Unexpected Cities Are Building Protected Bike Lanes

It is common practice for city officials to visit other US Cities as well as International ones for the opportunity to tour innovative infrastructure. This is exactly what KCMO officials did during the early planning stages of the downtown streetcar. Several members of the city staff and city council travelled to Portland, OR and Seville, Spain to learn more about streetcars in those cities.

Here at BikeWalkKC we have long agreed that seeing is believing for active transportation infrastructure as well. Not coincidentally Portland and Seville are not only fantastic streetcar cities but are also models for biking infrastructure. However, innovative bicycle infrastructure, at least by Kansas City standards, is taking shape in places much closer to home.

The Indy Cultural Trail is a 6.5 mile, Dutch-style protected bike lane in downtown Indianapolis. Indy has installed 10.5 miles of protected bike lanes in under four years. Image Credit: Indianapolis Star

Indianapolis is home to several miles of protected bike lanes including the Indianapolis Cultural trail, which is perhaps the best example of a Dutch-style cycletrack in the U.S. They now lay claim to a protected bike lane network totaling 10.5 miles.

St. Louis recently completed a 1.1 mile protected bike lane that passes within blocks of Busch Stadium, Union Station, and the Scottrade Center. More are slated for completion early next year. Manhattan (the college town in Kansas, not the borough in NYC) installed a short segment of protected bike lane in 2014.

This two-way protected bike lane is headed to Lincoln, NE. It has already encouraged $75million in new development and it’s not even built yet. Image Credit: People for Bikes

Soon, Wichita, KS and Lincoln, NE will also join the ever-growing list of cities with protected bike lanes with construction planned later this year. Lincoln’s planned facility made headlines last year when the bike lane’s announcement helped spawn two large mixed-use developments totaling $75 million in private investment.

Cincinnati’s first protected bike lane was installed in 2014 and runs parallel to the city’s future streetcar. Image credit: UrbanCincy.com

Cincinnati, another Midwestern locale building a modern streetcar, installed its first protected bike lane in 2014 just ahead of streetcar completion. The 2.2 mile route on Central Parkway parallels the soon-t0-be streetcar route connecting downtown to the historic Over the Rhine neighborhood.

There is no longer a need to travel to Amsterdam to see great facilities or even Boulder, Portland, or Davis, CA for that matter. And although the nearby city of Chicago has built 19 miles of protected bike lanes since 2012 (and plans for 30 more soon), there are other nearby bike-friendly cities closer in size. Here are a few more inland American cities with protected bike lanes (click here for a complete U.S. inventory):

  • Minneapolis
  • Akron
  • Detroit
  • Nashville
  • Memphis
  • Austin
  • Milwaukee

But, the silver lining to being in a city with minimal bicycle infrastructure is that a fact-finding trip to Wichita won’t cost much money.

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