Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Encouraging Bike Commute
After three miles on that street, I enter the riverfront bike path. Most of my commute is along this path, which winds along the Willamette river for miles on either side. This path connects the two cities of Eugene and Springfield.
Five miles down the bike path, I turn north onto a series of low-traffic streets with designated bike lanes. A new roundabout on one of the streets has a terrific bike accommodation to make it safer for cyclists. Eventually I end up on a new bike path that parallels I-5, and crossing over the freeway on a new cycling-only suspension bridge. This is one of two bike-and-pedestrian-only bridges that I cross on my commute. Our city has invested heavily in making sure cyclists and pedestrians can cross rivers and freeways easily and safely, and this makes my commute much more enjoyable.
The last part of my commute is about one mile on a high traffic street. It's the least enjoyable bit of the whole trip, but I have a good bike lane to travel in, and all of the drivers so far have been exceedingly courteous, yielding to me even when they have the right of way.
All in all, you can see how over the years the accommodations that my city has put into place to make cycling safer, easier, and more convenient have all added up to make it possible for me to commute to my job by bike. All of these changes did not occur overnight, or even in the same decade. It might be a bike lane here, a path there, a bridge here, a traffic change there. But when a city commits to making cycling a priority, you eventually end up with a network of paths, lanes, and streets that make commuting by bike an option that more and more people will choose. And that's to all of our benefit.