Ten lessons from the great cycling cities came out last month. It is a nice distillation of 10 things a city needs to do. Interestingly, matters squarely within the domain of city planning appeared only once: “infrastructure” was the first issue listed, but it is the only factor that really addressed fundamental issues that make cycling viable in these “great cities.” One cannot disagree that the other 9 factors play a role (and they are rolled out well), but there are three points distinctly missing or errant from the list:
- land use: higher densities (compared to the US) in all of these places make cycling viable. Without attention to drawing origins and destinations closer together, none of those cities would have the rates of cycling they have.
- notwithstanding the point above (only one thing for planners to do), there was a bit too much emphasis on the need for separate infrastructure. Paths are nice. Preferred traffic signals are great. But, there is also a need to respect and plan for the basic fact that most corridors and intersections will be shared with motorists. We need to do more with less in the short term.
- education and exposure for the young.
…or maybe I have it mostly wrong: cycling in cities is less about city planning efforts and more about “selling it” from a PR standpoint.