My bike-riding friend Ellen sent me an article, "Do Bike Paths Promote Bike Riding?"
Apparently, unlike the "fundamental law of road congestion," which says that traffic expands to fill the available space, there are conflicting results when the experts try to decide of more bike lanes means more transportation cyclists.
A new study of bike lanes (on-street) and bike paths (off-street) in 90 large US cities suggests that "cities with a greater supply of bike paths and lanes have significantly higher bike commute rates."
Makes sense to me. The old "if you build it, they will come" adage.
Some, however, claim that most of the increase in cycling is casual/recreational, rather than people getting out of their cars.
Is that a problem? Seems to me, if people do more recreational cycling, they'll rediscover the "fringe benefits" of cycling. They'll get more confident on their bikes. And ultimately, perhaps a few of them will indeed take the next step and try riding to work, or to the market. (Ah - combining recreation and exercise and transportation! What's not to love?!!)
Tim Jones did a study in the UK. They have a National Cycle Network that they're developing, "a 13,000-mile system of paths and lanes established by Sustrans that claims to be within a mile's reach of half the British population." The infrastructure expanded by 98 percent; measurable use increased by 135 percent. Mr. Jones concluded that transportation cycling will inevitably increase in urban areas, when there are "good quality separate cycling facilities alongside heavily travelled roads and linking to everyday facilities that people need to use, self-enforcing speed restrictions using traffic calming and more intelligent design across residential neighbourhoods, coupled with making driving expensive and inconvenient in central urban areas through various restrictions on car use and car parking."
The "making driving expensive" thing seems to be inevitable. In London, I believe they charge a toll for motorists to enter the central city. And of course as those limited streets get gridlocked and parking remains elusive, it seems likely that transportation cycling will only get more attractive.