Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Times Square Goes Car-Less! (Could King Street Be Next???)

Where thousands and thousands of cars passed daily...just pedestrians, and a "V" for Victory!


New Aggressive, car-horn-blaring, brake-stomping drivers who are just as likely to use their car as a battering ram as they are a transportation device. Don't get me wrong, they won't run you over on purpose but they may nudge out into the pedestrian intersection before the light turns, or blow through a walk sign just to keep the pedestrians from getting too comfortable.

But as GM and Ford are under attack, it seems that New York's driving culture is being challenged as well.

[And last weekend] may well have been the dawn of a post-automotive city.

Late at night, while New Yorkers slept, an army of workers and contractors descended on the heart of the city and began to put up barricades, beginning to create the largest swatch of pedestrian space that has been carved out since perhaps Central Park was created.

The battleground is Times Square. And while it may seem that the winners are pedestrians, that's merely a by-product of the wholesale face lift of Broadway from 47th to 42nd. The real winners are cyclist, who find themselves with an unlikely ally in Janette Sadik-Khan, the City's Transportation Commissioner.

New York's Battle of the Bikes goes back to a bunch of hard charging bike activists known as Critical Mass, who've been gathering to ride en-mass throughout city streets around the world to demonstrate in favor of more bike-friendly urban environments.

For the entire article, visit the Huffington Post by clicking here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Transportation Mode Efficiency Comparison (wink)

We are always on about how efficient bicycles are as a means of mobility. See our early Eco-Tip on the topic. More recently the WorldWatch Institute published some intriguing figures on cycling.
Comparing energy used per passenger-mile (calories), they found that a bicycle needed only 35 calories, whereas a car expended a whopping 1,860. Bus and trains fell about midway between, and walking still took 3 times as many calories as riding a bike the same distance.
They also looked at a measurement called: ‘Persons per hour that one meter-width-equivalent right-of-way can carry’. In this case Rail scored tops with 4,000 persons, but ‘autos in mixed traffic’ still managed the worse rating with only 170 people. Bikes did pretty well, relative to cars, achieving 1,500 persons per hour. This is the sort of impact that Critical Mass rides around the planet try to demonstrate on a regular basis.
The stats also inferred that cycling contributes to a nation’s health. For example, they found that only 1% of urban travel in the US was by bicycle, a country with 30.6% of adults considered obese. This contrasted with the Netherlands where 28% of urban travel was via a bike, and only 10% were obese. More at WorldWatch Matters of Scale.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Making Streets Behave (!?!?)

The City of New York, taking a page out of planning books written in other progressive metropolitan cities, has written a blueprint for its streets that revolutionize them.
The watchword is SLOW! Everything is slowed down (especially auto traffic) to make the streets safe and negotiable by everyone.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Charleston Bicycle Chic

Fifty ladies on bikes on Charleston Streets: showing that spandex isn't necessarily 'chic.'
It was National Bike to Work Day. In Charleston, there were plenty of people going to work on their bicycles. But these ladies took a mid-day break to share a brief ride. They stopped more ways than one! Thanks to Amy Trodglen for these shots!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Save the Date! Come see VEER, June 4th 7:00 pm, Terrace Theater

On the heels of National Bike Month, Charleston Moves is proud to present a pre-release screening of Veer, an award-winning, feature length documentary film that explores America’s fast-growing bicycling culture by profiling five people whose lives are inextricably tied to bicycling and the bike-centric social groups they belong to. The film follows these characters over the course of a year, offering a behind-the-scenes look at their personal struggles and triumphs. Veer examines what it means to be part of a community, and how social movements are formed.

The film made its world premiere at the Victoria Film Festival earlier this summer and has won a Jury Award for Best Doc at the Calgary Film Festival, won Best Documentary at the Calgary Underground Film Festival, and was nominated for Best Documentary at the San Joaquin International Film Festival.

The screening will be held on June 4th at the Terrace Theater. The event is a benefit for Charleston Moves, a local bicycle and mobility advocacy organization. Come a little early and party! Grab a bite at any one of several great restaurants right by the theater. There will also be a raffle for a super-cool electric bike.

Tickets are $12 (cash or check only at the door). Advance tickets will soon be available at Purchase an annual Charleston Moves membership between now and the screening and get a FREE ticket. Join the movement. Enjoy this award-winning flick at the same time you lend your support to Charleston Moves.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

German Town Virtually Car-less!

(from today's New York Times)
by Elisabeth Rosenthal
VAUBAN, Germany — Residents of this upscale community are suburban pioneers, going where few soccer moms or commuting executives have ever gone before: they have given up their cars.
Cars are forbidden on most of Vauban's streets, and houses cannot have driveways or garages.
Street parking, driveways and home garages are generally forbidden in this experimental new district on the outskirts of Freiburg, near the French and Swiss borders. Vauban’s streets are completely “car-free” — except the main thoroughfare, where the tram to downtown Freiburg runs, and a few streets on one edge of the community. Car ownership is allowed, but there are only two places to park — large garages at the edge of the development, where a car-owner buys a space, for $40,000, along with a home.
As a result, 70 percent of Vauban’s families do not own cars, and 57 percent sold a car to move here. “When I had a car I was always tense. I’m much happier this way,” said Heidrun Walter, a media trainer and mother of two, as she walked verdant streets where the swish of bicycles and the chatter of wandering children drown out the occasional distant motor.

Car Free and Pedestrian-Friendly News

Today's New York Times has an excellent article (with accompanying photographs) on Vauban, Germany, a car-free suburb of Freiburg, near the Swiss and French borders. Vauban's successful design, which allows children and pets to roam free in their quiet neighborhoods, is a wonderful model for suburban and urban development in a world where cars will play a much diminished role.

In other news, Matthew Yglesias led me to a new report titled "Route to Reform," released yesterday by Transportation For America. TFA's broad policy recommendations would result in more public transportation and complete streets in America's cities, "shifting from a transportation law that serves the interests of highway builders to one that serves the interests of people," as Yglesias writes. Read the report here, or just the executive summary (the whole document is 100 pages).

Monday, May 11, 2009

1st & Main: a Video

It's the winner of The Congress for New Urbanism CNU 17 video contest. This short film explores the connection between New Urbanism and environmental issues. Charleston Moves is about alternative forms of transportation, especially walking and bicycling. But even more than that, we're about places where these forms of transportation are fully supported. This short film was created by independent filmmaker John Page.

(And Thanks to Vince Graham for forwarding this!)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Feedback?? Tell Us What You Think of This...

Chris Beebe of Beebe Woodworks in Charleston is volunteering his time to built this "bike-drawn kiosk." With dimensions of approximately 6' x 2' (and, when roof is extended, standing perhaps 7' high), this travelling kiosk can go to events all around the greater Charleston area -- bicycle-drawn when feasible, or on the back of a pickup truck when safety considerations dictate. Chris estimates it will weigh no more than 200 lbs complete with two stools and other gear inside it.
It exists now only in sketch form, but tentative plans call for beginning of construction next week, and aiming to have it completed (very hopefully) by the end of May (Bike Month), but certainly in time for the Charleston Moves benefit showing of "Veer" (the Movie) -- about the bike culture in Portland, at the Terrace on Maybank Highway on June 4. (stay tuned for details on that!)
We need:

  1. Any ideas you might have to make it really cool
  2. A sturdy set of wheels
  3. An axle to which to attach the wheels
  4. A hitch mechanism that will safely attach to the rear of a bicycle.
You can give us feedback, donate stuff, or volunteer to help build it. Just e-mail us at!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Cycling Chic (for Bike Month)

(From Charleston City Paper Blog)

May is National Bike Month, and from May 11-15 in particular, cyclists are encouraged to bike to work. If you live close enough to where you work to be able to make your way on two wheels, now's the time to ditch the excuses and get some fresh air. It really is an incredible way to start your morning, even if you do get to work a little sweaty and breathless. Just ask downtown real estate agent, Kristen Walker (pictured). She proves that you can be a biker and glamorous at the same time — no need to ditch the high heels. Just check out these chic cyclers on Sartorialist. Kristin is so eager to see Charleston become a little biker's haven (a la Amsterdam), that she's working on creating a company called Pedal to Properties, which will allow prospective buyers to experience the city via bicycle (truly the best way). She's also talking with Charleston Moves about planning a stylish mass ride to mark Bike to Work Day later this month. Stay posted, and for now, check out her tips on staying chic while cycling.