PORTLAND, Ore. – America spent 50 years and billions of dollars after World War II redesigning itself so that cars could move people across this vast country more quickly. Now, with many cities in gridlock, one-third of the population obese and climate change forcing innovators to look beyond the internal combustion engine, cities are beginning to rethink that push toward the automobile.
Perhaps no place has thought about it more than Portland, rated America’s most bike-friendly city this year by Bicycling magazine and the only large U.S. city to earn “platinum status” from the League of American Bicyclists . City planners, businesses and, yes, the citizens of this Pacific Northwest city have embraced a shifting of gears designed to enhance the quality of urban living with a nod to the environment.
At the street level, many Portlanders go about their daily lives in ways that would be unfamiliar to most Americans. Downtown and near-city neighborhoods are awash in bikes and bike lanes, delivery bikes dot the urban landscape and bars aren’t encased in massive parking lots — they have bike corrals out front. [Full story …]