Tuesday, February 16, 2010

First Meeting of the Fort Wayne Bike Commuters

When? 10am on Saturday, February 20th.
Where? Firefly Coffee house on North Anthony
What? Discussion about bike commuting and bike issues
Who? You and your friends

Agenda items:
1. I have been asked by members of the City's internal bike team to put together a presentation on bike commuting for the 2nd Bike Summit that is in May so I was hoping that we could discuss that. I would appreciate help from our group to put together that presentation in order to make it as great as possible.
2. Any other issues that anyone would like to discuss including maybe putting together a non-profit called Fort Wayne Bike Commuters in order to help address issues that we think should be and maybe aren't being addressed.
I would love to see you there.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

If everyone says it, is it true?

I was riding in the day after the first bit of our recent snow storm. I forget if it was Tuesday or Wednesday morning. We had received a few inches by then. The roads had not been cleared though. I actually don't have that much trouble riding in the snow since I ride in the tire tracks of the cars. I know that this annoys drivers that I am taking up a lane, but they'll get over it.
I was heading east on Lake Ave from Crescent, chugging along. Traffic wasn't too heavy at 7:10 AM. (I try to leave earlier on bad weather days in order to further avoid car conflicts that tend to arise with heavier traffic.) A guy on Lake was digging his car out and must have seen my super duper headlight because I noticed from like 60 yards away that he had stopped what he was doing and was staring at me. As I got a little closer he yelled at me, "Dude...You are crazy!" I got bit closer and he repeated himself. Just in awe that I was on my bike.
Then at the office, everyone from the custodial staff on up knows that I ride my bike. And one would think that after close to two years of using my bike as my car that you wouldn't even mention it to me but they still do. "You didn't ride your bike today, did you?"
"I ride my bike everyday," I answer.
"You are crazy."
Am I? I think not. But I do wonder about the mindset of those that think that I am crazy because I ride my bike. How long will it take for that kind of mindset to shift?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Winter commute

Kind of a rough commute this evening.
Gnarly head wind and some accumulation on the bike Route.
It got me thinking though. This winter has been great for bike commuting!
Not a lot of snow and precipitation in general. It has made for an enjoyable commute so far. Although, it is only February, so hopefully this statement doesn't come back to bite me in the rear end.
I was just telling someone at work today, that this winter would be the ideal one for someone who was starting to commute all year round since it has been so mild. As I am writing this I am scared what the next two months is going to look like. Oh well.
I hope you all are well.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Alliance for Biking and Walking

Yeah, I haven't heard of this organization either but it is still pretty cool whoever they are. And it was released on my birthday, so it has that going for it, which is nice.
I'm 38.

Investing in Biking and Walking Could
Save Lives Says Report
States with the lowest levels of biking and walking have higher
traffic fatalities and chronic disease

Washington, DC - January 28, 2010 - A new report released today by the Alliance for Biking & Walking shows that lack of investment in biking and walking could be contributing to higher traffic fatalities and chronic disease rates in the U.S.

Bicycling and Walking in the United States: The 2010 Benchmarking Report reveals that in almost every state and major U.S. city, bicyclists and pedestrians are at a disproportionate risk of being killed, and receive less than their fair share of transportation dollars. While 10% of trips in the U.S. are by bike or foot, 13% of traffic fatalities are bicyclists and pedestrians. Biking and walking receive less than 2% of federal transportation dollars. Seniors are at an even greater risk. While adults over 65 make up 9% of walking trips and 4% of biking trips, they account for 19% of pedestrian fatalities and 9% of bicyclist fatalities.

"State investment choices can be a life or death issue for people who walk and bike," says Jeff Miller, President of the Alliance. "Creating safe streets for everyone will save lives and improve health and quality of life in communities."

The report also highlights the fact that states with the lowest levels of biking and walking have, on average, the highest rates of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. In contrast states with the highest levels of biking and walking have, on average, the lowest rates of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. In addition, where rates of biking and walking are greater, more of the adult population is likely to achieve the 150 minutes of weekly moderate-intensity aerobic activity recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to CDC, physical activity can reduce your risk of dying early from the leading causes of death, like heart disease and some cancers.

The report also ranks states and the 51 largest U.S. cities in biking and walking levels, safety, funding, advocacy, and policies. It further compares U.S. cities to their international peers finding that overall, U.S. investment in biking and walking lags far behind that of other developed nations. This may explain why the U.S. has fewer people who bike and walk than its international peers.
Benchmarking Report Cover
Miller says, "our data show that increasing investment in biking and walking could lead to more people biking and walking. The more people bike and walk, the safer it is and the healthier the community. It's a virtuous cycle."

Bicycling and Walking in the United States was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and made possible through additional support from Bikes Belong Coalition and Planet Bike. For more information and to download the report visit http://www.PeoplePoweredMovement.org/benchmarking. For a fact sheet highlighting report findings click here.

About the Alliance:
Alliance for Biking & Walking is the North American coalition of over 160 grassroots biking and walking advocacy organizations. The Alliance works to strengthen state and local organizations through research, sharing best practices, training, resources, and grants. For more information or to find a local organization visit www.PeoplePoweredMovement.org.

Cities for Cycling Embrace European Street Designs

Here in Fort Wayne I have found that attitudes change very slowly if at all with regard to things that are different from what is viewed as normal for Fort Wayne. I am not judging, it is just an observation. I am really anxious to see what the next few years brings with regard to the bike planning efforts that have been undertaken and supported by Mayor Henry. Will it work? Will it be embraced by the practitioners? Can the viewpoint that, in order to be a desirable place to live in this century that we, as citizens of Fort Wayne, have to embrace alternative forms of transportation? Can we grow as a community and therefore help to attract the jobs of the future by doing things, like embracing the bicycle as a viable transportation mode, that will attract companies that are looking to relocate? I know that I am not the only one that thinks like this am I? Hello....anyone....

Cities want more freedom to design bike-friendly streets.
By Linda Baker | January 2010

The past decade has been productive when it comes to making American cities bicycle-friendly. Dozens of cities hired staff designated as "bicycle coordinators." New York and Seattle painted huge networks of bike lanes onto their streets. Washington, D.C., launched a bike-sharing program that more than a dozen cities looked at emulating in one way or another. And, in general, sensitivity to the issue of climate change put pedal-powered transportation in the good graces of many an American mayor.

Despite all this, the U.S. Census Bureau's latest American Community Survey had some sobering news about bicycling: Only about half of 1 percent of Americans bike to work. A number of city planners are seeing that statistic as evidence that some more radical bicycling strategies are in order. It's time to think beyond bike lanes, they say, and start using bike-only traffic signals, traffic-protected "cycle-tracks," and other street designs that are common in European cities such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen, where up to 40 percent of all trips are made on two wheels.

Doing that is harder than it sounds. American street-design manuals and regulatory mechanisms revolve around cars, not cyclists. As a result, few traffic engineers possess the technical knowledge — and bureaucratic savvy — necessary to implement novel bike treatments. That's why the National Association of City Transportation Officials last month launched an initiative called Cities for Cycling. The idea is to offer a clearinghouse of information for municipalities interested in bringing urban cycling's best practices to the United States.

The rest of the story is available Here

Bikeways or maybe even bike and pedestrian only streets

When I read articles like this I have to wonder where a bike only street might be in Fort Wayne. It only could be in the older part of town that are on the grid system and it would have to be on streets that had alley access so that people who lived on it would have a place to park. So what would that street look like in Fort Wayne, Harrison south of downtown maybe? It is not very well traveled, has alley access and would be a pleasant ride. Where else? Fourth Street? Kensington? It's possible but I think here it would be similar to trying to get a Historical Designation or maybe even harder to try to get something like that done. Maybe not though.
This article details how a neighborhood in LA tried.

A movement has been afoot for years to remake 4th Street as a "Bike Blvd," a bike-friendly street with various road improvements (such as traffic diverters, signage, or lane markings) that help bikes, cars, and pedestrians safely share the road. (To get an idea of how Bike Blvds work, take a look at this example from Portland, Oregon.) By posting temporary signs and road stencils along the route and organizing group rides, activists have in the past drawn attention to the potential of 4th Street as a biking resource. The efforts of the organizer Ingrid Peterson have led to city council member Tom LaBonge, whose district encompasses 4th Street, joining group rides along 4th Street in 2007 and 2008. If you're interested in learning more of the history of these efforts, Peterson maintains a website that is a clearinghouse of information for all things relating to the 4th Street Bicycle Blvd (or 4SBB) movement.

Pushing for these kind of changes in the public infrastructure takes considerable time and determination. Only if enough yclists make their voices heard will change happen. Of course, not all cyclists are content to wait for government to take action. Perhaps the people best suited to start instituting improvements are cyclists themselves.

The whole story here