Monday, July 25, 2011

Bicycle Boulevards Continued

The above videos show advanced design for bicycle boulevards for the city of Portland Oregon. Not only does Portland have a lot of them, the city is planning on greatly expanding the network.  They even have innovative designs as in there boulevard flower on intersections where two boulevards intersect. They have also gone a long way to make it inconvenient for motor vehicles to use these streets as a commuter route. It has made for a much better experience for bike users of all types, including children.

The city of Madison has just started experimenting with bicycle boulevards. The first for the state of Wisconsin came in the city of Madison in 2010 with East Wilson. That was followed up in 2011 with East Mifflin and Kendal Avenue. Admittedly they are not up to the standards of what Portland is doing, but it’s a start. There are two more in the planning stages in Madison. A short one on Spaight St and a much longer boulevard on Ruskin Street on the North side.

Off the top of my head I can think of one more that would work well for a bicycle boulevard. West Shore Drive and South Shore Drive running around Monona bay would do well being turned into a boulevard. It’s already heavily used by bicyclist and even has a number of traffic calming technics in place. It wouldn’t take much to turn it into a boulevard.

No doubt there are many other streets that would do well as a bicycle boulevard. Of course it’s important they actually go to places bike users need to go. It’s especially important to cover areas that are not well served with good bike infrastructure.

What the videos show is how much bicycle boulevards can enhance bike use for a relatively small amount of money. It’s more an act of political will rather then economics. From what I have seen both East Wilson and East Mifflin are well used. Even in this short period of time they can easily be called a success. Let’s hope the city of Madison fast tracks more bicycle boulevards as they are much needed and appreciated by bike users.

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