Even before the Silicon Valley era, some great things originated in California. In July, 1967, the city of Davis became the first in the U.S. to have a bike lane. Amazing! It all came about because of a proposed expansion of the campus of the University of California, Davis. The new chancellor was adamant they were not going to build out the campus for an additional 10,000 people driving cars. He was the driving force behind bike lanes and tunnels being built across the campus and into the surrounding community.
It ultimately required the cooperation of the community, the city engineer as well as some inspiration from a U.C. Davis professor who had spent a summer in the Dutch city of The Hague and had experienced firsthand the beauty and utility of an expanded bicycle community. After a major grassroots effort, two people were elected to the town Council who were sympathetic to bike lanes in the city.
Today Davis bills itself as the Bicycle Capital of America. It has more than 100 miles of bike lanes and shared-use paths as well as 25 bike only bridges and tunnels. It has paid off: 20% of all trips within the community are done on a bicycle, 33% of all teens ride to high school and nearly 25% pedal to elementary school.
Davis began the revolution. San Francisco got its first protected (barrier) lane in 2010; Chicago followed in 2016. Davis had them five decades earlier.
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