Thursday, May 12, 2011

Complete Streets: Learning from the Big Apple

Our friends at have just released a new video called, "Complete Streets: It's About More Than Bike Lanes." At 11 minutes, it's one of the longest to date produced by Streetfilms, which produces short web-based films about how to combine sustainable transportation design and policy to create more livable communities.

Set in New York City, the video makes a compelling case for significant improvements for accommodating pedestrians and bicycles in street design. The video highlights a variety of ways to make the streets complete, with new pedestrian islands, crosswalks, and dedicated bike and bus lanes all designed to make those modes of travel safer, more desirable, and more convenient than in the past. In most cases, the improvements had minimal or no impact on drivers' ability to navigate city traffic.

There are valuable lessons to be learned from this in Baltimore. Many of the ideas being successfully implemented in New York could have applicability here, and help connect and expand Baltimore’s network of 20-Minute Neighborhoods.

At our recent 20-Minute Neighborhood Workshop, we highlighted many of the elements shown in the Streetfilm video, such as "protected" bike lanes and "select" bus service, and began to explore how they could work here in Baltimore.

In the near future, we may see protected bike lanes start to appear on city streets along with other kinds of innovative enhancements that foster cycling and walkability. We also discussed how the new MTA Quickbus routes and City-operated Charm City Circulator could become a primary transit network if better integrated and marketed. If these kinds of changes are well-designed and promoted, they could play a key role in improving mobility choice and neighborhood revitalization in Greater Baltimore.

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