Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bicycling beats the odds — National bike commuter rate holds steady


Despite predictions that the number of Americans biking to work would fall after gas prices returned to ‘normal’  in 2009, the percentage has held steady at 0.55 percent. The Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC) among the 70 largest cities also heady steady with a 2 percent increase, while non-BFCs increased their commuter share by 25 percent.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Charleston Regional Business Journal Reports EPA Nixes OK for 526 expansion


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recommended that a wetlands permit needed for the proposed expansion of Interstate 526 not be granted because the project is still “too conceptual” and an application at this time is premature.
The EPA, which is tasked with implementation of the federal Clean Water Act, on Tuesday sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers strongly suggesting that agency deny the proposed permit.
The corps is the body that issues permits under Clean Water Act, which regulates the discharge of dredged, excavated or fill material in U.S. waters.
Among the EPA’s numerous concerns is that the S.C. Department of Transportation, which is managing the I-526 Mark Clark Expressway project, jumped the gun by applying for the wetlands approval before a final Environmental Impact Study was completed.
“We find the application for a 404 permit and issuance of the public notice for the permit to be premature,” wrote Jennifer Derby, the EPA wetlands and maritime regulatory section chief, “and it requires us to raise issues that could have been better resolved in the remaining NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) review process.”
S.C. DOT officials said they applied for the permit now so as to avoid a lengthy wait later.
In her letter, Derby said the project, the S.C. DOT’s preferred plan, may not meet its stated purpose because it does little to reduce congestion or improve regional mobility compared to other plans that were scrapped during an evaluation process over several years. She added that the S.C. DOT also “does not provide clear safety data” in regard to its alternative.
The almost $500 million plan backed by the state agency would connect West Ashley, Johns Island and James Island via a 7.9-mile parkway. Unlike the Mark Clark Expressway, the new stretch would be a boulevard-like four-lane highway that features low posted speed limits of 35 to 45 mph and pathways for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Other concerns raised by the EPA included management of post-construction storm water, the nebulous way in which the S.C. DOT describes impacts on wetlands, construction strategies and the dismissal of other proposals.
The latter issue was among those touched on in another letter sent Tuesday from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources to the Corps of Engineers.
“DNR is particularly concerned over the early elimination of alternatives that avoid and/or minimize impacts to natural resources by utilizing and improving infrastructure,” wrote Robert Perry, director of the DNR’s Office of Environmental Programs.
Perry also said the DNR did not consider the information in S.C. DOT’s draft environmental study to be adequate in supporting the road agency’s preferred alternative as the most practical and least damaging.
“Construction on new alignment represents the most environmentally damaging alternative in meeting proposed Project objectives and should be considered only after all other options are exhausted,” Perry wrote.
The S.C. DOT plan is the culmination of more than two years of study since Charleston County turned over project management duties to the agency. That information-gathering effort whittled 39 plans down to seven feasible courses of action, including the one now being pushed.
The S.C. DOT has faced strong public resistance since unveiling the plan in July, with the majority of attendees at a series at recent public meetings on the project opposing the expressway’s completion.
The agency will take public comments, which will be made part of the official record, until Sept. 30. Project officials hope to have a record of decision by sometime next spring.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Great Event! Try to Go!



Bike & Browse the Boroughs


ThursdaySeptember30th, 2010
BEGINS 5:30
Fuel Restaurant, 211 Rutledge

Organized to raise awareness of the Cannonborough/Elliotborough neighborhoods by showcasing local businesses and new listings in the community.
 
Here are few of the details:

We have parking for guests across from Fuel.
The participants will check in at Fuel and recieve their 1st beverage on the house.

Bikes will be provided for participants who register and
we will be raffling off a bike for one lucky participant provided by Affordabike.

Or Bring your own zero-emisision vehicle and be registered for a special gift package to include a massage and other special gifts.

There will be an economic update by Dr Tim Allen from the CofC, Rich Estes of Home Construction and Remodeling showcasing the Future in Residential/Commercial Inspections, Dan Kelly of the Holy City Bike Co-Op will be speaking about New Rules and Regs and Biking Safety Tips.

The after party is @ 229 King thanks to Stella Nova and Sucker Jeans. A free shuttle will be provided from Fuel compliments of Shuttle Hog.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Weekend Renters!

Rent the Route sold three more quarter-miles this weekend!  Harry Mulkey, Steve and Jan Warner and Robert and Rachel Prioleau can each proudly say they have a piece of the Battery2Beach Route!  We appreciate all of our renters!!



Do you want to be our 9th renter? 


What's your type of bike?
Renters Name for Listing



Friday, September 24, 2010

New Belgium Brewery's "Clips of Faith" tour HUGE success in Marion Square

500 people strong. 20 short clips. 18 different beers. If you missed out on New Belgium Brewery's "Clips of Faith" last night, you missed out on a good time. All proceeds went to Charleston Moves and so a HUGE thank you is in order to New Belgium for this wildly successful philanthropic event as well as to all those who came out to support! Below is a glance into last night's festivities!

video






Congrats to Charleston from PCC for "Bronze" level (Bicycle-Friendly) designation


On behalf of the PCC I want to congratulate Charleston’s cycling community on your city’s Bicycle Friendly Community designation received from the League of American Bicyclists.  This is a significant accomplishment that would not have happened if not for the work of many individuals and organizations at the grassroots committed to creating a safer and healthier community that supports and encourages bicycling for transportation and recreation. 

From the efforts of CBAG (now Charleston Moves) in the late 1990s to push for the creation of the Wonders Way bicycle-pedestrian lane on the Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridge to the BFC initiative of today, the Charleston cycling community has been a major contributor to raising awareness of the benefits livable communities bring to their citizens and visitors.

We are all aware that across the state we still face the challenges of reducing the number of cyclists injured or killed in automobile-bicycle crashes, increasing bicycling infrastructure to create a safer cycling environment, and expanding education programs for motorists, cyclists, law enforcement, transportation planners and public officials.  Although these are significant challenges, Charleston’s BFC designation is one more positive step for the inclusion of bicycling in the political, social, and economic dialogue that will shape our future.

Prior to 2007 South Carolina had no communities that had earned the BFC designation and no certified bicycle education instructors.  In a relatively short period of time those numbers have grown to four bicycle friendly communities and 20+ certified instructors.  Charleston’s recognition reflects positively not only on the city, but also entire state and offers encouragement to other communities pursuing the BFC designation. 

I hope this success will encourage continued support of local, state and national advocacy organizations promoting the benefits of livable communities.  In thinking of the critical role advocates play in changing our world I recalled the educational trip to India I had the opportunity to participate in last year.  In visiting several areas where Gandhi lived and where he was imprisoned, I was reminded of his words, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  Thanks for being part of the change making our communities and our state safer and healthier places to live. 

Paul LeFrancois
Palmetto Cycling Coalition

Congratulations To Charleston's Civic Design Center!


The Charleston Civic Design Center (CCDC) is proud to announce that it has been awarded Silver designation as a Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) by the League of American Bicyclists, one of an impressive group of 63 new BFB, and the first Lowcountry business to achieve BFB recognition. The official announcement was made in Las Vegas yesterday at Interbike, North America's largest bicycle trade event and show. "The League is especially excited to recognize the Charleston Civic Design Center as a 2010 Fall BFB. As a public agency the CCDC is leading the way to encourage biking to work. They are setting a community-wide example,” said Andy Clarke, League President.

We want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who supported our application. We are one of only 27 companies across the country that got Silver this year…there was one Platinum, and three Golds. (overall, there are now a total of 5 Platinum companies, 24 Golds, and 69 Silvers).

We look forward to raising the bar in Charleston, and hope to use this designation to encourage other businesses to reach for excellence. And we certainly plan on shooting for Platinum at our next opportunity!

Sincerest thanks,

-Michael

CHARLESTON CIVIC DESIGN CENTER
Michael T. Maher, Directo

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The fifth-quarter mile has been rented!

Thank you to Joe and Elliott Dobson for becoming the renters of our fifth-quarter mile!  These "beach cruisers" donated $100 to help the Battery 2 Beach Route! 

We appreciate it!




Are you ready to become our sixth renter?



What's your type of bike?
Renters Name for Listing


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Forth quarter-mile rented by Charleston Civic Design Center!

Thank you to the Charleston Civic Design Center for renting $100 of the Battery2Beach route! Each rental moves Charleston Moves closer to having the B2B route up and running! 


Who's next?




What's your type of bike?
Renters Name for Listing


Monday, September 20, 2010

Third quarter-mile rented by COAST Brewing Company!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to COAST Brewing Company for your generous donation to the Battery2Beach "Rent the Route!" COAST is the proud new "beach cruiser" renter for the B2B route!

Don't miss your chance to rent part of the route!




What's your type of bike?
Renters Name for Listing



Second quarter-mile rented by Ben and Meredith Perrone!

Thank you to Ben and Meredith Perrone for their generous renting of the B2B route! Their purchase of a "beach cruiser" is just one step closer to the B2B route being completed!


Who's next?




What's your type of bike?
Renters Name for Listing


Friday, September 17, 2010

First quarter-mile rented by Upstate couple! Stan and Lynn Coleman

HUGE thank you to the sale of the first quarter-mile of the Battery2Beach "Rent the Route" track to Stan and Lynn Coleman of Travelers Rest, SC! Thanks to the Coleman's for becoming "Beach Cruisers!"

Who will rent the second?


To rent your portion of the route, fill out the below! Only $100 for a quarter-mile for a year! 



What's your type of bike?
Renters Name for Listing


Sunday, September 12, 2010

NEW BELGIUM'S "CLIPS OF FAITH" BEER AND FILM TOUR (coming to CHARLESTON!)

Benefits Charleston Moves & Battery 2 Beach!     VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

MARK YOUR CALENDAR:  Thu., Sept 23   6:30PM, Marion Square, Charleston

New Belgium Brewing, makers of Fat Tire Ale, are taking this show on the road to multiple cities (including Charleston) to support the efforts of bicycling groups and advocacy groups.

FILMS ON BREWS, BIKES AND MORE!  BRING FRIENDS!

check out this short:


Beer, Film, Folly and Fun in One Tasty, Traveling Event
Fort Collins, Colorado, August, 2010 – New Belgium Brewing, maker of Fat Tire Amber Ale has rounded up the most brilliant entries to their Clips of Faith film festival and taken the show on the road, coming to Charleston on September 23. This first-year festival brings people together for a summer outdoor screening of collected amateur short films accompanied by some of New Belgium’s most esoteric beer offerings. The Clips of Faith Beer & Film Tour (www.clipsoffaith.com) is debuting in fourteen cities throughout the summer and fall of 2010.

Each stop along the tour features a free outdoor screening of the collected films, a full tasting of New Belgium’s Lips of Faith beers (
http://www.newbelgium.com/beer) and food from local vendors.  In Charleston, all proceeds from beer sales will benefit Charleston Moves (http://www.charlestonmoves.org/).  Recycling at the event will be handled by Charleston Green Fair (http://www.charlestongreenfair.com).

“This tour combines our great passions – folly and beer,” said Meredith Giske, New Belgium Brewing event director. “These short films will do a great job setting the stage for the beers we will be serving from our Lips of Faith portfolio, which features some of our most creative and hard-to-find brews.”
Entries range from kayaking buddies navigating grizzlies and whales on a paddling trip from Alaska to Seattle, to an absurdist spaghetti western about a flat tire (and some beer). There are visual odes to people’s love affairs with their bikes, assorted comedy shorts, and thought-provoking environmental pieces. View a preview at www.clipsoffaith.com

IMPORTANT! If you can help out (5:30pm to 11) that night, please click here to volunteer. This will be a blast.

We'll need 42 people!! (a few will need to undergo short "legal serving" training in advance).



Thursday, September 9, 2010

I-526 Expansion Plan: Fails to Pass Muster


(The following is based upon our official response to the plan to expand the Mark Clark -- I-526 -- Expressway.  The entire position paper can be read below.)

Public criticism of the new Mark Clark Expressway expansion project has been widespread and intense.  The focus of the public disapproval seems to center on the cost and the potential loss of more marshland.

In light of the road’s predicted meager reductions in driving times, the criticism is very much on target: a 35 second improvement for average trips from West Ashley and James Island and a 4 ½ minute improvement the average trip from Johns Island. And while it might bring convenience for some, the projected advantages don’t support its very high price tag of $489 million.

In the bigger view, the Mark Clark controversy is a sign that we are nearing the limit for road building in the Low Country; that we have reached a point where we must look to other transportation solutions.

It’s a matter of mathematics.  Low Country open space has been disappearing rapidly. Whatever remains of it is precious.

Many of those speaking out on I-526 may be concerned mainly about the aesthetics of our wonderful region. Development has already impaired or obliterated many marsh vistas, and agricultural land has been claimed for other uses rapidly.

We are reaching the limits for traditional kinds development, the single-story, big-box variety that crowds our suburbs. In spite of this, the clamor for more roads, wider roads continues. The stock answer to traffic congestion has been: roll out more asphalt.  (The proposed I-526 expansion calls for an estimated 9,266,400 square feet of asphalt, the equivalent of 16 Savannah Highway K-Mart sites or 435 football fields.)

We cringe as we see what has happened as we paved more and more of our landscape. We see the helter-skelter development it spawned, how it blighted our vistas.  Our “more roads, wider roads” approach produced to too many “c”-grade businesses and buildings, discouraged development of quality communities, depressed quality of life. Everyone living in the Low Country is affected.  It compels us to take a new approach to addressing our transportation issues.

There is no more “vacant land” in the Low Country. On virtually every parcel, something has been built.  If not, it adds in some way to the beauty of our environment, a factor that brought many of us (or our forebears) here.  Each square yard of the Low Country has become more precious and the use to which we put it a matter of critical importance.

In downtown Charleston there is zero space for more cars, whether moving or parked. Farther out, where wide, sometimes ugly roads crisscross suburbs, the public clamors for more respect for the land.

Almost everyone is in favor of growth and progress.  We are delighted that Boeing is coming.  We encourage startups and business expansion. We aggressively compete with other cities and states for workers.  But how will we move about, all of us?  More people? More business? And rapidly disappearing space for new roads?

As we face this new transportation reality, we are not alone.  Cities and towns all over America and all over the world over are facing the same issues. Some of those cities are well ahead of us because they reached the critical juncture earlier. They included growth and progress among their major priorities. In many cases, overall growth and progress was directly tied to regulating the number of cars on their streets and roads. In other words, they found that business and culture actually were stimulated when these steps were taken.

In many cases the process was quite natural: increasingly limited space for cars drove up the price of driving and parking without direct government intervention.  But many cities actually barred auto traffic, establishing no-car zones, or they imposed fees for using cars in certain districts. And they re-directed public money toward other transportation solutions. They thrived.

Growth and progress now force the issue here:  All of us, public and politicians alike, must rally around alternative forms of transportation: commuter rail, light rail, bus rapid transit, bicycling and walking. Far from “amenities,” they are necessities, a practical matter, and ultimately, a mathematically foregone conclusion.

Within the next few years, many of us will be thinking twice before turning a key in the ignition of a car.  But we too will thrive.

More roads always beget more cars; more cars perpetuate the syndrome: more roads, cars, roads; a self-defeating process. As we adopt alternatives, we will be healthier and happier for it.

The $489 million earmarked for the Mark Clark Expressway cannot be applied to any other projects, we are told.  Apparently, we must live with that fact.  But we can no longer live with the head-in-the-sand avoidance of alternative transportation solutions by many of our bureaucrats, transportation planners and public officials. 

Tom Bradford
Charleston Moves

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Economic Impact of Encouraging Bicycling as a Serious Mode


(courtesy straight.com)
The Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition has issued a study detailing the impact of a new major bike lane on a major thoroughfare, Hornby Street.
The VACC is suggesting that the bike lane would come with economic benefits, whereas much of the public debate has so far focused more on safety and the inconvenience for downtown businesses.
Its release declares that the bike lane will “increase cyclist traffic, bringing more people downtown spending more money, using less roadspace and parking space, and producing zero emissions”.
VACC president Arno Schortinghuis said: “Since cyclists use less road space than other modes, Vancouver should be breathing easier at the prospect of encouraging more cyclists.”
The VACC does acknowledge the concerns raised by some downtown businesses, but argues the “opportunities and potential upside outweigh any potential risks”.
In the release, the group puts forward the following points:
• Studies have shown that pedestrians and cyclists stay longer and spend more money at local shops than drivers do.
• According to a study by Mintel, regular cyclists - those who cycle at least once a week - are disproportionately likely to be well educated, have a household income of at least $75,000 per year.
• One on-street car parking space can fit a dozen bicycles- consider the number of cycling customers who could park near a business.
• Vancouver Bike to Work week statistics show over 7,000 cycling commuters with an average income of over $50,000 and 27% making over $75,000.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cincinnati: Turning One-Way Streets BACK to Two-Way Streets

(Adapted from Cincinnati Soapbox)

Charleston has done this in the a few cases, most notably Ashley and Rutledge north of Broad Street, and the debate continues over whether to do the same thing with Canon Street. There's a bit of insight in this article about how making this move "humanizes" streets once again, making them calmer and usable by a wider spectrum of people.
- - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
In the near future, city officials hope to convert two Uptown (Cincinnati) streets back to two-way traffic as they once were during their business district's heydays. In addition to William Howard Taft Road and E. McMillan Street, some city leaders believe there may be a future for additional two-way street conversions throughout Cincinnati.

"There was lots of discussion about converting Vine Street to two-way traffic in the early 1990's, but it was ultimately done to create a more vibrant corridor," explained Cincinnati Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, who is pushing for additional Complete Streets measures to be included throughout the city. "There might be some streets in the central business district, and definitely some in Over-the-Rhine that should be examined."

Before the Uptown streets can be converted back to two-way traffic, they must first be studied in conjunction with the ongoing I-71 Access Improvement Study. The transportation study is examining various aspects of vehicular access in the subject area, and Vice Mayor Qualls believes that now is the time to look at the conversion before physical progress is made on any possible interchange reconfiguration.

"The key thing for McMillan and Taft is creating a corridor that supports retail and business," Qualls said. "This area used to serve as Cincinnati's second downtown, and the goal should be to prioritize pedestrian and bicycle traffic through this type of a neighborhood business district."

The idea has been well received by neighborhood residents and businesses who believe a two-way street conversion will help to create additional opportunities to revitalize the area. Preliminary cost estimates peg the two-way conversion work around $235,000. A report on the conversion proposal is scheduled to be presented to the administration in early September 2010.

According to Qualls, the interchange redesign of Uptown may still be a long way off, but does not eliminate the possibility of other two-way conversions. In particular, Qualls sees particular promise with other north/south streets in Over-the-Rhine following the success of Vine Street's conversion. Other possibilities could potentially include Elm, Race, Walnut, and Main Streets through the historic neighborhood.

"I have been following this kind of movement since I first joined the Congress for New Urbanism Board in 2000, and what we need to be doing is designing our streets in a way that creates and supports vibrant types of urban environment.