Nothin’ But Green Lights

The city of Copenhagen is putting in a system to let cyclists get continual green lights through the city, without stopping at red lights.

“My ambition is to turn Copenhagen into the best bicycle capital in the World. An obvious step is to regulate traffic to the benefit of the Copenhagen cyclists,” says Technical and Environmental Mayor of Copenhagen, Klaus Bondam.

Klaus — come visit Portland!! (And while you’re here, explain what a “Technical and Environmental Mayor” is, won’t you?)

Even though PDX is one of the best cycling cities in the country, there are still plenty of areas that suck to ride. And plenty of places where I wait for ages at lights and press crosswalk signals to cross busy streets, because if I sit on the road, the light won’t change for me.

Yet despite heroic efforts by bike advocates, academics and politicians, we still have to deal with dipsh!ts like this:

“Bike trips are, mainly, recreational,” asserts Mel Zucker, director of the nonprofit Oregon Transportation Institute. “If the city wants to add bike lanes, the funds should come from (Portland) Parks & Recreation, not the state or federal transportation funds derived from auto and truck users.”

Now, Mel is probably only pontificating without any clue what he’s talking about because he’s one of those “critics” that a journalist needs to fill out the other half of the he said/she said story so that it’s “balanced.” (I’ll stop “quoting” now. Drives me nuts, too.) Nonetheless, there are a whole bunch of bike commuters in this city, which is abundantly obvious if you commute like I do.

The solution is obvious to any cyclist, and probably most motorists: separate the two. The cyclists will be safer, more people will ride, and they’ll have healthier lungs. (This article is worth a whole other blog entry, in fact. Coming soon, I hope.)

So here’s one more vote for bike boulevards. And one more person hoping our cities go the way of Copenhagen and not Boston.


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