SHIFTING GEARS: 10 best new U.S. bike lanes – is one in your town? Fresno?

A.K. Streeter (@april2462)
Transportation / Bikes
December 18, 2014

No city has done what New York City has done in the last five years in terms of adding new bike lanes to the streets – it’s considered America’s No. 1 biking city by Bicycling Magazine. But lo and behold, 2014 was a year in which many unexpected U.S. cities did some major bike lane construction of their own. Temple City, anyone?

According to People for Bikes,

“This was the year that saw protected lanes pop up in Tempe, Arizona; in Athens, Georgia; in Pentagon City, Virginia. Last year, half of the new mileage of protected bike lanes nationwide was in the Green Lane Project’s six focus cities. This year, protected bike lanes grew twice as fast, and our six focus cities accounted for less than a quarter of the new growth.”

Here is Green Lane project editor Michael Andersen’s pick of the 10 best new U.S. bike lanes:

1) Polk Street, San Francisco
2) 2nd Avenue, Seattle
3) Riverside Drive, Memphis
4) Rosemead Boulevard, Temple City
5) Furness Drive, Austin
6) Broadway, Seattle
7) SW Multnomah Boulevard, Portland
8) Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh
9) King Street, Honolulu
10) Broadway, Chicago
11) Fresno? Why not?

Many of these bike ‘lanes’ are actually what some people call ‘cycle tracks’ because they are for some portion of their length protected from traffic by a physical divider. The Green Lane project prefers the term ‘protected bike lane’ as the most encompassing.

Meanwhile, cities in Canada have been even more proactive than the U.S. in building protected bike lanes, according to Andersen. Toronto and Vancouver are building bike lanes, and cities such as Calgary are getting their first protected bike lanes.

What this means for cyclists is that though bike-to-car interactions can still be tense, there are more reasons than ever to take to biking for a portion of transportation needs! Even if it’s not a daily commute, figuring out how to use a bicycle can decrease stress and increase joy in the everyday. And in fact, the upswing of protected bike lanes make everyone safer, according to this 2014 NYC Department of Transportation study.


14 areas in 6 states out of compliance with fine-particle limit — EPA

14 areas in 6 states out of compliance with fine-particle limit — EPA
Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter
Published: Thursday, December 18, 2014

U.S. EPA today designated 14 areas in six states as out of compliance with the standard for fine particulate matter, a classification that triggers pollution control plans under the Clean Air Act.

In a final decision posted this afternoon, the agency said air monitoring data from 2011 to 2013 show that those areas are contributing to a violation of the standard. The decision finalizes a proposal from August.

The nonattainment areas are in California, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania. They include areas with persistent air quality problems, including California’s San Joaquin Valley and the Cincinnati and Cleveland metropolitan areas.

Fine particulate matter refers to airborne particles that are about one-thirtieth the width of a human hair. They are linked to adverse health effects such as lung problems.

In 2012, EPA tightened the limit from 15 micrograms per cubic meter to 12 micrograms per cubic meter, based on information about health effects. The tougher standard was praised by health advocates and criticized by industry groups that had wanted EPA to keep the 15-microgram standard.

The designation decisions will become final 90 days after publication in the Federal Register. Under the Clean Air Act, states with nonattainment areas will be required to come up with “state implementation plans” to lower particle pollution to within the standard.

EPA today also deferred designation decisions on several areas because of data quality issues. Those deferrals encompass eight areas in Georgia that also include parts of South Carolina and Alabama, the entire state of Tennessee except three counties, and the entire state of Florida.

The agency said that it expects additional monitoring data collected this year to help it make decisions on all the areas except for Florida. In Florida, EPA said it discovered data quality issues that will require more time to evaluate.

EPA is naming all other areas of the country either “in attainment” or “unclassifiable.”

The agency named the entire state of Illinois, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as parts of Indiana and Missouri, as unclassifiable due to quality assurance issues at four laboratories run by states and local agencies that process particulate matter data.

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