||Across the U.S., better bike lanes are hitting the ground. The new designs create dedicated, protected space on streets for people on bikes. The lanes use posts, parked cars, planters or curbs to make bicycling more comfortable for more people.
Momentum for these lanes has been growing: New York City started building them in 2008, Chicago has built 17 miles of protected lanes in the last two years, Atlanta installed its first this year, Memphis has pledged to build 15 miles in the next two years, and Omaha and Lincoln are in a race to be the first city in Nebraska to get one.
Early in 2012, PeopleForBikes launched the Green Lane Project to champion these innovative facilities. Why? Because they turn a busy street into a place where more people are comfortable riding. Protected bike lanes help remove barriers that dissuade people from hopping on a bike to visit friends, get to school or work, or cruise to the neighborhood frozen yogurt place. That’s good news for everyone—whether you are seasoned rider or new to bicycling.
Our strategy to promote protected bike lanes has two main components: Raising awareness about them and getting them on the ground. In early 2012, we selected six cities that were poised to make a lot of progress: Austin, Chicago, Memphis, Portland OR, San Francisco and Washington DC. We provided them with grants, technical and strategic support, and a good dose of inspiration. And they’ve made huge progress. About half of the new lanes built in the last two years are in these six cities. The effort worked so well, we’re doing it again. We just opened the application process for Green Lane Project 2. We’ll select six new cities in early 2014, and help them make progress.
Are you hearing about protected bike lanes in your community? Join the conversation on our website or Facebook page.
-The PeopleForBikes team