Re-Cycling the Roads: New Developments in Bicycle Infrastructure in the US and China
Throughout US cities, more and more people are turning to bicycles for their transportation needs. San Francisco alone saw a nearly 60% increase in bicyclists from 2006 to 2010. In turn, bicycle infrastructure projects have become one of the most promising and active areas of transportation development as they are more cheaply quickly implemented than light rail and subway projects.
Meanwhile, Chinese cities'which until recently conjured images of streets packed with bicycles 'are seeing explosive growth in personal automobiles and multi-week traffic jams, including a 62-mile long traffic jam that lasted nearly two weeks in August 2010. Despite this, there are continued pushes for expanded bicycle use, with by far the largest bicycle sharing program in the world located in Hangzhou and plans to further develop bicycle infrastructure in municipalities across the nation.
How meaningfully can bikes as a transportation option reduce urban air pollution and traffic congestion? What can be learned from the successes and failures of bicycle infrastructure projects in China and the US, and can successes in the one "travel" to the other? How can activists, urban planners, and city officials work together to create livable, viable, and green urban environments?
Timothy Papandreou is the Deputy Director of the Sustainable Streets Initiative at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA).
Colin Hughes is an independent urban planning consultant working primarily with the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy and the Asian Development Bank. His clients over the past two years have included various UN agencies, the City of Guangzhou, and BART.
Co-organized by chinadialogue