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OP-ED: Why Quality Matters in Bike Lanes

The real test of a city’s bike infrastructure isn’t measured in miles of bike lane but in how comfortable and safe they are for everyone.
June 12, 2019, 1pm PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Paul Krueger

The city of Vancouver has made progress increasing bike travel and looks to continue to grow cycling, to the city is working to improve its bike infrastructure. "But smart cities also know that quality of bike lanes is just as important as quantity, especially if what’s being built (or let’s be honest–what’s being painted) isn’t really safe, or comfortable," Brent Toderian writes for Fast Company.

While experienced riders may be comfortable riding on most city streets, novice riders generally avoid places where there’s not actual protection from cars, either in separate paths or separated bike lanes. The city has created a category of bike infrastructure it calls "AAA" which does not include painted bike paths, even those that have a buffer. "Vancouver’s manager of transportation planning, Dale Bracewell, notes, it’s more than a mantra or brand for our transportation 'plangineers,' it’s city policy, a mandate, and a profound accountability," Toderian writes. This policy aims not only to bring new riders out on the streets but also to keep those riders safer.

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Published on Monday, June 10, 2019 in Fast Company
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