How do I convince my city to remove a car lane for a dedicated bike lane?

City officials are most likely to consider removing a car lane for a dedicated bike lane when there’s an existing infrastructure project planned for the proposed street. The project could be a road diet, where the number of car lanes are reduced; or it could a project to repave the street.

Because city officials already want to improve the street, they’ll be more receptive to your pitch—compared to a street for which officials have no plans. 

However, that doesn’t mean they’ll comply. Commonly, city officials believe that removing a car lane will increase congestion. Although often incorrect, the idea is logical: cars must now travel with one less lane. 

Studies, however, show that when cities remove car lanes, traffic often remains consistent and crashes decrease :

The lane removals create space for cities to add dedicated bike lanes, which studies show boost business and make streets safer for everyone. Studies include:

As you make your pitch to different stakeholders—the council members, the traffic engineers, the business owners—you’ll hear different complaints: “this will cause more traffic”; “this will hurt my business”; etc. 

These studies will equip you to show these different stakeholders that not only will removing a car lane for a dedicated bike lane maintain traffic—but equally important, it will reduce crashes and increase sales for businesses. 

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