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The $600 Protected Bike Lane

10:53 AM EST on February 3, 2014

The first step to creating safer, more inclusive streets is to question the wisdom and permanence of the way things are. Here's how folks in Minneapolis are helping people make that mental leap.

The above video shows footage of the "pop-up" protected bike lane created by a community group called Bikeways for Everyone during a recent open streets event. The design employed makeshift planters and green paint to give folks the experience of riding on this type of bike infrastructure.

Michael Andersen at People for Bikes explains how it helps make the case for permanent infrastructure:

As you can see in the video above, a volunteer simply flagged passers-by into the "pop-up" protected bike lane.

Andrew Kuncel, who organized the demonstration, called the one-block demo a "gold mine" for building the new coalition's list of public supporters.

"When they get to the end, you can basically get them to sign any type of petition," Kuncel said. "It just makes sense."

Kuncel said the whole operation cost about $600 for materials, though he suggested that other groups should try something lighter than plywood. The assembly took 10 people in a three-hour build session, and on the day of each event Kuncel rented a truck to haul them to the target location and set them up over the course of 100 to 250 feet.

The Reno Rambler has seen the video and thinks it would be a good demonstration in his city:

I've seen these in the news for a few years now and wondered about the idea. I'm curious what would happen if the [Regional Transportation Commission] here in Reno did an experiment in MidTown along Virginia for one week to see what the response was like from the cycling community, the business owners, and the drivers? I can imagine kicking it off with a big bike event that hits a handful of the businesses in that growing retail district.

Elsewhere on the Network today: This Big City explains Kansas City's attempt to crowdfund a bike-share expansion. World Streets goes into the details the Estonian capital Tallinn's experiment with free transit. And Urban Cincy announces that this summer the city will launch the first phase of a new bike-share system.

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