Caitlin Malloy-Marcon, Associate, MKSK
15 December 2015
Bikes, cyclists, bike parking and bike lanes have been part of the community planning conversation for many years and they continue to grow in popularity. Communities across the United States are seeking solutions for planning and implementing bike amenities. When it comes to implementing bicycle infrastructure that truly supports mode change, the US is lacking. But how are some top cities making biking an attractive option without disrupting existing traffic?
America’s love affair with bikes does not trump its ongoing love affair with the automobile. It is true that this dynamic makes it more difficult to execute a successful bike plan. While cities are successfully increasing the investments in recreational bikeways and off-road paths, it is now time to take it to the road.
The Gradual Approach
One strategy is the gradual approach, simply inching towards encouraging bike use by touting reasons such as increasing physical activity, countering chronic illness, battling congestion… or simply being trendy.
This gradual process usually includes slapping sharrows onto primary roads, adding signage to make drivers somewhat aware that they need to “share the road,” or creating bike routes through neighborhoods that give the illusion of dedicated cycle space. (Sharrow is short-form for "shared lane bicycle marking". This pavement marking includes a bicycle symbol and two white chevrons and is used to remind motorists that bicyclists are permitted to use the full lane. There are no striped bicycle lanes on streets marked with sharrows.) These options, however, are not inviting or convenient enough to make real shifts in mode selection.
While the gradual approach is not optimal, the reasons municipalities choose this approach makes sense. Consider:
These considerations put communities in a tight spot: Should they invest in a program that truly promotes mode shift by making it appealing for residents to choose to bike, while almost guaranteeing public pushback; or can they get away with simply posting signs and calling themselves “bike friendly”?
While initially attractive because of its simplicity, the easy road of a poorly planned bike system can be very dangerous. Incomplete facilities or misplaced signs and striping can give riders a false sense of safety, which may lead to more accidents between bikes and automobiles.
All of this inhibits any significant mode shifting among commuters.
The Complete Approach
In order to truly move towards making biking a part of community culture, a complete plan must be implemented -- addressing all aspects of the public right-of-way and ideally including a public education campaign. This not only moves a community towards change, but does so in the safest way possible, while maximizing the return on public dollars spent.
Developing a successful biking plan requires the following:
By following these guidelines, your biking plan will more successfully shift automobile traffic to bike traffic.
Biking should not just be considered a recreational activity to planners and the communities in which they work. It should be a priority mode of transportation -- just like the automobile, bus, or train -- and should be included in planning decisions. All modes of transportation should be layers of the overall Community Plan – each working together in the right-of-way and building upon the surrounding land use contexts.
For Information, contact Caitlin Mallory-Marcon at 248-586-0505 or email@example.com. Visit http://lslplanning.com/ for more information.
Since 1992, SAFEbuilt has provided full-service building department programs, building code plan reviews, complete project support, building code inspections and code enforcement for cities, towns, counties and other public agencies. As of today, we work with more than 250 public communities.
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Informative article. I think everybody should go through this blog whether the person is a cyclist or motorcycle rider. Tips shared above are really good. Not only for the youngsters, but the article should be read by the people of all the ages. They should know the importance to follow road traffic rules and what care should be taken while riding motorcycle or bicycles on heavy roads. A blog on car transport, which was suggested by my friend also stated the importance of following traffic rules in a very nice way..
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