Nick Falbo, an urban planner in Portland, Ore., wants U.S. engineers to borrow a trick from their Dutch counterparts to make intersections safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. The idea is simple: Keep the bike lanes on the curb side of parked cars, and then add an island in front of the parking lane in the intersection so that turning cars are forced to give cyclists a little more space. This design does not require widening the road or eliminating car lanes if a bike lane is already present. It’s just more efficient. The patches of snow on street corners in eastern U.S. cities this week — which are known among planners and transit geeks as “sneckdowns” — reveal just how much of the road goes to waste.
In Dutch cities, as many as seven in 10 trips are taken by bicycle, but accommodating so much bike traffic requires careful planning. Kolkata recently banned cycling on many city streets with the the desperate hope of relieving congestion, a measure that might well prove counterproductive. Click below for links to research on bike-friendly planning.