Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Expansion of Bike Lanes in City Brings Backlash

Published: November 22, 2010
Over the last four years, the streets of New York City have undergone a transformation: More than 250 miles of traffic lanes dedicated for bicycles have been created, and several laws intended to promote cycling have been passed.

The efforts by the Bloomberg administration have placed the city at the forefront of a national trend to make bicycling viable and safe even in the most urban of settings. Yet over the last year, a backlash has taken hold.

Bowing to vocal opposition from drivers and elected officials, the city last week began removing a 2.35-mile painted bike lane along Father Capodanno Boulevard on Staten Island. In Manhattan, a community board held a special hearing this month for business owners to vent about problems posed by a new protected bicycle lane on Columbus Avenue — in particular, the removal of parking spaces and the difficulty of getting truck deliveries.

Kinda similar to all of the hubbub I have been hearing from folks about the Rudisill bike lane project! With change comes time for adjustment, mainly for the automobile operators but we have to remember that while gas is still cheap, that they are the majority.

The Rest of the story

National Public Radio giving the bike commuters some love

November 29, 2010

One way National Geographic staffers in Washington, D.C., can get to know their company's CEO is to take him up on his long-standing offer: to go for a lunchtime bike ride.

"Anyone still downstairs? OK, so we ready to go, guys?" National Geographic Society CEO John Fahey asks a group of about 20 employees

Fahey, an avid biker, says he's just trying to encourage a little exercise — and he wants the opportunity to get to know folks informally. As the group makes the 15-mile trek to Hains Point along the Potomac River and back, Fahey makes a point of chatting with everyone, staffers say.

At National Geographic — which is a hub of outdoorsy, adventure-seeking types who think nothing of biking busy city streets — lots of the staffers who join Fahey for the lunchtime rides also use their bikes to get to and from work every day.

"I've been riding in for 19 years," says senior photo editor Dan Westergren, adding that he has definitely noticed the boom — especially as bike paths and bike lanes along city streets have improved.

Westergren's commute is a combined 12 miles to and from home. And he says, given all the biking he does, he doesn't need a gym membership to stay fit.

"Really, to build it into your daily routine by commuting for me has just been the best thing," he says.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

I would bet that the same three groups exist in the same proportions here in Fort Wayne

Study identifies three different types of cyclists
City officials hope improvements will encourage more people to bike

By Hannah Guzik
Ashland Daily Tidings
Posted: 2:00 AM November 06, 2010

Only about 7.5 percent of Ashland's population is comfortable with the current bicycle network, but if bike routes were improved, about 60 percent of residents might take to cycling regularly, a Portland engineering firm estimates in a recent study.

The researchers found there are three types of cyclists in Ashland, as in Portland and many other cities nationwide, according to the Oct. 14 study by Kittelson & Associates Inc.

The first type, which makes up only about .5 percent of the population, is "strong and fearless," and will bike regardless of road conditions. Then there are "enthused and confident" bikers, about 7 percent of residents, who are comfortable with the current bike network.

The largest group of cyclists, about 60 percent of the population, are "interested but concerned" about the safety of the existing bike network.

"There appears to be a need to provide a multi-level cycling system that caters to multiple types of cyclists, if there is to be a significant change in shifting more people to cycling," the report states.

The study lists several ways the city can cater to the concerned group of cyclists, and city officials plan to heed the advice, in order to encourage more people to bike, said Ashland Planning Commission Chairwoman Pam Marsh.

"Many residents are really wanting to bicycle, but are aware of safety issues, especially those people who are parents," she said. "A lot of traffic we generate in the city is from parents ferrying their kids around, so if we can begin to address their concerns, hopefully we can get more people bicycling."

The study recommends creating buffered, protected or separated bike lanes on busy streets and providing more cross-town bike routes that don't involve cycling on Main Street, Siskiyou Boulevard or Ashland Street.

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I think that I fit in the "enthused and confident" group. What about you?
Walkers and cars clash on Brickell

On booming Brickell Avenue, pedestrians must dodge cars to get across the street, but a big state resurfacing project contemplates few improvements for them.


Along Miami's Brickell Avenue, a tower-lined urban boulevard booming with thousands of new office workers and condo residents, jaywalking and car-dodging is the order of the day -- and often the only convenient way to get across the busy street on foot.

The sight of people in business attire bushwhacking through the thickly planted median in the city's premier commercial district has become commonplace. Women pushing baby strollers must break into a jog to avoid onrushing autos. To get from bus stop to work, transit riders are often forced into the Brickell four-lane dash.

Don't blame the pedestrians, though.

According to city planners and elected officials, residents and activists, the reason is simple: Brickell Avenue, the spine of Miami's densest pedestrian district, lacks sufficient marked crosswalks and traffic signals.

But according to the Florida Department of Transportation and its traffic-engineering manuals, that's not reason enough to undertake substantial pedestrian-friendly changes on Brickell.

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People and most important, COMPANIES, look at livability when deciding where to locate their operations. Livability means having alternate forms of transportation. Good grief, especially in a climate that allows those alternate forms of transport to be utilized throughout the year! At some point, economic development folks should chime in on these types of issues.

Great article that, if correct, would increase the number of bike commuters by 700%

Weeden’s Maxwell: Brace For $300/Barrel Oil
By Olivier Ludwig | November 03, 2010

When IndexUniverse.com Managing Editor Olivier Ludwig caught up with Charles Maxwell, Weeden & Co.’s senior energy analyst, it was to talk about so-called “peak oil,” the theory that holds that the day when oil production around the planet is no longer sufficient to meet demand is nearly upon us. Maxwell, who has been involved in the oil industry for more than half a century, speaks with the slow cadence and easy charm of a man who has mastered his subject. The problem is that if you take his message seriously—and there are plenty of reasons to believe it unreservedly—it can pretty much ruin your day. From having to eat more root vegetables in winter instead of enjoying oranges from Chile, to watching oil prices spike to $300 a barrel by 2020, a world of slowly but steadily dwindling supplies of petroleum would be very different indeed. But there is an upside, once the shock of it sets in: Peak oil will undoubtedly unleash a wave of technological innovation, most importantly in energy efficiency.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Free to go Car-less?

Carmakers' next problem: Generation Y
People in their teens and twenties are more interested in gadgets than cars

By Allison Linn Senior writer

Meet Natalie McVeigh, the auto industry’s latest headache.

At 25 years old, McVeigh lives in Denver and has two good jobs, as a research analyst and an adjunct professor of philosophy. What she doesn’t have — or want — is a car.

A confluence of events — environmental worries, a preference for gadgets over wheels and the yearslong economic doldrums — is pushing some teens and twentysomethings to opt out of what has traditionally been considered an American rite of passage: Owning a car.

“There’s kind of almost every force working against the young driver right now,” said Karl Brauer, senior analyst and editor-at-large at Edmunds.com, an automotive research website.

That could be a problem for automakers, which are still reeling from the Great Recession that sorely damaged their industry. Now, they may find that their youngest generation of potential customers will either purchase fewer cars, put off buying cars until later in life — or they won’t end up buying cars at all.

“That’s definitely a concern,” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, an automotive market research firm that has been tracking young car buyers for 20 years. “They are not as engaged with cars and trucks as Gen X or Boomers before them.”

The percentage of new cars sold to 21- to 34-year-olds hit a high of nearly 38 percent in 1985 but stands at around 27 percent today, according to CNW research. Over that same period, the percentage of new car buyers who are 55 or older has generally been trending up, according to the vehicle research group.

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So what do you think the ramifications of this will be for a city like Fort Wayne? Are there other adequate transportation options for this generation who doesn't want a car? I think that there is already evidence of this. Neighborhoods such as West Central and Northside are at an advantage because they are more walkable. No offense to Citilink, but it does not make transportation as easy as it needs to be for more mass appeal. Citilink is a slave to budget cuts just like other government-type organizations. With the tax cap that was just passed, it will only get worse. Will lack of alternative transportation infrastructure cause the young people to move to places that will allow them to be car-less? Ask your favorite Generation Yer, if you can find one.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Critical Manners/Courteous Mass for November 2010

All parties are welcome to join and help bring common courtesy back to the streets. For those who need a refresher on what Critical Manners/Courteous Mass is, here is the deal:
• The ride will respect and abide the city’s traffic laws.
• Rides will be on the slow side to ensure no one is dropped and that the Mass stays a mass.
• The Mass will only take up one lane, two when necessary for safety.
• The ride will stop at red lights and stop signs. If a light turns red mid-mass, the riders who made the light should safely pull over to wait for those who were caught by the light.
• Riders are asked to signal turns, call out danger, and communicate their intentions to other riders.

The goal of these rides is to be a visible and positive example of the cooperation that can exist between cars and bicycles when people respect the laws and each other. So join the Mass and help make Fort Wayne a better place for bicycles.This Friday at Lawton Park by the Softball Field. We meet at 6:15 and ride at 6:30 (thanks Don).

Weather should be nice.
Bring your headlights/tail lights and wear light colored clothing. It'll be dark!
Hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood talks about livable communities

From: Grist

by Sarah Goodyear

When Ray LaHood was nominated by President Obama to be the Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOT), it seemed like an afterthought. The selection of LaHood, a Republican Congressman from Illinois with a reputation for political pragmatism, was seen by many as a gesture at bipartisanship that indicated just how little the administration cared about possible innovations at the DOT.

Over at Worldchanging, Alex Steffen called the appointment "a profoundly uninspiring vote for business as usual," and at Streetsblog, where I worked at the time, Aaron Naparstek wrote this:

The selection of a downstate Illinois Republican with close ties to highway lobby stalwart Caterpillar Inc. is being taken by many as a clear sign that progressive transportation policy is, for now, nowhere near the top of the Obama's agenda.

What a difference 20 months makes.

LaHood has proven to be much more than a roads-and-bridges secretary. He's been an outspoken and articulate proponent of high-speed rail. He's mounted an aggressive campaign against distracted driving. He's jumped up on a table to address the National Bike Summit, saying that, "I really came here just to say thank you to all of you for hanging in there with us. You all have made a big difference."

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