Transportation

How Suburbs Can Accommodate Cyclists

By Ryan McGreal
Published September 22, 2006

An article on Oregon Live asks whether car-oriented suburbs can change gears and accommodate cyclists.

Predictably, it starts with the improbable cyclist braving a car-clogged highway, describing himself as "crazy" to commute by bicycle, and then delves into why most suburban dwellers drive everywhere.

However, it also touches on what has to change to encourage more people to consider using their bikes.

Most of these problems flow out of the heirarchial structure of suburban street plans. At the very least, a city that takes cycling seriously needs to stop building suburbs that are mazes of windy lanes and culs-de-sac, or else insist that multi-use paths provide shortcuts so cyclists can bypass those long loops to nowhere.

That's easiest to accomplish in subdivisions that haven't been built yet, but existing developments must also be retrofitted to accommodate cyclists to produce the connectivity that's essential to a viable bicycle infrastructure.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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