Saturday, April 20, 2013
By Richard Hake
Did you know that the bike path along Ocean Parkway to Coney Island is billed as the oldest bike path in the country? Audio engineer Debbie Daughtry is planning to take her bicycle out for the first time this season and pedal to the ocean. She's planning to stop at Difara Pizza, because, "It's the best in the city," she said.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
The Netherlands are lauded the world over as a biking success story -- but as this documentary shows, it wasn't always that way. In fact, the model cycling culture that exists there today is the product of a protest movement to revive a historical bike legacy that had been lost.
In the early 1900s, bike use was so common that bike infrastructure wasn't needed because there were more bikes than cars.
"After World War II everything changed," the documentary explains. As the country grew in wealth, the Dutch could afford cars in record numbers, clogging old cities not designed for automobiles. Buildings were torn down to make way, and "city squares were turned into car parks." The daily travel distance went from 2.9 miles in 1957 to 14.2 miles in 1975. The car took over.
A rash of children on bikes being hit by cars led to the protest movement in the early 1970s just as the oil crisis hit. The government began a concerted and creative push to remake city centers for pedestrians and bikes.
Watch the video for the rest of the details, and story of the protests:
An October post by Mark Wagenbuur on bike blog Hembrow has more history as well.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) Errors on Google Maps matter. One even started a war. But now you, yes you, can fix them. And that means adding pedestrian and walking paths that are left off, or even removing a street that is impassable because of long term construction.
Google introduced Google Mapmaker for America yesterday. You can now add or edit roads, paths and even high-tension wires that aren't exactly accurate in your neighborhood. I tried it. It's easy.
I live in Manhattan where just about every road, sidewalk and even tree, has been mapped and re-mapped within an inch of its concrete life for more than two centuries. Still, there are a few improvements I had to suggest. In particular, there are pedestrian paths through my apartment complex that, according to Google Maps, don't exist even though I walk them every day.
Well, I fixed that.
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) In Brooklyn, New York one bike lane in particular is serving as a flash point for debate between motorists and cyclists over how to use the streets. The attention, and conflict, has also increased incentive to quantify and measure the impact of the Prospect Park West bike lane—that's good for any of us craving data on transportation policies.
So, the New York City Department of Transportation has just issued informative findings from their research on the PPW bike lane. Not surprisingly, it supports the DOT's decision to build the lane. “The traffic volume, travel speed and bike lane usage data support this traffic calming project, and it’s clear that the public supports it too. We look forward to working with residents and local officials to make it even better,” says DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan in an emailed statement.
The NYC DOT finds that weekday cycling has just about tripled and the number of people riding on the sidewalk, a hazard to pedestrians, has fallen dramatically from 46 percent to just 3 percent of cyclists. Additionally, the total number of weekday cyclists has almost tripled along the PPW route. Weekend bike ridership also more than doubled.
The addition of the bike lane included a new traffic pattern, designed in part to reduce car speeds by cutting the number of lanes from three to two along this edge of Brooklyn's iconic Prospect Park. The slowing effect seems to have worked according to DOT statistics. Before the bike lane, three out of four cars broke the speed limit. Now, the DOT reports, just one sixth of cars top 30 m.p.h.
What's especially interesting—and a little unexpected—is the impact on total usage. Commuter volume on the street has increased in both morning and afternoon rush hours. In the morning, there are both more cyclist commuters and more car commuters, though in the afternoon car commuting has dropped while bike commuting has spiked enough to compensate on the one way boulevard. Travel times along the route and nearby avenues are mixed; some nearby streets are now faster than before and some slower depending on time of day. Overall though, the DOT data show motor vehicle traffic has not been negatively affected while biking has increased dramatically.
See a power point slideshow of the full findings here.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Read the full survey here.
The two-way protected bike lane along Brooklyn's Prospect Park West has drawn controversy since before it was built. The lane was heavily favored by the local community board, which asked the NYC DOT to come up with a plan to slow traffic along the historic Olmstead-designed park, where more than half of all drivers routinely broke the speed limit.
Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn Borough President, wrote letters, led protests, and otherwise, vocally objected to the bike lane. The lane, it was believed, would inevitably cause congestion, would change the historic nature of the boulevard -- and cyclists could be perfectly well served by the a ride through the park (though only in one direction).
But the DOT installed the lane anyway, and this fall announced its results: speeding had been reduced dramatically, and bike riding on the sidewalk -- something once done by nearly half of all cyclists -- had dwindled to almost nothing.
But unlike in other street-use battles, which tend to die down over time, after users get used to the new street design, the normally voluble Markowitz has remained voluble, if anything stepping up his criticism. And some residents of Prospect Park West, which borders the park have continued their loud protest.
Meantime cyclists have been equally fierce in defending the lane, extolling the safe new path to get to work or around Park Slope.
Into this roil comes City Councilmember Brad Lander, who surveyed three thousand Brooklyn residents, and found that along Prospect Park West, residents are evenly split about the lane. But go a block away, and continue on, and there's overwhelming support: By a margin of three to one, Park Slope residents believe in keeping the lane.
Monday, May 17, 2010
(The Woodlands, Texas -- Wendy Siegle, KUHF News Lab) -- Houston has long been an oil man's town and a booming city that loves its cars and parking lots. That's changing. Just to the north, in The Woodlands, a tony suburb, people like 64-year old David Hitchcock are adding up the benefits of biking to work. “Bicycles are really the most efficient way to travel. On my trip to work this morning, which is about seven miles, I used about 360 calories. I did the math when I got to work and found out that’s about 775-thousand miles per gallon for the equivalent energy in a gallon of gasoline." With Hitchcock's help, The Woodlands may earn recognition in the Bicycle Friendly Community Program, a nationwide distinction previously placed on places like Portland, Davis, California and yes, Austin.
Take a listen inside the movement, as a community takes on traffic, bike paths and a new way of getting around Texas.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) Boston, Minneapolis, and Denver all have been planning roll-outs for major bike share programs this spring, but Denver is first out of the gate. A rainy earth day marked the launch of 400 bikes in the bike-share program, which is designed to significantly augment Denver's public transit system. (Washington DC has been up and running for a while, but with only 100 bucks, it's widely seen as too small to serve that mass transit function). Denver's program is run by B-cycle, which has built-in GPS devices to deter theft -- at any one time the operators will know who has checked out a bike and where it is. Boston and Minneapolis start later this spring. Several dozen European cities have bike-share programs, and New York, San Francisco, and Portland are all in the early stages of development. Hear from a rider, and a reporter in Denver on the day of the launch: The Takeaway.
Friday, April 16, 2010
(April 15, 2010 - Bronx, NY) The Obama Administration's healthcare reform bill will be setting up insurance exchanges, making young adults eligible for coverage and ending things like lifetime caps on coverage and exclusions for people with pre-existing conditions. But it also offers $15 billion for little things to make communities more livable. Things like parks, bike paths and sidewalks -- ways to get around, be active and hopefully avoid illness. Marketplace's Gregory Warner takes a walk around the South Bronx to see what change might look like.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
NEW YORK, NY January 14, 2010 —City plans for speeding up buses on First and Second Avenues do not include physically separating the buses from other traffic. But the new designs do include miles of protected bike lanes.