A lesson from Chicago bike riders: Interstates are barriers | Arkansas Blog

Friday, December 18, 2015

A lesson from Chicago bike riders: Interstates are barriers

Posted By on Fri, Dec 18, 2015 at 2:40 PM

click to enlarge Divvy bike: Data says interstates create borders.
  • Divvy bike: Data says interstates create borders.
A study of the Divvy system of bike sharing in Chicago, which, like New York’s City Bikes, lets riders check out bikes from one docking station and return them to another, has provided the city interesting data about where people are going, an article in Chicago Magazine says. The frequency of trips along certain routes shows not just popular destinations or who is going where but seems also to mesh with neighborhoods. For example, in Hyde Park, Cottage Grove Avenue apparently forms a border, with bike traffic staying mostly on one side of the north-south road.

Writer Whet Moser said he was not surprised to find that most bike traffic from Jimmy’s Taphouse, a bar in Hyde Park, was going straight to the University of Chicago library. What he was surprised about, however, was the effect of interstates on traffic:

What struck me was how much Divvy traffic seemed to be shaped by the city’s interstates, as point-to-point journeys were constrained in wide, pie-shaped swaths by the immense roadways. This is both intuitive and not. On one hand, there are plenty of ways to get over and under the interstate; on the other, we know from years of history that interstates divide sections of the city from one another.

Arkansas's highway department says expanding Interstate 30 to 10 lanes, instead of the six it is now, won't make any difference in the neighborhood division the interstate has already caused in Little Rock. See, the department is going to add enchanting sidewalks and climbing walls in the grottos the wider highway will create, so people will travel back and forth. But the Divvy bikes study suggests, why bother? 

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