by Niles Anderegg, research and content development associate, ICMA
From bike share programs to dedicated bike lanes, local governments are finding ways to make their communities more bike friendly. Bicycles can be a benefit by reducing traffic and creating more sustainable communities. The addition of such new technology as smartphones and apps has made using bikes easier for residents and therefore, many communities want bike-friendly amenities. Here are a few ways communities are making themselves more bike friendly.
This process starts with planning, both as part of master transit planning and creating specific bike plans. San Jose, California, for example, created its 10-year bike plan, which has allowed the city to expand its network of bike paths and bike lanes and created goals for the number of trips in the city that are completed by using bikes.
One new initiative in Oak Park, Illinois, is to install bike and pedestrian-only traffic lights. These traffic lights use new technology to detect bicyclists who are attempting to cross an intersection. This new technology is designed to improve safety and improve traffic flow for both bikers and the cars that share the road with them.
Another initiative helping communities be more bike friendly is bike share programs. The idea behind these programs has been around for decades. Bikes are made available to residents who can purchase the right to use the bikes by either paying a usage fee or by having a membership. These programs allow residents who might not be able to afford their own bike to be able to have access to cycling as a transit option. Chattanooga, Tennessee, is one community where its bicycle transit system has been nationally recognized and uses GPS to keep residents informed on bicycle availability around the city.
Gresham, Oregon, Upgrades to Silver Status as a Bicycle Friendly Community. This 2014 article looks at how one community was recognized for its work in making it more bike friendly.
Bike Paths in Your Community. In a blog post from 2014, the focus is on bike paths and bike lanes. Highlights include how one community made the bike lanes a different color so that they would stand out to motorists.
Cycling Towards a Sustainable Future: A Plan for the Implementation of Bicycle Networks in Springfield. This document from 2012 details how Springfield, Oregon, is using a bicycle network to create a more sustainable city.