It has been about ten months since the Telegraph Bikeway first opened and data is just being released on how it’s introduction is affecting the surrounding community. We thought that this was a great time to revisit this project, and look at how other cities are changing the shape of bicycle transportation through the implementation of innovative approaches to bike infrastructure.
We originally wrote about exploring the Telegraph Bikeway on e-bikes in August, and now less than a year later, it’s already proving to be an excellent investment. One of the most measurable benefits of the Telegraph Bikeway is for the first time in five years, there have been no pedestrian crosswalk accidents. This number represents a 40% decrease in collisions in 2016 compared to the average number of collisions occurring between 2012 and 2015. Thanks to the Bikeway, there has also been a positive change in the way motorists drive along this stretch of Telegraph Avenue. Reducing the number of lanes in each direction has resulted in decrease in the number of cars traveling over the speed limit. These positive trends will continue to grow as the City of Oakland embarks on the second phase of this project. We can expect to see “vertical separators” and more defined bike lanes to increase visibility to motorists and pedestrians.
Ranked a platinum bike friendly city, Portland has the highest number of bike and e-bike commuters in the entire United States. With 238% more people biking to work in 2010 than in 2000, it is no surprise that the city is leading the way in innovating safer ways for people to travel on two wheels. Portland currently boasts 350 miles of bike lanes stretching across the city, with plans of 50 more miles to be installed within the next few years. These lanes take the shape of bikeways, bike paths, and the Tilikum Bridge, which is reserved strictly for public transit, pedestrians, and bikes. Besides providing lanes exclusively for bikes, Portland has taken the concept of safe biking a step further by creating “protected intersections.” These intersections use “bike boxes” which give bikes an advance start to cross the intersection ahead of cars. This allows cyclists valuable time in the event a car blindly turns right, into the bike lane.
The City of Chicago is also quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in the realm of bike safe cities. Having already met their goal of building 100 miles of buffered bike since 2011, the mayor has committed to building another 50 miles of bike lanes within the next three years. Their approach? Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld stated that these new lanes “will include new off-street connections, upgrading existing protected bike lanes, building new neighborhood greenways and protected bike lanes, and making safety improvements at key intersections.”
New York, New York
New York City is also taking great strides to becoming a more bike-friendly city. It recently announced plans to create bike lanes in all five boroughs, with 15 miles of buffered lanes. This includes $100 million earmarked specifically to create a buffered bike lane on a dangerous section of Queens Boulevard. With biking up over 83% between 2010 and 2014, it’s obvious that traveling safely on bikes is an important issue. The city set an ambitious goal of zero traffic deaths by 2024 so we can expect to see much more in the way of innovative biking infrastructure in the future.
When cities begin to invest in bicycling infrastructure, they change the landscape of their communities in a variety of ways: people commute and travel by bike more, motorists learn to accommodate, and bicyclist and pedestrian safety see a significant rise. More bikes on the road mean less cars, which means reduced gridlock, air pollution and parking problems. We look forward to seeing the ways cities innovate change and creativity to address their growing bicycle populations. After all, with over 4 billion people biking in the USA, it’s only natural that we can all look forward to seeing changes happen. Making the country two-wheel friendly is important to us, so we want to hear your stories about how your cities and towns are making things better for bikes – and all of us!