. But this summer, New York City’s suburb of New Rochelle has passed a groundbreaking policy for the region that will hopefully make its way to NYC. The policy helps New Rochelle and Westchester County take the lead toward becoming a bike friendly community.
As Michael Oliva of the East Coast Greenway Alliance (ECGA) staff recalled, the ECGA got involved in local bike-ped advocacy efforts years ago to complete the region’s section of a 3,000 mile long greenway route from Key West to Canada. The ECG brought attention and awareness to making all areas surrounding the ECG a safer place to bike and walk. From their work sprang the Westchester-Putnam Biking and Walking Alliance — a group dedicated to making cycling and walking safer in the County.
Their recent accomplishment was the passage of a law that requires all new developments to provide bicycle racks. For every 10 car parking spaces, one bicycle parking space must be provided. Mayor Noam Bramson celebrated the measure as one of many to help lower greenhouse gas emissions and promote public health in his New Rochelle community. Other initiatives include bike parking in public spaces and a growing bike lane infrastructure to increase the safety of riders.
It will take much more work to help a majority of New Rochelle’s ~70,000 residents embrace bicycling and walking as a legitimate means of transportation. But the effort of local citizens (the Biking and Walking Alliance) in collaboration with regional organizations (such as the East Coast Greenway Alliance) is already making great progress and is a model for bike-ped advocacy in other communities.
Here’s to much more progress in New Rochelle that breeds progress here in NYC during the months and years ahead!