Every City’s Cycleway Network Should Be As Dense As Road Network, Says American Academic - Forbes

“People on bicycles want to reach all destinations in a city just the same way that people in cars want to be able to reach all parts of the city,” says American academic Marcel Moran.

A man and a woman ride their bicycles on a cycleway past cars stuck in a traffic jam along the Seine ... [+] AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
A man and a woman ride their bicycles on a cycleway past cars stuck in a traffic jam along the Seine ... [+] AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

“A city’s bike network should be equivalent to the road network,” he told me via a Zoom call.

“The challenge is not where bike lanes should go, but where shouldn’t they go? And there are very few places we shouldn’t have safe bike infrastructure.”


The University of California Berkeley doctoral candidate is a specialist in people-friendly city planning. He has mapped every single one of San Francisco’s 6,399 intersections, pinpointing which have crosswalks. And he has just published a paper on the pop-up “Corona cycleways” of Paris, plotting how planners plugged gaps in the French capital’s growing network of bike lanes.


He believes cities should design for people, not cars, and is unapologetic that this would be considered by many to be an activist’s stance.


“UC-Berkeley has a strong history of the activist planner,” he stresses.


“There is an acknowledgment that the scholar wants to build a better world.”


He has an apt analogy to explain this logic: “Let’s say I was studying food insecurity; no one would be surprised if I said I was anti-hunger and pro food security. My [academic] goal would be for there to be less hunger in the world.”


Translating this to the field of transportation, he says car-centric planning has been harmful, leading to, among other things, chronic air pollution, runaway climate change, and pedestrian deaths, and therefore his academic work has fixed on what he calls “ABC” — “Anything but cars.”


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