Unique Strategies to Support Biking Populations

Cities are experimenting with new bicycle programs that promote policies and infrastructure designed to support and nurture a growing population of bikers


What Happened?

Cities worldwide are experimenting with new bicycle programs that promote policies and infrastructure designed to support and nurture a growing population of bikers.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam has been known as a bicycle haven for many years, and growing popularity of the two-wheeled transit method is creating a unique problem: the city has more bikes than dedicated space to park them. According to city officials , Amsterdam plans to transform an underground garage into bicycle parking, as well as create floating islands to house bikes. The goal is to accommodate significantly more bikes by 2030 with:
  • 21,500 new bike spaces around Central Station in an underground garage
  • 2,000 new bike spaces on each of the two new floating islands

The bike infrastructure upgrades in Amsterdam are a necessity based on transit trends. Amsterdam has a reported 881,000 bikes with just 780,559 residents, making it the most bike-friendly city in Europe. Furthermore:

  • 57 percent of Amsterdam residents use their bikes daily
  • 43 percent of Amsterdam residents commute to and from work via bicycle
  • 73,000 bikes were removed from Amsterdam streets in 2013 due to parking limitations

Because the city wants to preserve the accessibility of bicycles and bike-friendly infrastructure, the extra parking is an essential project.

London

London is considering two new projects that would create networks of cycleways removed from traditional roadways to support and protect a growing bicyclist population while reducing congestion. The London Underline project calls for transforming abandoned tube tunnels into living streets beneath the city where pedestrians and cyclists could navigate London away from vehicular traffic, The Guardian reported.

The strategy would use dual tunnels to create parallel pedestrian paths and cycleways. The network of pathways would be lined with cafes and Wi-FI hotspots to accommodate online shopping. Furthermore, the tunnels would use kinetic paving that uses football and friction to generate electricity – making the pathways energy efficient, the Guardian reported.

Another proposal – titled the East-West Cycle Superhighway – would be a separated bicycle path that connects West London with Barking on the east side. The $1.4 billion bicycle infrastructure project aims to not only encourage more cyclists throughout London, but also:

  • Reduce pressure on the road, bus and rail networks
  • Cut pollution
  • Improve quality of life
  • Increase city efficiency

The 18-mile path would provide bicyclists with a dedicated route throughout the city to increase safety while removing up to 24 percent of roadway, rush hour traffic in central London.

Minneapolis

The city of Minneapolis wants to drastically increase the number of bikers and has developed 10 projects to support this initiative. Minneapolis plans to add 30.7 miles of protected bike lanes to city streets by 2020 for a total of 44 miles of lanes citywide. After 2020, Minneapolis has plans to add an additional 12 miles of off-road bikeways as well, Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Currently, bicyclists in Minneapolis are separated from motorists with a buffer strip lined plastic posts. The new protected bike lanes would place more significant barriers between cyclists and motorists such as:

  • Parked cars
  • Planters
  • Curbs

The new, protected bike lanes would be placed throughout the city center where traffic is heaviest. The goal is to make more bicyclists feel safe and comfortable riding along busy streets and bridges while reducing injuries or fatalities and reducing pollution, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

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