Imagine your city in crisis. For some of us, that might not be far removed from a recent painful natural or man made disaster. For others, like us here in Portland, it could be the near future when, not if, the overdue earthquake hits. In New York City, millions of people are still without power and in this very situation. If this were to happen to you tomorrow, how would you get to services and supplies? What if a friend or loved one across town needed your support? Without public transportation and accessible roads, immediate travel will likely not involve a personal automobile, but instead be on foot or by bike. Even after roads are cleared there may be shortages of gasoline leading to long lines, rationing, and even fights as people compete for filling their generators and status quo for getting to work.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy numerous reports have come out depicting a surge of people on bicycles and foot travelling in great waves across the city. While cars in certain areas are required to have three or more passengers to pass, even then the long lines of automobiles form an impractical way of getting around right now. In a way this is the ultimate test of recent active transportation progress in New York City headed by Mayor Bloomberg and Janette Sadik-Khan. It’s also a testimony to the community in New York City that neighbors can come together to help distribute supplies (again, often by bike). Even the Occupy Movement is coming up again utilizing their bike-powered generators from the original protest camps to recharge neighbors’ electronic devices, complete with a barbecue. We here at Think.urban are excited to see this sort of community action and hope that everyone is safe after this historical disaster. In the meantime, we’ll be using this as a reminder to prepare for whatever disaster might befall us in the near future. Is your bike ready?