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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Why does bicycling explode on streets with two-way bike lanes? And should this type of bike lane be avoided?

two way bike lanes
© NITC
Lloyd wrote up a great article yesterday summarizing the epic bike protected bike lane study that just came out from the National Institute for Transportation and Communities. I'm going to dig in a bit more on one point – the explosive growth in bicycling on streets with two-way protected bike lanes. And I'll also examine some criticism of these bike lanes.
First of all, just to be clear what we're talking about, above is a cross section of a street in Austin, Texas, with protected two-way bike lanes. Here are some before and after pics of this street as well:
© NITC
While bicycling increased quite a lot on all streets studied where protected bike laneswere added, but it really exploded on two of the streets where two-way bike lanes were added. In the case above, there was even a conventional bike lane in place before this two-way one was created, making the growth that much more impressive.
© NITC
Before discussing why this type of bike facility might have increased bicycle rates so much, below is a cross section and some pictures of Dearborn St in Chicago, where biking increased a tremendous 171%. I'm not sure why the cross section doesn't include flexposts – you can see them in all three of the "now" pictures above.
© NITC
© NITC
So, why does this particular type of bike lane seem to increase ridership so much? And are there issues with such bike lanes? (Hint: yes.)
Read the entire article at Treehugger

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