An update from the Green Lane Project
Hello city folks,
Wow. The interest in the Green Lane Project from cities across the country is really exciting. I’ve been having a lot of great conversations in recent days, and wanted to share the 3 questions and my responses.
1. Will the Green Lane Project cover travel costs to the Chicago kick-off and the study tours?
This one is easy. The answer is yes. We’ll make that more clear on our website.
2. What kind of cities will be selected?
This one is more complicated. I’m guessing that at least 50 cities will apply, and we will choose only six to be focus cities. We’re looking for a mix in size and geography. We’re also looking for another kind of mix.
A dozen or so U.S. cities are clear and acknowledged leaders in accommodating people on bikes. They have been out in front for years, and will continue to break new ground and figure things out. They have weathered ups and downs of support and continue to make progress. They have a clear vision on what they can accomplish in the next two years and the determination to make it happen. These cities are moving toward a tipping point where a robust network serves enough destinations and makes people feel comfortable enough that they will see a dramatic rise in bicycling in coming years. A jump in gas prices or other external force may be all that is needed. We want to work with some of these cities, as they show everyone else what can be accomplished.
There’s another kind of city that we want to work with too. It’s the “gosh, if that city can do it, we can too.” These cities are likely not widely known as leaders in accommodating bikes and may not have a robust network on the ground, but are ready to step up and make change. Leaders in these cities have decided that these projects are important enough to identify resources (both people and project funding) to make them happen. They will have plans to get projects on the ground in the next two years, and are willing to share their journey with the rest of us. It’s places where the visionaries have been working steadily and determinedly to reframe their city’s transportation approach and have succeeded. These cities can help show that providing space for people on bikes makes sense and is possible in all types of places.
3. My city is interested, but may not fit either of those definitions particularly well. Should I still apply?
I say yes, for four reasons:
1. First, the obvious. We’re very interested in learning what your city is working on as it’s possible you’ll be selected as one of the six Green Lane Project focus cities that will be part of an exciting, supportive partnership to provide U.S. models for installing innovative facilities.
2. Simply catalyzing the conversation within city leadership can be powerful. Identifying what can be accomplished and the resources to do it can provide momentum to the projects, even if the city isn’t selected as a focus city. The timeframe of the Green Lane Project can help move projects from being “on the list” to having a schedule for implementation.
3. The Green Lane Project applications will serve as a broad survey of the breadth and depth of interest in cycletracks. The number and diversity of cities working on these facilities will show that this country is embracing new solutions for our transportation challenges. This level of interest could translate into wider acceptance of the designs, help accelerate research projects, and might help rebut the assumption in the current House transportation bill that transportation really should just be about roads for cars.
4. You’ll be part of the club. All cities that apply will be considered “engaged” in the Green Lane Project. While the bulk of our resources are focused on helping our focus cities succeed and sharing their stories widely, we will provide a robust website for information and collaboration for our engaged cities. And the Green Lane Project will use the compelling plans of the engaged cities as the basis for foundation funding requests, as we’d love to find a way to further support the engaged cities.
Thanks for reading. Please let me know of other questions, and I’ll either answer directly or address them in future web posts. We’re setting up a Twitter account at @greenlaneproj so consider following us. We’re fleshing out other elements like the grants and research elements, so stay tuned.
It’s a huge honor to work on this project and share in the great momentum for building better cities with all of you.
Thanks for being part of it,
Director, Green Lane Project