That’s what I want for Austin and for every city and town in every country in the world. Having bicycle facilities that are separated from cars and trucks could help to increase bicycle use dramatically. How much, you ask? 500% in a year? 1000%? It’s possible. But we need the infrastructure.
What exactly is a “bicycle highway”? I can’t say I’m sure. I don’t even know if people really use the term. But in my mind, a bicycle highway is just that–a highway for bikes. Pretty simple. We have highways for cars and trucks, so why not create highways for bikes?
America, at least (and we have reports coming in on the McMansion/Suburban Sprawl-ization of developing countries like China), has suburbs that are pretty far away from urban work centers. Residents of these suburbs need a sustainable, future-proof way to get to work. Car-and-truck-only highways aren’t going to cut it. I’ve seen at least one study that says new highways reach capacity within five years of being built. To continue building new auto highways is to fight a losing battle. We need to do better, and we need to do something differently. Giving people a sustainable way to get to work is a great first step. People can and will bicycle ten or twenty miles to work each way. Just give them the facilities and watch it happen.
If cars can have incredible amounts of space and facilities and money and resources dedicated to them, why shouldn’t bicycles? Below is an artist’s rendition of what a bicycle highway system for Austin might look like:
This StreetFilms video talks about the importance of separated bicycle facilities:
Austin will soon decide what types of rail lines it may ultimately implement. I’m all for mass transit, but I can’t say I feel particularly strongly about rail lines running at street level; I’d prefer if we started with bikeways (or greenways or bike highways–whatever you want to call them).
Here in Austin we have the Lance Armstrong Bikeway project.
These are all steps in the right direction. I feel that 90%+ of all future funding for transportation should be spent on non-automobile infrastructure: bikeways, walkways, mass transit, and so forth. I don’t believe that spending any more money on car transportation can be justified. As I said yesterday, not one more dollar to car culture.
…looks like Toronto may be having a transit strike. So, they disallowed a bunch of on-street parking, are promoting car-pooling, and allowed for a couple of very small ‘bicycle highways’. Not sure what to say about that.