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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In Portland, Ore., bikes rule the road [USA Today]


PORTLAND, Ore. – America spent 50 years and billions of dollars after World War IIredesigning itself so that cars could move people across this vast country more quickly.
  • Portland, Ore., just received the Platinum rating from the League of American Bicyclists and is regularly named the top city for biking in the nation by many publications.
    Thomas Patterson, for USA TODAY
    Portland, Ore., just received the Platinum rating from the League of American Bicyclists and is regularly named the top city for biking in the nation by many publications.

Thomas Patterson, for USA TODAY
Portland, Ore., just received the Platinum rating from the League of American Bicyclists and is regularly named the top city for biking in the nation by many publications.

Now, with many cities in gridlock, one-third of the population obese and climate change forcing innovators to look beyond the internal combustion engine, cities are beginning to rethink that push toward the automobile.
Perhaps no place has thought about it more than Portland, rated America's most bike-friendly city this year by Bicycling magazine and the only large U.S. city to earn "platinum status" from the League of American Bicyclists . City planners, businesses and, yes, the citizens of this Pacific Northwest city have embraced a shifting of gears designed to enhance the quality of urban living with a nod to the environment.
At the street level, many Portlanders go about their daily lives in ways that would be unfamiliar to most Americans. Downtown and near-city neighborhoods are awash in bikes and bike lanes, delivery bikes dot the urban landscape and bars aren't encased in massive parking lots — they have bike corrals out front.
Portland boasts that 6% of all trips to work are by bike, the highest percentage of bike commuters in any large U.S. city, says Dan Anderson of the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

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