Saturday, January 30, 2010

three paths to a low-car city

Well, I believe that Fort Wayne is primed to eventually be on this list.

An obvious caution: These are incorporated cities, which are things of very unequal size and shape bearing little relation to the organic form of urban regions. For example, Los Angeles at #49 would score much higher if the vast low-density San Fernando Valley were not part of the incorporated city, and high-density innermost suburbs like East Los Angeles (#39) were included instead.

If I then look across the whole list and try to identify factors that seem to explain, in different mixtures, each city's presence on the list, it seems there are three: age, poverty, and dominant universities (i.e. universities that are large relative to the size of the city). We might posit that these are the three most reliable paths low car ownership at the scale of an American city of 100,000 or more. Other things matter too -- obviously, it helps to be part of a larger urban agglomeration that delivers more transit service and adjacent activity. But every city's presence in the top 50 has an obvious explanation in one or more of these three factors.

Most cities on this list display two or more of these factors, but a few are models for just one of them. San Francisco on the list because of age -- a rare western city largely laid out before the car-dominated era, and thus by far the densest big city in the west. Berkeley is there because it's small city with a big university. And many cities are there because of relative poverty, including most of the cities that would be on everyone's list of America's toughest urban reinvention challenges.

It looks like the most common path to low car ownership is to be an old city. Many big cities on this list seem to be ranked by the sequence of urban settlement: northeast first, then midwest and south, then west coast, with just the oldest cities of each region rising onto the list. An American city that reached its present shape by 1940 is going to be similar in form to a lot of European cities of the same age, both in the range of urban ideas expressed in the city's design and in the transport modes for which it was optimized. Urban form determines whether owning a car is essential, or just helpful, or a nuisance. Obviously, urban forms that make car-free life easy are found most reliably in cities built when nobody owned cars.

The rest of the story Here

Friday, January 29, 2010

Too Long

Hey all.
I hope that you are all well.
I look forward to getting back into the groove but have been out of town for a few days.
Winter continues but I have seen a few of you out there on your bikes.
The other night I was heading down to an evening meeting on the SW side and noticed a bike commuter all decked out in yellow and cruising down Broadway at about 6:45PM. I was stoked to see him. Then after the meeting that same night I dropped the work truck off at the City County Building and rode home at about 9:30 and saw another bike commuter on the bike route on Tennessee. Unbelievable!

On a side note. I was recently in Phoenix and there is a lot of great bike infrastructure in place. Not only do they have trails along the canals that bring water to this sprawling landscape but they have bike lanes all over the place. Not on the main roads but on the secondary connector roads. As I think I have stated in the past, Phoenix is laid out on a grid system making it much easier to get around without being on the main roads. I haven't seen many commuters though. A handfull at the most which is unusual considering this is the best time of year to commute for Phoenicians. Where was I going....oh yeah, I am happy to see the bike commuters out in Fort Wayne even in the "off" riding season.
Stay safe out there all.

Friday, January 8, 2010

If more people biked then our air would improve

So, who is in charge of our air?
What is going to be done to alleviate the problem that has persisted?
When will it be bad enough that some sort of action is taken other than free rides on the bus?

Allen County has gone in and out of compliance as its air quality improved slightly in recent years but was expected by local officials to go back into violation when the March 2008 standards were applied here. The proposed standards are even tougher, making compliance extremely unlikely.

The whole story from the Journal Gazette

Man Down!

Interesting commute this morning.
Roads were pretty bad but not terrible.
I have to ride on Crescent and Lake on days like this.
I was thinking about work and what I had to do today as I approached the intersection of Crescent and Tennessee. Now normally, I know when I am on Ice and even with the studded tires I try to center myself and be careful. But this morning I was not paying attention to the fact that after they had salted Crescent that it had all slid down the hill and refrozen into a 1 inch thick sheet of black ice and boom, I am on the ground.
It has been many years since I took a spill on my bike so I was due for sure. I am okay and it will not deter me from doing what I do. It didn't ruin my day and was actually kinda funny that after I bailed that I continued to slide really slowly all tangled up in my bike.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bicycle Commuters Unite?

I have been thinking a lot lately about the blog and the necessity of it. I am not ready to shut it down don't get me wrong. But I find that I can only find so much material to talk about. I have been discussing the issue with my wife and we have talked about taking Fort Wayne Bike Commuter to another level. About adding an s to the end of it. I am not the only Bike commuter in Fort Wayne. We are Fort Wayne Bike Commuters.
We are the ones out on the streets seeing the issues thinking about ways to better our commute and the commutes of others. Ways to get more people commuting on their bikes other than wishing that the price of gas goes up.
I have been thinking that a logical step is to have a get together for a meeting. "Hi, my name is (insert name here) and I am a bike commuter."
"Hi, (inserted name here)."
So if you would be interested on something like this then shoot me an email.
I think that we are a voice that is not normally considered that should be heard in a more organized and legitimate manner.
Bicycle commuters unite!
Once I get some interested parties, we'll get it scheduled and I will post the date and time for everyone.
Could be fun and could help to further our cause.

Giving a car lane to bikes? Crazy as it sounds, the world will not come to an end.

It is always nice to hear about traffic engineers that aren't afraid to go out on a limb and try something new to help keep cyclists safer. This type of thing could work great on say, Stellhorn Rd. Take out half of the 16 foot wide turn lane perhaps.

Rod Mickleburgh

Vancouver — From Monday's Globe and Mail Published on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2009 11:07PM EST Last updated on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2009 2:55AM EST

Few can sniff pending disaster like the media, particularly if there might be pictures. So television, radio and notebook-wielding print reporters were in place early, primed to file up-to-the-minute dispatches on what would surely be the fiasco of the year.

This was July 13, Day One of the great bike-lane experiment on the busy Burrard Bridge. Pundits had been predicting chaos for days. TV choppers circled overhead, searching for the first trace of long lines of impatient motorists.

When suddenly, as the Monty Python skit put it, nothing happened. But for a brief snafu at one end of the bridge during the evening rush hour, pounced on by the news-starved media as manna from heaven, the day had all the drama of a golf course tap in.

Restricting one of the bridge's six lanes to bicycles worked right off the bat. Five and a half months later, it's still working.

The whole article

Friday, January 1, 2010

Impressive to say the least

Don't Forget the Chili Challenge today

I almost did!
Hope to see you there!

From the 3 rivers velo sport website:
2010 Chili Challenge

The 15th annual Chili Challenge ride is scheduled for January 1, 2010. The ride will start from the Psi Ote Barn in Northside Park at 1:00pm. Northside Park is at the intersection of Parnell and State Street, with a Parnell St entrance.

All riders are welcome! However, unlike this photo from a previous Chili Challenge, all riders are required to wear helmets approved by the USA Cycling Association. You will not be allowed to ride without one. You can find out more about approved helmets at this site.

Riders wind through the city the first hour and stop at Johnny Appleseed Park to watch the Polar Bears take their dip into the St Joseph River. Then the ride continues with two choices of routes: a short route that ends back at the starting point for a total distance of 15 miles, and a longer route that totals about 25 miles.

When you arrive back at the ride start you are treated to hot chili, hot and cold drinks, snacks, cookies and cakes donated by the 3 Rivers Velo Sport at the end of the ride. There is no charge for the ride, but a small donation would be appreciated.

The ride is co-sponsored by the Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department.

Here are the details:

Date: January 1, 2010
Distances: 15 or 25 miles
City, State: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Start Location: Psi Ote Barn, Northside Park, 705 East State Blvd. ( corner Parnell and E. State Blvd )
Start Time: 1:00pm