Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lessons from Montreal

Dedicated Bicycle Lane in MontrealI'm in Montreal for the week due to a science conference, but I won't let that keep me from blogging about trails.  After being in the city for less than a day, I already had an idea for what to write about: things Arkansas' cities could copy from Montreal.

1) Montreal has dedicated bike lanes.  These are something I've written about the need for multiple times before, here and here.

2)  The city also has a thriving bikeshare program that allows tourists or people without bikes to rent bikes by the hour, day, month, or year and drop them off at any station around town.  As you can see on their website, they have bike stations every few blocks in the more densely populated parts of town.

3)  They have large parks with vast networks of trails of all sizes and surfaces ranging from 3'-25' wide and from dirt, to gravel, asphalt, and concrete.  These parks put to use the widely known principle that non-designated use greenspace is used by more people than greenspace with designated uses (think golf courses).  Sadly this principle is not yet applied at some of Little Rock's wonderfully located parks such as War Memorial and Rebsamen.  In fact, even though highly paid consultants recommended Little Rock convert War Memorial Golf Course to non-designated use openspace, this has yet to happen.  I think turning the park into a free botanical garden (see San Francisco) is the way to go given the existing paved trails, central location, and proximity to the zoo.

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