Take a Ride on New York City’s Bike Lanes — in 2002

New York still has a lot of work to do to create an all-ages, low-stress citywide bike network, but let’s pause for a moment to appreciate how far the city has come.

Before he made Streetfilms, Clarence Eckerson Jr. made BikeTV, a cable access show. In this BikeTV clip that Clarence recently unearthed, you’ll get a tour of the bike network in northwest Brooklyn and downtown Manhattan in the winter of 2002:

Contrary to popular belief, New York did have bike lanes 15 years ago, but the network was sparse and the city clearly didn’t place a high priority on maintaining it. Five more years would pass before Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan arrived on the scene and put in the city’s first protected bike lane.

Here are some before-and-after comparisons of the streets shown in the video.


Broadway. Image: Google Maps
Broadway at 19th Street today. Image: Google Maps
Broadway in 2002
Broadway in 2002.

Sixth Avenue:

Sixth Avenue. Photo: David Meyer
Sixth Avenue today. Photo: David Meyer
Sixth Avenue in 2002
Sixth Avenue in 2002


Lafayette Street. Image: Google Maps
Lafayette Street today. Image: Google Maps
Lafayette in 2002
Lafayette in 2002.

Of course, some problems haven’t gone away:

Adams Street — better, but still work to do. Image: Google Maps