Monthly Archives: July 2010

Ride Your Bike : TreeHugger

I can’t help it. I am an advocate for “people who ride bikes.”

Ride Your Bike : TreeHugger.

and I quote….. “If you live in the U.S., chances are good you own a bike. But how often do you use it? According to the League of American Bicyclists, 40 percent of all urban trips are less than two miles in distance. Yet almost 90 percent of them are made by car. So what makes us want to ride our bikes? And what state of mind (not to mention type of infrastructure) does it take to pick the pedals over the Peugot? Simply put, if we want our cities and towns to be more bike-friendly, we need more people on bicycles.

We’re not talking about spandex-clad “cyclists,” but more “people who ride bikes.” There’s a difference, because we’re not talking about sweating-for-50-miles cycling. We’re talking about rolling-to-the-corner-store biking, pedal-to-a-playdate biking, and glorious rolling-down-a-dusty-road-on-a-hot-summer-day biking. If we want to cut carbon emissions, decrease obesity, and stop air pollution, then we need more people-who-ride-bikes. If you’re ready to dust off your wheels and use them more often or you’re already a sucker for the saddle, this collection of tips, gear, and news will help you utilize that most efficient, that most green, that most pleasant of vehicles, the bicycle.”


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Don't Mess with Cyclists

This is old, but worth mentioning anyway.

Sometimes it starts to feel like everything is political. A city may appear to care about cyclists, spending valuable tax money on new bike lanes and programs. But then maybe they only did it to get votes. Ultimately they seem to appease whoever complains the loudest.

In December, Manhattan removed a popular stretch of bike lane that was the shortest way to Williamsburg Bridge. Department of Transportation spokesperson Seth Solomonow sent the following statement by way of explanation:

“A small portion of this lane is being removed as part of ongoing bike network adjustments in the area, which have included the recent addition of a barrier-protected connector lane on nearby Williamsburg Street and the completion of a unique, two-way protected lane on parallel Kent Avenue. We will continue to work with any community on ways we can make changes to our streets without compromising safety.”

This statement doesn’t explain how removing a highly used bike lane doesn’t compromise safety.

In this case the cyclists using the route did not take it sitting down. In fact, they took matters into their own hands. Not only did they repaint the bike lane in the middle of the night, they made a video proclaiming how if the lane was removed they would just put it back for their safety.


Building More Freeways to reduce traffic??

They are expanding the freeway along my morning commute. I am sure most people feel like this is a great thing. I mean the construction traffic is horrible, but when it is finally over we will have a shiny new interstate with 5 lanes on each side. Utah County will finally have a huge freeway, just like the big city. One politician actually said, “This will open up Provo to the world.” I don’t know how to respond to that, unless you consider sprawl opening up your city to the world….

I hate traffic as much as the next guy, but I also know that expanding the freeway will not really fix anything, at least not for long. It is something called induced demand, the old “if you build it, they will come” theory. And I guess I am not the only one who feels this way. According to this, there are a few places starting to think a little differently.

City Parks Blog


The High Line

New York City’s park in the sky. Once an abandoned, blighted track, running above western New York City. Now a beautiful public park. Nature did the first step, by blowing in seeds, growing weeds and then decomposing and evolving. Then just when it was set for demolition some local residents started thinking of how to save it. They started Friends of The High Line. Now it is becoming a full public park with trees, water features, benches, etc. Not only that, the neighborhoods it runs through have gained destination status.

Of course converting old rail lines into trails is nothing new. But an elevated greenway……

Paris has one, the Promenade plantee,  but it took building one here in the US for it to seem real. Now other cities like Chicago and Philadelphia are starting to dream up their own projects to turn industrial era relics into economic engines.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/15/arts/design/15highline.html?_r=1


Walkability

Even mainstream news, and real-estate are starting to get it.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703964104575335164136600430.html#mod=djemLifeStyle_t

“When I was looking for a house four years ago, lots of real-estate agents didn’t even mention walkability,” Mr. Howe says. “Now I see it everywhere, which is great.”


Bike Sharing

I LOVE Bike Sharing. I love it.

If you already know all about it, you know how cool it is. If not listen up, it may blow your mind.

The idea reminds me of the cart rentals at the airport. You put money in the station and it spits out a cart. When your done with it you just deposit it in the nearest station. Bike sharing is exactly the same, but with bikes. In a good system there are stations all over the city. You pay a monthly fee to have unlimited access to their bikes.

The advantages are huge. For one, bikes can be used in correlation with transit. With bike sharing you don’t have to worry about what to do with your bike when you get to the bus or train. Also lets consider the economic, environmental, physical health benefits of biking rather than driving. Compared with cars bikes are cheap. No gas, no insurance, no car payment. Bikes are a zero emissions vehicle. ZERO. The only side effect may be a healthier lifestyle.

And with bike sharing you get all the benefits of bicycling without having to worry about storing, locking or maintaining your bike.

Bike sharing programs promote cycling. More people on bikes = less on the road, it sounds like a good idea to me. If cities recognized the benefits, why would they not want to put a few dollars toward a program like this?

So yeah, bike sharing is cool.

The idea is really starting to take off around the world. Traditionally, the U.S. falls behind our world neighbors on any transportation that doesn’t involve cars. But we are starting to see bike sharing programs popping up all over the country. Denver opened their B-cycle on April 22 of this year. They claim to be the largest in the nation. But, I am guessing that wont last long.

They have a site  http://www.bcycle.com/whowantsitmore.aspx where you can vote for your city to get bike sharing next.

Miami Beach is about to open up a really great program.

They are marketing the whole thing as the being the only green transportation. What I love about it is the $15 a month membership fee. They say it is equivalent to 3000mpg. Now that is cool.

They also manage to make riding a bike seem very sexy. I don’t think you have to wear a bikini to ride one, but I can’t be sure.


The 1st

A blog for one planning geek to spew forth her random thoughts about the world to other planning geeks, or anyone  else who is interested in making the urban world more green, more beautiful, more sustainable, more walkable, bikeable, and all around more better.

Welcome