Memo to Metro CEO Art Leahy: They’re Called Bicycle Boulevards

Fourth Street Bicycle Boulevard design concept  for 4th Street at Catalina Street in Koreatown, Los Angeles. Image: Aaron Kuehn

Fourth Street Bicycle Boulevard design concept for 4th Street at Catalina Street in Koreatown, Los Angeles. Image: Aaron Kuehn

At today’s Metro Sustainability Committee, Metro CEO Art Leahy mentioned that he had visited Portland, Oregon. While there, he saw an “interesting treatment” for low volume streets making them better for bicycling. Leahy stated that cars hadn’t been removed from the streets, but that they were diverted in some places. He said that these low volume streets carry hundreds of bicyclists every day.

Congratulations, CEO Leahy, you discovered Portland’s Bicycle Boulevards.

Get more acquainted with them via this short Streetfilms documentary.

Though they’re well-loved and well-used, even cycling communities are confused on what to call these.

City of Long Beach's Vista Bicycle Boulevard. photo Drew Reed/Streetsblog LA

City of Long Beach’s Vista Bicycle Boulevard. photo Drew Reed/Streetsblog LA

There are a bunch of names for this sort of facility. Portland initially called them Bicycle Boulevards. When it was clear that that name didn’t really convey that these streets are also great for walking and more, Portland now calls them Neighborhood Greenways. Bicycle Boulevards have been implemented all over – Palo Alto, Berkeley (credited with coining the term Bicycle Boulevard), San Luis Obispo, Long Beach, even Los Angeles (which calls them “Bicycle Friendly Streets”) and, soon, Santa Monica will be implementing the Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway (MANGo.)

These sorts of facilities would be great for solving Metro’s first/last mile puzzle. If only there were a consistent regional funding source for getting them implemented around here…