Updated 08/20/2012 05:00 AM
Going Green: Bike paths
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How do you get people out of their cars and onto a bicycle? City planners are channeling the movie Field of Dreams: “Build it and they will come.”
Transportation planner of the City of Syracuse Paul Mercurio said, “Right now an argument’s been made that our infrastructure really doesn’t provide a viable choice for people to take a bike because a lot of our infrastructure is geared toward people driving a car, but it has been proven in many other cities that if you create the bike infrastructure and create a viable choice for people that people will actually start choosing to take a bike.”
And northeastern cities like Syracuse, Rochester, Albany and Buffalo as opposed to Phoenix or Los Angeles are easier to retrofit.
“Contrary to a lot of the newer cities developed in the 20th century, Syracuse was more of a 19th century city, which was developed on a human scale,” said Mercurio.
It was designed with horses and carriages in mind, not with cars in mind, so a lot of the buildings already face the street and a lot of the streets are at that scale where it’s easier for someone to walk around.
So the city of Syracuse is creating a bike master plan looking at 13 factors to determine what makes a good biking corridor.
Mercurio said, “We look at the topography. We look at the volume of cars on the road. We look at whether there’s on-street parking, how wide the street is, and so forth. We use 13 different metrics and we added them all up to create an aggregate ranking for which corridors are most suitable for bike infrastructure.”
Syracuse’s draft network plan and details on the process are available on their website. Just go to www.syracuse.ny.us and you’ll find a link in the lower right hand corner of the screen.