Keep up with essential planning news and commentary, delivered to your inbox every Monday and Thursday.
Token Gestures Don't Attract Bike Riders—Connected, Safe Bike Infrastructure Does
"Last September, the town of Macon, Georgia installed a network of temporary bike lanes," according to an article by Helena Kotala. "In the two weeks that the lanes were up, bike traffic increased by nearly 900 percent."
The project, known as Macon Connects, was the brainchild of NewTown Macon, a non-profit that’s primary goal is to revitalize the downtown of the city. Macon was awarded $150,000 to complete the project through the Knight Foundation's Cities Challenge, a nationwide competition launched in 2015 to generate ideas to improve cities. Macon was one of 45 cities to receive funding in 2016.
The article presents the project, and its stunning results, as proof of concept that bike ridership can be achieved with a complete network of safe riding options. "In the past, the city government had put up three non-contiguous blocks of bike lanes and then claimed no one rides," explains Kotala.
The temporary experiment led to some major changes in the ways the city plans and engineers its streets.
Hat tip to Angie Schmitt for sharing the news about the success of Macon Connects. More information on the project is also available on the Newtown Macon website.