Bicycle Lanes are Really Cheap

It’s easy to forget just how much cheaper building bicycle infrastructure is than roadways and public transit.

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Writing about the cash available to states for pedestrian and cycling infrastructure investments in my last point made me think about a recent post up on Bike Portland that shows just how cheap it is to build out a comprehensive bicycle network. Portland only spends 0.7% of its transportation budget on bicycle improvements and with that paltry sum it has grown the highest bicycle mode share in the country of 6.4%, a figure that’s set to keep rising. Now, the city is in the process of finalizing a new Bicycle Master Plan that will dictate the direction of development into the future with the end goal being a 25% bicycle mode share by 2030. But check out these figures:

According to estimates from PBOT, the full “build-out” of the plan (meaning to complete all 900+ bikeway miles) would cost about $500 million dollars. At the Planning Commission hearing this week, Commissioner Chris Smith put that amount into perspective by comparing it to other transportation infrastructure investments we could make.

For $500 million we could complete our entire bike network or get:

* 15 miles of streetcar * 1 ½ Sellwood Bridges * 40% of a MAX [light rail] line * 1/8 of a CRC [I-5] bridge

And here in New York, that half a billion wouldn’t get you more than half a mile of subway tracks.

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Tags: infrastructuretransportation spendingbike lanesportland

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