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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Evolution of the Bike Lane [The Atlantic]



The Evolution of the Bike Lane
Flickr/Elvert Barnes

Cities in the U.S., including Washington, D.C., where I live, are making significant investments in bicycling infrastructure. Two categories that have appeared just in the last decade, for example, are bicycle sharing and urban bike stations where cyclists can store bikes and get repairs. Bike lanes, or painted stripes marking bicycle travel space on roadways, have been around longer, but some of the new ones are much more sophisticated than what we had ten or twenty years ago.
In particular, one new generation of bike lanes is called “cycle tracks,” comprising bike lanes that are on the roadway but physically separated from motor vehicle traffic. We have one on 15th Street NW right in front of my office (see photos, taken a few blocks north). It is immensely popular as a bike commuting route.  Advanced cycle tracks even have their own traffic signals. The D.C.-based advocacy blog WashCycle says that cycle tracks “increase ridership by 18-20 percent compared to 5-7 percent for [conventional, non-separated] bike lanes.”

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