Post-Sprawl cycling

Houston cycle way
The protected bike lane on Lamar Street, Houston

One of the reasons I love advocating for cycling is that all the real world data and evidence so strongly supports what a great way cycling is to get around a city. Not only does it benefit the rider but also everyone else in the city and the urban environment.

So strong is this evidence that even cities that are notorious for sprawl and auto dependence are starting the first small steps to getting people out of their SUVs and on to two wheels.

Perhaps no other city has exemplified the sprawl/auto dependent model better than Houston, Texas. Yet even now that city is installing its first fully separated cycle way – similar to what Aucklanders are already enjoying on Beach Road. This protected bike lane replaced a lane of parking – something that Auckland needs to do a lot more of on arterial roads.

The only other city that could rival Houston for its dedication to automobile travel and sprawl is Atlanta.

However, this article talks about how cycling in Atlanta is booming – albeit from a very low starting point.

In fact, “[between 2000 and 2009, Atlanta (the city, not the metro area) registered the country’s highest increase in bike commuting.” And that was before the initial sections of the BeltLine opened, which provides a beautiful and popular bike facility for residents of Atlanta.

This increase in cycling is allied with a boom in downtown apartments in Atlanta which is allowing more people to choose a car-lite, bike-heavy lifestyle.

So don’t worry Aucklanders, we are not alone in wanting a city that welcomes all the health and economic benefits of cycling, as well a s something that will put a smile on your dial in the morning.


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