By Murray Lantner
Most mornings (when not working at home) I begin my day by bicycling from my apartment in Midwood, Brooklyn to the office in lower Manhattan. Now with the wonderful abundance of bike lanes, my eight mile ride to work is really quite pleasant, mainly up side streets, through Prospect Park and then on to bike lanes around Grand Army Plaza, Bergen Street, Adams Street and then over the Brooklyn Bridge and into our parking garage.
I started bike commuting in high school. It was a five mile ride to John Dewey High School in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, a “no brainer” – spend 30 minutes on a bike or an hour on the bus. I’ve been bike commuting ever since. I am truly amazed how over these decades, that NYC has been transformed into a terrific biking city. I remember, in the past, being one of the few cyclists on the street, and now on Bergen Street, I’ve counted up to 10 cyclists waiting for a single light to change.
At our EPA offices we have great indoor biking facilities, very safe bike racks, showers, places to change, etc. We have a bunch of regular cyclists some that ride to and from Metro North or the LIRR with folding bikes as well as people that cycle in from Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. I have to say, albeit grudgingly, that the most hardcore cyclist that I’m aware of is my branch-mate, Larry Gaugler who will almost always bike to work even in rainy or snowy conditions.
Cycling is generally pretty safe, but, I’ve had a few accidents, like getting “doored,” or rolling the bike in an unexpected and large pothole, and have had some other near misses with car doors and vehicles turning right. But all in all I enjoy getting exercise and spending some time outside on my way to and from work, especially when I get to see the sunset from the Brooklyn Bridge or hear the birds singing in Prospect Park.
I am looking forward to the NYC bike share program (Citi Bike) that will ultimately put 10,000 more bicycles on the road starting this spring. Studies have shown that as the number of bike riders increases, it become safer to ride because motorists become more accustomed to sharing the road with cyclists.
About the Author: Murray Lantner is an Environmental Engineer in EPA’s Water Compliance Branch who conducts enforcement of wastewater and stormwater permits under the Clean Water Act at EPA’s Manhattan office. Murray has worked for EPA for 20 years, and started in EPA’s Chicago Office. Murray enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and paddling. Murray holds a B.S in Civil Engineering and a Masters in Environmental Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University and a Masters in Conservation Biology from Columbia University.