Transportation Alternatives’ mission is to reclaim New York City's streets from the automobile and to promote bicycling, walking, public transit.

TIMELINE

1894

New York City installs the nation’s first bike path, along Brooklyn’s Ocean Parkway, eventually stretching from Prospect Park to the ocean. A bike path on Eastern Parkway follows soon after.

1972

Under the moniker “Action Against Automobiles,” activists who would soon become Transportation Alternatives’ founders host their first group ride, a “bike-in” from Central Park to Washington Square, with a detour protest at the New York Auto Show.

1993

TransAlt sparks a firestorm of city planning initiatives with the publication of The Bicycle Blueprint: A Plan to Bring Bicycling into the Mainstream in New York City. It is an encyclopedic guide to the step-by-step changes needed to bring on wholesale acceptance of bicycling in New York City, touching on everything from bridges to bike theft.

1991

The first “International Conference for AutoFree Cities” takes place at New York University.

1995

The City of New York is granted $23 million in federal funding for new bicycling and walking projects, providing money for miles of future bike lanes and public plazas.

2001

The Hudson River Greenway opens, and New Yorkers flock to the city’s longest uninterrupted off-street bicycle path. When bicycle and pedestrian paths on the Manhattan Bridge re-open, all East River bridges are open to 24-hour bike and pedestrian access for the first time since World War II.

2004

Mayor Michael Bloomberg appoints Janette Sadik-Khan to lead the Department of Transportation. Once in office, Commissioner Sadik-Khan oversees the construction of almost 400 miles of bike lanes and more than 60 pedestrian plazas, reclaiming over 180 acres of road space from the car.

2009

Times Square and Herald Square are closed to vehicular traffic and converted to pedestrian plazas. Visitor numbers and retail rents increase. Mayor Bloomberg makes these changes permanent the following year.

2011

A parking-protected bike lane on Brooklyn’s Prospect Park West becomes the subject of a lawsuit, prompting hundreds of Brooklynites to speak out in defense of the lane and attend a family bike parade that demonstrates it is safe. The lawsuit brought by opponents of the lane is eventually dismissed as frivolous.

2013

Citi Bike launches in Manhattan and Brooklyn with 332 stations and 6,000 bikes. It is immediately popular and becomes the largest bike share program in the United States, with multiple waves of expansion.

2014

Vision Zero becomes official policy in New York City. The citywide speed limit changes from 30 miles per hour to 25 following a dedicated grassroots campaign in Albany.

2015

Cars are banned from almost all of Central Park’s interior drives, and from the west side of Prospect Park – the culmination of decades of activism.

2019

As part of the continued recovery of Lower Manhattan and due to a record number of workers and tourists, the Financial District becomes the first New York City neighborhood to be closed to private motor vehicle traffic during daytime hours.

2020

New York City’s number of frequent cyclists doubles in a matter of just a few years, with over 1.5 million New Yorkers now reporting they ride. The first “Superblock” designs are trialled in neighborhoods across the five boroughs. Instantly, residents report a better quality of life.

2021

Broadway becomes car-free between Union Square and 96th Street, and after retail real estate vacancies plummet, the DOT plans to expand the project to the entire length.

2024

New York City becomes the first city to achieve Vision Zero, completing a landmark year in which no lives are lost in motor vehicle crashes.

2050

New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions are measured at a mere 20% of what they were in 2005, in part due to a drastic reduction in the number of people driving, and increases in biking and walking.