Friday, April 30, 2010

American Lung Association report gives Madison County failing grade for ozone

By Steve Doyle, The Huntsville Times

April 30, 2010, 6:44AM
TrafficHUNTSVILLE, AL -- A national air quality report card released Thursday gave Madison County an "F" for high ozone levels.
The American Lung Association's "State of the Air 2010" report says county residents -- and people in Alabama's other metropolitan areas -- are breathing dangerous amounts of ozone, or smog. Read the report here.
Madison County's ozone readings drifted into the unhealthy range 17 times from 2006-08, the study found. Breathing in ozone irritates the lungs and can trigger coughing, wheezing and asthma attacks.
Most of the state's other metro areas fared even worse in the report: Jefferson County had 63 unhealthy ozone days, Shelby County had 41 and Mobile County had 31.
American Lung Association CEO Tommy Lotz said the 11th annual report card illustrates the need for "much stronger federal standards" to protect the public. About 175 million Americans -- 58 percent of the population -- are exposed to potentially dangerous air pollution levels, the study concluded.
"America still has a long way to go before all of us are breathing healthy air," Lotz said. "We won't settle for less."
In addition to ozone, the study looked at particle pollution -- specks of soot, dust and aerosols suspended in the air linked to difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat and other problems.
Danny Shea, Huntsville's natural resources director, said the city's average summertime ozone level is 73 parts per billion -- just below the allowable limit of 75 parts per billion set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
While ozone levels sometimes exceed EPA standards, especially during hot spells, Huntsville's air is much cleaner than it used to be, Shea said.
Average ozone levels were well above 100 parts per billion when monitoring began in the 1970s, he said, but have fallen steadily because of federal efforts to reduce auto emissions.
"Even though we've seen tremendous growth in population and vehicle miles traveled," Shea said Thursday, "the net effect (is less ozone) because of improvements in emissions controls."
Ozone forms when nitrogen oxide gases and volatile organic compounds from vehicle and industrial emissions react in the sunlight and heat.
Shea said the lung association flunks any city with peak ozone readings above EPA's acceptable level, even if average levels meet federal guidelines.
"Almost everybody gets an 'F,'"' he said. "It doesn't have that much effect on me anymore."
Madison County's particle pollution levels weren't as troubling. The county scored an "A" for annual particle pollution levels and a "C" for short-term particle pollution.
The lung association is pushing Congress to adopt tighter limits on ozone and to further curb emissions from coal-fired power plants such as the Tennessee Valley Authority's Widows Creek Fossil Plant near Scottsboro.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mayor's Bike Ride

The 2nd annual Mayor's Bike Ride opens for events and registration on May 15 9:00 am at the corner of Williams Avenue and Fountain Circle. The ride rolls out at 10:00 on a family-friendly HPD-protected 4 mile loop around downtown with a 2 mile bailout option. Helmets are required. Come enjoy goodies from Scallywags Bikes & Coffee and Earth Fare and learn about safe routes to the new store on University. Microwave Dave and the Nukes will be playing before and after the ride. There will be Safety City and advocacy tents where you can learn about what is being done to improve bike safety in Huntsville. At 11:00 there will be door prize drawings.

Monday, April 26, 2010

City hands out free lights to bike ninjas

Nice to see a city doing something for it's citizens. 

ltn4The City of Tucson’s Department of Transportation handed out free bike lights to cyclists on Thursday night.

City officials had to purchase the 250 front lights for approximately $6.50 each after a donation fell though.
“We had to make this event happen no matter what,” City of Tucson bike and pedestrian planner Jennifer Donofrio said. “It is really important for cyclists to be safe and visible at night. The city is willing to do whatever it takes.”
Chi Nakano attended the event to get a light for her bike.
“I usually wear a head lamp thing, but oftentimes I forget it,” Nakano said. “Having it on the bicycle helps.”
This year the city moved the event from Third Street and Treat Avenue to the Bike Church at Main and Sixth Street.
We wanted to pick a new location and the bike church is something that is an important part of the bike community,” Donofrio said. “It is a good symbol of bike safety so I thought it would be appropriate.”
Mallory Marks was excited to learn about the free bike lights because her light had stopped working.
“It would turn off if I over went over a bump,” Marks said.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pushing Pedals, Not Budgets

From NY Times 

The Recycle-a-Bicycle outlet in New York sells bikes that have been refurbished by schoolchildren trained in bike mechanics.Yana Paskova for The New York TimesThe Recycle-a-Bicycle outlet in New York sells bikes that have been refurbished by schoolchildren trained in bike mechanics.
It was a busy day. In the morning, I’d followed a creek as far upstream as I could, until it disappeared underground. At midday, I’d stopped in town for a slice of pepperoni pizza. And in the afternoon, I’d explored a chain-link-fence maze at the edge of a university. Now, with dinnertime approaching, I was pedaling home on the trusty bicycle that had taken me to the far corners of my world. I was 10 years old.
That blue BMX may have been the last bike I owned, but in the past quarter-century I’ve never lost my appreciation for the freedom of movement that two wheels offer. Powered not by expensive gas but by cheap leg energy, easy and usually free to park, bicycles are perhaps the ideal vehicle for a frugal traveler, capable of taking you across a city or, if you have the time and ambition, around the world.
They can, however, get pricey, whether you’re renting a hybrid for a couple of days or investing in a serious road bike that will take you coast to coast. And it only gets more complicated (and more expensive) when you’re doing it in another city or another country. As usual, of course, there are a few ways of ensuring you’re saving money on your ride. Let’s talk about rentals first.
In the ideal world, there would be a great Web site that could search out rentals all over the United States and beyond, that would let you filter the results by size and style (road bike, mountain bike and so on). And there is such a site — sort of. is a searchable database of bike-rental outfits across North America that lets you narrow your quest for, say, tandem bikes in Montreal or mountain bikes near Flagstaff, Ariz.
But has its limits. Looking for a rental in New York City? Well, the site lists only a single shop in the five boroughs: Pedal Pusher Bicycle Shop, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where road bikes cost $50 a day — not very frugal.
There are, of course, many other places to rent bikes in this city, but RentaBikeNow doesn’t point users to them. Why not? Well, the site is only a year old, and shops have to opt in to get into the database. Maybe with time — and a little publicity — more shops will join up and RentaBikeNow will become more useful. Until then, you’re probably better off Googling your destination with the words “bike rental.”
In the meantime, though, there are other options. Like, for instance, visiting a city that has a free (or nearly free) bike-rental program. Many of these are quite famous — Paris’s VĂ©lib’ is probably the best known — but cities in North America including Montreal and Irvine, Calif., have inaugurated similar programs. Two years ago, Washington, D.C., started SmartBike DC (, in which a $40 annual subscription gets you access (in three-hour increments) to bicycles at 10 locations throughout the nation’s capital. Not a bad deal.
The other cities and towns with bike-sharing systems are too numerous to mention, but the Bike-Sharing Blog ( and a Wikipedia article on bicycle sharing systems( keep good track of developments in that realm.
In a sign that more travelers are demanding bicycles, many hotels, including the Sullivans Hotel in Perth, Australia, and Hotel Heldt in Bremen, Germany, now offer them to paying guests. Last spring at the Ace Hotel in Portland, Ore., I was overjoyed to make use of the free bikes provided to guests, and while that sort of service was to be expected in the cycling capital of America, it’s nice to see it being expanded to other cities. Strangely enough, the New York branch of the Ace doesn’t have bikes, but both the Bowery Hotel and the Jane (where rooms start at a fantastic $99 a night) downtown offer bikes for guests.
Occasionally, rental shops don’t carry a bike that’s right for you. Or the price may simply be too high. For example, Bike and Roll (, which has rental shops in five major cities, charges about $39 a day for a basic cruiser in New York. That’s cheaper than hopping in taxis all day, but it’s considerably more than a one-day, unlimited Metrocard, at $8.25.
If you’re staying somewhere for a week or longer, that quickly adds up, and it might be smarter to buy a used bicycle instead of renting. Craigslist is the obvious place to start looking. Right now, on the New York City site, I’m seeing road bikes on sale for as little as $50, and an intriguing Soviet-made folding bike for $140. If you can sell the bike at the end of your stay, you can recoup the entire cost. Listing a bike on Craigslist just requires a digital camera, an honest description and some downtime as you wait for customers to answer your classified ad.
There are a couple of big caveats here. First, as anyone who’s ever owned a bike in New York City can tell you, bikes are stolen and resold with frightening regularity. Be wary of overly good deals and aggressive sellers; you don’t want to contribute to this illegal underground marketplace. Also, you’ll need a decent lock. Second, you get what you pay for. The cheaper the bike, the more unsuited it may be to your needs, and the more dangerous. Everyone I’ve spoken with says a full used-bike tune-up could cost about $100, which may be a worthy investment.
There are a couple of ways to avoid these pitfalls. One is to skip Craigslist entirely and seek out used bikes at, say, yard, garage, tag or stoop sales. (The lingo varies with geography.) In Portland, I spotted $50 bikes at yard sales. Were they any good? No idea, but considering that the owners were right there, I could have quizzed them and taken a test ride.
Another is to join a “freecycling” group. No, freecycling isn’t specifically about bikes — it’s the idea of simply offering up all kinds of used items (lamps, beds, CD cases, photo frames and so on) to people who want them, usually through a Yahoo-based group and mailing list. Every once in a while, bikes come up on these lists, and if you’re really lucky, you’ll find one available wherever you’re headed. When you’re ready to come back home, just put it back on the freecycle list and watch it vanish back into the barter economy.
A more reliable way of picking up a used bike is to seek out a refurbishing organization like Recycle-a-Bicycle ( Primarily, Recycle-a-Bicycle runs programs through public schools that train kids in bicycle mechanics and lets them earn free bikes through volunteering. The bikes the kids refurbish, however, go on sale at the organization’s East Village and Brooklyn locations, often for very reasonable prices. The bike won’t need a tuneup, and it will have the shop’s imprimatur when you try to sell it at the end of your visit.
Finally, you can just take your own bike along. Last winter, in my holiday gift guide, I recommended the Tokyo Citizen folding bike (, which costs an insanely low $164 and weighs 29 pounds — small enough to check in easily. (You’ll want the $28 carrying bag as well.) Be careful, though. Some airlines will charge you for a bike, even if it’s smaller or lighter than a similar-size piece of luggage. Before you fly, check out the International Bicycle Fund’s ( handy chart on which airlines charge what.
Oh, and before you get on that lovely new cheap bike, do what you know your mother would ask you to: put on a helmet.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Earth Day


Forty years after the first Earth Day, the world is in greater peril than ever. While climate change is the greatest challenge of our time, it also presents the greatest opportunity – an unprecedented opportunity to build a healthy, prosperous, clean energy economy now and for the future.
Earth Day 2010 can be a turning point to advance climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable energy and green jobs. Earth Day Network is galvanizing millions who make personal commitments to sustainability. Earth Day 2010 is a pivotal opportunity for individuals, corporations and governments to join together and create a global green economy. Join the more than one billion people in 190 countries that are taking action for Earth Day.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bike Stolen

Brandon's Bike Stolen form Voodoo Lounge Sunday night. Blue/Green Alien Frame with black rims and and black riserbars and stem. Keep an eye out for it if you see kick the person's ass and call Brandon at 256-318-9186

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chattanooga Is Bicycle Friendly. No, Really.

Written by Laura Jane Walker.
After hearing that Chattanooga was designated as a bicycle friendly community in Bicycling Magazine, my initial reaction was "yeah ... right," but I think the designation goes deeper than the short blurb we received. In fact, this town makes it feasible for me to comfortably live and play without a car, and there are many facets that make Chattanooga biker friendly.

The Riverwalk

On first thought this paved greenway in Chattanooga seems to lack connectivity to businesses or residential areas. However, it provides cyclists and pedestrians with a safe, smooth pathway with access to various parts of town. Fellow cyclists and commuters use this path to commute to and from Hixson or to the Bonny Oaks area and beyond. I'm always amazed at commuters who talk of cycling to the Lee Hwy area — or Cleveland!

Neighborhoods in and Around Downtown

Residents in North Chattanooga, downtown, Southside and St. Elmo all have bicycle-convenient, relatively affordable access to housing, jobs, retail, restaurants, great parks and excellent cycling. Sometimes I laugh because my life fits in a few minimal square miles — my commute to work is about 2 miles, most of my friends and family live not too much further than that, and all of my shopping and recreation happens not too far from that small radius. Some might consider it a bubble; I think it's spectacular, convenient and fun.

Recreational Cycling Outlets

Road and mountain bikers alike can attest to the beauty of the region. With numerous regionally renowned mountain biking trails and popular scenic road routes, competitive and recreational cyclists have access to a variety of rides. Also, the neighborhoods mentioned above are close enough to great scenic cycling routes, enabling bikers to ride from their homes. The ride to Flinstone, Ga., the Tuesday night Red Bank ride and Moccasin Bend: all great rides close to home.

Mostly, I think all Chattanoogans need to start considering our city a bicycle friendly community. The more we adopt the moniker, the more people will start to cycle on the streets and the more attention cycling will receive. All of this two-wheeled forward motion can lead to fixing some of the "problems" that many cyclists complain about — including poor road conditions, poor driver-cyclist relations and not enough "fun" non-racing cycling events. This recognition from Bicycling Magazineis a welcome display of how far the cycling community has come in Chattanooga, and I hope it only spurs more growth.

I also would like to extend an invitation to all cyclists to attend the local ride, 3 Rides, 3 Hoods: Perspectives on the City, on May 2.

Laura Jane Walker is a local writer and car-less commuter living in North Chattanooga.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cary in Top 50 Bicycle Friendly Cities

Cary, NC – has just released it’s list of Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities. Cary was ranked #24 in the nation.
Boulder (CO), Louisville (KY) and Eugene (OR) also made the list. The only other NC municipality honored was Greensboro (#40). One might conclude from the results that we are the Number 1 bicycle-friendly town in North Carolina. had this to say about their survey:
There are many important things a city can do to gain our consideration for this list: segregated bike lanes, municipal bike racks and bike boulevards, to name a few.
If you have those things in your town, cyclists probably have the ear of the local government—another key factor.
To make our Top 50, a city must also support a vibrant and diverse bike culture, and it must have smart, savvy bike shops. (Note: We considered only cities with populations of 100,000 or more, and we strove for geographical diversity to avoid having a list dominated by California’s many bike-oriented cities.)
So whether you dream of wearing the yellow jersey at La Tour de France or just enjoy getting out for a leisurely ride in the fresh air, you’re sure to have plenty of opportunities for fine cycling here in Cary.

Tips for cyclists from a car driver

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Today's News

BASC Meeting tonight at 5pm 

308 Fountain Circle (in GIS/Zoning Building meeting room)
Hopefully the agenda will be gearing up for the Mayor's ride which is only 5 weeks away and PSA's by our Mayor for Share the Road campaign and his annual Mayors Ride! All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Traffic and Engineering have been painting Bicycle Stencils (which is where you run your tire over) and adjusting the sweet spots at intersections this last week.  Pratt and Meridian are working and 4 seconds have been added to the light.
These intersections have been painted but do not trigger the lights yet.
Franklin and Governors
Governors and Parkway
So please let them know which ones work and do not work for you. or call 427-6850

We have been contacting our Local Candidates on where they stand on Complete Streets and Bicycling issues read about it here and feel free to contact them  too, some have no idea we even exist :)

We have also contacted Earth Fare the new market which will be on University where the old Circuit City was and they have agreed to make sure there are Bike Racks for those who want to commute and not pollute. 

The Bicycle Commuter Class had a great turnout despite the weather. We visited 3 of our Local Markets and had a great ride. We will be doing the next one this Saturday @ 11am Lifecycles back dock and it's still free. Clint and Jacqy will be the instructors for this class and commuting to school will be the topic this week. So feel free to dust off your bike and join us. Don't worry if you missed last week. 

How different would our streets be if our Police Chief went for a bicycle ride?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker wants to keep his city 'bikeable'

SALT LAKE CITY — Light rail someday will shuttle passengers from the airport to Daybreak, while streetcars run through downtown and Sugar House.

But the most "exciting" transportation efforts being made in Utah's capital city still involve 10-speeds and spinning spokes, says Mayor Ralph Becker.

"The valley itself is relatively flat. We've got wide streets. We have a relatively good climate … and an enormous opportunity to achieve being one of the most bikeable cities in the country," Becker said.
When it comes to funding bicycle projects, Becker sees a "chicken-and-egg" problem. Without improvements, many potential cyclists are too afraid to take to the streets — and the lack of cyclists causes some to wonder if it's worth the cost.

But even in the face of substantial budget cuts — possibly as large as $20 million — bicycles remain a priority for the mayor and his administration.

read more here

Friday, April 2, 2010

Where they Stand : David Pinkleton

Here are my thoughts on Complete streets and bicycles on roadways in general.  I do not have a problem with individuals riding their bikes on roadways for recreational or commuting purposes.  I know that on Bailey Cove Road, near where I live, bike path signs and route numbers have been added recently.  I feel that this is a step in the right direction in bringing awareness to the reality that bicyclists ride on roadways, too.  However, I am concerned about the cost for adopting a Complete streets model.  It seems that an additional 2-3 feet of roadway would have to be added to each direction of traffic in order to make roadways safer for both bicyclists and motorists.  Right now our state does not have the extra revenue needed to expand current roadways or build new roadways to accommodate bicyclists.  I think that the next best step is to mark roadways that bicyclists use with signs and begin an education campaign to alert motorists to the reality of bicyclists on city streets.  Furthermore, most Huntsville residents commute to work via car because our city is spread out and not centralized as some other urban areas of the country.  Thus, I think that most Huntsville residents will not want to use taxpayer money to widen roadways to accommodate bicyclists when a small percentage of Huntsville workers ride their bikes to work.  Your question about bicyclists and Complete Streets is the first of its kind that I have received during my candidacy.  I appreciate your thoughts and I urge you to continue to send me information about bicycle safety, statistics, and education campaigns so I can better understand these needs in the community.  Thanks again for contacting me.

God Bless,

David Pinkleton