A great new film from Streetfilms shows how other cities like New York are using non-traditional bicycle facilities to attract new more tentative riders. Bicycle facilities have to be safe and attractive to everyone, the young, the old, and the traffic timid. Milwaukee’s new bike plan proposes a number of these non-traditional facilities, but it is great to see other cities just building them. It is also great to hear they work exactly as planned and draw in many people who did not ride bicycles before, but now find this facility attractive enough to use.
Most of these facilities have to be paid for with local dollars, because federal and state funds generally will not pay for any facility not described the American Association of Highway and Transportation Officials Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, the Federal Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, or the Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation Bicycle Facility Design Handbook.
These design handbooks and guidelines remain pretty staid and although were intended to be helpful getting more people riding bicycles, they now stand in the way of real progress. In order to get past these very conservative guidelines, the The National Association of City Transportation Officials is working to develop their own set of more progressive designs that better fit the needs of large urban centers.
Streetfilms is a great organization based out of NYC that creates really informative videos about livable cities around the world. Take some time to look over their videos, really cool stuff. You can donate to Streetfilms if you want to support their work.