November 26, 2013 § Leave a comment
BFOC and local advocate Zach Ford was able to arrange this last minute gathering while they’re in town. Come meet Elly and Joe (and their dog Ruby) who are on a national tour with their folding Brompton bikes and AMTRAK!
They’ll have finger food from The Classic Cup Cafe as well a presentation from Joe. He will be showing bits from films he has made as well as discussing Bicycle Tourism and Multi-Modal travel in the US.
February 11, 2010 § Leave a comment
(photo by BikePortland.org)
With the rapid pace US cities are beginning to adopt complete streets initiatives, each week seems to offer a new amazing story. This week, three areas took the headlines:
- Fort Worth city council unanimously endorsed the Bike Fort Worth plan, which will bring 900 miles worth of trails and bike lanes to the city. Hundreds turned out in support and the newest Bike Friendly group launched their inaugural group ride leading to City Hall.
- Portland’s city council unanimously adopted an ambitious 500+ Million dollar plan to develop 700 miles of bicycle infrastructure, with over 300 miles built as dedicated European styled cycle-tracks. The city initially invested 2% of its transportation funds to bicycling in the 90’s, and have seen ridership increase to some of the highest in the US due to this commitment. This latest move will vault the area to the ranks of the greatest bike cities in the world.
- Times Square in New York City will permanently remain car-free. Those who have been following the story on Times Square amazing genesis from a sea of yellow cabs and gridlock to a people-first plaza, may not have realized that the plan was an 8 month pilot project to test the waters of removing automobiles from the “crossroads of the world”. The results showed a dramatic decrease in pedestrian injuries, even as more people walked to the area.
As we noted in the past, including bicycle infrastructure has shown major decreases in accidents of all three transit types (bike/ped/auto). The reason planners have noted this is due to the fact that roads are being thinned, cars are having to slow their speeds, while more people are attracted to walking and bicycling, which in turn increases ridership levels thereby supporting the “Safety in Numbers” trends found throughout the world.
Alright Dallas…the gauntlets been laid.
November 19, 2009 § 2 Comments
(Santiago Calatrava standing next to a model of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas. Photo by Daniel Driensky)
The DJC in Oregon posted an article yesterday comparing Vancouver’s bridges with Portland’s, and the effect these structures have on their communitys’ livability. Since the Trinity Trust has hired Vancouver’s planner, Larry Beasley, this is a timely conversation for us, as we are about to open our newest suspension bridge connecting West Dallas to Downtown.
(Burrard Street Bridge, Vancouver)
An important factor to note, when studying livable cities, is that the planners in these areas do not consider congestion a problem…they welcome it. These planners have found that the reality is congestion is a direct contributor to slowing streets and making communities more walkable. The widening of roads to speed vehicle traffic has shown to have a detrimental effect on surrounding neighborhoods and the life that surrounds them. We know this first hand when comparing a road like McKinney Avenue, to Fort Worth Avenue. One has four lanes, a trolley and wide sidewalks, while the other has 6 lanes, and small sidewalks. One area is built to minimize congestion, the other is not. Obviously, of the two, people would much rather sit at a cafe table alongside the congested street. Small Businesses would rather setup shop here as well, as they bring greater foot traffic, and are more appealing aesthetically. People also prefer to live closer to streets that are not high speed thoroughfares. McKinney Avenue is not only safer to cross due to the thinner streets, but also has a heightened perception of safety due to the number of eyes on the street. One could be used on a postcard, the other is sterile, gray, and cold.
More from the article:
“…Gordon Price, director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University and a former longtime Vancouver, B.C., city councilor, is glad to have a narrow, three-lane Lions Gate Bridge. “The conclusion I’ve drawn from looking at the history is that it’s one of the reasons we are one of the most livable cities in the world,” Price said, “on both sides of the inlet.”
Vancouver and its northern suburbs had a chance to see whether maintaining the size of the crossing would lead to increased congestion and a worse economy. “The answer, apparently, is no,” Price said. “If it were true that congestion would lead to an economic decline, you wouldn’t have the affluent area on one side and a vibrant urban area on the other.”
In any community, Price said, residents need clarity on transportation-planning decisions that determine where people live, where they work and how they commute. In Vancouver, people know there won’t be a new Burrard Inlet crossing.
“We said, ‘That’s OK; we will live with the existing capacity,’ ” Price said. “Once it became clear that wouldn’t change (and) we wouldn’t be overruled by the provincial and federal governments, then we took the other (transportation) options seriously and started to design cities to be walkable, to have more transit, and to be more bicycle friendly.””
According to this World Architecture News article, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas was designed to “not only create a new icon for the city’s skyline, but will also pump life back into the Trinity River.” Life or cars? Two very different concepts. The article goes on to state that “the structure will cross the Trinity River Corridor linking West Dallas/North Oak Cliff with the downtown area. At a length of 418.5m and a width of 36.7m the bridge carries 6 lanes of traffic across the water.”
Six lanes of traffic, which will then open up to another 6 lanes of traffic on the new Singleton Boulevard? Again, what are our aims? To create a highway, or a boulevard? What models are we seeking to replicate, and what is the end goal? If this is truly a signature bridge, it should have wide bike and pedestrian lanes, and streetcar rail that allows access into the park and along the boulevard. Otherwise, we’ll have 6 dedicated lanes to cars, which we’ll then need to build giant parking structures or worse, sprawling lots, to accommodate the traffic. This is not a livable approach to infrastructure development. We’re simply accommodating cars only, so we should expect another sterile, gray, and cold environment.
September 1, 2009 § 8 Comments
Was just forwarded this article from bikeportland noting the brand new Cycle Tracks being installed in their city. This project was championed by the Mayor, and uses parked cars as the buffer which creates a dedicated bike lane. You see these throughout Europe where they have been met with great success. This style of bike lane was also highlighted in the clip we posted from the film “Contested Streets”, where planner Jan Gehl stands in front of a sidewalk and describes the infrastructure, while bicyclists rush past.
Not to be slowed down, Portland is also introducing the Left Turn Bike Box, which are also seen throughout Europe. It’s incredible to see how fast momentum is building in the North West for these projects. If you visited Portland five years ago and went back last month, you’d see a night and day difference. The number of cyclists we noted on the streets was awe-inspiring, and as Roger Geller, city planner, explained to us last year, they merely took the “Build it and they will come” approach to their infrastructure. Obviously, it’s paid off. Accident rates are plummeting, ridership is skyrocketing, and an entire industry has been set in motion with local bike shops on many corners, and businesses on two wheels abounding.
(Portland Ridership Increases noted alongside Accident Rate Decreases)
May 23, 2009 § Leave a comment
PBS released their latest documentary on the future of US transit planning titled Blueprint America: Road to the Future. In it, they profile Denver’s sprawl and contrast it with Portland’s multi-modal planning. They go through the process of federal spending which promoted car-only modes, where the US Government would give .90 cents on the dollar to any highway project. Conversley, Portland bucked the trend in the 1970’s, and through a lot of hard work, was able to get those federal dollars transferred into streetcar and bicycle infrastructure. The results are incredible. The show includes an interview with the head of bikeportland.org and New York City’s planner Janette Sadik-Khan.
April 13, 2009 § 4 Comments
“Most other U.S. cities are not seeing the same decline. But European cities are.”
Greg Raisman, with Portland’s Department of Transportation notes, “By really thinking about having a multi-modal system where people are walking and biking and taking transit. What that means is that car drivers really have to operate their vehicles as lot more defensively. Be a lot more aware and cognizant of what is happening around them. And it results in them driving more safely and as a result it becomes safer for the people in the cars as well.”
All of which confirms everything we’ve championed here at BFOC:
Bicycle infrastructure increases ridership.
Ridership increases awareness.
Awareness increases safety.
It’s as simple as that.
April 10, 2009 § Leave a comment
Just ran across this via Boing Boing:
“I think the recent explosion in biking is both a return on our communities’ investments in encouragement programs and infrastructure – bike lanes, paths, bike boulevards, etc. – and a sign of increasing concern about economics, health, and the environment. We are seeing a much greater diversity of people out biking and even bike commuting these days,” says Stephanie Noll, Bicycle Transportation Alliance Programs Manager. Noll also points out that the reason for choosing cycles over cars is multi-faceted. “The increasing cost of driving or concern about the environment alone are generally not enough for most of our communities’ members to imagine themselves on a bike.”