Several Ideas that matter to cyclists made the New York Times list of Best Ideas of 2009. This includes Bicycle Highways:
The bicycle highway — no red lights, no cars — is every cyclist's fantasy. There are now signs that infrastructure is catching up with the dream. In October 2008, an association of U.S. state-highway officials approved the concept of a national Bicycle Routes Corridor Plan — the first step in potential American bike Interstates. But this amounts to little more than a go-ahead for states to put bike-route signs on existing roads.
Copenhagen, however, began last month to create the real thing: a system of as many as 15 extra-wide, segregated bike routes connecting the suburbs to the center of the city. These are not bucolic touring paths; Copenhagen's bike highways are meant to move traffic. Nearly 40 percent of Copenhagen rides a bike to work. On Norrebrogade, a two-mile street in the center of the city, 36,000 cyclists clog the bike lane every day.
Unfortunately, it turns out that the sweet silence of 21st-century technology has a serious downside: pedestrians and bicyclists are less likely to hear hybrids and electric cars coming their way and are more likely to be clipped or run over.
Data derived from thousands of accidents revealed that there was no difference between hybrids and conventional vehicles on straightaways. But at intersections, interchanges, parking lots and other places where cars traveled at slow speeds, hybrids proved far more hazardous, with pedestrians and bicyclists getting hit at up to twice the normal rate.
And, of course, Virginia's cul-de-sac ban:
"There are pros and cons," says Kaid Benfield, the director of the Smart Growth Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "Residents like walkability and they like not having to be forced onto an arterial road where the traffic jam is. On the other hand, there is a sentiment out there that cul-de-sacs are safe" — though Benfield says research actually shows fewer traffic fatalities occur on connected roads.
So, in reality, there are pros and perceived, but inaccurate, cons.
Rails to Trails' Western Regional Office just released the California Rails-with-Trails Survey, adding new evidence that trails along active rail corridors are safe and feasible. Silver Spring Trails brings it into context for the CCT/Purple Line. By my count, the CCT/Purple Line combo would become the third rail with trail within the beltway. Quick, name the other two...