Sunday, October 7, 2012

When the car became the transportation alternative

Ocean Parkway bike path, 1896. The city widened the path after 10,000 cyclists jammed the opening celebration in 1895. (NY Public Library
On June 15, 1894, thanks to the efforts of Albert H. Angel, of the Good Roads Association, and other sports enthusiasts, Ocean Parkway became the home of the country’s first bike path. More than 60 “wheelman clubs” from the New York and New Jersey area, as well as bicycle police, were on hand for the opening ceremony. Since racing was still a concern, cyclists were limited to speeds of 12 miles per hour on the bike path and 10 miles per hour on the parkway. Until 1908, there were several tracks for horse racing along the parkway, but these disappeared once open betting was banned. Equestrian culture on Ocean Parkway came to an end when the bridle path on the eastern roadway was removed during restoration in the 1970s.