With subways down, a call to clear the way for bikes, buses and walkers

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Downed trees in Astoria. (Giant Ginkgo via Flickr)
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Now that Hurricane Sandy has wiped out New York City's transportation system, government officials should allow for easier bicycle and pedestrian travel, says a bike transit advocacy group.

Today, government officials said that the subway system, which experienced severe flooding, will be out of service for at least the next several days.

With downed trees blocking street access, and the city asking drivers to stay off the roads so that emergency vehicles can get through, all New Yorkers can really do is bicycle or walk, or, once some bus service is restored, take the bus.

Transportation Alternatives, a mainstream group that enjoys good relations with the administration, today called on the city to "ensure adequate walking capacity on bridges and major streets," and to create "emergency bus lanes to allow swift transit throughout the City until subway service is restored" and "emergency biking lanes on well-used routes."

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Transportation Alternatives also suggested the city expand its bike parking facilities, particularly in Lower Manhattan, and create carpool staging areas and high-occupancy vehicle requirements "on crossings into the most congested areas of the city.

The Department of Transportation had no immediate comment.