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Portland chosen as one of six “Green Lane Project” cities

Posted by on April 4th, 2012 at 10:43 am

Cycletrack on SW Broadway-7

It’s been two-and-a-half years since
the cycle track on Broadway went in.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Bikes Belong has just announced that Portland has been selected as one of six “focus cities” to participate in their Green Lane Project.

The other cities that will join Portland are: Austin, Texas; Chicago, Illinois; Memphis, Tennessee; San Francisco, California; and Washington, D.C.. These cities were chosen from a pool of 42 applicants.

About the selection, project leader Martha Roskowski said via a statement, “We are delighted to be working with these forward-thinking cities. They are a range of sizes, spread across the country, and at various stages in terms of developing networks for bicycles. What they share is a strong commitment to rethinking how city streets are used and making room for bicycles.”

The impetus behind the Green Lane Project is to hasten the implementation of world-class bike facilities — like cycle tracks, and other protected bikeways — in U.S. cities. While Portland and other cities are dabbling in protected lanes and other bike-centric road designs, no city has yet built a truly world-class, connected, safe and comfortable network of bikeways that rivals what we see in top European cycling cities. Through this project, Bikes Belong won’t fund any projects; but they will, “provide resources and technical assistance to help the six focus cities accomplish their goals of creating this type of protected space for people on bikes.”

In the next two months, Green Lane Project staff will work with local elected officials, City staff, and advocacy groups to iron out details. A big announcement of each city’s vision and goals will be released at a national kickoff event in Chicago in late May. GreenLaneProject.org will become a hub for all U.S. cities (not just the ones selected) to share experiences and learn from each other.

If you’re wondering why New York City — the U.S. leaders in protected bikeways — wasn’t chosen, it’s worth noting that the NYC DOT is a senior advisor to the program.

The selection of Portland comes with a sigh of relief. Some observers thought Bikes Belong wouldn’t select us, due to the (mistaken in my opinion) perception that we already have plenty of momentum for this type of thing. The truth is, we need all the help we can get. Despite being one of the pioneers in bikeway development, Portland has not kept pace with other cities in developing protected bikeways in the urban core. Perhaps the biggest benefit this project will provide for us, in addition to a kick-in-the-pants and important national visibility, is a reaffirmation of the need for better bikeways just as we settle into a new mayor and new City Council members.

In Portland we are experiencing that it can be very difficult to go from good to great. I hope this project helps us get over that hump.

For more on the Green Lane Project, watch the video below:

Green Lane Project from Bikes Belong on Vimeo.

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9watts
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9watts

I think this is all good (except the everyone-flies-to-Chicago-in-May part), but I do also wish there were a parallel effort afoot that took seriously the challenge of the phaseout of our reliance on automobiles in our lifetimes, and explored what our infrastructure could and should look like when that comes to pass.

The two visions: accommodate bikes that now or soon may make up ~10% mode share, and how do we get around when cars have shriveled to ~10% mode share are not the same when it comes to infrastructure priorities. Asphalt and the rest of our infrastructure lasts a long time (especially if Jeff Bernards prevails). No need to pretend the car is going to be with us forever.

9watts
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9watts

Peak Car may have already arrived in London
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/motoring/features/is-this-the-end-of-the-car-2286616.html
“Between 1992 and 2007, the number of 17- to 20-year-olds who held licences fell from 48 per cent to 38 per cent, and for 21- to 29-year-olds, the number fell from 75 per cent to 66 per cent….between 2004 and 2008, car trips per person went down by 9 per cent and car distance per person by 5 per cent.”

NF
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NF

Awesome. I vote for a cycle track conversion of NE Killingsworth past 42nd. The road is so wide, I bet they could do a PSU style parking protected cycle track without removing vehicle capacity. This would dramatically improve the experience for pedestrians and residents living nearby

Barbara
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Barbara

What about the SW? Barbur and Beaverton-Hillsdale defintely need improvement, Capitol Hwy is right behind. After all SW Portland is still mostly a mess for biking. (Oh and can you erase the hills too, while you are at it?)

Thomas
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Thomas

Burnside, Burnside, Burnside… from SE 71st to the West Hills…
I like the Sandy idea too.
Let’s pick a major underserved corridor.

Andyc
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Andyc

Oh man. Great. As other cities pick up steam, we need to have injections like this if we are to keep apace. Anything more than just paint on the road is necessary if Portland is going to remain the vanguard.

Mike
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Mike

Sandy is begging for a major redesign. On the SE side, Foster Rd is similar to Sandy blvd in that it cuts through a large swath of land at an odd angle. It is also used in excess for car capacity and poorly designed for all other uses. Many of us in Lents call it the Happy Valley Highway.

Zaphod
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Sandy +1
Burnside +1

Andy
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Ummmm…Memphis, TN!? I lived there in the late 90’s and I know that’s a long time ago, but forward thinking and bike friendly aren’t things I remember about Memphis. What I remember is the smile on my face the day I left!

Andrew K
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Andrew K

+100 for the Sandy Blvd idea.

That street could definately use a redisign that incorporates more modes of transit and it seems like it would be fairly easy to do so.

I’m willing to bet the businesses along that street would welcome modes of traffic that get people out of cars and into their shops.

Carl
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Carl

Austin, Texas?