REI awards $100,000 for Bikes Belong’s Green Lane Project

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National outdoor gear and apparel retailer REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.) has awarded a $100,000 grant to the Bikes Belong Foundation to expand its Green Lane Project. The Green Lane Project is catalyzing the creation of world-class bicycling facilities in the U.S. by working with six focus cities – Austin, TX, Chicago, Memphis, Portland, OR, San Francisco, and Washington, DC – poised to be national leaders in installing green lanes. Green lanes are dedicated, inviting spaces for people on bikes, protected from cars and separated from sidewalks.

The award will be used to fund Green Lane Project grants in each of the six focus cities. The grants are designed to build public support for green lanes with particular attention to equity issues, business engagement and building ridership. Grant recipients must engage their local REI store in the project and provide a clear plan for measuring success.

“Thanks to REI’s support, we will be able to demonstrate the many benefits that come to a city when it invests in safe, accessible bicycle infrastructure,” said Bruno Maier, senior vice president of Bikes Belong. “The Green Lane Project is transforming many communities and shining a light on how bicycling helps create vibrant urban neighborhoods.”

Bicycling is experiencing unprecedented growth in U.S. cities as mayors and transportation officials appreciate the multiple benefits and low-cost of investing in bicycling. The number of people riding bikes frequently has grown 40% nationwide in the past decade and 62% in America’s 70 largest cities, improving public health, decreasing traffic congestion, and saving city governments costly road maintenance and parking-related expenses. Sixty percent of Americans say they would bike more often if they had a safe place, like a green lane, to ride. This point was validated by a recent study in Washington D.C. that revealed bicycling increased 200% on Pennsylvania Avenue after green lanes were installed.

Applications for the first round of Green Lane Project grants are due in February 2013, and projects will conclude at the end of the year.