Portland has been chosen as one of the six US cities to participate in the Bike Belong's Green Lane Project—a program meant to catalyze the growth of top-notch bike facilities and systems in the nation. Portland joins Chicago, San Francisco, Austin, Memphis, and Washington, D.C. (out of the 42 cities that applied) as one of the project's "focus cities." Bike Belong has set their standards high, hoping to match the impressive and long-standing bike systems already in place in Europe.

According to Bike Belong's news release "the Green Lane Project will work with elected officials, staff, and community groups in each city to finalize details, solidify the vision, and identify the unique story each city can tell" over the next two months. The final plans will be unveiled at the national kickoff in late May in Chicago.

While Bike Belong won't be funding the projects in each city, it will help "facilitate a partnership between the cities and provide them with resources and technical assistance, while expanding the knowledge base and sharing it widely."

Johnathan Maus of Bike Portland writes that the project's Portland section was a bit unexpected, as the city is more advanced than many when it comes to progressive bike facilities. "The truth is, we need all the help we can get," he writes. Maus adds that the timing couldn't come at a better time—on the eve of an election—and will hopefully inspire the much-needed focus on local bike projects.

Here's an informative video on the project: