While PDOT is forging ahead on an infrastructure level (recently asking for over $5 million for bike boulevards) the BTA plans to focus their efforts in a more grassroots way.
Their plan – just unveiled on their website a few minutes ago – will tap into $35,000 from private donors and a mini-grant from Bikes Belong to go out into the community to figure out just what a bicycle boulevard should look like. Here’s a quote taken from Evan Manvel on the BTA Blog:
“For the next two years, we’ll be talking to bicyclists about how to create beautiful, safe, low-traffic streets that cyclists love. From developing innovative design ideas to knocking on doors to ask where people want to bike, we’re hitting the pavement and biking the talk.”
Once they’ve gotten enough feedback, they plan to design a North/Northeast Portland Bicycle Boulevard Network Plan. They’re focusing on this area because, according to project leader Jessica Roberts,
“This area has many current and potential cyclists, but lacks a comprehensive high-quality bicycle boulevard network. New north-south and east-west routes in this area will increase bicycle ridership and safety.”
Great to see some focus up North, can you imagine if we (I live in North Portland) could mimic the success of streets in Southeast like Lincoln and Ankeny? I vote for Michigan Blvd!
Based on findings from their campaign and using funds from PDOT, the BTA is also giving themselves a goal of creating one new bicycle boulevard by 2008.
The reason the BTA is so bullish on boulevards is because they’re convinced that the main reason more people don’t ride bikes is because of proximity to high-speed cars and concerns for safety.
Planning for bicycle boulevards, which ultimately means discouraging car traffic on certain streets, can be tricky business. If you discourage cars on some roads, that means adjacent roads will see more car traffic. It will take careful planning to make this work and I’m glad to see the BTA plans to get out into the neighborhoods before making any decisions.
If this bike boulevards campaigns is successful, I think we should start talking about bike freeways ;-).
[Check out this front page story on bike boulevards in today’s Oregonian.]
Update: At 2 pm tomorrow (after the Bike Summit), the BTA will lead a community bike ride that includes visiting existing bike boulevards such as SE Clinton and SE Ankeny.