The Green Lane Project was a five-year PeopleForBikes program helping cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets. We focused on protected bike lanes, which are on-street lanes separated from traffic by curbs, planters, parked cars, or posts.
We worked closely with leading U.S. cities to speed the installation of these lanes around the country. In the first two years of the project (2012 and 2013), we worked with Austin, TX, Chicago, IL, Memphis, IL, Portland, OR, San Francisco, CA and Washington, DC. In March of 2014, we selected six new cities: Atlanta, GA, Boston, MA, Denver, CO, Indianapolis, IN, Pittsburgh, PA and Seattle, WA.
Protected bike lanes are part of a connected system for biking around town, which is an essential ingredient of a great place to live and work. They are a simple tool to transform city streets into places where more people feel comfortable riding a bike, making it easier to get around, save money, and live an active life.
While protected bike lanes have worked well in places like Denmark and the Netherlands for many decades, they have only recently arrived on U.S. shores. Between 1874 and 2011, only 78 of these facilities were built nationwide, most of them decades ago. Starting in 2011, however, this number began doubling every 26 months. By mid-2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation had officially endorsed the designs. By the next year, they were on the ground in more than 35 states and more than 100 cities.
Protected bike lanes bring predictability and order to busy streets: drivers like knowing where to expect riders, and pedestrians report fewer bikes on the sidewalk. Protected lanes also add vitality and energy to the street, attracting new businesses and helping create a community people want to be in, not just move through.
The Green Lane Project told the story of protected lanes' successes, hosted hands-on workshops and study tours for city leaders, provided technical and strategic assistance, and delivered targeted grants designed to get protected bike lanes on the ground. The mission finished successfully in 2016 and we advanced our work to the logical next step: helping cities connect seamless networks of protected bike lanes, neighborhood greenways and off-street paths. This work is part of PlacesForBikes and in particular the Big Jump Project.
Top photo: Denver Transportation Director Crissy Fanganello, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard at a Green Lane Project event in 2014. Bottom: 15th Street NW, Washington DC.