Í borginni Greenville er unnið eftir hjólreiðaáætlun og þau hafa uppgvötvað það því fylgir efnahagslegur ávinningur og "grænt" orðspor laðar að fyrirtæki. Borgin hefur hlotið brons viðurkenningu Amerísku landssamtaka hjólreiðamanna og stefnir á enn betri einkun sem hjólavæn borg. Nýlega samþykkti borgarstjórn Reykjavíkur hjólreiðaáætlun með háleit markmið og hver veit nema í framhaldinu verði viðsnúningur í aðstæðum til hjólreiða í Reykjavík.
Ride this way, city suggests
Council pitches pedal power, master plan
By Charles Sowell
FEBRUARY 14, 2010 10:10 a.m. (0)
Greenville is discovering the economic value in promoting things like bicycling and alternative means of transportation far outweigh the costs.
The city’s growing “green” reputation for things like bike lanes and its sterling downtown have been key selling points in luring companies like energy-efficient bus maker Proterra, said Greenville city Councilwoman Amy Ryberg Doyle.
That’s one of the reasons Ryberg Doyle pitches the city’s nascent bicycle master plan at every opportunity.
It doesn’t hurt that she’s a marathon runner who chalks up about 70 miles a week on the city’s streets. It gives her something of a unique perspective on issues related to means of transportation other than a car, or pickup truck.
“When people feel safe on the sidewalks you start to see the moms out pushing their baby strollers,” Ryberg Doyle said. “Bike lanes help pedestrians feel safer by putting a little more distance between them and moving traffic.”
City planners hope to knit the city together over the coming years with a system of bike lanes, trails and footpaths that will give most residents easy access to the city’s best features without having to fire up a car’s internal combustion engine.
Lots of money gets spent every year on the marquee projects like the Swamp Rabbit Trail and the project is a key part of the city’s overall push toward connectivity.
But Andrew Meeker, the city’s urban planner, said it is often possible to convert a city street into a far more bicycle and pedestrian friendly thoroughfare by simply moving paint.
It costs about .50 cents per linear foot, Meeker said.
“Spring Street between McBee and East North is a classic example,” Meeker said.
The city repaved the street last year, but before the first layer of asphalt was laid city planners found that by taking out two of the street’s four lanes dozens of parking spots could be created and bike lanes added.
All this was accomplished without impeding traffic flow, Meeker said, or costing a lot of money, “Other than the paint.”
The city has allocated $45,000 a year for bicycle lane creation, said Dana Souza, the city’s parks and recreation director.
To be sure the city’s ambitious bike lane plan takes cooperation from state highway department officials for projects to work. Many city streets are actually state highways and require DOT approval before lanes can be taken out.
DOT officials have been very supportive of the city’s plans, Souza said.
Work on the bicycle master plan should get underway by spring, Meeker said, and city officials hope to have a plan ready for presentation to council by fall of this year.
“We’ve already come a long way,” said Meeker, who rides his own bike to work at City Hall most days. “We’ve put bike racks all over downtown and at many public venues. There are bicycle racks on the front of city buses so that bike riders can pedal to the bus stop and then ride on to their destination.”
Just last year the League of American Bicyclists ranked Greenville as a Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) and awarded the city a bronze designation.
That rating is largely based on the city’s engineering efforts, according to the league’s web site.
“We’ve got a long way to go in many regards,” Meeker said. “South Carolina still has far too many accidents with bicyclists.”
Meeker wants to see the city improve its BFC rating from bronze to silver over the next few years.
According to the league Greenville, Spartanburg and Columbia are all rated as bronze cities. In the South, only Austin, Tex., Gainesville, Fla., and Arlington Va., are ranked higher than Greenville with a silver rating.
The league’s highest designations, gold and platinum, are clustered in Western states.