How to Create a Network of Green Bikeways in Your City
With a little green paint, streets can be redesigned for the growing number of people choosing two wheels over four.
It’s a movement that’s taking off across the country, and around the globe. Think Copenhagen was always a bicycling mecca? Nope, it’s because the city invested in separated bikeways back in the 1970s, after a staggering number of Danish children were hit and killed by cars. Now 35 percent of trips in Copenhagen are done by bike.
London designers have gone so far as to propose a futuristic elevated bike tunnel where bike riders pedal through glass tunnels high above the city. But until this Jetsons-like dream is a reality, a bit of gritty paint and some physical separation from cars makes for a much safer and more civil bike commute.
If you’re not lucky enough to live in a city that’s connected by hundreds of miles of separated bikeways—few of us are—there are some key actions you can take to help catapult your town or city into this new pedal-powered, green lane movement.
1. Join your local or state bicycle advocacy group.
Bike advocates are on the frontlines every day, working to get safe, separated bikeways on the ground. Join them, and let them know which streets you’d like to see green bikeways on. As the people who bike on the streets every day, you know them best. A list of city and state bicycle advocacy can be found at peoplepoweredmovement.org.
2. Urge your Mayor to apply to be a Green Lane Project City.
The Green Lane Project helps cities and towns usher in the next generation of bikeways. It’s no surprise that the cities that were chosen for the first round (Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Portland, Chicago, Austin, and Memphis) now have miles of green lanes in place. With the aid of the Green Lane Project, the number of protected bikeways in the U.S. grew from 62 in 2011 to 102 in 2012, with another 100 planned this year. Urge your Mayor to enter your city or town into the Green Lane Project 2.0; applications due in January.
3. Sign the People for Bikes Petition.
Peopleforbikes is a movement to improve bicycling in America and unite one million people for biking. So far, more than 750,000 riders have joined. Peopleforbikes will use this massive movement to leverage for more federal and state funding for bike projects and help show decision-makers that bike riders are no longer a fringe group, but instead a united and diverse group of constituents who want safer bikeways. Sign the pledge at peopleforbikes.org.
4. Redesign the street yourself.
Fancy yourself a liveable streets pro, or just want to try and cut your teeth on redesigning a street? Streetmix, a new site that launched out of a hackathon, lets you virtually reconfigure the street yourself. Add green bikeways, wider sidewalks, and more greenery and transform the busy boulevard near your house into a biking paradise. Once you have a design, send it to your bike advocacy group or city planners and help make that vision a reality.
Image courtesy of San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
The Landscape Artist An interview with Daan Roosegaarde Daan Roosegaarde’s interactive designs push human beings beyond the topography of the self.
What if Simply Playing Soccer Could Power a Whole Village? Uncharted Play's Soccket balls ingeniously turn kinetic energy into electric current.
Next Time You're at a Pretentious Exhibition, Just Change It Güvenç Özel shows how a digital solution can augment a physical problem.
A Mosaic Shines in Philly A intimate conversation with a fixture of the Philadelphia art world.
Zaha Hadid Had a Busier Week Than You Did A posh homeware line, a math-inspired museum wing, and a blossom-shaped apartment building
London Skaters Fought Gentrification, and Won A coalition of skateboard enthusiasts just saved the birthplace of British skate culture from a future as a shopping center.
“What I Would Like to See is More Bystanders Stepping in to Take Action” The Everyday Sexism Project chronicles more than 80,000 instances of sexism around the world, and it’s making a big policy impact.
It's Not Where You're Going, It's How you Get There The future of transportation is now A look at futuristic forms of transportation that have become reality.
Inside the Minds of 11-Year Olds From Around the World A new documentary probes the special moral clarity of 11-year old children.
This Underwater Museum is Bringing a Coral Reef to Life A collaborative effort spurs a marine project off the coast of Egypt.
“French Navy” and Other Suggestions for Scotland’s New National Anthem EDM, art rock, indie ballads … let’s pretend it’s all on the table if Scotland votes for independence.
How a 17th Century Bible is Helping to Revive a Native-American Language One human language may die every 14 days, but the ancenstral tongue of M.I.T.-trained linguist Jessie Little Doe Baird won't be one of them.