Austin, Texas: Central Core
Inspired by Dutch intersection design, protected intersections use corner safety islands, forward stop bars for bikes, set-back crosswalks and multimodal traffic signal phasing to dramatically improve safety and visibility, ensuring that people in cars and people on bikes don’t have to constantly look over their shoulders for one another.
“Even globally, no city has solved their transportation challenges by the car alone, and Austin is no different,” Laura Dierenfield, the city’s active transportation manager, said in an interview last week.
In the tech boomtown of Austin, data is king — and city staffers are making some of the country’s strongest data-driven arguments for better bike infrastructure.
Baltimore, Maryland: Remington / Old Goucher / Reservoir Hill / North Maryland
Partway between two of the country’s bike-friendliest big cities, Washington DC and Philadelphia, is the only major Northeast city that has never gotten much into bicycles.
n the eyes of state law, the centerpiece of the network — a 2.6-mile bidirectional parking-protected bike lane on Maryland Avenue and Cathedral Street that’ll form the network spine — isn’t technically a protected bike lane. It’s a bike path.
Fort Collins, Colorado: District 6 (northwest FC)
One way that any community can improve biking is to encourage more people to ride. Slow-roll events and demos allow people to try something they’ve never done before — and that they might be intimidated about — in a safe environment.
Fort Collins, Colorado, is working full speed ahead toward a more complete network, with even more people on bikes. In addition to new infrastructure on the ground, they’ve also focused on outreach and programming. Tessa Greegor, manager of FC Bikes, says that the outreach is really the activation piece — promoting the use of what’s in place is as important as getting the physical projects completed. Recently, that’s come in the form of a variety of events that encourage people of all ages and abilities to get on bikes.
One of the country’s bike-friendliest mid-size cities has an audacious goal: to triple biking citywide in three years, to 20 percent of trips.
Los Angeles, California: Downtown and University Park
The newly opened Spring Street two-way protected bike lane is the first half of a project that will provide a major north-south connector for downtown Los Angeles this year. Collectively called the Main & Spring Forward Project, both streets will connect to 11th, which has a new green bike lane going east-west. According to LA Department of Transportation Planning Associate Lameese Chang, the Main & Spring Forward project is critical to the downtown network.
After a century of showing what a city looks like when the car is king, Los Angeles may be on its way to becoming a model for regime change.
Memphis, Tennessee: South Memphis
An advisory bike lane allows bicyclists and motorists to operate on narrow streets that would otherwise be a shared roadway environment. There are several versions of the advisory lane, but the idea is that an existing two-way road can be converted to shared space — even when there is little to no room for bike lanes to be added. Creating an advisory bike lane forces car traffic to move more slowly and be more cautious of bike traffic. After first-hand observation of such infrastructure in the Netherlands, and time studying the U.S. examples, Nick Oyler, Bikeway and Pedestrian Manager for Memphis, felt certain advisory lanes could be implemented in his Big Jump.
Around the start of this decade, Memphis’s public experiments were making its streets maybe the most interesting in the United States.
Built as “streetcar suburbs” of downtown Memphis in the early 20th century, South Memphis “was still a fairly prosperous, mixed-income neighborhood” until the 1970s, said Memphis Bikeway and Pedestrian Program Manager Nicholas Oyler.
Memphians haven’t come around to bicycle projects because they love bicycles more than anybody else. Memphians have come around to bicycle projects because they love Memphis.
New Orleans, Louisiana: New Orleans Crosstown Gateways
New Orleans’ Connect the Crescent: Final Report
Connect the Crescent was designed as a temporary pop-up installation to give residents a real opportunity to experience changes on the street and provide feedback before any street alterations were made permanent. They found that:
- 85% of bicyclists rated their experience as improved
- 87% (719 of 826 respondents) were supportive of the project overall.
- A majority said they would like to see changes made permanent or slightly tweaked in order to make them even better.
Almost without the rest of the country noticing, the Big Easy has rapidly become one of the nation’s leading cities for bike transportation. About one in 30 local residents now gets to work by bike, double the rate from 2007 and sixth highest rate among large U.S. cities, right between Seattle and Oakland.
New York City, New York: East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Corona (Queens Community Boards 3 & 4)
In February, 320 young people from around the U.S. (and Canada and Denmark) gathered in Queens, New York to talk about all things bike related. They weren’t there to sit and listen though: they were there to teach.
The simple concept: put a physical barrier between cars and other users, returning a comfortable biking and walking route to a waterfront community hit hard by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Portland, Oregon: Gateway
How can a city stimulate the local economy and create a safer neighborhood? Northeast Portland is proving that protected bike lanes do both.
Portland built its fame as a U.S. bike capital on one crucial discovery: It is fairly cheap and easy to make biking desirable in neighborhoods that were originally built for horses and streetcars.
The city’s long-range plan calls for skyscrapers to spring from Gateway’s pavement. It’s zoned to become the closest thing Portland would have to a second downtown.
Providence, Rhode Island: City Walk Corridor
The people of Providence are on the move, and they’re reinventing themselves as a city that values the benefits of being multi-modal. Perhaps most importantly, they’re not limiting who gets to reap the benefits of being outdoors, on bikes, and connected by infrastructure that allows for a dynamic new definition of place.
Broad Street, one of two thoroughfares between downtown and Roger Williams Park, has boasted “Latin American restaurants, bakeries, bodegas and Chimi Trucks galore” for years, thanks in part to immigrants from the Dominican Republic and elsewhere who began settling in the mid 20th century among earlier waves of Irish and Jewish immigrants there, Marta Martinez of the locally based Rhode Island Latino Arts said Thursday.
The 2013 relocation of Interstate 195 near downtown Providence, Rhode Island, is just starting to pay off. The move reclaimed 16 city blocks for homes, parks and businesses just outside downtown and rejoined the downtown with the city’s historic jewelry district.
Tucson, Arizona: City of South Tucson and Surrounding Neighborhoods
Tucson is working to make up for lost time by joining off-street paths, protected bike lanes and bike boulevards into a network of truly comfortable bike routes: ones that feel good on the street rather than just looking good on a map.