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  #561  
Old Posted Mar 14, 2012, 2:59 AM
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I have a U lock that weighs four pounds but a good rule is don't leave any bike unattended that you can't afford to lose. In our building, someone had a nice cycloecross bike that was locked up in our garage stolen.
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  #562  
Old Posted Mar 14, 2012, 2:38 PM
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New Report on Statewide Organizations and Federal Funding


Read More: http://blog.bikeleague.org/blog/2012...deral-funding/

Report Sign Up: http://www.peoplepoweredmovement.org...rkingdownload/

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While Congress creates the framework, the most important decisions about the use of federal funds are made at the state and regional level. As the capacity of statewide bicycle advocacy groups has grown, many leaders have started to look beyond their long list of individual project victories and ask an important question: How can we use our limited resources to have a long-standing, wide-ranging impact in communities across the state?

- In recent years, organizations like Bike Delaware, the League of Illinois Bicyclists, and the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation have gotten involved in this critical process. In the latest report from Advocacy Advance — Improving the Process: How Statewide Organizations Are Winning Federal Funding for Bicycling and Walking Projects — Darren Flusche, League Policy Director, explores the success of those organizations and how statewide groups can have the biggest impact.

- “There’s increasing interest among advocates to take on more complicated and potentially more impactful campaigns,” Darren explains. “Many are turning their attention to the ways federal funding is spent locally. Campaigns that focus on the policies and practices that influence federal spending can have lasting impact. Instead of enabling just one bicycling or walking project, it can set the stage for years of bicycle and/or pedestrian projects to be built.” There’s clearly the need and interest for best practices for advocates at the state level. “Advocates at several statewide organizations approached us to ask about what statewide groups are doing well and how federal funding campaigns differ at the state level compared to cities and regions,” he adds.

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  #563  
Old Posted Mar 15, 2012, 4:51 PM
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Bicycle-sharing vendor selected by Chicago


March 14, 2012

By Jon Hilkevitch

Read More: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,6302820.story

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The Emanuel administration has selected an Oregon-based company with operations in the U.S. and overseas to operate Chicago's first large-scale bicycle-sharing rental program starting this summer. Alta Bicycle Share, Inc., of Portland and its equipment manufacturer, Public Bike System Co., were chosen over two competing bids to make 3,000 bicycles available at 300 solar-powered self-service pick-up and drop-off locations this summer. The program will be expanded to a total of 5,000 bikes and 500 docking stations by 2014, city officials have said.

City Hall estimates the total capital and start-up costs at $21 million, adding that $18 million will be covered by federal funding aimed at improving air quality and easing traffic congestion and the remaining $3 million will be provided by the city. Operating costs of the bike-sharing program are expected to be paid for entirely by membership and user fees, advertising, and sponsorships, with no additional cost to city taxpayers, mayoral spokesman Tom Alexander said. The city received a $4 million federal grant in December to launch the bike-sharing program as a way to reduce congestion and increase options for commuters who use public transit during part of their trips. That money will be used in the second phase of the project, Alexander said.

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  #564  
Old Posted Mar 15, 2012, 5:06 PM
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When a bicyclist is killed or injured, many times you can assign fault to the motorist — after all the car itself is what makes the situation so perilous. But Tim McKuin at Network blog Move Arkansas posts a reminder today that in many crashes there’s another guilty party: the people responsible for dangerous road designs. McKuin relates a scene all too familiar in our cities, a car-bike crash on a poorly designed road.




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  #565  
Old Posted Mar 15, 2012, 6:59 PM
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Is the Biker Rights Movement Gaining Momentum?


Mar 14, 2012

By Eric Jaffe

Read More: http://www.theatlanticcities.com/com...ontinues/1483/

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In the past few weeks, the long march toward equal road rights for urban bike riders took two big steps forward. In late February, Berkeley instituted a law protecting riders from harassment by granting them the right to civil action, and last week San Francisco officials gave preliminary approval to legislation that requires commercial buildings to let riders take their bikes inside if there's no bike parking outside. Both laws are the second of their kind in American cities — and perhaps prelude to a wider trend.

Berkeley's anti-harassment law gives riders the option of filing a civil suit against any driver who assaults, threatens, injures, or intentionally (and maliciously) distracts them. Those acts were already illegal, of course, but they could only be prosecuted as criminal offenses before the new legislation. A successful suit under the new law will require offenders to pay three times the damages or $1,000, whichever is more, as well as attorney's fees and any other awards.

The city modeled its law on a similar one in Los Angeles — the first city to pass an anti-harassment ordinance for bike riders — which went into effect last September. Before these laws riders were left at the mercy of an urban police force often reluctant to bring criminal charges against drivers who harassed bicyclists. Writing for Streetsblog last fall, attorney Ross Hirsch said the anti-harassment law is "a recognition that that criminal enforcement of harassment and battery laws that currently outlaw certain behavior is essentially non-existent."

Across the Bay, meanwhile, San Francisco's building-access law is expected to receive final approval any day now and be signed into law 30 days later. The ordinance will compel commercial property owners to permit bikes inside the building unless there's "secure alternate covered off-street parking" on the premises, or unless unique circumstances related to elevator safety merit an exemption. The rule would be an important step toward fulfilling the city's goal of reached a 20 percent bike commute share by 2020. Just as parking-spot minimums promote automobile commuting in cities, it stands to reason that secure spots for bicycles will do the same with riders.

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  #566  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2012, 3:54 PM
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Bike-Sharing at N.Y.U. Offers a Hint of How City Program Could Work


March 21, 2012

By CHRISTINE HAUGHNEY

Read More: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/22/ny...it_th_20120322

Quote:
It is the kind of news the city’s Transportation Department would love to report someday: a New York City bike-share program that attracts all types of cyclists, from budding entrepreneurs to university professors, and does not lead to stolen bikes or injured riders. But the results of a small pilot program are not the city’s to claim.

- For the past two years, New York University has had a 30-bike pilot program with 10 locations for its students and employees. The program is but a fraction of the 600 rental stations and 10,000 bikes that will make up the city’s ambitious program, which is to begin this summer. But N.Y.U.’s program does suggest that bike-share programs can work in New York City. On Wednesday, the university added 45 bicycles and made the program permanent. “The demand was very quickly outstripping supply,” said Jeremy Friedman, the manager of sustainability initiatives for the university, who has been working with students to organize the bike-share program.

- The program started in 2008, when Julia Ehrman, a student and cycling fan, sought to repair old and used bicycles for students to ride. But the cost was too high, so Ms. Ehrman applied with a friend for a grant from the university, and they were given $13,000. After they found that the used bikes were too expensive to repair, they reached a deal with Hudson Urban Bicycles to purchase 30 Biria bikes that the shop had bought for the city’s Summer Streets events. Then they enlisted some seniors studying computer technology in the arts to design a type of technology so that students could swipe their student identification card to obtain a bicycle.

- In the fall of 2009, Mr. Friedman stepped in and enlisted the help of dormitory resident advisers. They organized 30-minute training sessions for students to learn how to ride safely and required bikers to wear helmets. They simplified the program, allowing students to sign out the bikes from the front desks of their dormitories, the way they would check out a vacuum cleaner or a board game. At the same time, the university created more space for students to store their own bikes and those borrowed from the program in dormitories and at bike racks. The program began operating in the summer of 2010. Mike Sandmel, the coordinator of the bike-share program, said that during the first couple of months only 200 students signed up for bikes, for which there is no charge. But soon, word of mouth drew 1,000 members. He said that many participants had also decided to purchase bikes after using the program for a few weeks.

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  #567  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2012, 6:26 PM
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D.C. struggles to keep pace as bike population grows


March 21, 2012

By Katie Rogers

Read More: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/...RSS_story.html

Quote:
.....

Authorities and advocates alike are struggling to keep up with a crowd of riders whose skills range from expert to novice in an already congested city.

- According to rush-hour counts conducted in 20 intersections throughout the city each year by the District Department of Transportation, bike traffic during those peak times surged an average of 20.7 percent from 2010 to 2011, with 7,113 total bikes moving through those intersections. Nearly 25 percent of those riders weren’t wearing helmets, according to count data.

- A chunk of the District’s growing user group comes from Capital Bikeshare, a regional rental system opened by D.C. and Arlington County in September 2010. By January of this year, it had mushroomed into a 1,200-bike, 140-station system. Compared with overall ridership, the actual number of reported collisions is small, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the problem is much bigger. Police have logged 829 reported bicycle collisions in the District in that time frame.

- Miscommunication and human error can result in serious accidents and fuel tension between motorists and cyclists. When a cyclist riding a Bikeshare bike Feb. 28 was struck by a tractor-trailer during morning rush hour, he was issued three citations; however, one of them, biking without a helmet, doesn’t exist in D.C. law for people older than 16. The ticket was issued in error and withdrawn, according to police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump. For the police department the relatively quick expansion of bicycling on the city has led to a need for better training in the bicycle regulations,” Crump said in an e-mail.

- To help make sure riders of all wheel counts are on the same page, area police will begin a spring Street Smart campaign this week across the region. The program is geared to enforcing safe bicycling and safe driving. But bike advocates say even more can be done to make biking a safer mode of travel; in short, they want more funding to be freed up for bike paths, lanes, walkways and pedestrian bridges in cities across the country. Bicyclists attending the National Bike Summit this week will lobby for what they see as a lack of funding. “Our goal is equity across mode of transportation,” Hoagland said. “Equal share of the roadway for every type of user.”

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  #568  
Old Posted Mar 23, 2012, 5:18 PM
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A Bike Company Offers a Prescription for America’s Health Care Cost Crisis


March 23, 2012

By Ben Fried

Read More: http://www.streetsblog.org/2012/03/2...e-cost-crisis/

PDF Report: http://www.streetsblog.org/wp-conten...rd-Program.pdf

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One of the most talked-about presentations at this week’s National Bike Summit came from Jason Gaikowski, director of sales for the Bloomfield, Minnesota-based wholesale distributor Quality Bicycle Products. Over the last several years, QBP has ramped up its employee health and wellness program, which includes incentives to bike to work. At a time when most employers are grappling with rising insurance premiums, the program has helped reduce QBP’s health care costs and significantly increase employee productivity, according to a study by the company’s health insurance provider, HealthPartners.

Gaikowski made the case that QBP’s example bears a lesson for the nation’s transportation policy makers: Investment in infrastructure that supports active transportation can help rein in the country’s skyrocketing health care costs. While you probably want to take research on the health benefits of cycling commissioned by a bike company with a grain of salt, Gaikowski’s basic premise has already been embraced by the experts at the Centers for Disease Control. The QBP/HealthPartners case study adds some compelling data about the impact of bike commuting on employee health and the corporate bottom line, and it suggests some areas ripe for further study. As part of its wellness program, QBP offers a few inducements for employees to commute by bike: The company provides secure parking and showers at work, and it pays employees $3 each day they ride to work. The cash payments add up to about $45,000 each year.

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While health care costs for American companies have been skyrocketing, Quality Bicycle Products is spending less on health care, thanks in part to a wellness program that encourages employees to commute by bike. Image: QBP

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Old Posted Mar 24, 2012, 8:27 PM
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New East River Bridges Toll Proposal Goes After Everyone, Including Bicyclists


March 23, 2012

Read More: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/03/...river-bridges/

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Schwartz, known as “Gridlock Sam” to many, wasn’t kidding Friday when he told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer that his new plan to raise $1.2 billion a year tolling the East River bridges will hit a lot of people. He wants to make everyone pay, even some who think they should be exempt. “I’m asking the bike riders to pay 50 cents each way to use the bridges coming into our Central Business District,” Schwartz said.

- New tolls would be put on the Ed Koch Queensboro, the Williamsburg, Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges. Driver would pay $5 with E-ZPass; $7 without. But in exchange for keeping cars out of the Central Business District below 60th Street, Schwartz wants to reduce – that’s right, reduce — tolls on uptown spans, the Triboro, Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges. The round-trip tab would drop from $13 to $8. With Mayor Michael Bloomberg in Asia, Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said that while the mayor isn’t supporting a congestion pricing plan at this time, it is necessary to find some way to fund mass transit.

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  #570  
Old Posted Mar 25, 2012, 9:33 PM
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Cycling Berlin


By Shriya Malhotra

Read More: http://patterncities.com/archives/1402

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Berlin feels like a city operating at a humane pace, partly because of its bicycling culture, which is a great model for other cities. Walking the city comes as a surprise to people, given how convenient (and awesome) it is to cycle. Cycling here is not about fighting traffic or searching for bicycle paths – the city has truly adapted itself for cyclists. And with a population of several million, Berlin’s cycle-friendliness is a huge success. Although modal share in Amsterdam and Copenhagen may be higher, their overall city populations are much smaller. And everyone (or almost everyone – it certainly feels like everyone) in Berlin cycles – old, young, across all demographics.

Cycles are accessorized to be functional, with attachments at the front and back to carry things / people. I’ve seen baby carriers and dog pods. Even when its cold – it seems like businesses and the community / city have collaborated to facilitate this culture. The city has a bicycle share program ‘Call a Bike’ (with solar powered kiosks), and many small businesses run on renting out bicycles to visitors. Public transport and infrastructure is geared for people to take their bikes onto the bus, trams, in the subway – the city accommodates cycles and cyclists everywhere. Bicycle paths are wide and safe, and car drivers really pay attention to cyclists.

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  #571  
Old Posted Mar 27, 2012, 1:06 PM
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  #572  
Old Posted Mar 27, 2012, 1:48 PM
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Capital Bikeshare Both Replaces and Promotes Transit Trips


March 26, 2012

By Angie Schmitt

Read More: http://streetsblog.net/2012/03/26/ca...transit-trips/

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One of the criticisms you hear about bikeshare systems is that they will only replace trips that would otherwise have been by walking or taking transit. But Capital Bikeshare keeps confounding the critics. The full picture is much more complex and interesting, with Cabi replacing bus and rail trips but also leading subscribers to use the transit system more often.

- One of the more interesting facts within the plan is the breakdown of how CaBi has changed mode-use options. It is doing a lot to shift people towards healthier options, as well as cleaner ones. For example, Without CaBi 55% of users would have taken a non-active mode and 13% would have used a car.

- Two numbers that might be overlooked, but are actually very important are that 6% of CaBi users would have just not taken the trip, while only 5% would have used their own bike. That is a glaring statement that what CaBi is about is giving people a choice they didn’t feel they already had. There was a large number of people out there who wanted to bike, but felt they couldn’t and Capital Bikeshare has made that an option for them. There are another 6% who would have just stayed where they were because they felt like no good transportation choice.

- And even when people weren’t on a bike, CaBi changed the way they got around. “A quarter of respondents reported that they now use traditional transit more frequently than they did prior to becoming CaBi members, while 5 percent reported that they now use their personal bicycles more often.”

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  #573  
Old Posted Mar 27, 2012, 4:45 PM
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Did 4-year-old children design these lanes?
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  #574  
Old Posted Mar 29, 2012, 9:03 PM
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Top 10 Cities for Cycling


Read More: http://www.shermanstravel.com/top-te...es-for-cycling

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Urban areas across America are establishing dedicated bike lanes and trails at an unprecedented pace, and though U.S. cities may still be playing catch-up when it comes to bike-share programs (the Vélib’ system in Paris, launched in 2005, already includes 20,000 bikes at 1,800 stations), it may surprise you how many of the handy hop-on-hop-off systems are already functioning on this side of the pond: Boston, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, and Washington, D.C. all have successful bike shares in place, while New York City, San Francisco, and St. Petersburg are launching high-profile programs this summer. Jeremy Rothschild, director of marketing for B-cycle, a bike-sharing outfit in Chicago, sums up the two-wheel appeal: “It’s magic…a bike that’s there when you need it and gone when you don’t.”

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Profiles in link:

1. Austin

2. Boston

3. Chicago

4. Denver

5. Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota

6. New York City

7. Portland, Oregon

8. San Francisco

9. St. Petersburg, Florida

10. Washington, D.C.
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  #575  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2012, 4:14 PM
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The Boom in Biking Benefits Everyone, Not Just Bicyclists


03.30.12

By Jay Walljasper

Read More: http://www.shareable.net/blog/the-bo...ust-bicyclists

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.....

Since last summer, proposals have flown around the Capitol to strip away all designated transportation funds for biking and walking—even though biking and walking account for 12 percent of all trip across America but receive only 1.6 percent of federal funding. But yesterday (March 29) the U.S. House of Representatives—the hotbed of opposition to bike and walking as well as transit programs—voted to extend the current surface transportation bill for another three months, saving the funding of bike and ped programs. The Senate followed two hours later. (This marks the 9th extension of the existing transportation bill since 2009 and another victory for the growing movement to ensure federal support for biking and walking projects.)

- The political forces that want to steer policies back to the 1950s—when cars and highways were seen as the only way to go—have consistently failed to muster enough votes to shift federal transportation funding into reverse. There are several reason for this, but one of the most surprising is the emergence of bicycle advocates—and to a lesser extent pedestrian advocates—as a persuasive political lobby. Groups like the Alliance for Biking and Walking , the League of American Bicyclists, America Bikes, Bikes Belong, Rails to Trails Conservancy, People for Bikes, America Walks and others emphasize the message that the biking and walking benefit everyone, not just folks who ride and stroll frequently. They've earned the attention of a growing bi-partisan bloc of Congress members, which makes the prospects for continued federal support of bike and pedestrian improvements much more likely than anyone expected last year.

- While Congressional critics belittle bicyclists as a marginal, almost silly special interest group, others herald them as self-reliant citizens who get around without the need of imported oil and mega-highway projects that cost taxpayers billions. Instead of a boondoggle, continued funding to improve biking and walking conditions in the U.S. represents a sound investment that saves taxpayers money now and in the future. Even if you will never ride a bike in your life, you still see benefits from increased levels of biking. More bicyclists mean less congestion in the streets and less need for expensive road projects that divert government money from other important problems. Off-road paths, bike lanes, sidwalks and other bike and ped improvements cost a fraction of what it takes to widen streets and highways. It's proven that bicycling and walking increases people's health and reduces obesity, which will translate into huge cost savings for government and a boost for our economy.

- Bike advocates are also working hard to dispel the stereotype that all bicyclists are young, white, urban, male ultra athletes in lycra racing jerseys. Increased investment in safer, more comfortable bike facilities means that more women, children, families, middle-aged and senior citizens, minorities, immigrants, low-income, suburban and rural people will ride bikes. The number of Americans who commute primarily by bike leaped 43 percent since 2000 according to census data. The number of overall bike trips rose 25 percent. But for those numbers to keep climbing—and the benefits for all Americans to continue accumulating—people need to feel safer on their bikes. Seventy-one percent of all Americans report that they would like to bike more than they do now, according to U.S. Highway Safety Administration data. But many of them fear riding on busy streets with speeding traffic.

- The report cites data from the U.S. Department of Transportation showing that rural Americans bike only slightly less than their urban counterparts, and much more than people living in newer suburbs. Here are two particularly surprising findings.

• In towns of 10,000 to 50,000, a higher percentage of overall trips are made by bike than in urban centers.

• In towns of 2500-10,000 twice as many work trips are made by bike than in urban centers.

Federal funding of biking and walking improvements play an important role in helping rural communities attract and retain young people, families and businesses. As the CEO of the Billings (Montana) Chamber of Commerce John Brewer told a Congressional hearing last year. “Talented people are moving to Billings in large part because of our trail system that creates the quality of life they are expecting….Trails are no longer viewed as community amenities; they’re viewed as essential infrastructure for business recruitment.”

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Old Posted Apr 8, 2012, 10:12 PM
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NYPD begins tracking bicycle accidents


April 6, 2012

By Rocco Parascandola

Read More: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/...sEnabled=false

Quote:
.....

The move took effect Thursday and is designed to help track the growing number of bike crashes, and tangles involving cyclists versus pedestrians. About 500 pedestrians wind up hospitalized each year after accidents with cyclists, a recent study showed. At the same time, the city continues plans to install 1,800 bike lane miles by 2030. “It’s not like shootings or robberies, but people are getting hurt,” a source said.

- The top cop wants them documented and analyzed for trends, a source said. Whereas the NYPD used to fill out a short information cards for bike-involved accidents, the new rules dictate that cops complete a full accident report. “This reporting process will allow the department to track bicycle accidents like typical car accidents,’’ said Inspector Kim Royster, an NYPD spokeswoman. City Councilman Stephen Levin (D-Brooklyn) called it “a small step in the right direction.”

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Old Posted Apr 8, 2012, 10:14 PM
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Cycle tracks just as popular as trails


6 April 2012

Read More: http://westnorth.com/2012/04/06/cycl...lar-as-trails/

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Last week, one of my classes presented a proposal for new bicycle facilities in Old Town Alexandria, including some protected facilities. The city expects that expanding Capital Bikeshare to the neighborhood, which they plan to do later this year, will result in an increase in novice cyclists on their streets and want to create facilities that they might be more comfortable with. (Currently, there are several streets marked with sharrows.) The plan that our class developed includes a few one-way cycle tracks (like this one in Vienna), along with buffered bike lanes, contraflow bike lanes, conventional bike lanes, and more sharrows.

- These, and minor streets marked as bike routes, were strongly preferred over all other road types (mostly those with no facilities, rural or urban). In particular, “Regular cyclists were willing to cycle on many of the 16 route types, but those who cycle less often, including women and people with children, did not feel comfortable cycling on major city streets, even with bike lanes, but did like the [cycle track] option.” I’ll see if I can find more detailed data in one of the academic articles; it would be interesting to look deeper into which facilities are most popular by transect zone & cycling experience level — i.e., which facilities exist in T4 areas, and which are most likely to appeal to different kinds of cyclists.

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Old Posted Apr 9, 2012, 5:00 PM
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CicLAvia Rules! How Bicyclists Made L.A. a Better Place


Apr 5 2012

By Hillel Aron

Page 1 of 4: http://www.laweekly.com/2012-04-05/n...cles-founding/

Quote:
They said it would never work here. This wasn't San Francisco, this wasn't New York, and this was most certainly not Portland. This was Los Angeles, where the car is king. To close seven miles of streets — and for what? To the city bureaucracy, it sounded like madness. "Where does it start?" asked a Department of Transportation representative. "Um ... ," replied Joe Linton, a bicycle activist. "And where does it end?" "It's ... don't think of it that way ... "

It was impossible to describe to someone who hadn't seen it. Not even Linton himself knew what to expect. He would later awake at 4 a.m. on the morning of the first CicLAvia on 10-10-10, panic stricken with the fear that no one would show up, that the streets would be empty and that he would be a laughingstock. But people did come — tens of thousands of them bicycling or walking (the Los Angeles Times made a probably overly optimistic guess of 100,000). They brought their serious bikes and their crazy bikes, their pets, their children. They were young and old, black, white, Asian and Hispanic. The streets — Sixth, Seventh and Spring — were filled with the soft, ambient sounds of laughter and talking. And nothing else. L.A.'s subtly oppressive white noise — its cars, trucks and buses — was eerily gone. People kept pausing in delight to hear what wasn't there. All motors and engines were banned from the route.

The air felt lighter, as if the city itself had ascended high above the clouds. It was just a few hours on a Sunday, but it felt like a new chapter in L.A. history. "Open street" initiatives have been around at least since 1965, with Seattle's Bicycle Sundays. The event migrated to New York City, San Francisco and Ottawa before showing up in Bogotá, Colombia, in 1974. They called it "Ciclovía," a portmanteau combining "cycle" and "way." Somehow in Bogotá, a crime-ridden city of fierce traffic, Ciclovía took root in a way it hadn't in North American cities. It has since become an institution, held every Sunday, spanning roughly 75 miles. On this single day, as many as 1 million Colombians use the route for everything from parades, protests and performances to simply running errands. In 2007, Clarence Eckerson Jr., a 40-year-old, New York–based videographer, flew to Bogotá, made a nine-minute documentary about Ciclovía and posted it on the website Streetsblog. Bicycle activists around the country watched the video and wondered, Why not here?

.....








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Old Posted Apr 9, 2012, 9:55 PM
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The De-Bikification of Beijing


April 9th, 2012

By Debra Bruno

Read More: http://www.theatlanticcities.com/com...-beijing/1681/

Quote:
Just a few years ago, the streets of Beijing were clogged with so many bicycles that riders sailing through an intersection looked like a school of fish moving through the water. Today the cars have taken over. In fact, Beijing more and more is just another traffic-clogged city with Chinese characteristics. Its bike lanes are rapidly filling with parked cars, auto rickshaws spewing exhaust, and strolling pedestrians. To many Chinese, bikes are now for losers. The iconic Beijing bicycle is a sorry one-gear affair with a metal basket on the front which breaks so regularly that every street corner seems to have a makeshift fix-it stand. "There is a quote: ‘I would rather cry in a BMW than smile on a bike,'" says Jinhua Zhao, an urban planning professor at the University of British Columbia who's conducting a study of cycling in Beijing.

- The loss of a bike culture is a shame, says Shannon Bufton, the Australian-born founder of an NGO called Smarter Than Car. "It’s like Venice and gondolas. They go together, Beijing and the bike," he says. Bufton's solution? Transform the bicycle into a luxury item, like the Chanel bag, the Gucci shoes, and the Maserati car. That way, the Chinese would want to own and ride them to show they've reached the middle class. Bufton notes that when he first started Smarter Than Car in 2010, “I gave a lot of lectures about sustainable cities and about how positive the bike was for society,” he says. “And the Chinese people said to me, ‘Well, yeah, we know that, but we just started getting interested in the car. We want to drive cars."

- Smarter Than Car organized its first Beijing Bike Week in March, setting up a post in a luxury shopping mall surrounded by Ferrari, Aston Martin, and Maserati car dealers. The group showed movies about biking, ran a bike polo match, and organized a kind of scavenger hunt on bikes called an alleycat race. Bufton is even set to open a kind of café for cyclists, which he hopes will help foster a hip bike culture in the city. There is one demographic in Beijing that Bufton doesn’t have to work as hard to convince. More foreign residents, tired of the difficulty of finding a cab, fighting the crowds on the subway and buses, or figuring out how to pass the test for a Chinese driver’s license, are turning to bicycles. Expats, it turns out, love to wax rhapsodic about the romance of biking in Beijing.

....



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Car-saturated Mexico City lets bicycle riders rule the roads on Sunday mornings


April 11, 2012

By William Booth

Read More: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...n9S_story.html

Quote:
.....

In one of the world’s biggest cities, bicycle riding is today a popular way to get around, especially on Sunday mornings, when city hall shuts major throughways to auto traffic and gives the right of way to tens of thousands of cyclists (and a bunch of Rollerbladers and joggers and dogs, too) who wend their way down grand commercial avenues and hard-bitten byways in a leisurely 14-mile loop.

- Sure, urban bicycle rides are popular in major First World cities, but in the Mexican capital, famous for its clogged arteries and heart-clutching smog? This ain’t Amsterdam. But the riders came out, in droves, even though many adults here had never ridden a bicycle before. On some sunny Sundays, the city can put 80,000 cyclists on the streets.

- Unlike in some cities suffering terminal gridlock — say, in India or China — traffic usually moves in Mexico City, which actually makes it more dangerous to be on a bike, because the cars can reach ramming speeds. The driving culture considers pedestrians and bicycles fair game.

- The mayor followed the Sunday rides with the city’s Ecobici program in 2010, which offers 26,000 active subscribers unlimited access to 1,200 bicycles at 90 stations for $25 a year. According to Martha Delgado, the city’s environmental secretary, the Ecobici program will grow this year to offer 4,000 bicycles at 275 stations for 73,000 users. “It has been a success. We shattered a myth that a megalopolis like Mexico City is not capable of considering the bike as a means of transport,” said Delgado, who envisions a city with fewer cars and more bikes. There is a long way to go to reach bicitopia.

.....



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