BikeCommuters.com

Tag Archive: bike lanes

A handy guide to bicycle infrastructure

Do you sometimes get confused by all the lingo thrown around by bicycle advocates? Don’t know the difference between a “bicycle boulevard” and a “bike trail”? And what IS a sharrow, anyway? Leave it to the Community Education Manager at Bike Easy in New Orleans, Anneke Olsen, to spell it all out for you:

When many of us hear the word “bicyclist” or “cyclist,” we think of a spandex-clad racer on a road bike, or a diehard urban messenger weaving in and out of traffic on downtown streets.

But there is a much larger and more inclusive definition of “bicyclists” – anyone who rides a bike, whether it is a kid riding on a neighborhood street; a service industry worker biking home from the CBD after a long shift; grandparents and grandkids riding together at City Park; or someone hopping on a bike to get back in shape.

Similarly, there are several different types of bicycle infrastructure – sharrows, bike lanes, neighborhood greenways, shared use trails, etc. – and each serves a different purpose to the end of creating a connected network of streets that are safe and comfortable for bicyclists.

sharrow

Take a minute to swing on over and read the full article by visiting the NolaVie page. In no time, you’ll be an expert on bicycle infrastructure!

Bike lanes vs. street parking…a “bike war” in the making?

When cities choose to sacrifice on-street car parking in retail districts to install bike lanes, a common counter-argument is that removal of such parking spaces will impact businesses in a negative way. This argument has been proven again and again to be false (one such study here).

But what about replacing parking areas in a RESIDENTIAL neighborhood? How does this impact the neighborhood and the people living there? One such fight is brewing in Alexandria, Virginia, where resident F.H. Buckley recently wrote an op-ed piece (WSJ subscription required) for the Wall Street Journal on how such a move was tantamount to “war”. Here is a thoughtful and thorough response to Buckley’s piece in the Washington Times.

How to counter that argument? It’s easy to point naysayers and skeptics toward studies showing how bike lanes don’t impact businesses (and, in fact, may IMPROVE business, as we’ve written about here). But in a residential neighborhood? That’s a good bit more difficult. People tend to be protective of where they live (sometimes irrationally; see the NIMBY phenomenon for examples).

So how do bike advocates counter this skepticism? Do bike lanes represent a “greater good” that trump personal parking concerns? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below.

Bike lanes bring business…

It seems that often, when a city decides to add bike lanes to urban-corridor streets, people complain that the loss of onstreet parking will have a detrimental effect to businesses in the area.

Recently, though, New York City released a report that showed some areas with a whopping 49% INCREASE in retail sales adjoining the bike lane. From the America Bikes blog:

A new study from the New York Department of Transportation shows that streets that safely accommodate bicycle and pedestrian travel are especially good at boosting small businesses, even in a recession.

NYC DOT found that protected bikeways had a significant positive impact on local business strength. After the construction of a protected bicycle lane on 9th Avenue, local businesses saw a 49% increase in retail sales. In comparison, local businesses throughout Manhattan only saw a 3% increase in retail sales.

Read the rest of the article and analysis by visiting America Bikes. If you would like to read the report (in PDF format) directly, please click here.

We’ve talked about bike/ped infrastructure and its ability to rejuvenate businesses before (particularly in our Long Beach coverage) — I’d like to see more studies like this to see if it is a regional trend or a phenomenon that occurs nationwide. Anyone seen a national-level study of this nature? If so, let us know in the comments below.

D.C. Area Bicyclists: Now’s the Time to Join WABA!

WABA – the Washington Area Bicyclist Association – is the foremost bicycling-related organization in the Washington D.C. area – and as such, has a reach beyond just the D.C. area as well. Though they technically represent D.C. proper as well as Arlington and Fairfax counties in Virginia, and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, they have a reach well beyond that thanks to the presence of a few congresspeople who spend a bunch of time in the area. What members of Congress see in DC leaves an impression – good or bad – that they take back to their own districts or states. Lately it’s been a lot of good, thanks to things like new bike lanes filled with bicyclists, a really robust Bike to Work Day every year, and the nation’s biggest bikeshare program, CaBi (short for Capitol Bikeshare). While WABA doesn’t get all the credit for these, they have been tireless in advocating for them, and without them it’s doubtful we’d have anywhere near as much good news about biking in DC.

WABA’s mission is: creating a healthy, more livable region by promoting bicycling for fun, fitness, and affordable transportation; advocating for better bicycling conditions and transportation choices for a healthier environment; and educating children and adults about safe bicycling.

Not much to argue with there!

THIS WEEK ONLY, WABA is offering discounted membership – both individual and family rates are $10 less than usual! If you live in the area (or heck, even if you don’t) I HIGHLY encourage becoming a member of WABA. Not only will you be supporting an organization that’s been doing great things for bicyclists, you’ll also (if you live in the area) get nice stuff like shop discounts. My local shop offers me a 10% discount on parts – and I think that’s almost paid for my membership in the last year!

So what are you waiting for? Go get (or renew) a membership already!