Streetfilms in New York released this great video of Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer bicycling around New York City’s new bike lanes. Blumenauer is the most prominent government official who is an advocate for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure initiatives in the nation. Dallas council member, Angela Hunt, met with him last week in Boston during Railvolution 2009.
In the video, notice how he starts in a painted-only lane, which has doors opening, cars crossing, and more, then transfers over to a physically separated lane. Moving the cars away from bicycles completely changes the dynamic of the ride, and the cyclists are able to relax and hold conversations with far less worry. You can see how one option does little to lower the perception of risk, while the other invites people out, and makes bicycling irresistable. What’s also notable is the safety afforded to pedestrians crossing at intersections, with the cut-outs that are now created giving them islands in the middle of streets to watch before crossing. Shortening the distance between intersections is a major factor in making people feel safe when moving around streets filled with cars.
I also love this quote from Blumenauer: “It is fascinating watching the emergence of this movement around the country, and there was a time when it was college towns, and maybe an outlier like Portland, but now what you’re seeing in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. is a National movement, and cities large and small are getting into it.”