The Chainlink

So exactly which American cities are bike friendly? The Huffington Post identifies the usual suspects: Portland, Minneapolis, Boulder, and Davis. The East Atlanta Patch can’t get enough of the Big Peach’s Open Streets. The Cleveland Plain Dealer is cautiously optimistic about the future. Closer to home, Arlington Heights considers a Complete Streets policy with a bike rack ordinance. But across the lake, Michigan Live asks how safe it is to ride across Detroit while the Star wonders why Indy’s national ranking plummeted from 19 to 30 ... in one year. And here in the City of the Big Shoulders? Copenhagenize rains on our parade with its 2012 Index of Bicycle Friendly Cities. What's up with that?

Views: 806

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I'm going to put my hands up for Detroit (sorry, that was bad....) Big roads with big shoulders, light traffic, non-hostile-to-friendly drivers (I once had someone pull over and apologize for inadvertently cutting me off on E. Jefferson), friendly cycling culture, friendly people. Detroit has its shady neighborhoods (I wouldn't hang around Gratiot & 6 Mile at night) but so does Chicago, and Detroit doesn't have the kind of gang presence that Chicago does. Also, like Chicago, it's flat. And it even has bike lanes, thanks to people like Todd Scott.

As Detroit Greenways Coordinator, how have the city's budget problems affected his programs?

David P. said:

I'm going to put my hands up for Detroit ... it even has bike lanes, thanks to people like Todd Scott.

Minneapolis I've heard is bike friendly but they have colder temps. and worse weather than here.

Detroit is very easy to ride in with giant roads and little to no traffic and downtown to New Center is rather vibrant and the big suburbs, Royal Oak, Rochester, Birmingham are relatively easy to ride in too. The problem is the Detroit metro being spread out over 3 counties with no mass transit.

Whenever I go back to Detroit, I often wonder about biking in the city.  I can see the pluses mentioned above, but I'm more concerned with general pavement conditions and street cleaning.  One spot that always stuck out to me is a section of Michigan Ave around Corktown that has new pavement and bike lanes for a brief stretch, but then it goes right into segments of brick street, the worst for biking.  I think its kind of hit or miss when comes to good biking conditions in the city.  And I just would't feel safe on most of the suburban thoroughfares.  Traffic is too fast and most people aren't accustomed to bikes on the streets.  I can't distinctly recall seeing cyclists on the streets there.

On the website that the link above points to, it says "The Copenhagenize Index Still Needs You!" to help with compiling the index, and then there's also a link that says "sign up here."

Did we just forget to sign up??

I don't know the details of exactly who & where MTGA gets its money from, but I'm almost certain they receive it from a variety of state agencies, perhaps some federal ones, and probably also some local contributions. You'd have to ask him for a real answer.

globalguy said:

As Detroit Greenways Coordinator, how have the city's budget problems affected his programs?

David P. said:

I'm going to put my hands up for Detroit ... it even has bike lanes, thanks to people like Todd Scott.

In my experience pavement conditions have been pretty good; certainly no worse than what I encounter in Chicago every day, which includes a regular supply of really garbage pavement. I've never found the brick section of Michigan Ave. through Corktown difficult, but I do ride on relatively wide and supple (I just love saying the word 'supple') tires. There's always the asphalted center turn lane (where the streetcar tracks used to be) if you don't like the brick. As far as suburbs go, I've mostly ridden in ca. Ferndale and Royal Oak to the north, Livonia and Dearborn to the west, and the Grosse Pointes and HW, SCS, etc. on the east side. All of those areas are perfectly fine or even quite nice to ride around. Macomb Co. on the other hand, is generally pretty crap. 



JeffB (7+ miles) said:

Whenever I go back to Detroit, I often wonder about biking in the city.  I can see the pluses mentioned above, but I'm more concerned with general pavement conditions and street cleaning.  One spot that always stuck out to me is a section of Michigan Ave around Corktown that has new pavement and bike lanes for a brief stretch, but then it goes right into segments of brick street, the worst for biking.  I think its kind of hit or miss when comes to good biking conditions in the city.  And I just would't feel safe on most of the suburban thoroughfares.  Traffic is too fast and most people aren't accustomed to bikes on the streets.  I can't distinctly recall seeing cyclists on the streets there.

http://money.cnn.com/gallery/real_estate/2013/01/23/dangerous-citie...

And like I said there's no way to get from the city to the Suburbs outside of The Woodward ave. bus the downtowns are nice to ride in but the mile roads are narrow and yes the speeds are high the equivalent of riding on Sheridan, Broadway, North ave. or Western.

I mean if you can eek out a life in the 3 mile radius that is downtown Detroit, Wayne state or New Center fine but try riding through Highland Park or up Gratiot it makes Garfield park or Lawndale here look like a picnic.

That's the exact same thought I have regarding Minneapolis. There are lovely parks and lakes and winding bike paths that link them. But the low temperatures and snow fall, compared to Chicago, make the place a lot less bike friendly in my book.

As for Portland, yes, it's quintessential bike friendliness--a deep-reaching ethos that begins with very much on drivers' and bikers' visceral expectations of how the road is shared. 

Mike Zumwalt said:

Minneapolis I've heard is bike friendly but they have colder temps. and worse weather than here.

Detroit is very easy to ride in with giant roads and little to no traffic and downtown to New Center is rather vibrant and the big suburbs, Royal Oak, Rochester, Birmingham are relatively easy to ride in too. The problem is the Detroit metro being spread out over 3 counties with no mass transit.

I find it odd that Texas has bike friendly cities. Austin I can understand but Houston, Dallas, San Antonio?

Houston has some of the worst air pollution and brutal temps. in the summer.

The 2012 Copenhagenize Index has not yet been released, as far as I know. I volunteered in December to help evaluate Chicago for the newest version, and know others did as well, so they definitely have input from our fair city. I'm looking forward to seeing the new 2012 ratings when the project is completed.

Well to back up Copenhagenize (2011 at least), it sucks to ride here.

I took a bike with me on a rock tour around a decent chunk of the nation a few years ago and I would say that, among other places, Portland, Seattle, Austin, Philadelphia, San Fran, San Diego, Boston, even parts of Houston, all struck me as nicer and more relaxing places to ride than here. Admittedly I have a lot more experience here/things to complain about, but pretty much every single day my life is threatened to some noticeable degree (beyond the mere fact that I am riding) on any trip longer than about a mile and if you think that is just normal, I'm here to say it's not.

The streets are awful, Milwaukee is the dangerous superhighway of north side biking with doorings and right-turnings and right-passings always ready to kill you, theft is a major issue, the weather stinks for about 6-8 months out of the year. It's better now than several years ago, but this place has a very, very long way to go before horns should be blown.

And a lot of it is not just infrastructure, it's culture. The drivers are just more fucked here. Of Texas, I lived there for most of my life before this, still visit fairly often and have cycled there intermittently over the last decade. There have been MAJOR improvements down there, especially in Austin, but even in Houston (can't say about Dallas, SA). Even in pretty crazy fast driving roads without proper bike lanes, most people really take pause and realize you are a very vulnerable human out there on your bike and give a wide berth, slow down, etc. Here each day people buzz me going 40 such that their side mirrors occasionally smack me in the hand or I could literally touch someones face with out outstretched hand as they passed me if it wouldn't chop my arm off. It's totally insane. No forward looking commissioner can really do much about that, it would take a sustained period of really punitive laws, actually enforced, to change this culture of indifference. (That would certainly cause plenty of hostility...and the behavior of many cyclists only escalates the extant hostility towards us.) Anyway, I do not see this happening in a city where it's everyone's god given right to claim a chunk of street for their car for a week or more because they shoveled the snow from around it, and we couldn't ever have a decent mayoral candidate without multi-millionaires from California raining down millions to ensure we get someone like Rahm yet again.

This ends my parade-raining. I ride a lot in Chicago, but I can't pretend it is a great place to ride.

RSS

© 2008-2016   The Chainlink Community, L.L.C.   Powered by

Disclaimer  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service