Saturday, March 21, 2009

One year and counting

This week I accomplished a goal that, to be honest with you, I had my doubts about whether or not I would be able to attain.

I have been riding my bike to work everyday for the last year. I'm stoked.

I think that the best part of it though was that I was able to bring a lot of attention to bike commuters in general. You would be amazed at how many conversations I have had with people in the elevator at work about it.

It's been a long winter though and I am really happy that Spring is here.
Ride On!

Summit City Summit

Hello all.
Today from 9AM to Noon quite an amazing event occured at the Main branch of the Allen County Library.
The news sources have mainly been latching on to the story about Mayor Henry announcing that there will be bike lanes put in on Wayne and Berry from Anthony to the St Mary's River, a bike lane (and road diet) will be put in on Rudisill from Foster Park to McMillen Park, and a designated on street Bike Route will be installed from Reed Rd to the Tennesee bridge.

Granted for all of us this is spectacular news and was a terrific way to kick off the Bike Summit, but I want to dive a little deeper into the event so bear with me.

Pam Holocher, Planning Director, then spoke about the survey results from the over 4000 surveys that were turned in late last year. I will let you read it for yourselves here.

The Nancy Tibbett of the Indiana Bike Coalition
talked about State Senate Bill 533 that is in the House right now. For the life of me I can't find a link to it but some highlights include: being able to go through red lights after a certain amount of time since bikes can't trigger the sensors and bikers being able to use either arm to signal for turns. They struck the 3 ft passing law out of it which is a total bummer but Nancy said that there is a lobby to get it back in.

Then Dawn Richie, City Greenways Manager, gave a kickin' presentation on all of the trail projects that are in some phase of planning. I couldn't believe how many they have going on!

Next, Dennis Donahue, Planner for the City of Fort Wayne, gave a great little presentation on bike infrastructure around the world, around the country, around the state. It was very informative and fun.

After a break everyone at each of the tables got to give input to City Staff on possble educational programs that they each thought would work for our community, show where they currently ride to on a map and also draw where they would like to go. From here the Planning Department will begin to write the Bicycle Plan for the City of Fort Wayne!

On top of that there were quite a few vendors in the main hall from different bike shops and trail groups along with Parkview hospital (to be fair, I wasn't really out there so I don't know who all was out there so I feel bad that I have left some out sorry.)

Then there were a couple rides organized by Three Rivers Velo Sports. Quite a day.

I guess the biggest thing for me was that the vibe was so sweet and everyone was really into it and positive. It was realy nice to be a part of it and have over 200 people there who really care about this. The Mayor is taking action, all the voices are being heard, and Fort Wayne will be a better place to live and Bike because of it. That in itself is enough to bring a tear to the FWBC's eye. I'm fired up!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Playin' dodge em' on Dodge

7:15 AM on March 11, 2009.
Thanks to the time change I am now riding to work in the dark again.
Oh well. I am not worried. I have not one, but two headlights and know that everyone can see me very well.
I cross Florida heading west on Dodge.
A white four door chevy blazer turns onto Dodge from Crescent and is heading toward me.
I am on the right side of the road. Cars park on both sides of Dodge and there is about 14 feet in between them. I am taking up 4 feet of the road leaving 10 feet for the car to use.
I hear his engine rev as he/she gets on the gas. They are probably cutting through to Anthony I think to myself. Obviously not a person who lives in the neighborhood.
She/he stays right in the middle of the road as they get on the gas. I inch a little closer to the parked cars while saying to myself, "you need to get over and give me some room."
It doesn't happen until he/she is about 10 feet from me, at the very last second they dive to the right and lay on the horn.
"%&*# You!!!" I yell at the top of my lungs hoping that the will stop.
They don't and I am worked up for like the next two hours.
Who was wrong here?
I was.
There is no excuse for getting so emotional about the situation. I just gave that driver more ammunition to hate those of us on bikes.
And for that, all of you bikers out there, I apologize.
I feel like an idiot.
We who ride bikes cannot take back the roadways by being jerks.
As my late grandmother used to tell my Mother and me, "Kill em' with kindness."
From now on I will be saying that to myself everytime another person in a car wishes to play chicken with me on a residential street. Where there is plenty of room for both of us. And I am highly visible. And I have the right to be there and they blow the horn at me at the last second before they dodge me.....hopefully.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It's Time for Cities to Favor People, Not Cars

It can be done.....

Los Angeles and countless other cities - Phoenix, Houston and Atlanta come to mind - are far more friendly to cars than people, having been built according to land use policies that all but put people behind the wheel. It's an unsustainable model, and it must change.

That was the message transportation planner Timothy Papandreou brought to "Expanding the Vision of Sustainable Mobility," a symposium sponsored by the Art Center College of Design. The school could be called the Harvard of transportation design, and two-day conference drew experts in fields as varied as urban planning and aerospace engineering to discuss where the future of mobility lies.

Papandreou called for an end to "state, federal, and local land use policies that are literally forcing people to have to drive" and told we're on the cusp of an inevitable "mode shift" away from individual car ownership toward a greater reliance on mass transit and sustainable transport.

"We're already at that crossroads," he said.

Papandreou is a former transportation planning manager for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and he's currently with the San Francisco Municipal Railway, so he's got some idea what he's talking about when he says too many big cities favor cars over people.

"There's this cycle of automobile dependency," he said. "You have to have a place to park at home, a place to park at work, and a place to park at retail establishments." In an absurd "market distortion," cities have become places where "cars have a right to housing and people don't."

That distortion, he says, is the result of years of increasing capacity for automobiles and shifting funds away from alternative forms of transportation. It's brought us to the point where most Americans consider automobile ownership an essential key to a productive, fulfilling life. Papandreou suggests a sea change in how we view personal mobility.

Car-friendly policies have created a "carbon shadow" that vehicles can't escape -- the result of "all of the regional consequences of all these policies and collective actions," he says. Instead of the "manufactured value" of personal car ownership, we should adopt "demand management" by creating disincentives for driving that will, in turn, encourage people to walk, ride mass transit, carpool and use other means of getting around.

In Papandreou's eyes, freeways are wasted space. Consider this: 200 people can jam the I-405 riding along in 177 cars (the average ratio). Or they could use just two lanes in three city buses, or have plenty of personal space around them if they rode bikes.

"All that road space could become something else," he said, stressing that the only way to achieve that vision is with a total "eco rehab" that avoids the sort of ineffective piecemeal programs that only survive due to their political popularity. The Obama Administration's economic stimulus package could be a first step toward that future.
"It's a down payment to a massive mortgage," Papandreou said. "I'm hoping that the stimulus gets the ball rolling."

Bloomberg Puts Forward a Bold, Transformative New Vision for Broadway

AAhhhh! Nothing like a road diet to help to increase bike and pedestrian traffic!

New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan unveiled plans to pedestrianize a large swath of Broadway in Midtown Manhattan at a small briefing in City Hall this morning. Intended to improve motor vehicle traffic flow, enhance safety and provide more and better public space to pedestrians, the plan seeks to solve what Sadik-Khan called a "problem hidden in plain sight for 200 years."

As the only Midtown street that pre-dates the 1811 street grid plan, Broadway "creates pinch points and traffic congestion as it traverses Manhattan crossing busy avenues," Sadik-Khan said. Extending from 59th Street at Columbus Circle to 23rd Street at Madison Square with substantial pedestrian-only areas at Times and Herald Squares, Mayor Bloomberg's plan for Broadway is, arguably, the boldest and most transformative street reclamation project since Portland, Oregon decided to tear down Harbor Drive in 1974.

Read the rest here

Go Edmonton!

This just makes me proud to be a Canadian. Just Kidding. But I am proud of all of those Canadians that made something like this happen!

Council considers $100M plan for bike lanes and trails

CBC News
A new report proposes the City of Edmonton spend $100 million to create a network of multi-use trails and bicycle lanes.
Coun. Don Iveson said the plan would take Edmonton from a somewhat bike-friendly city to a very bike-friendly city. "So that more citizens can enjoy cycling as a legitimate transportation choice," he said.
The plan would be rolled out, in three phases, over the next 10 years.
The first phase involves building wide curb lanes, and painting lines marking a bike lane on arterial roads as they come up on the maintenance schedule for resurfacing. The cost for phase one is $35.4 million.
The second phase places more emphasis on new path construction, and expanding the network of multi-use trails that already exist, at a cost of $39 million.
The third phase focuses on building new trails to create links to neighbouring communities, at a cost of $26.3 million.
The plan also includes adding bicycle racks to all city buses, a safety education program for cyclists and drivers, signage, and facilities for cyclists such as parking areas and lockers.
Zoe Todd is a volunteer with the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society. (CBC) Zoe Todd, who rides her bike to work and everywhere else in the city, is excited about the plan.
"It will be the crucial link in encouraging as many people as possible to get on their bikes and view it as a completely feasible and viable transportation option in the city," she said.
A member of the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society, Todd said a recent survey of cyclists suggested safety is their top concern.
"This plan would help to ensure that people can get on their bikes and can get around the city safely and efficiently," she said.
Coun. Tony Catarina said he wouldn't support the plan when it comes before the city's transportation and public works committee on March 3. He said Edmonton is already well-served with almost 1,000 kilometres of bicycle trails and believes the proposal is too costly given the few cyclists who use trails in winter.
"I'm really sort of stunned to say the least that we're considering $100 million on a project like this," Catarina said.
"They're asking for something that's a wish list, and if we just open our eyes and see where the economy is today, we're almost in a recession," he said.
Iveson disagreed, saying: "This is about an investment in the long term."

Real Geeks Ride

I have mentioned these guys before but I just want to reiterate.
Two guys decided to ride across the country in order to try to get 1000 people to ride their bike to work.
They will be in the Summit City the first week of June (ish).
Check it out.

How many gallons of fuel per 350 Miles?

Well I thought you would never ask.
Here is a link that shows what eash form of transportation needs.
Notice the two at the bottom.

BIKE SUMMIT in the Summit City!

Dear bike survey respondent:
Thank you for participating in the City of Fort Wayne's 2008 Bicycle Use Survey. We got an outstanding response from Fort Wayne's current and future cyclists with more than 4,000 surveys submitted. As you probably already know, people in Fort Wayne enjoy riding their bikes for recreation, but also want to use pedal power to get to the places where they currently drive, like parks, libraries, downtown and work, if it were safer and more convenient.

Mayor Tom Henry recognizes the value of improving our city's bicycle infrastructure, both with on-road facilities like bike lanes and continuing to expand our popular trail network. It's an investment in Fort Wayne's quality of life and plays a role in economic development. Alternative transportation infrastructure offers opportunities for improved health and fitness, while also reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality.

To continue the process of gathering public input for the City's Bicycle Transportation Plan, Mayor Henry is hosting a bicycle summit 9 a.m. to about noon Saturday, March 21 at the downtown branch of the Allen County Public Library. The event is free, but space is limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. If there is enough interest, we will schedule a second public input session at another date.

In addition to the summit, we are also hosting an expo of bike- and health-related vendors in the library's Great Hall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 21. The expo is free and open to the public, including those who did not attend the summit.