Memphis chosen as a "Green Lane" city, milestone for our livability effort | Community Spirit
Last week was a milestone for Memphis livability as our city was one of six cities picked by the Bikes Belong Foundation for its Green Lane Project, an effort to fast-track physically protected bikeway designs.
The six cities were chosen from a pool of 42 city applications.
According to a survey released by The Memphis Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, 81 percent of the region’s residents own a bicycle.
Only half of those bike owners used them on a daily to weekly basis, surely with more and improved bike lanes - the number of avid cyclists will increase.
Another city that was chosen was Portland, Orgeon, a city that is already a cycling giant as far as city planning goes with 324 miles of bikeways.
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton promised 55-miles of bike lanes by July 2012 after bicycle enthusiasts rallied outside city hall for transit reform in the summer 2010. The rally was prompted by a Federally funded street repaving project in which city engineers failed to put bike lanes into the original design plans.
Wharton agrees bike facilities are important to the city and are imperative to its long-term economic prosperity.
Sarah Newstok, program director for Livable Memphis - an organization that promotes productive living - has said before that bike lanes are economically efficient because when people are walking or biking by a store front they absorb more commercial appeal than when driving a car past.
According to Bikes Belong’s website, Green Lanes are dedicated, inviting spaces for people on bikes in the roadway. They are protected from motor vehicles by curbs, planters, posts, or parked cars.
Also called cycle tracks or protected bikeways, the lanes are carefully engineered with rigorous attention to safety, efficiency, and ease of travel for all street users. The Green Lane Project will provide resources and technical assistance to help the six focus cities accomplish their goals of creating this type of protected space for people on bikes.
Details will be released at a national kickoff in late May in Chicago. The Green Lane website, greenlaneproject.org, will act as a hub where all U.S. cities working to install these types of facilities can share and learn from each other.
Kyle Wagenschutz believes Memphis has an advantage installing bicycle lanes decades after the cities that were pioneers; now the city can learn from earlier designs and engineering flaws which could make development easier.
And after a few years, Memphis could have some the most efficient bike facilities in the U.S.
Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.
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