Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Bicycle Infrastructure

Sign of the Times: Protected Bike Lanes Pop Up in Lego Book

pfb logo 100x22

Michael Andersen blogs for The Green Lane Project, a PeopleForBikes program that helps U.S. cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets.

"Let me publish the textbooks of a nation and I care not who writes its songs or makes its laws," the 19th century entrepreneur D.C. Heath supposedly said.

The movement to spread protected bike lanes in the United States has done Heath one better.

Reader Amber Dallman alerted us to this book, Cool City, by independent Lego artist Sean Kenney:

Kenney has created several volumes of clever Lego design concepts. This one is, in the form of a 32-page idea book published in 2011, a paean to urban life -- complete with kids in cargo bikes:

Kenney, who lives and works in New York City, devotes one two-page spread to a parable about something many American adults struggle to understand, even though it's true: the best way to cut traffic congestion is often to reduce the number of travel lanes available to cars.

In addition to the protected bike lane and streetcar, notice the dedicated left-turn lane, pedestrian bumpouts and median refuge island. The only thing missing (as you can see from the potential cab-bike turning conflict) is a protected intersection.

The book also includes instructions or demonstrations for building a three-level underground subway station, a food cart, a bike parking staple, a traffic signal and a huge replica of the Chrysler Building. The last page includes one more protected bike lane and an appeal to the reader:

Good question, Sean. We're eager to watch the next generation of urban Americans answer it.

This might be an appropriate place to observe that Cool City sells for $13 and that the holiday season is coming right up. Keep building, everybody.

You can follow The Green Lane Project on Twitter or Facebook or sign up for its weekly news digest about protected bike lanes.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Survey: Most Drivers Want Their Cars To Alert Them When They Hit Deadly Speeds

Turns out, not everyone thinks driving 100 miles an hour anywhere they wish is an inalienable American freedom.

June 12, 2024

Why Traffic Engineers Learn Almost Nothing About Traffic Safety In School

Shocking as it may seem, civil engineering programs do not need to offer any transportation-specific courses. Here's why that's bad news.

June 12, 2024

Calif. Cities Block Off Streets for Rich Neighborhoods, Not for Bike/Walk Safety

Cities know street closures work to divert and calm car traffic, they shouldn't be shy about using diverters/closures for prioritizing the safety and convenience of people getting around on foot and on bike.

June 11, 2024

‘Talking Headways’ Special: Let’s Understand This Congestion Pricing Debacle

Why did New York Gov. Kathy Hochul kill the first-in-the-nation toll? We talk to a New York-based transit expert to see what is going on?

June 11, 2024
See all posts