Cyclist for the Bay Ride Tomorrow

1 Dec

Cyclist for the Bay is an program of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to promote cycling as a way of helping to protect the bay and the environment as a whole.  The group is holding a Ride and Street Sweep tomorrow, 12/1, from 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.  The casual ride will start at the Lakeside Farmer’s Market on Lakeside Avenue and go about 20 miles around Ginter Park.  The ride will begin after a bit of trash pickup (thus the “sweep”).  Click here for further details via the Virginia Bicycling Federation.  You can also follow the link above for more information about the program or take the Cyclist for Bay pledge to use your bicycle more often for transportation.

Also of interest…

East Coast Greenway Guide
In other news, a very detailed Guide to Bicycling and Walking for the Virginia parts of the East Coast Greenway has just been released.  It includes maps of various scales that look like they would be easy to follow.

Sharrows
And in case you haven’t gotten tired of reading my posts hailing the benefits of separated bike lanes and similar infrastructure, the Christian Science Monitor recently published a piece focused on the Green Lane Project and the benefits of this kind of infrastructure for getting more people on bikes, using Chicago’s recently installed Kinzie Street buffered bike lane as a prime example.  Among the cities participating in the Green Lane Project, Memphis is probably the most comparable to Richmond (albeit still quite a bit bigger), so we should keep an eye on how things develop there over the next couple of years.

On that note, maybe it would be a good idea for city government and business leaders to go to a gold or platinum level Bicycle Friendly Community for their next trip to check out just how do-able and beneficial substantial infrastructure can be.  What do you say, Chamber of Commerce?  How about a trip to Portland, Minneapolis, or Madison, Wisconsin for that matter?

This is really the time to think about moving things to the next level in Richmond.  There are a bunch of new bike racks on Broad Street and in Carytown, along with a few other locations, and more sharrows or shared lane markings have been installed along the north-south route developed by the mayor’s bike-ped commission a couple of years ago.  The unfortunate thing is that city traffic engineers went with a “sharrows all the way” approach, even where bike lanes could have been easily installed where underused parking exists (think Hermitage north of Westwood, for example).

Sharrows are maybe the only option in some cases without major reworking of the road, but I think it’s fair to say that those cyclists already hesitant to ride in traffic are not going to be comforted by sharrows on, say, the Boulevard.  According to a Streetsblog piece, other cities like San Diego have gone the route of installing sharrows everywhere and have not seen notable increases in biking as mode share.  They might make cycling on those roads bit safer for those already out there, but probably won’t lead to a major increase in cycling for transportation.

Creating a network of separated lanes and bike boulevards in Richmond will be a very long-term process and no doubt challenging, but with the basic network in place with sharrows, we should turn our sights toward installing some other types of infrastructure in order to demonstrate its effectiveness and set a precedent for the future.

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