Recently there has been a large push for creating an accessible network for bicycles as a mode of transportation. Many new trails have been added and bike lanes have either been retrofitted to our streets or planned for future streets. Initiatives such as “safe routes to school” and local bicycle organizations have become a result of the efforts. I am a huge advocate for utilizing the bicycle as a mode of transportation, but the problem is we have not planned our infrastructure for a bicycle. We are a very auto-dependent society as a result of the planning efforts during and after the Eisenhower Presidency.
There are many innovative policies in effect across the country, from entire bicycle systems to bicycle sharing programs and in some cities, such as Washington D.C., they are taking away lanes of vehicular traffic for dedication to bicycle lanes. Gabe Klein is the Director of Transportation in Washington D.C. and during the interview on NPR on April 25, he stated “When you make it hassle free and inexpensive for people to use a certain mode (of transportation), they will use it.” The same can be said for bicycles, streetcars, light rail, commuter rail, etc. If it is not accessible or an option, it will not be used.
During the April 25 NPR edition of All Things Considered, Ray LaHood, the Secretary of Transportation in the U.S. was also interviewed: Secretary LaHood stated “We’ve put almost all of our resources into our roads… the reason that 90% of Americans ride to work or drive a car to work is because that is where all of our resources, we have a state-of-the-art interstate system in America that connects America. If the commitment when President Eisenhower signed the Interstate Bill had been to high-speed inner-city rail, we would be in the same position Europe and Asia are in today. Our committment has been to roads.”
The following is a link of the actual interview: All Things Considered
I am fearful of bike lanes added to every street. There are some streets where it is not appropriate, primarily the local streets of our neighborhoods. When we add bike lanes to local streets where speeds are to be 20 mph, we are really just adding unneccessary width. This additional width allows the vehicles to comfortably travel at even greater speeds. On local street where traffic counts are typically very low, cyclists can and should share the travel lanes with the vehicles. I feel that this country has great things in our future in regards to additional convenient modes of transportation and I would like to finalize this blog post with another quote from Secretary LaHood: “As a part our livable and sustainable community program… one of its components will be walking and biking paths and the resources to fund those kinds of opportunities in communities.”
In Colorado Springs, there will be a Bicycle Tour on sustainable places and neighborhoods on June 25. I hope that you can join us. Additional information about this event can be found at the following link: Sustainability Bike Tour