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Posts tagged "greenways"

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NYC 4-Boro Protected Bike Lane Ride

I've been riding a bike in NYC for more than 25 years. When I started, there wasn't much in the way of good bike infrastructure, but in that time I've watched the bike network expand and slowly get safer.

With recent bike lane additions and enhancements on Jay Street, Chrystie Street, and First Avenue, NYC DOT has pointed out that you can now ride on protected bike lanes almost continuously from Brooklyn to the Bronx. Connecting to other segments of protected bike lanes, with just a few blocks exposed to traffic, you can do enjoyable, low-stress rides of 10, 20, 25 miles on city streets.

So I pitched the good folks at Transportation Alternatives about doing a small group ride from Brooklyn to Manhattan to the Bronx to Randall's Island to Queens and back to Brooklyn -- about 25 miles. After sketching it out, we estimated that 97 percent of the ride could be done on protected lanes, car-free bridge paths, and greenways.

Of course, New York still has a long way to go to make cycling safe for all ages and abilities throughout the city. But we are on our way. As recently as 10 years ago, I can remember the huge advocacy effort that went into gaining two meager strips of white paint for bike lanes here or there. Now we are building up to a useable network.

So come along for the ride, get a good look at the protected bikeways and bridge paths along our route, and meet some of the volunteers who've been working hard to make biking better in New York City. As the soundtrack (which the great Eric Bazilian and Mats Wester generously gave permission to use) goes, "That's a good thing!"

Also, if you want to see the details of all the turns in this journey, I compiled this map.

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Austin: The Most Bike-Friendly City in Texas

I was in Austin a few months ago for the NACTO Designing Cities Conference. While in town I was able to put together this look at what the city is doing to improve bicycling, including the dazzling 3rd Street curb-protected bikeway. Also captured on camera: many bike paths along the Colorado River, car-free nights on 6th street, and the ridiculously long Halloween Social Ride, which is an exhilarating weekly nighttime bicycle excursion with hundreds of people that manages to follow traffic laws to a T. (I did all 30 miles on a heavy B-Cycle -- there were quite a few hills!)

The timing was excellent, because near the end of 2015 the League of American Bicyclists declared Austin a gold status bike-friendly city, the first city in Texas to claim the honor. So let Streetfilms take you on a tour of the bike lanes, greenways, floating bridges, and bike-friendliness of Austin.

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The Indianapolis Cultural Trail: The Next-Gen in U.S. Protected Bike Lanes

In May, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, a bike & pedestrian path connecting some of Indy's most popular cultural institutions, had its long-awaited public coming out with a ribbon cutting and celebration. It's one of the biggest bicycling infrastructure achievements in North America, and yet it's still practically a secret.

As you'll see, the Cultural Trail runs eight fantastic miles through the heart of downtown and features beautiful stone work, green landscaping and even bioswales to absorb stormwater runoff. There is great signage and trail design with an eye for maximum safety. In many places, parking and/or a car travel lane was converted to trail space. But most importantly, the trail features ample room for both cyclists and pedestrians (most of the time in separate environments) to get around downtown, whether they're commuting, exercising, running errands, or just going for an afternoon jaunt. It's fun and very safe and people of all ages using it.

Across the U.S. cities such as NYC, Chicago, and Washington are doing tremendous work installing miles of protected bike lanes with inexpensive materials. Although the Cultural Trail cost quite a bit, it's nice to know that to find extensive downtown bike infrastructure made with beautiful, permanent materials, we don't have to look to Europe. We can go check out Indianapolis.

Note: Please don't miss our related Streetfilm on Indy's bike-friendly GOP Mayor Greg Ballard and a 2 minute short looking more in-depth at the bioswales and storm water management system along the Cultural Trail.

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Boulder Goes Bike Platinum

Add Boulder, Colorado to the League of American Bicyclists' cities to achieve Platinum Bike Status. This Fall, they were bestowed the nation's highest rank for U.S. cities and joined Portland, Oregon and Davis, California as the only three cities to have that honor.

I spent five days on a bike in Boulder in October and can testify it is close to bicycling nirvana. The resulting Streetfilm is only a taste of what is going on in the bike culture universe. You'll get to sample what its like to ride some of their amazing bike amenities including its wonderful greenway system with its emphasis on continuity and an uninterrupted commute.

Having produced Streetfilms on all three Platinum bike cities, one thing that is beginning to emerge as a sure tell tale sign you got a healthy biking city: the numbers of youngsters riding bicycles. Boulder has numerous programs to encourage kids to walk and bike and we were lucky enough to include two of them here. Don't miss our Boulder Streetfilms series as well as our long-form pieces on Davis and Portland.