Photo: Chris Hill1. The good
2011 may go down as the year Americans rekindled their love affair with the bicycle. And nowhere is the romance as hot and heavy as in New York City, where transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan has overseen the addition of over 250 miles of bike lanes and pedestrian walkways since 2007, and has worked to implement a bikeshare program that will launch next summer. Sadik-Khan has some pretty wacky ideas (using haiku to improve street safety, for example) but she’s getting results: The city’s bike commuters have doubled in four years.
New York stole the spotlight, but Minneapolis took home the trophy, dethroning Portland, Ore., last year as the bikingest city in the nation, according to Bicycling magazine. In Minneapolis, cyclists don’t need to share the roads. They have their own.
Other cities are getting off the sag wagon as well. L.A. has set out to create more than 1,600 miles of bike lanes. In Chicago, new transportation commissioner Gabe Klein (fresh in from Washington, D.C., where he helped mastermind the Capital Bikeshare program) is busy laying down 100 miles of protected lanes for cyclists — and making a splash among the Windy City’s fashionistas at the same time.
Not every city is so hip to the two-wheeled revolution, of course. In some places, citizens have had to paint their own lanes. (DIYers beware, this can land you in seriously hot water.) But rest assured that the revolution is coming soon — even if you live in “sneaky cool” Kansas. In Washington, officials have dusted off plans for an interstate highway system for bikes. Dreamy!