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Bikes Belong to Help Six Cities Build Protected Bikeways

1:29 PM EST on February 8, 2012

Six cities will adopt innovate street designs for safer cycling over the next two years as part of a new program from Bikes Belong.

The Green Lane Project will provide financial and technical assistance for cities to develop physically protected cycling infrastructure. The six to-be-determined cities will then serve as models for other American cities looking to incorporate street designs that make cycling appealing to residents of all ages.

A few major cities including New York and Washington DC have implemented protected bike lanes, but the designs are still "When a city is out on the front like this and they have a problem, it's not always clear where they go. We're trying to help those cities figure it out," said Green Lane Project Director Martha Roskowski. "So they don't have to go to Copenhagen to see how these things work."

Bikes Belong is looking for cities that have political support for creating world-class bike infrastructure, as well as a plan in place. The organization also wants to include three "emerging cities" outside the superstars like New York and Portland, Roskowski said.

"We're looking for six cities where they have elected officials that are on board with this," said said. "They've gone through some type of a planning process. They get it. They want to do these things."

Bike Belong sent out invitations to 33 cities that have fairly developed cycling transportation programs. Those include Houston, Memphis, Los Angeles and Columbus, Ohio, as well as San Francisco, according to Roskowski. But any city can apply, whether it was invited or not.

One city that has already been chosen is Chicago. The city's DOT chief, Gabe Klein, is serving as an adviser on the project, as is New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. Roskowski said Bikes Belong has not determined what New York City's role in the program will be, whether strictly as an adviser or as a participant.

The Green Lane Project will build on the work done by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) to create a design guide for a new generation of cycling infrastructure. The Bikes Belong Foundation will be focusing most of its resources on the six chosen cities over the next two years, Roskowski said. They hope the results will be instructive to cities everywhere.

"We're focusing on putting resources into six cities," said Roskowski, "the other half is trying to capture what's happening and share it with all the other cities."

Applications for the program are due by March 9.

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