Streetsblog.net: Cyclists Need More Than Bike Lanes

Think bike lanes are enough to get people biking? WalkBikeCT would have you think again. A post on this Streetsblog Network member site today says that a more comprehensive planning approach is necessary to make most people feel safe on two wheels:

511799212_724dd43c28.jpgPhoto from BikePortland.org‘s photo pool on Flickr.

The
reason cycling as transportation is not too popular in this country is
that, as a policy, roads are optimized for recklessly fast automobile
travel.…As you might guess, bike lanes, i.e. paint stripes and a
bicycle symbol on the side of the road, are not going to help this
situation much. A few people might feel safer and venture into the
road, but at the end of the day you still have cars traveling fast
enough to easily
and instantly kill a human being.

Designing towns
optimized for pedestrian travel, where cars proceed slowly enough that
they can safely share the road with pedestrians and cyclists — that’s a
solution you can believe in.

From Ohio, we have two encouraging posts. Car Less Ohio
writes about a new office park development in Wooster, OH, that is
being designed with 8,000 feet of sidewalk and a bike path. And Xing Columbus reports that the Central Ohio Transit Authority’s stimulus wish list includes a light rail project, a bike path and a greenway.

  • “The reason cycling as transportation is not too popular in this country is that, as a policy, roads are optimized for recklessly fast automobile travel …”

    I can’t remember the moment that this idea dawned on me, but I remember how it felt. I think I was fighting through an internal argument about Vehicular Cycling and my mom’s stated preference for a protected bike lane.

    It quickly became obvious to me that learning about how our roads are designed was very important. Once I read up on that, and found out about the ITE (Institute for Transportation Engineers) I really got a fresh persepctive on transporation planning in the U.S. and some possible ways of fixing it.

    Plainly put, we need to measure (not just “focus”, “report on”, or “care”), actually measure, the impact that transportation plans have on people, businesses and the civic spirit in neighborhoods around a project.

    There are pseudo-scientific measures of our roadway employed by civil engineers and traffic engineers. Reformers need their own set of measurements that can make a scientific case for alternatives to car-only roads.

    I’ve got a small list I keep amending, and I’m sure that there are enough big brained people out there that we can get a slate of measurements slowly incorporated into the canon of transportation engineering.

    I imagine a sort of “LEED certification” for roads.

  • In response to Umberto Brayj’s comment, above:

    “There are pseudo-scientific measures of our roadway employed by civil engineers and traffic engineers. Reformers need their own set of measurements that can make a scientific case for alternatives to car-only roads.

    “I’ve got a small list I keep amending, and I’m sure that there are enough big brained people out there that we can get a slate of measurements slowly incorporated into the canon of transportation engineering.”

    …i’d encourage you to check out the people-centric steets ‘metrics’ developed by Gehl Architects, as highlighted in New York City DOT’s report ‘World Class Streets’. see:
    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/WCS_Gehl_08_spreads.pdf

    as well, Paris Metro has been employing some really innovative social scientific research techniques as it tries to nudge its own system from a ‘passive’ transportation one, to and ‘active’/dialogical mobility one. a useful report generated within this logic can be found at:
    http://www.ratp.fr/corpo/references/pdf/anglais/RATP_RA_2007_GB.pdf

  • LEED Certification for Roads!

    YES! A+ for Brayj!

    Can you imagine engineers all competing to make the most livable street? Dutifully measuring and recording a whole host of criteria they learned in their new certificate training program…

    Better metrics = better streets (or at least, the possibility for them)

    If only LADOT could grasp this….

    IF ONLY.

  • Thanks for the link Jen, I actually had a chance to read through Gehl’s “World Class Streets” a few weeks back. Definitely worth stealing methodology from. The Parisian study I have not heard of, but will read soon enough.

    Ingrid,

    Thanks to you, I’m going to stick with “LEED for streets” now. I can tell you where I thought of the idea for that the next time we meet (LABAC meeting in Feb.?).

  • LEED for Streets! LEEd for Streets!

    Methinks I’m gonna go on Spoke(N)Art tomorrow, as should others!
    We can chant it there….

    And catch Fuzz’s special art show at the Bike Oven!

    Thanks for taking the —– (wait for it)— LEED!

  • Just had to dig out this interesting piece Will Campbell did for the LA Times a while back – exactly on topic!

    More Bike Lanes? No Thanks!
    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-campbell19may19,0,6391618.story?coll=la-home-commentary

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