“We were like, ‘Let’s just throw up some cones and see what happens for a week.’”
Buses are equitable transportation. Gary Hustwit’s film, Urbanized, highlights one city saying they will pave bike lanes before car lanes because bike lanes are for everyone, whereas not everyone can afford to buy a car. You don’t have to own a car or a bike to ride it and, given amount of space needed to accommodate 100 people for various modes of transportation (see graphic above), they have a far lesser impact on the space needed to transport people than other modes. And again, while we can talk about many ways to increase ridership, providing more efficient and effective bus routes are often at the top of the list.
In a recent article from CityLab, separated bus lanes were shown to provide both the riders and drivers shorter travel times, especially during peak traffic times (rush hour). As the City of South Bend can attest, changing over traffic lanes takes an extraordinary about of time and capital. While that may be worth it to create the type of city we want to live in, it’s still a difficult process to navigate. Pop-up lane changes, especially for public transit, helps provide proof of concept and at the same time gauge public support and capacity.
Temporarily converting parking lanes to bus lanes during peak hours (which South Bend has an ample supply of on-street parking), will help improve overall traffic flow and travel times.
This doesn’t have to be limited to buses. I have often talked to the Bike Michiana Coalition about creating a pop-up bike lane.