The Place for Bike Lanes

Initial attempts at making city streets more encouraging to cyclists have often been marred by poor design.
March 28, 2014, 2pm PDT | newurban
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Steven Vance

Bicycle lanes are good for both our health and our carbon footprints. “Ten bikes can park in the space of one car,” Jeff Speck points out in his book Walkable City, “and the typical bike lane handles five to ten times the traffic volume of a car lane that is double the bike lane’s width.” For these and other reasons, bike lanes are an essential element of design for many streets today.

But like Complete Streets, bicycle lanes are in a transitional phase in which weak, monofunctional designs are frequently touted as best practices.

In 2008 the New York City Department of Transportation introduced, on First Avenue in Manhattan, a multimodal Complete Street that is first and foremost a suburban-style arterial for suburbanites to drive in and out of the city. The design divides the public realm into pieces, most of which are given to the car.”

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Published on Friday, March 28, 2014 in Better! Cities & Towns
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