“Deep down inside, most folks just want the freedom of choice,” says Mayor A. C. Wharton, Jr., of Memphis, one of the most pro-bike mayors in the country. Adding to the choices is the rise of protected bike lanes in Memphis and beyond, which make riding in the city safer and more comfortable.
Promoting that choice is the Green Lane Project, created to help cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets. It focuses on on protected bike lanes, which are on-street lanes separated from traffic by curbs, planters, parked cars, or posts. Protected bike lanes are part of a connected system for biking around town, which is an essential ingredient of a great place to live and work. They are a simple tool to transform city streets into places where more people feel comfortable riding a bike, making it easier to get around, save money, and live an active life.
In the first two years of the project (2012 and 2013), partnerships were created with Austin, Chicago, Memphis, Portland, San Francisco and Washington, DC. In March of 2014, Green Lane Project selected six new cities: Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Seattle.
While protected bike lanes have worked well in places like Denmark and the Netherlands for many decades, they have only recently arrived on U.S. shores. Between 1874 and 2011, only 80 of these facilities were built nationwide. This number nearly doubled to 142 protected bike lanes within the first two years of the Green Lane Project, and it is expected to continue to grow dramatically.
Protected bike lanes bring predictability and order to busy streets: drivers like knowing where to expect riders, and pedestrians report fewer bikes on the sidewalk. Protected lanes also add vitality and energy to the street, attracting new businesses and helping create a community people want to be in, not just move through. In New York City, local businesses saw a 49 percent increase in retail sales after the construction of protected bike lanes, compared to only a 3 percent increase city-wide.
The Green Lane Project hosts hands-on workshops and study tours for city leaders, provides technical and strategic assistance, and delivers targeted grants designed to get protected bike lanes on the ground.Tweet Print