Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cities for Cycling Embrace European Street Designs

Here in Fort Wayne I have found that attitudes change very slowly if at all with regard to things that are different from what is viewed as normal for Fort Wayne. I am not judging, it is just an observation. I am really anxious to see what the next few years brings with regard to the bike planning efforts that have been undertaken and supported by Mayor Henry. Will it work? Will it be embraced by the practitioners? Can the viewpoint that, in order to be a desirable place to live in this century that we, as citizens of Fort Wayne, have to embrace alternative forms of transportation? Can we grow as a community and therefore help to attract the jobs of the future by doing things, like embracing the bicycle as a viable transportation mode, that will attract companies that are looking to relocate? I know that I am not the only one that thinks like this am I? Hello....anyone....

Cities want more freedom to design bike-friendly streets.
By Linda Baker | January 2010

The past decade has been productive when it comes to making American cities bicycle-friendly. Dozens of cities hired staff designated as "bicycle coordinators." New York and Seattle painted huge networks of bike lanes onto their streets. Washington, D.C., launched a bike-sharing program that more than a dozen cities looked at emulating in one way or another. And, in general, sensitivity to the issue of climate change put pedal-powered transportation in the good graces of many an American mayor.

Despite all this, the U.S. Census Bureau's latest American Community Survey had some sobering news about bicycling: Only about half of 1 percent of Americans bike to work. A number of city planners are seeing that statistic as evidence that some more radical bicycling strategies are in order. It's time to think beyond bike lanes, they say, and start using bike-only traffic signals, traffic-protected "cycle-tracks," and other street designs that are common in European cities such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen, where up to 40 percent of all trips are made on two wheels.

Doing that is harder than it sounds. American street-design manuals and regulatory mechanisms revolve around cars, not cyclists. As a result, few traffic engineers possess the technical knowledge — and bureaucratic savvy — necessary to implement novel bike treatments. That's why the National Association of City Transportation Officials last month launched an initiative called Cities for Cycling. The idea is to offer a clearinghouse of information for municipalities interested in bringing urban cycling's best practices to the United States.

The rest of the story is available Here

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