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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cities build new bike paths. Will cyclists come?

Image of Long Beach BikestationFrom the Christian Science Monitor, 06.19.07:

Long Beach, Calif.--Three to four times a week, Jayme Bassett rides her 20-year-old Huffy bike five miles from home to the local metro-train stop. She uses a magnetized key to open the back door of a free-standing, concrete-and-glass building with the word "Bikestation" painted on the front window. The modern structure is ensconced in palm trees and raised above a cement pond, all just yards from platforms to buses and trains.

"Biking is the life," says Ms. Bassett, a teachers' credit union employee who takes a bus or train to complete her trip. "With the price of gas shooting up, smog, congestion, and all the rest, why do we need more cars, SUVs, and Hummers on the road?"

It's a refrain being heard across the United States as advocates push for more bike paths--and cities begin to build them. (Read more.)
This article cites the efforts of several cities in the U.S. to encourage higher rates of bicycling for transportation. It also includes the contrary point that nationally, bicycle commuting has held steady at less than one percent. Many factors might contribute to this stagnation, including continued sprawl, shift in employment centers to suburban locations, off-shoring of jobs, and changing demographics.

Bicycles weren't the only alternative transportation mode showing no growth as a percentage of overall commuting in the U.S.: transit remained at 4.7 percent from 2000-05; car pooling fell from 12.2 to 10.7 percent. Despite higher gas prices, people continue to drive. This doesn't reduce our need to keep pushing for enhanced bicycling facilities. Eventually, the worm will turn.

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site

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