Bikeways: 335+ mile (539+ kilometer) network of painted bike lanes and paths, with a growing number being converted to separated bikeways (home of the world’s first bike path in 1894)
Transit Network: 22 lines of subway over 210 miles (337 kilometers) with surface buses and ferries
“No one drives in New York; there’s too much traffic.” Whether because of or in spite of that statement, collectively the Five Boroughs are often considered the most walkable city in America. There is a mode share of 21 percent walking and cycling, and transit is all but ubiquitous at 55 percent use. Although large and seemingly set in its ways, the city has undergone surprising changes recently. The new Department of Transportation commissioner has focused on pedestrian and cycling needs in places that have been long overlooked. Even Times Square and Prospect Park, among others, have been transformed, and streets have been given over to pedestrians and cyclist users. Under PlaNYC 2030, many of these initiatives will continue and be joined by a bike share system and more pedestrian-focused projects.
5. Vancouver, Canada
Population: 2.3 million
Bikeways: 174 mile (280 kilometer) network of bikeways and paths, and even more on-street routes throughout the region
Transit Network: Three lines of the SkyTrain light rail over 50 miles (64 kilometers), four rapid bus lines over 31 miles (50 kilometers) and a passenger ferry service, all fed by a regional bus and rail system
Vancouver is a city set in natural splendor. Cycling here has grown from a recreational activity to a transportation option. Even through the city is known for its livable density and downtown growth in jobs and population, there is still a long way to go to create an effective network of cycling infrastructure. TransLink, the regional transit authority, has installed infrastructure to allow bikes on the entire regional transit system. The mayor has challenged the city to become the greenest in North America and backed it up by creating major downtown bikeways and looking at expanding a system of shared access greenways. Just announced is a $6 million bike share program, but its success may depend on changes to the province’s helmet law.