Here’s Your Master Plan…..

As this video from CrankMyChain.com shows, in Copenhagen the coexistence between pedestrians, bikes, and automobiles is a thing of beauty.

It is, however, easy to romanticize Copenhagen. As the video notes, Copenhagen’s bicycle bliss is achieved in part through massive taxation on automobiles and gasoline–a fact noted unhappily by many of the Copenhageners we met there last summer. But where Danish government has forced its citizens onto bikes with taxes, in the United States, we’ve lured citizens away from trains and bicycles with subsidies to the petroleum and automobile industries. One wonders what kind of transportation mix would grow in a free market.

It’s also taken Copenhagen close to 100 years to develop its cycling infrastructure, so one wonders if American Master Plans might not need to take a similarly long-view. In Boulder, an American city notable for being bicycle-centric, we are slowly and relatively quietly developing an excellent system of bike paths which, like Copenhagen, separate bicycles from traffic and help make it safe for lots of people to ride. What we need now, though, are some ubiquitous commuter bikes like the ones they use all over Europe: cheap, light, and comfortable….



3 Comments

I spent a month in a Copenhagen hotel a few years back.  I was amazed at how bike-friendly that city is.  Most major roads have a slightly elevated, rather wide adjoining bike lane.  The craziest part - they had a snowblower specifically for the bike routes.  So cool.

Spain had the glorious promenades with bike lanes in both directions and lots of [folding bikes](http://bikehugger.com/2006/10/magnificent_streets_folding_bi.htm).

I’m struck by how mellow the cyclists and the peds are. No one is hammering through the crowd, insisting in being first at the intersections or aggressively passing every rider in view. Cyclists actually appear to slow down without waving fists. Pedestrians cross the street without rancor. It’s certainly a different culture than the individualist American culture. Not that it’s impossible to adopt here. It’s great to have such a high standard set and a longterm example to study and emulate where possible.

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