Friday, July 2, 2010

Normal Bicycle Highway (Byway?)

"Bicycle Highways" by Tom Vanderbilt is an article discussing ways to increase bicycle use in cities. Basically, there are three ways to do this: have bicycle paths along the sides of streets (set apart from vehicle traffic by painted lines), have bicycle boulevards (streets that give bicyclists priority over drivers -- with minimal vehicular traffic, slow speed limits, and turns or barricades that allow bicyclists to continue on their way but divert vehicles), or have bicycle highways (completely separate roadways for bicyclists). Lots of cities are trying to integrate these methods and are finding that the key is to get bicyclists to feel safe.

Normal already has the Constitution Trail, which would fit the category of a bicycle highway. It seems like that is the one method of increasing bicycling that would make riders feel the safest, so I think we've got a good start. The bicycle and pedestrian master plan addresses a lot of the bicycling (and pedestrian) issues for the local area but will probably have to be implemented little by little, given the complexity of implementation as well as the costs. I'm sure I'll be well past the age where it would be safe for riding a bicycle on any roadway by the time that plan becomes fully implemented!

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