New infrastructure, better bikesharing, and safer streets London announced a plan to spend a billion dollars on bike highways and cycling infrastructure late last year. Oslo wants to transform its downtown into a car-free zone by 2019. German cities are testing out bike-based cargo delivery services. And bike-friendly policies have made Copenhagen and Amsterdam cycling havens.
When it comes to designing cities for cycling, the United States can often seem painfully behind other countries, a toddler in training wheels beside sleek, sophisticated riders on custom road bikes. Our reputation reflects our roadways: The U.S. boasts 4 million miles of roads, but fewer than 200 miles of protected bike lanes.
But while our car-friendly country may have plenty of ground to make up, that doesn?t mean there hasn?t been progress. While the latest statistics from the Census Bureau show an overall dip in the numbers of Americans commuting to work by bike, in cities prioritizing cycle-friendly streets and funding better infrastructure, biking is on the upswing.
Policies do make a difference: In 43 of the 70 largest cities across the country, cycling rates are rising, and a number of ambitious plans show cities embracing the health, environmental, and social benefits of cycling.
Curbed reached out to transportation and planning experts?including Alex Dodds from Smart Growth America, Alex Engel from the National Association of City Transportation Officials, and Jeffrey Wood from the Overhead Wire?to find out which cities have enacted some of the more progressive pro-bike policies and plans.
None of these cities are perfect?and some are being highlighted for championing ideas in the planning-and-construction phase. But the projects showcased demonstrate different ways to reshape multimodal transportation, build more complete streets, and, more importantly, respond to demands for healthier, safer transportation.
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