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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The art of riding in New York City [Bike Portland]


Flushing St protected bike lane-1

Art infuses the bicycling experience
in New York City.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)
As you might have noticed, there were many things I liked about riding through the streets of New York.
While envious of their bike-specific infrastructure, one aspect of the New York City bicycling experience that might get easily overlooked by engineers and planners is its interestingness. Maybe it was just because I love public art. Or perhaps it was simply because I was a tourist with fresh eyes. Either way, I couldn't help but notice all the paintings, murals and other interesting art as I rode around.
While some of what makes New York City street art so abundant is graffiti, the NYC DOT appreciates it enough that they actually have an official urban art program. The benefits of urban art — especially for bicycling — are obvious. For relatively little money, painted walls and infrastructure can create a more vibrant and welcoming space. When you're trying to encourage people to use that space, it makes sense to make it as inviting as possible.
And it seems to me that public art has even more impact for people transporting themselves with human power. From the seat of a bicycle or from the vantage point of a sidewalk people who are biking or walking are going slower and they have much better vision of their surroundings — both of which make it easier to appreciate public art.

[Keep reading at Bike Portland]

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