Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Expansion of Bike Lanes in City Brings Backlash

This is not a problem that Huntsville will have in the near future. Now if it were bombs or remote control killing machines, Huntsville and it's Junta would be all over it. 

Michael Appleton for The New York Times
Taking the bicycle lane on Ninth Avenue. New York has added 250 miles of bicycle-only lanes in the past four years, but not everyone is pleased.
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.
In Brooklyn, new bicycle lanes have led to unusual scenes of friction. Along Prospect Park West, opponents protested last month alongside supporters of the lanes. And last year, painted paths along Bedford and Kent Avenues in Williamsburg caused disagreement between cyclists and Hasidim. The lane on Bedford Avenue was later removed.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Best line "New Age Fun with a Vintage Feel"

Unicycles are badass

NAUCC 2010 from Max Schulze on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

How automobiles make our streets less livable

Revisiting Donald Appleyard's Livable Streets from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

From Grist
Let's test your knowledge of urbanist heroes. Sure, you know who Jane Jacobs is. But have you ever heard of Donald Appleyard?

Appleyard isn't often mentioned in the urbanist pantheon, but he should be. His 1981 book Livable Streets (which will be republished in 2011) showed in graphic terms what Appleyard discovered in his revolutionary research on the effect of automobile traffic on people's everyday lives. It also coined a phrase still in use today.

What Appleyard discovered in his studies -- conducted in San Francisco in the late 1960s -- is that the more traffic there is on the street, the less connected people on that street will feel to their neighbors and the less ownership they will feel in their neighborhoods.

On lightly trafficked streets, people will use their stoops and sidewalks to play and socialize. The whole street is part of their living space. On heavily trafficked streets, residents sometimes feel that even their own apartments are invaded by the sound of cars.

Appleyard died at the age of 54, not long after Livable Streets was published. In a tragic twist, he was killed by a speeding automobile in Athens, Greece.

His work is more relevant than ever today, and similar results have recently been found in the United Kingdom by researcher Joshua Hart. That's why it is so terrific that Appleyard's book has been quite literally reanimated in this video from Streetfilms (disclosure: I used to work at their sister site, Streetsblog).

The video features great graphics illustrating his findings, as well as an interview with his son, Bruce Appleyard. It's more than a tribute to an underrecognized urbanist. It's a reminder of how much still needs to be done to make our streets livable.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

US Bicycle Route System May Become a 50,000 Mile Interstate Reality

From Yes Magazine
by Winona Bateman
posted Nov 01, 2010

A group of touring cyclists on U.S. Bicycle Route 76 (also known as the TransAmerica Trail) in Virginia. (2004)

“People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning. This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.”

When U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood made this announcement at the National Bike Summit last March, he became an instant superstar with bicycling advocates who work hard to create and maintain cycling routes as part of their local, state, and regional transportation networks.

In July, Secretary LaHood took it a step further—embracing the creation of a U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS), a project that will connect many of the existing (and envisioned) bicycle routes around the country into an official, national network of cycling routes, linked coast-to-coast across state lines.

"The U.S. Bicycle Route System is not just a bunch of bike paths; we're talking about a transportation system."
Ray LaHood
Secretary of Transportation
LaHood wrote, “The U.S. Bicycle Route System is not just a bunch of bike paths; we're talking about a transportation system. It will facilitate travel between communities and to historic and cultural landmarks. It will give people living in more rural areas a way to travel into a nearby urban area by bicycle. Urban and suburban residents will have better access to rural recreation areas. And—like our interstate highway system—it will facilitate long-distance travel by bicycle, whether across one’s state or across the country.”

If implemented as planned, the U.S. Bicycle Route System will become the largest official cycling network on the planet, encompassing more than 50,000 miles of routes. These routes will be officially recognized by state and local Departments of Transportation (DOTs), and in some cases, marked with signs. Because the system will link existing infrastructure whenever possible—including roads, bike paths, and trails—building the network will be cost-effective.

Local benefits
Twenty-two states are now actively working on U.S. Bicycle Routes. In some states, cycling advocates have taken the lead, developing the route and coordinating minimally with their state DOT until ready to apply for designation. In others, the state DOT and its bicycle/pedestrian coordinator are trailblazing, collaborating with volunteers and cycling and trail organizations.

“I am seeing tremendous excitement from the cycling community and the local communities that these routes will touch,” said Ginny Sullivan, special projects director for Adventure Cycling Association and lead staff on the USBRS.

One reason communities are excited to be part of the national system is the economic boost it may bring to local economies. In Michigan, for example, towns along proposed USBR 20 have actively lobbied for their communities to be included on the new route.

“We’ve asked each city, village, and county that owns any piece of USBR 20 to pass a formal resolution of support for the project,” said Scott Anderson, a volunteer for Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance and a leader on USBR 20. “Every resolution I've seen has specifically mentioned economic development.”

Many states that already boast significant biking infrastructure have seen the benefits of bicycle tourism. North Carolina’s estimated annual impact from bicycle facilities in its northern Outer Banks region is $60 million and 1,407 jobs. A Wisconsin study [pdf] estimates that bicycling contributes $1.5 billion to the state annually—and $530 million comes from bicycle travel. According to the Great Allegheny Passage Economic Impact Study [pdf], multi-day cycle tourists spend an average of $98 per day in businesses along the trail. La Route Verte in Quebec spans 2,400 miles and generates $160 million annually in economic returns.

read more here

Monday, November 1, 2010