The City of Portland’s Bicycle Coordinator, Roger Geller, is in Melbourne this week to deliver the keynote speech at the 2010 Bike Futures conference. Armed with Portland’s biking success story, he’s making headlines and spreading the gospel of separated bikeways.
In a story published this morning in the Sydney Morning Herald, Geller told the Australian Associated Press (AAP) that Sydney could follow Portland’s path to becoming a more bike friendly city.
Sydney does not have a highly developed, on-street bike network, but according to the AAP, “Geller believes Sydney can be saved.” How? “The key is building more and more dedicated bikeways.”
Here are a few more quotes Geller shared in the news story (emphasis mine):
“Technically there’s no reason why you can’t do it,” he said.
“If you look at cities like Amsterdam and cities throughout the Netherlands they’re similar.
“They are very small, they have very limited right of way, and still they’re able to fit in facilities so that a third of trips are made by bike.”
Mr Geller said it wasn’t a question of physical space but political and cultural will.
“At its essence it’s `build it and they will come’.”
As to what type of bikeway is best, Mr Geller argues for designs which create the most separation between cyclists and motorists.
Standard on-road paths have “limited appeal”.
I find Geller’s comments interesting because much of what he says is important for us to hear in Portland. We are moving slowly toward more separated bikeways, and if we are to start moving faster, we’ll need people like Geller making the case here in the Portland media as well.