Friday, February 27, 2009

Key Meeting on I-526 Extension

The Digitel reports a key meeting upcoming on the I-526 extension. Click here for the Digitel's report.
That meeting is at Tuesday, March 3, at 7 p.m. at Town Hall at 1238 Camp Road.
Charleston Moves has written public officials to ask how they plan to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists IF the extension is built.

to read the Charleston Moves position on the proposed I-526 extension click here.

Cars out on Broadway, Pedestrians, Bicyclists, Shoppers In

(photo: Librado Romero/New York Times)

The Big Apple is leading the way again---this time closing off portions of the famed Broadway in and around Times Square to automobiles.
For anyone who has visited, you know Times Square can be in virtual auto gridlock for much of the day and night.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the new plan, soon to be undertaken, will actually smooth auto and truck flow in that portion of the city while creating a more vibrant place for window-shopping, sidewalk dining, pedestrians and bicyclists.
For the entire New York Times story, click here.

Latest on the Ben Sawyer Bridge Matter

The problem here is that DOT started working on the planning for the bridge project a long time ago. You may remember that at the time, they solicited public input and there was a large contingent from Coastal Cyclists who showed up for the public meeting. The upshot of that was that DOT drew plans to widen the raised sidewalk on the harbor side to 5'.

Many, many months after that, the Town of Mount Pleasant began working on plans to reconfigure and improve the causeway. One of the favored plans has bike and pedestrian traffic on BOTH sides of the causeway (though the decision has not been finalized).

However, to date, there has been no coordination between the two projects. They were started separately by two governmental entities.

If nothing is changed now, whatever bike/ped lanes Mount Pleasant builds on the causeway will simply dump off into the 14'-wide travel lanes on the bridge. Apparently, SCDOT believes that those who wish to use the 5' sidewalk will do so and intrepid cyclists will simply use the margin of the 14'-wide lane. (Of course, it would be quite unsafe for cyclists or pedestrians traveling on the eastern side of the bridge to cross to the harbor side to use the 5' sidewalk.)

Here's what I have done so far: 1/ I attended a meeting at the IOP town hall a couple of weeks ago, called by the City to get info from SCDOT. After the meeting, I asked the chief engineer about the prospects for striping a shoulder/bike lane. (He blew me off) 2/I have had a good discussion with Brad Morrison, traffic Planner, Town of Mt. Pleasant. He welcomed the discussion and he said he would be discussing this with SCDOT.

We'll keep on top of this.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Cheering Charleston County Council!


(Mic Smith - Post & Courier)
Charleston County Council has "fast-tracked" planning for the bike/ped crossing over the Ashley River. Click here for more.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Raise Your Voice in Support of Bike/Ped Access on Ben Sawyer Bridge


You've read about the issues here (see below). We'll keep you up to date with more contact information as we get it, but for now, please take the time to make a comment on the SC DOT project website here: www.scdot.org/projects/Ben_Sawyer?default.shtml


High Speed Rail Finally Feels Some Love!


A bright spot in the stimulus bill for those of us who seek to expand mobility options - high speed inter-city rail got an $8 billion boost thanks to some strong behind the scenes maneuvering by the White House. It is so refreshing to see momentum and interest behind investments that can wean us off of the asphalt habit. Read all about it in politico here. 


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ben Sawyer Bridge: More..

The margins on each side of the auto lanes will be 14 feet wide, as we understand it. These will be more or less seen as "breakdown lanes," but usable by cyclists or pedestrians. Our problem is that when the bike/pedestrian lanes are improved over the length of the causeway and when they are not "in sync" with the lack of definition on the bridge, there could be confusion. It is not an optimum situation. It'd be great if everyone working on this could be actually working together.

SCDOT Discusses Ben Sawyer Bridge Plans

..We're not so happy...
SCDOT's main engineer for the forthcoming reconstruction of the Ben Sawyer Bridge linking Mt. Pleasant and Sullivan's Island says he's unaware of Mount Pleasant's plans for improving traffic (including bike/ped traffic) on the Ben Sawyer causeway.
Dan Burton appeared Tuesday evening before the Isle of Palms City Council, detailing the schedule for construction and addressing questions about implications for traffic. This June, he said, the new bridge would be erected next to the existing bridge, and that the new structure would be moved over to replace the old one in a one-week period at the end of October or the beginning of November. The bridge will be closed completely for a period of one week for the operation, and the firm dates would be announced for motorists and mariners alike later this year.
But after the meeting, Burton told me he didn't know that Mount Pleasant planners were considering improvements to the causeway and indicated that even if he did know of such plans, it probably wouldn't affect how bicycle and pedestrian traffic is directed over the span. When I explained that we were speaking only about painting lanes on the road, he stood firm, saying he couldn't be sure that there was sufficient width for bicycle/pedestrian lanes.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

CHARLESTON COUNTY COUNCIL MOVES ON ASHLEY RIVER CROSSING!



Charleston Moves congratulates the public officials who are "fast-tracking" plans for the retrofit of a bridge over the Ashley River meant to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians.
Click here for details in Saturday's Post and Courier.
Charleston Moves has been helping push for this plan (together with the idea of finishing the West Ashley Greenway all the way to Main Road) for a very long time.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Light Lane -Bike Lane To Go




Saw this sweet conceptual idea for a personal/moving bike lane. The idea is to project a bike lane beneath your bicycle, so it's with you wherever you roll. Cars could easily see you and have a better idea of the space they need to give to pass safely. Here's to hoping they figure out the tech soon so we can see these on the streets.

Model Bike Livery Threatened by Vandalism, Theft


VELIB...the bike loan/rental system that has been transforming traffic in Paris (and its suburbs) may soon be no longer.
The issue? (No Surprise) is theft and vandalism. Click here to go to "Fast Company's account.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Urgent: Call Your Senators IMMEDIATELY to Protect Bike/Ped Funding

The U.S. Senate is currently voting on a series of amendments to the economic stimulus bill. Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina has introduced an amendment that would prohibit ANY of the over $800 billion in funding be used for bicycling or walking trails or infrastructure-which would include any Safe Routes to School efforts. Senator DeMint said, "When people see bike trails and hiking trails and golf courses, they know this is not designed to stimulate the economy and create jobs."

We do not yet know when or if this amendment will be voted on-but it is critical that we demonstrate that bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure IS an important part of the economic recovery and building green infrastructure.

Please call your both Senators as soon as possible. They will be continuing to vote late tonight and possibly into the weekend. Use these talking points:

· I am calling to ask the Senator to vote against the DeMint amendment to prohibit bicycle and pedestrian projects from being funded in the economic recovery bill.
· I also ask you to support explicit funding for bike/ped projects in the final economic recovery bill.
· It takes construction workers and materials to create bicycle and pedestrian, creating jobs at the same or better rate than highway projects
· These smaller projects can move quickly to get local businesses working and help Main Street economies.
· Providing safe and convenient bicycle and pedestrian access to workplaces, schools, and transit gives families cheaper transportation options.
· Improving sidewalks and bike lanes can make downtown a destination, further helping local business and the economy.

To get contact information, please go to the League of American Bicyclists' action alert-all you have to do is type in your zip code to get your Senator's phone numbers, talking points, and a form to fill in the response from your Senator's office. If your Senator's office does not answer, please leave a message.

Things are moving quickly on the economic recovery bill, and we may be contacting you again soon with additional updates and requests for help. Thank you for taking action on behalf of increasing opportunities for healthy and green transportation options! For questions, please contact Margo Pedroso, Policy Manager, Safe Routes to School National Partnership at margo@saferoutespartnership.org.

Freiburg, The Hague, and the District of Columbia

http://e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2118

Here is an interesting article I found on the e360 website, which, if you have not discovered yet, is one of the best publications out there on sustainability issues. Freiburg, Germany seems like an excellent model for the world to emulate. Note how the city's pedestrian district is not only economically viable, but tends toward healthy rates of expansion. The argument that compact, car-free urban development cannot support robust economies is false.

I recently returned from a four-month stint in The Hague, Netherlands, which boasts "complete streets" throughout its urban network of medieval allies, canals, and modern highways. The Netherlands has an incredibly efficient public transportation system both within and between its cities. And bike paths accompany every road and interstate in the low-lying nation.

Every week day this fall I commuted by bike across nearly the entire city, 4 miles, to work. With traffic the trip took about 30 minutes door to door. Some days I hopped on a tram to a bus, spanning the same distance, and arrived at work in about 30 minutes. And the journey by car, because of traffic, took about 30 minutes.

The price of gasoline in The Netherlands is about 3-4 times what it is in The States and with such convenient, speedy transportation options, why would people drive? I asked myself this question often. But drive they did, in droves. Hordes of rush hour cyclists feud with heavy vehicular traffic on The Hague's streets. If not for the extensive web of wide bike paths, cycling there would be a death wish (I nearly died several times). But in The Hague no one wears bike helmets, not even children, and families ride together through brutal hail storms without hesitation.

I suppose the North Sea's climate has something to do with many people's choice to drive. I believe it would take strong government intervention to force cars off the streets for good. In The Netherlands I see an example of how to construct urban areas with functioning complete streets. But my optimism, founded in European cities, is tempered by the large gap our country has barely begun to breach.

Now I am back in the States, living in our nation's capital and interning in the Energy department at the Center for American Progress (americanprogress.org). If you have any comments, input, or advice for me, please send me an email at CRosengarten@americanprogress.org.

Best Regards and Think Green,
Carlin

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

NYC: Showing the Way (again)

Hearing on NYC Bicycle-Friendly Zoning Change is Wednesday

On Wednesday the City Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on a proposed amendment to the Zoning Resolution that will require indoor, secure, long-term bicycle parking in new multi-family residential, community facility and commercial buildings. City Planning surveys have found that a lack of bicycle parking in offices is one of the main reasons that more cyclists do not bike to work.

The hearing will start at 10am and be held at Spector Hall located at 22 Reade Street in Manhattan. Public testimony is welcomed. For more information see the Department of City Planning’s Zoning for Bicycle Parking.

(this is from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign's Blog)