For Release Sunday, February 15, 2009
How about a stimulus package that comes with two wheels instead of four, a package that delivers a boost to your health and your 401(k)? That wondrous stimulus item is the bicycle. And an ingenious new way to pave the way: bicycle boulevards.
Cycling, of course, isn’t news. Its health benefits are touted weekly by physicians, journalists and cyclists themselves.
My Congressman, Oregon’s Earl Blumenauer, founder-leader of the Congressional Bicycle Caucus, notes: “Bicycling has immediate and direct benefits for communities that invest in bicycle paths, bike lanes, trails, and secure bicycle parking[…]. Bicycle and pedestrian paths are precisely the kind of infrastructure projects our country needs. These projects tend to be the most ‘shovel-ready’ and are more labor-intensive than other projects– therefore putting more people to work per dollar spent.”
So if cycling facilities are good investments, where and how should we build them? Traditionally, planners and engineers have accommodated cyclists by designating bike lanes, separated from vehicular travel by striping. The lanes have become commonplace, and they are a step forward for bike mobility.