No city has done what New York City has done in the last five years in terms of adding new bike lanes to the streets - it's considered America's No. 1 biking city by Bicycling Magazine. But lo and behold, 2014 was a year in which many unexpected U.S. cities did some major bike lane construction of their own. Temple City, anyone?
According to People for Bikes,
"This was the year that saw protected lanes pop up in Tempe, Arizona; in Athens, Georgia; in Pentagon City, Virginia. Last year, half of the new mileage of protected bike lanes nationwide was in the Green Lane Project's six focus cities. This year, protected bike lanes grew twice as fast, and our six focus cities accounted for less than a quarter of the new growth."
Here is Green Lane project editor Michael Andersen's pick of the 10 best new U.S. bike lanes:
1) Polk Street, San Francisco
2) 2nd Avenue, Seattle
3) Riverside Drive, Memphis
4) Rosemead Boulevard, Temple City
5) Furness Drive, Austin
6) Broadway, Seattle
7) SW Multnomah Boulevard, Portland
8) Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh
9) King Street, Honolulu
10) Broadway, Chicago
Many of these bike 'lanes' are actually what some people call 'cycle tracks' because they are for some portion of their length protected from traffic by a physical divider. The Green Lane project prefers the term 'protected bike lane' as the most encompassing.
Meanwhile, cities in Canada have been even more proactive than the U.S. in building protected bike lanes, according to Andersen. Toronto and Vancouver are building bike lanes, and cities such as Calgary are getting their first protected bike lanes.
What this means for cyclists is that though bike-to-car interactions can still be tense, there are more reasons than ever to take to biking for a portion of transportation needs! Even if it's not a daily commute, figuring out how to use a bicycle can decrease stress and increase joy in the everyday. And in fact, the upswing of protected bike lanes make everyone safer, according to this 2014 NYC Department of Transportation study.