Photo by Fred Pfeiffer
This post was written by Annie Lambla, MPC research assistant.
Vibrant cycling communities, ample bike racks and routes, complete streets policies, and significant funding dedicated to bike infrastructure and facilities all contributed to Bicycling’s consideration of the Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities. These characteristics are all important factors to developing sustainable communities with healthy, active residents.
“Mayor Richard Daley might have more enthusiasm for cycling than any other mayor in the United States. The city has bike lanes, valet bike parking, indoor bike racks and more,” according to the report. Chicago also won praise for its city-wide bike plan, equipping all CTA buses with bike racks, and the Lakefront Trail, a valuable amenity as a transit route as well as a recreational destination for cyclists.
What are some of the most interesting things other cities did to make it on the list?
- Washington, D.C., implemented the nation’s first bike-share program.
- Portland, Ore., has bike-only areas at traffic signals.
- Eugene, Ore., boasts a Safe Routes to School program.
- All commuter rail systems in San Francisco allow bikes.
- Milwaukee’s “marsupial” bridge for bicyclists and pedestrians hangs below an existing bridge for motor vehicles.
Although many recognized cities boast elaborate greenway systems and costly events, these amenities do little to encourage more cycling without basic infrastructure, like bike lanes and racks, and a dedication to providing for cyclists in road construction and reconstruction.
These are all significant elements to encouraging more active lifestyles and developing more sustainable communities. MPC is a strong advocate for the implementation of Chicago’s award-winning Complete Streets policy. We hosted a workshop for transit planners in early March with the Chicago Dept. of Transportation (CDOT), and are hosting Talking the Walk: The Importance of Pedestrian Friendly Public Spaces, on April 21. This lunch roundtable will feature Sam Schwartz of Sam Schwartz Engineering, John Tolva from IBM, and Joe Gonzalez from DeStefano + Partners. Seating is limited, so register now!