Hooray! A New Bike Boulevard!

I’m a big fan of bike boulevards and I recently mourned the fact that moving into a new house meant that I spent less time traveling this way. In my old apartment, being on the bike boulevard six or eight times a week was not unusual. As I said at the time, location is:

 “…the crux of the problem with such limited networks for bike travel. A mile or so of dedicated roadway is wonderful, until you have to go someplace else in town.”

Imagine my surprise then when a city notice arrived at our house. Not only are they proposing to extend the current bike boulevard all the way to Stephens Lake Park (offering a safe and direct connection from downtown, through campus, and into the park) but they’re also proposing turning our street into a second bike boulevard.

It makes perfect sense–the MKT Trail entrance is just a mile south of us and aside from having to cross a couple busy streets and climb the worst hill in the city, it’s a straight shot. Heading in the other direction, it’s also a nice connector to all the neighborhoods to the north looking for a safe route to the trail. Non-residential vehicular traffic will be directed to more appropriate thoroughfares, keeping the bike boulevard safer for two-wheeled traffic.

Portland–no surprise–has added some great amenities to their bike boulevards that not only make it safer for cyclists, but will benefit the neighborhood as a whole:

  • Speed bumps to slow traffic
  • Concrete medians with cuts for bikes and pedestrians
  • Stop signs oriented to give preference to cyclists
  • Signage highlighting distance and time to key destinations
  • Landscaping doubling as stormwater retention basins
  • Mini-parks in neighborhoods with limited public space
  • Integration into their version of a Walking School Bus program

These aren’t just niceties, they are all elements that will ensure the success of this type of program. It’s not a done deal yet here in our city but the public process is starting and I will definitely be there in support.