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Struggling Cities Can Become Bike Meccas

I'm still amazed by the fact that New York City installed 200 miles of bike lanes in the past 2 years. It's an incredible accomplishment, especially in light of the fact that New York City is so heavily congested that making space for bikes essentially means taking space away from cars, an issue that is usually highly contentious.

(from flickr user Jaszek PL)

One of the best things about biking in a city like Cleveland, on the other hand, is that (for better or worse) there really isn't a lot of traffic or congestion because the city's population has taken such a beating. This may actually be hugely beneficial to cities that want to become more bike friendly. Streets with light traffic are theoretically easier and cheaper to convert into streets with bike facilities and with less of a tradeoff than you might experience in a city like New York.

Assuming that struggling cities don't want to struggle forever, building these facilities before the tides turn would seem to be a pretty good idea about now.


HHF3 said…
Like this?
John said…
I can see how many young people have flocked to Portland, in part because of the alternative transportation options. I'm wondering if this is really replicable though. Or if it is, how many times can it be duplicated? Essentially, I would be interested to know how many people care enough about being able to bike comfortably and safely that they are willing to move to do it. How big is the market for bike cities? How many "bike meccas" will the population support? If all cities become bike meccas, does that give a competitive advantage to a city that remains a car mecca? No strong opinions here, just thinking out loud.
just a friend said…
Actually quite easy to put some paint down and call it a bike lane.. But still very dangerous. We need dedicated lanes to encourage safe..beautiful bicycle traffic
Step-Through said…
That's pretty much how I feel about Atlanta! Tons of pavement and most of the car traffic is concentrated on the expressways. But honestly, many of our streets would need to be redesigned (from multi-lane one-way pairs with excessive turn lanes and highway style exit ramps) before it would do any good to put bicycle lanes on them.
Anonymous said…
You might enjoy this video of people re-painting bike lanes in Brooklyn, New York, after the city removed them in response to complaints from the local Jewish community.

if you poke around the web, you'll certainly find news coverage.

Michael Gill

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