How to design bike lanes that make a city more like itself (video)

May 19, 2014

Michael Andersen, Green Lane Project staff writer

Here's a little-known video that deserves a place just below How the Dutch Got Their Cycle Paths, Junction Design the Dutch Way, The Metamorphosis of NYC Streets and Hal Grades Your Bike Locking in the canon of videos that livable-streets lovers should take a few minutes to watch.

It's part of Green Lane Project Program Manager Zach Vanderkooy's preparation guide for people attending the study tours he leads to the world's best biking cities, and it's remarkable because it describes an unusual way to measure the success of a city.

Forget, for the moment, dollars per mile, trips per day, fatalities per year, joules per second and kilotons per capita. Instead, ask this:

What is the effect on your life of interacting with other human beings? And what sorts of urban spaces create those interactions?

Those are the abstract, provocative questions raised by this video, which grew out of a 2013 master's thesis by Seattle-based landscape architecture student Peter Cromwell. He uses animations, annotated footage and a short interview to make a brief, compelling case for designing bike infrastructure, both on-street lanes and off-street paths, that lets us act like the social animals we are.

The Green Lane Project is a PeopleForBikes program that helps U.S. cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets. You can follow us on Twitter or Facebook or sign up for our weekly news digest about protected bike lanes. Story tip? Write michael@peopleforbikes.org.

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