Monday, March 30, 2009

Threading the Needle: Wreck the Environment or Fix the Economy

Very Provocative stuff in this essay: When we extend auto mileage (a' la Prius) do we perpetuate long commutes and sprawl? Or, would the more revolutionary move be to reconcieve planning altogether?
It's worth your time and concentration... CLICK HERE

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bridge Study Press Conference Update



We made our point(s) this morning in a press conference at the foot of the Cooper River Bridge:

They are:

  • It's great to see that large numbers of people, especially African-Americans, believe the bridge is helping them toward greater physical fitness
  • The bike/pedestrian lane on the bridge is fabulous, but it needs to be interconnected with a network of bicycle and pedestrian options.
  • Some officials in the low country get decent marks for good intentions but progress is way too slow. (We're embarrassed to say that Spartanburg and Greenville are ahead of Charleston.)
  • The next huge priority is a bike/ped crossing over the Ashley River, then connecting it to the West Ashley Greenway (which itself must be made usable by a wider cross-section of users).
Participating in the press conference were Charleston Moves Co-founders Don Sparks and Lenny Greene, Dana Beach of the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, and Ann Levering RN, the Director of the Employee Wellness Dept. of the Medical University of South Carolina.

In his remarks, Mr. Beach stressed that the bike and pedestrian lane was not a mere "frill" but an integral part of the Lowcountry transportation network that becomes more crucial as time passes. Echoing the position of Charleston Moves, he urged quicker work on more such facilities by officials.

Ms. Levering said she recognized the bike and pedestrian lane as a crucial addition to the choices people can and should make to maintain and/or improve their health. She pointed to new studies documenting the efficacy of exercise in reducing chances for disease of all kinds.

The news conference was covered by the Post and Courier and by all three Charleston TV network affiliates, Channels 2 WCBD (NBC), 4 WCIV (ABC) and 5 WCBD (CBS).

click here for Post and Courier coverage
click here to go to the Live5 News coverage
click here to go to the Channel 4 (WCIV) coverage

For more, click here to see related documents.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

NEARBY USEFUL BIKE; INTERESTING JOYFUL ATTRACTION


They're Spreading! Now, more rent-a-bike systems are getting started in Asia. Click here for the full article from Springwise.com.

Friday, March 20, 2009

If You Can't Get Bike Lanes, Perhaps You Can...


..."MAKE" YOUR OWN.
Check this out...

This "invention" allows cyclists to "mark" their paths with a faint contrail of CHALK.
By using this device, bicyclists will have a clearer path on which to ride safely and out of the way of vehicular traffic. At the same time, as more bicyclists using the Contrail go over a line created by a cyclist before them, the line gets brighter allowing drivers to clearly see a marked bike path where there might be none. It's sort of similar to what happens when a dirt path appears in a grassy field after lots of people have taken the same shortcut over a period of time.
(Thanks to Steve Warner for this one!)

Important Update on The Ben Sawyer Bridge Project

RELIABLE SOURCES:

DESIGN: The design approved by SCDOT and the Towns of Mt. Pleasant and Sullivan’s Island calls for two 14 foot wide lanes, a 5’6” sidewalk situated similar to the current design, and 42 inch railings. It’s a little hard to see on this cross section below but there will be a white line with two-three feet on the roadway providing additional visual safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. There is not enough room to have an AASHTO required 4 ft. designated bike lane. ONE BIG concern has been where they are going to place the drainage holes as those can be very dangerous to bicyclists.

Complete Streets Act of 2009

While researching legislation for the Center for American Progress, I stumbled upon Senator Tom Harkin's (D-IA) bill, S. 584, titled "A bill to ensure that all users of the transportation system, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, children, older individuals, and individuals with disabilities, are able to travel safely and conveniently on and across federally funded streets and highways."

Called the "Complete Streets Act of 2009" for short, the bill was introduced on March 12th, read twice and subsequently referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works. Extract what meaning you can from that jargon. The bill would require "complete streets policies" for urban planners and developers. What a wonderful idea!

The Majority Chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works is Barbara Boxer (D-CA), a strong advocate for environmental legislation, but the Minority Ranking Member, Jim Inhofe (R-OK), is a nut case climate-change-denier.

You can go to the committee website (http://epw.senate.gov/public/?CFID=8321671&CFTOKEN=85474737) to get contact info for its members. Please lobby for the Complete Streets Act of 2009!

Find the details of the bill at Thomas.gov, just search for bill number S. 584

This type of legislation would have been laughed out of congress just a few years ago. We are entering a new era.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The inaugural "Ice Cream Ride"

LAST CHANCE TO SIGN UP TODAY (TUESDAY)

Free
Ice Cream - this is the best ice cream you will ever taste, especially after an enjoyable bicycle ride, awesome COFFEE that is our treat too,

Free Massages, and bicycle powered blender with frozen treats for $5.00 a piece and funds go to Louie's Kids.... please read on...

Wholly Cow Ice Cream and Island Coffee is a ride & experience for the entire family, and one you do not want to miss, it may never occur again.

BENEFITTING CHARLESTON MOVES AND LOUIE'S KIDS

Here are the rest stops and start/finish for Wholly Cow Ice Cream and Island Coffee Ride, this Sunday March 22:
Start at Bulow Landing off County Line Road in Ravenel SC 29470
First Rest Stop: 3 miles into the 11 family ride & the 62 metric distances
12 miles into the 98.2 century ride
Is at St Paul's fire dept on Hype Park Road, staffed by Louise's Kids (www.louieskids.org )
Second Rest Stop - not on family ride
18 miles into the 60 mile metric route, you pass this on the way back from RS 3
27 miles into the 98 mile route, you pass again on way back from RS 3 & RS 4
Is at Sea Island Construction on the corner of Toogoodoo Road and Baptist Hill Road staffed by( www.holycitybikecoop.org )
Third Rest stop - not on family ride
30 miles into the 60 mile route, the turn around
41 into the 98 mile route, you pass this again on way back from RS 4
is at Kings Market on Hwy 174 staffed by (www.charlestonmoves.org )

note: since the 60 is out and back, you can turn around at any distance to shorter your ride. Support Vehicles will be on route, with radio communications.

Fourth Rest stop - only on the 100, is at the end of Edisto Island staffed by (www.charlestonmoves.org )

Fifth Rest Stop: Wholly Cow Ice Cream and Island Coffee plant and facility in Ravenel, on Hwy 17, 1/2 mile past the light at hardees
about 5 miles into the Family Ride - 11 mile family ride, this is Rest Stop 2
about 55 miles into the 62 mile ride this is rest stop five, since you pass 2 twice
about 93 miles into the 98 mile route, this is rest stop seven, since you pass 2 and 3 twice

The dealine for registration is today, (Tuesday March 17th) at midnight.


go to www.whollycowicecream.com (wholly cow ice cream and island coffee is celebrating their 25th year in business and is hosting this event to give back to the community. ....

or go to www.active.com and search for wholly cow click on this link to sign up

or click on this direct link at:
http://www.active.com/page/Event_Details.htm?event_id=1637698&assetId=bf0cd145-8749-4d3c-9934-3b7581891476

for those that have signed up, email notices will be sent out soon addressing packet pick up locations and walkup/late registration.

save money ($10.00) and sign up now.


questions:
email Charles@FoxMusicHouse.com or call 843.303.3334 x-123
Charles Fox P O Box 70815 Chas, SC 29415 843.303.3334 fax 843.740.7206

The wholly cow ice cream and island coffee ride is rain or shine, no refunds. However, it looks like low 60's at start and low 70's by early afternoon, with no for caste for rain. Time changes is late morning, so the winds should not pick up until well after lunch time.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Miami Gears Up for Another BikeMiami

CHECK IT OUT: Miami has joined a number of other enlightened cities in singling out a time when people can see and enjoy where they live from a different vantage point: the seat of a bicycle...

Bike Miami Days PSA : March 14th from rydel high on Vimeo.

for more on how many cities are "seeing the bike," click here to go to the full article on PLANETIZEN. (and thanks, Josh Martin!!))

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bike lanes on frontage roads in Mount Pleasant

I had a very scary experience today. The bike lanes were freshly painted on the frontage roads around Anna Knapp Road. They look pretty good. They really need identification as bike lanes - either signs on the side of the road or better still painted markers in the lane. The problem is the lanes start and stop so cars and bikers are constantly merging and unmerging. This leads to a greater chance of bad things for bikers. The other issue is the lanes narrow and disappear at the intersections. This is a problem too foe the cyclist - where do we go. Not to mention that cars then think it is ok to cut the cyclist off. The rule is that if you can't safely overtake the slower vehicle you wait until it is safe to do so.

I was almost hit because the lane ended and it was me vs the pick up truck. I lost and into the shoulder I went. It wasn't really his fault and I Am ok but it was a bit scary.

Cyclists bear some responsibility too. We have to obey traffic laws, ride in the proper lanes (not go straight out of the turn lane), and use hand signals to communicate with the car drivers.

The city needs to make the lanes continuous and complete through the intersections. Partial lanes are almost as bad as no lanes at all.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Dave Mouton Hits the Nail on the Head

Here is how a new post on Dave Mouton's Bike Blog starts out::

On the Stanford University’s News Website is an article on bicycle safety, which begins with the statement:

Nearly 100 collisions between bicycles and vehicles were reported on campus between 2003 and 2007.

YIKES! What's wrong with that statement???

Click here to go to Dave's blog for the whole rundown!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

MORE ON "CUTTING CARS" IN MANHATTAN

The following article, from Newsweek Magazine, delivers much more perspective on why it often takes dire steps like cutting out auto thoroughfares, narrowing travel lanes or even imposing a "congestion tax" to improve our travel options, especially in our cities. We reproduce it here because we want to keep this kind of conversation going for Charleston. And again, most of us are not "anti-car." We're pro "transportation equity."

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URBAN PLANNING

Where the Neon Lights Are Bright—And Drivers Are No Longer Welcome

Under Mayor Bloomberg, New York City is embracing a controversial theory: closing down streets can reduce traffic jams.

As the mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg usually takes the subway to work. When he travels by car, a police escort zips him through rush-hour congestion. But for a man who himself spends little time mired in Manhattan's inch-along, horn-chorused gridlock, Bloomberg seems oddly obsessed by traffic—and as a committed environmentalist, he aims to do something to reduce it. "The midtown traffic mess is one of those problems everyone always talks about," he said last week. "Well, we're not just going to sit back—we're going to try to do something about it." His plan: to permanently bar traffic from large swaths of Broadway.

It's the boldest example to date of an American city embracing the emerging—and controversial—theories of traffic science. While it's tempting to see the logjams on Los Angeles's 405 or Chicago's Dan Ryan Expressway as inevitable byproducts of our car-based culture, writer Tom Vanderbilt observes in "Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do" that congestion has plagued humans even as they migrated from foot to oxcart to bicycle. But a new generation of theorists is using economics to try to speed things up. For Bloomberg, who's seeking a third term this November, experimenting with these theories carries risks. Early reactions have been favorable, with a few notable exceptions; one columnist wrote that the Crossroads of the World is "soon to be known as the Traffic-Choked, Tourist-Loving, New Yorker–Hating, Immovable Crosswalk."

When it comes to New York traffic, Broadway has long been identified as a key culprit. In 1811, urban planners laid out Manhattan's grid of north-south avenues met by east-west streets, an efficient system of right angles. But those mapmakers left Broadway slicing diagonally through the city, and it's caused havoc ever since. "Every time Broadway cuts through the grid, it delays traffic," says Janette Sadik-Khan, New York's transportation commissioner. It's especially bad at Times Square, where drivers on Broadway and Seventh Avenue meet heavy crosstown traffic—along with 356,000 daily pedestrians.

In general terms, traffic is caused by too much demand (from vehicles) meeting too little supply (roads). One solution is to increase supply by building more roads. But that's expensive, and demand from drivers tends to quickly overwhelm the new supply; today engineers acknowledge that building new roads usually makes traffic worse. Instead, economists have suggested reducing demand by raising the costs of driving in congested areas. The best-known example is the "congestion pricing" plan London implemented in 2003. Drivers now pay about $11 a day to drive in the central city. According to one study, the program has reduced traffic by 16 percent.

In 2007 Bloomberg proposed a congestion-pricing plan for New York, but last year state legislators rejected it as an elitist move. In response, Bloomberg began tinkering with the city's roads in ways that required no legislative blessing. He banned vehicles from Park Avenue for three Saturdays in August 2008. He closed two lanes of traffic on Broadway below 42nd Street. "Bloomberg is taking the position that as long as it's within the two curbs, it's [city] property and he can decide how to use it," says Sam Schwartz, the city's former traffic commissioner.

These pilot projects fit in with a larger counterintuitive theory that's gaining traction with urban-planning wonks: that closing roads can reduce congestion. During the 1990s, a British transit engineer named Stephen Atkins read about how San Francisco congestion decreased, rather than increased, after an earthquake knocked out a key freeway. He observed the same phenomenon in other cities that closed roads, too. "In a lot of places, the traffic was not just displaced—a lot of it disappeared," he says. In a 1998 study he commissioned, researchers studied 60 cases of road reductions and found that when roads were closed, drivers took steps to avoid the area. In economic terms, closing roads raises the perceived costs of the trip (because drivers anticipate hassles), reducing demand.

Green growth advocates, who have gained much influence in Bloomberg's administration, originally thought about closing all of Broadway below 59th Street. That was deemed too radical, so the plan unveiled last week closes only seven key blocks of the Great White Way. Last month Sadik-Khan unfurled an enormous map and pointed to the horrible intersection outside Macy's, at 34th Street. Under the new plan, Broadway is closed off one block above and below the intersection, creating adjacent pedestrian malls and allowing Sixth Avenue and 34th Street to meet cleanly. A similar five-block no-drive-zone will border Times Square; together they should reduce congestion by 37 percent on Sixth Avenue, 17 percent on Seventh and some 20 percent on Ninth.

Manhattan is a one-of-a-kind city—an island with its streets in a grid, minority car ownership and a superb transit system. But if the Broadway shutdown works, the scheme could spread to other cities, too. San Francisco last week announced it would study barring cars from a portion of Market Street in order to get bicycles, buses and pedestrians moving more quickly. "I think that 21st-century cities are looking at their streets differently," Sadik-Khan says. "They're saying, 'We need a fresh look at how we're getting people around, and it's more than just pushing as many cars into a city as possible'."

For Bloomberg, 67, a politician who retains an entrepreneur's love of big ideas and risk-taking, there's no doubt it's a plan that makes sense. Based on current polls, he seems likely to win a third term, so it's time to think about his legacy. Ultimately he'd like to leave New York a greener, more livable city—and one with a lot less honking. That's a wonderful vision indeed.