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Abstract: Genesis of America's First "Platinum Bike City", Davis CA

Before there was "Portland, Bike City USA" there was "Davis, Bicycle Capital of America."

Davis and Portland are very different places. Portland is big, old, industrial. Davis is small, new, nerdy. Portland has hills and rain. Davis is flat and dry. But they are both places where people bicycle. A lot. Ordinary folks come to these cities and often start riding a bike. Bicycling in Davis began in the 1950s, when it was a tiny city with the UC agricultural campus. As the city grew, citizens demanded bicycle infrastructure. After years of negotiation, city authorities gave in to pressure and instructed their staff to begin providing for bicycles. Everything had to be designed from the ground up. America had very little bike infrastructure, but that didn't stop Davis from trying dozens of different types of lanes, paths, intersection treatments, etc., and devising workable solutions. So workable, in fact, that they became the California standard, and then the American standard. As America was adopting Davis's designs, Davis continued to promote and accomodate bicycling on many levels, and in 1980 28% of the population commuted by bike.

Now, Davis and Portland are both rated "Platinum" cities for bicycling by the League of American Bicyclists. But they're still as different as night and day. Portland...

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