May 15, 2014

UPDATED - Bringing Bicycling into the Building Cycle

After publishing this post last year, we’ve come across an informative and inspiring article that helps cycling advocates plan how to “sell” cycling projects as a benefit to developers and municipalities. The US Department of Transportation offers the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grant program, that can be used to fund cycling projects. However, as this blog post on Streetsblog USA explains, you’d better bring usable data and a solid cost/benefit analysis to bolster your case. Check it out, re-read Jeb Hoge's post below, and let us know in the comments where and how biking benefits are (or should be) appearing in Virginia.

I recently came across a neat article written by Sarah Goodyear for the Atlantic Cities website that highlighted “10 Brilliant Pieces of Bike Infrastructure.” What struck me about the article was the way that the examples of adding bike elements to neighborhood/city infrastructures across the world definitely could be implemented in urban and suburban development in Virginia. These are ideas that go much further than bike racks and lanes.

I encourage you to read the article because it links to videos, photos and more, but some of the high points include dedicated bike lanes built into divided-roadway medians; elevated bike bridges that make it easy for cyclists to pass through busy intersections; and innovative storage/locking solutions.

It’s worth noting, as well, that only one of the projects in the article is about bike sharing. While that’s a practice that’s working well in some places, in others (New York City, for example) it’s a topic that’s fraught with controversy. But for people with their own bikes, a lot of these ideas are really attractive.

VHDA obviously promotes mixed-use communities with smart development planning. So adding innovative and inviting features to encourage increased use of bikes to get around in these local areas is an idea that can be considered. You can park six bikes in the space that one average car takes up, for one thing, and pedestrian/bike-only thoroughfares require less maintenance and space. Also, with the increasing popularity of biking for health, cost-savings and environmental reasons, a development with bike-friendly features included in the overall plan may be more appealing to younger residents who embrace alternative transportation options more than ever. So take a look at Goodyear’s article and let us know where bike-friendly features are being implemented in Virginia.
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