Friday, March 26, 2010

Make Your Voice Heard...

Draw the line and ask them to paint the stripes!  Re-doing Maybank Highway withoutbike lanes won't do.
Click Here to Sign...
..and watch for updates!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Transp Secy's "no-more-cars-above-other-modes" statement draws RESPONSE!

Last week, Obama cabinet member Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood posted his opinion that government agencies should no longer treat motorized vehicles as at the top of the transportation food chain, but that bicycling be accorded comparable priority.
His blog posting, from the Bike Summit in Washington, had some predictable results, and some real polarized points of view. Reviewing the give-and-take is critical to understanding the dialogue surrounding today's transportation decision-making
Read the give-and-take, including the position of the League of American Bicyclists' Andy Clark.

Charleston's New Councilman Rides Bike to Council Meeting

Mike Seekings, who took office on Charleston City Council recently, has pledged to make Charleston a more bicycle-friendly city. He's pedaling his bike to show that he means business.
Yesterday, (p/23/10) accompanied by Charleston Bicycle Company's John and Jana Glover, Seekings rode from his home on the Charleston peninsula to Chalres Towne Landing, where yesterday's meeting of the council was held.
Here's the report from Live5 News..

For more on the ride, click here for Live5's account of it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Streets for the People: Two More Case studies

Both in San Francisco, and closer to home, people are grasping the multi-level benefits of re-conceiving streets, of throwing parties, of (sometimes) closing them temporarily to cars.


The City of Greenville is managing not one but two weekly events on its downtown Main Street. On Thursday nights, its the Piedmont Natural Gas Downtown Alive and, on Fridays, the BB&T Main Street Fridays. The former also changes locales this year, moving to the Hyatt Regency plaza deck. Alan Ethridge, Executive Director of the Greenville Metropolitan Arts Council, whose organization receives proceeds from Downtown Alive's beer and wine sales, says the council has earned as much as $30K annually.
Both events have become definitive of what Greenville has become, said City Manager Jim Bourey, a mix of culture, business and community and “a fun party.”

Friday, March 19, 2010

"The End of Favoring Motorized Transportation at the Expense of Non-Motorized." - Transportation Secy LaHood

On Monday, March 15th, US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood announced a new “complete streets” policy that would put planning for bicycling and pedestrians on equal footing with highways and transit. In his blog, Secretary LaHood states that “this is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.”

He goes on to say:

“We are integrating the needs of bicyclists in federally-funded road projects. We are discouraging transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians. And we are encouraging investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

To set this approach in motion, we have formulated key recommendations for state DOTs and communities:

· Treat walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes.

· Ensure convenient access for people of all ages and abilities.

· Go beyond minimum design standards.

· Collect data on walking and biking trips.

· Set a mode share target for walking and bicycling.

· Protect sidewalks and shared-use paths the same way roadways are protected (for example, snow removal)

· Improve nonmotorized facilities during maintenance projects”.

The new US DOT Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation Regulations and Recommendations are posted on FHWA’s website.

The Mayor Speaks Up for Cycling!

In a brief but warm letter to John and Jana Glover, Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. thanks them for their contributions to the local cycling scene...

Monday, March 15, 2010

National Bike Summit Wrap-up from StreetFilms

Voices From The National Bike Summit
by Elizabeth Press on March 15, 2010

Last week, hundreds of bike advocates descended on Washington D.C. for the tenth annual National Bike Summit -- the largest one yet. Hosted by the League of American Bicyclists, the summit is always a great opportunity for advocates to share ideas and make the case for cycling on Capitol Hill. This year attendees encouraged their senators and representatives to sign on to several key pieces of legislation, including the Active Community Transportation Act, Safe Routes to School Act, and the Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities Act.

Streetfilms attended the summit and had the chance to talk to several participants. Check out this wrap-up for insight into some of the big bicycle initiatives happening around the country. You'll hear from conference host Andy Clarke, Representative Earl Blumenauer, Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, the FTA's Peter Rogoff, and more.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Google adds bicycle directions to Google Maps

courtesy of the Washington Post

Google Maps started life in 2005 offering directions for drivers, added transit routes in 2007, expanded to pedestrian navigation in 2008 -- and now it covers bicycles, too.

The popular mapping site's introduction of bike directions follows a couple of years of grass-roots lobbying that led the Mountain View, Calif., firm to disclose plans for this feature last fall.

To request bike routes, select "Bicycling" from the pull-down menu below Google Maps' directions form. As a company blog post explains, the site prioritizes off-street trails (designated with thick, dark-green lines) over separate bike lanes (thinner, light-green lines) over designated bike routes (dashed, light-green lines) and also tries to avoid hills, busier streets and crowded intersections.

Google's trails-first algorithm doesn't always yield efficient results, as a request for directions from the old offices in Arlington to the Post's downtown HQ revealed: The site suggested taking the Mount Vernon Trail over Memorial Bridge and then heading north. That's about 50 percent longer than the route I'd take -- down Clarendon Boulevard and through Rosslyn to the Key Bridge, then across town on M Street, Pennsylvania Avenue and L Street.

Google went astray in a second test when it suggested biking through Arlington Cemetery, which is -- understandably -- not allowed.

On longer routes along such mostly flat paths as the Washington & Old Dominion trail, regular cyclists may find Google seriously overestimates travel times. It suggested a trip from my home to Reston Town Center would take an hour and 37 minutes at a plodding pace of 10.6 mph, about half an hour longer than I usually take.

Google lists bike lanes and bike routes in only 150 U.S. cities, while its trail data -- based on input from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a District-based nonprofit that works to reuse abandoned railroads -- spans the entire country.

Around the Washington area, Google includes such recent additions as Arlington's extension of the Four Mile Run Trail under Interstate 395 and the Wilson Bridge's bike lane.

But some other local routes go missing: the new, separated bike lane on 15th Street NW, the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and Montgomery County's Matthew Henson Trail.

Worse yet, Google left out almost all of the Metropolitan Branch Trail from Silver Spring to Union Station, even though many stretches of this still-under-construction route have been open for years. (One possible reason: the Rails-to-Trails site files the Met Branch Trail under an "in development" category.)

Google invites users to correct its data through an onscreen form, which I tested by filing a report about the missing 15th Street cycle track.

The target audience here seems to be less avid cyclists than bike owners who may not realize how many short trips are easily done on two wheels instead of four. In that context, Google's site is an easier choice than such competing cycle-cartography ventures as Ride the City. And once Google updates its map software for the iPhone, Android phones and other mobile devices -- which product manager Shannon Guymon said yesterday will happen "soon" -- its bike directions will be far more accessible on the road.

But the company needs to get more of its bike-route data in gear first.

Try out Google's bike directions and post your own review in the comments -- and, if you wish, your guess about when or if competing map sites Bing, Yahoo and MapQuest will match this feature.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New Legislation Would Create a $2B Active Transportation Fund

Thanks to BikePortland for calling this to our attention. If the bill passes, we will help make sure Charleston submits an application!

Blumenauer legislation would create $2 billion active transportation fund

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Editor-in-Chief) on March 2nd, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Congressman Earl Blumenauer has introduced new legislation that will create a $2 billion competitive grant program for communities to promote eco-friendly transportation options. The bill, which we first reported on back in December, is now known officially as the Active Community Transportation Act of 2010.

In a statement about the ACT Act, Blumenauer said,

“Too often we take for granted the value of being able to bike and walk to work. It’s unfortunate that many communities don’t have the infrastructure in place to make active and healthy forms of transportation more accessible. The ACT transportation grants will make it easier for people to get out of their vehicles and onto sidewalks or bikes, boosting both heart rates and community vitality.”

The announcement comes just one week before the National Bike Summit kicks off in Washington D.C. Blumenauer, who’s already the Chair of a the Livable Communities Task Force, will surely mention this bill in his annual keynote speech at the opening plenary.

This new program would be administered by the US DOT. A fact sheet about the bill says that the program would authorize an average of $400 million per year for the next five years. That amount is less than one half of one percent of the total expected cost of the upcoming authorization of a new transportation bill.

There will be two grant application rounds for the ACT Act. The first will take place 180 days after the passage of the bill. Communities that win grants will receive annual grants ranging from $5 million to $15 million for five years. A second application round will be held two years after the passage of the bill, with qualifying communities receiving grants from $5 million to $15 million for three years.

A letter of support has been signed by a myriad of national organizations and two dozen mayors and other elected officials including Portland Mayor Sam Adams, Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy, Metro President David Bragdon and many others.