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The Monday Roundup

Posted by on May 18th, 2009 at 11:08 am

A bike bill of rights; reclaiming public spaces; commutes that suck; federal officials who ride; bikesharing in Canada; and yes, the car is still king.

– The New York Times created a big buzz with a front page article about Vauban, a carfree suburb in Germany. The heated discussion that has ensued in hundreds of comments centers around the possibility of creating similar developments in the United States.

– Colorado has just enacted a Cyclists’ Bill of Rights, including a three foot passing law as well as criminal penalties (including jail time) for throwing objects from a car at someone on a bike. The bill has earned acclaim, though not without its naysayers who complain of “special treatment.”

– Washington State transportation planners are looking for ways to cut the Columbia River Crossing budget. One of their first ideas: reduce the number of lanes from 12 to 10.

– The mayor of San Francisco has just launched a “Pavement to Parks” program, inspired by similar recent initiatives in New York City for turning public spaces into pedestrian plazas rather than auto congested intersections. Another article this week discusses the future of SF bike infrastructure projects.

– This question just in over the Streetsblog Network: “How can we make bike commuting ‘normal’?” One answer: provide showers.

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“Montreal inaugurates continent’s most ambitious bike-sharing program.”

– Transportation for America has launched a new forum for you to tell Congress, and the world, about how much your commute sucks and what sort of changes you’d like to see at a federal level.

– Steven Chu, the country’s new Secretary of Energy, had to give up his daily bike commute when he took the job because the secret service didn’t deem it safe — but he was able to sneak in a ride on Bike to Work Day last week.

– The new federal transportation funding authorization may now be delayed until 2010.

– More U.S. workers telecommuted last year than the year before — could this be a contributing factor to last year’s significant decrease in car travel?

– Teenagers in foster care can have trouble obtaining their caseworker’s permission to get drivers licenses. A new bill up in Salem will add “‘driving privileges’ to the list of ‘needs and goals’ the state must help youths achieve before they are old enough to transition to life on their own,” according to the Oregonian.

– A new Pew Research poll found that despite driving being down considerably, cars are still considered “the number one necessity of modern life.” By a long shot — cell phones and clothes dryers don’t even come close.

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Stan
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Stan

Cutting the CRC to 10 lanes is a start. Still waiting for someone to explain how we are going to pay for it. The Feds are only going to kick in so much.

wsbob
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wsbob

I’d like to know how SF is doing with approval of their bike plan that was legally challenged by the irritable blogger and urban bike dismissive Rob Anderson.

SF getting bike paths on the bridges from east bay sounds like great progress.

BURR
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BURR

I’m pretty sure the injunction against the SF bike plan has been lifted and the SFBC is lobbying for quick completion of the 56 projects in the plan.

Paul Tay
Guest

Hey, NO fair, DAMMIT! Yet again, you forgot Tulsa, OK, America’s newest Bronze Level Bike-Friendly City.

Are ya JEALOUS yet?

Paul Tay
Guest

And, BTW, Oklahoma has had an anti-throwing object at vehicle and three-foot passing laws for YEARS!

Take dat CO, nuthin’ but a bunch of spandex’d Type A Olympian wannabes, with nary a sense of humor. If they would only loosen up and do a Mile High Pedalpalooza, CO might actually be a kewl place to hang in June.

Joe
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Joe

car still KING… ahhh.. notice gas is on the rise again? summer? wish my little town
was carfree.. my girls would flip 🙂

Joe

Mike
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Mike

Cars are obviously still the modern necessity seeing as the vast majority of commodities are moved around by trucks. Who cares if you can ride your bike to the store if the store doesn’t have anything in it? The type of restructuring that society needs to undergo to push cars lower down on the list is at least 100 years off (depending on which theory of peak oil you buy into).

Bjorn
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Bjorn

I agree with those who say no special rights for cyclists, how about it is illegal for anyone who to throw something out of a moving car with the intention of hitting another person no matter what mode that person is using. Heck you can make it illegal for cyclists to throw water bottles at other people too… One would think that things like this would already be illegal…

Opus the Poet
Guest

You know, if more people rode bikes it would be easier for the trucks to get to the stores with our stuff, not to mention cheaper. And we would have more money to buy stuff with. The bill in TX that would make 3 feet passing the law and prohibit throwing things at cyclists almost didn’t pass until the fine was raised, in the original bill it was cheaper to throw something at a cyclist than it was to just toss it out the car window if the cyclist wasn’t there, and they didn’t want to water down the anti-littering law. Seems that throwing something at a cyclist has the included offense of littering… but then I’m just a guy that took some engineering classes and then some art classes, and then some computer programming classes… You know all that logic and order stuff. Maybe we should make legislators take some engineering classes for when they have to pass laws about engineering…

wsbob
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wsbob

“You know, if more people rode bikes it would be easier for the trucks to get to the stores with our stuff, not to mention cheaper.” Opus

I would think so. Also, cars and trucks are two entirely different critters. You’d need a lot of cars to haul what one truck can.

There isn’t any magic wand, but sometimes it seems as though where easy improvements could be made that would allow people to get out of the car and on the bike instead for trips about town, all kinds of reasons are thrown up as barriers to any rapid progress in that direction.

Beaverton’s Hall/Watson couplet is fair example of this. Its bike lane, north of Millikan runs in fits and starts. City commendably has plans to eventually run it continuously, but that has to wait until adjoining property owners sell and the city can get the new owner to make land available for continuation of the bike lane. That could take…. .

If there were a big, wide bike lane running both sides of the length of the Hall/Watson couplet, (how about as wide as the shoulder of the highway to Gaston?), I believe many, many people from all the neighborhoods along the couplet would be using that bike lane…(it would be effectively, a ‘bike-way’, like a freeway in the enjoyable days of motor vehicle travel gone by) to go back and forth between the sections of this fragmented town.

As long as travel infrastructure is built so that it’s not really tolerable to be near it unless you’re safe inside a car, sure, it could be a 100 years…or more…or something much worse than time alone, before great numbers of people are willing to go without a car.

Pete
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Pete

BURR (#3), not yet. The city released its environmental impact report (DEIR) in November and Rob Anderson has said he will continue to appeal any attempt to lift it, though the DEIR will be used as scientific basis to refute his claims that bike commuting causes pollution by forcing cars to idle in traffic.

http://sf.streetsblog.org/2008/11/28/sf-responds-to-bike-injunction-with-1m-1353-page-enviro-review/

Mike
Guest
Mike

My point is that if every commuter rode a bike to and from work, cars (motorized vehicles, whatever) would still be the necessity of our time due to our dependence on them to move goods.

Ed
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Ed

Mike, I don’t think anyone expects we can or should eliminate motor vehicles completely. But replacing a large number of single occupancy vehicle trips with bike or transit make room for the motor vehicle trips we actually do need.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

I’m sure somebody knows…what percentage of the vehicles on the road are trucks used to move goods? I may be wrong, but I’ll guess %25.

We need to be able to fit more people on the roads and highways. Bikes take up less space than cars do. If people hadn’t become accustomed because of the car, to doing their day to day chores across such far flung places, they might not be so dependent on cars.

Re; Rob Anderson. He’s got a certain intelligence and a legitimate legal angle. He seems to enjoy being really nasty to people. I’m not sure he really understands the underlying principle his various objections to the bike plan address: As I see it, is and shall the personal motor vehicle, for the foreseeable future, always be the public’s primary mode of transportation?

I suppose if a person is convinced that a healthy city is one saturated with bumper to bumper freely moving cars, unburdened by the presence of people on bikes, then Rob Anderson has got the right idea.