For the next two years, the Green Lane Project will lend expertise and support to Austin, Chicago, Memphis, Portland, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. as those cities implement the type of infrastructure that has proven successful at leading people to take up biking for transportation. The project bills itself as a “storytelling campaign” for the cities to share their experiences.
NACTO and the Green Lane Project are trying to make protected bike facilities a standard engineering treatment. Photo: Utility Cycling
“We want to build that library of great examples from the United States… rather than having to point people to Europe,” said Green Lane Project director Martha Roskowski.
The Green Lane Project — which officially kicks off Thursday with an event in Chicago — will also make an impact beyond those six cities. By broadly disseminating the Urban Bikeway Design Guide, a pioneering document released last year by the National Association of City Transportation Officials, the project will reach a critical audience in places that may not have the level of political support for bike infrastructure found in the six cities receiving direct assistance.
Last March the Boulder-based organization Bikes Belong, which oversees the Green Lane Project, co-sponsored the publication of the NACTO guide, the country’s first attempt at a uniform set of traffic-engineering standards for effective bike infrastructure such as protected bike lanes, bike boxes, bike signals and a host of treatments that are just now gaining currency in American cities.
Bikes Belong is also providing funding for the guide’s second module, due out next month, which focuses on bike boulevards.
A guiding force behind these efforts is the vision for more protected bike lanes in the U.S.
“If you look at the good Dutch or Danish systems, on the bigger streets, you provide protection and separation,” said Randy Neufeld, director of the SRAM Cycling Fund. (SRAM, the other sponsor of the NACTO guide, is the major funding source for the Green Lane Project.)
The challenge now is to foster the adoption of NACTO’s designs, so the guide can hold its own next to old-guard engineering standards like the FHWA’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials’ design guidelines.