Posted by Michael McGoldrick, Fri Aug 19 2011 at 12:55 pm
Should Ottawa be spending more on cycling?
The logic behind this thinking is that spending on cycling infrastructure is one of the least expensive ways for cities to reduce traffic congestion and expand their transportation capacity (not to mention the health and environmental benefits of getting more people on their bikes). This point was driven home recently by comments made by the Mayor of Portland, Oregon, in a video to promote cycling. What the mayor said was that his city's bicycle infrastructure was put in place for the "cost of a single mile of freeway".
The full implications of the mayor said comes into focus when one considers that Portland's cycling infrastructure has made it the bicycle capital of the US, and that it boast the highest rate of bicycle commuters in North America. Close to 6% of Portlanders commute to work on bikes, compared to a little over 2% in Ottawa. Amazingly, Portland only started to spend money on its cycling infrastructure in 1993, and its rapid ascend to become the premier bicycling city in the US happened in the last 17 years. All this for only the cost of one mile of freeway.
It's interesting to note that the mayor's claim that Portland's bicycle infrastructure was put in place for the cost of single mile of freeway caught the attention of at least one journalist. He looked into the matter, and after doing thorough review of the cost and expenditures involved, concluded the mayor's statement was "mostly true".
For more details:
(reposted from old News-Blog - 03/22/11 )
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