Monday, October 31, 2011

Transportation funding for Bicycle and Pedestrians is under attack again. There are claims that the money is needed for bridge projects instead... Same people trying to pull out the funding with another bad tactic. Bridge Funding is not at risk, and according to the DOT numbers money is actually already returned when not spent, or transferred to other road projects instead.
We need to stop fighting to build more roads for only cars. We Should be building a transportation system that works for everyone. It is tax money from everyone, and should serve everyone. Vehicles, Bicycles, Pedestrians, and Trains. We can move about this country safer by building Complete Streets for all.

Find out more and let your congress people know you support keeping funding for all:
Rails to Trails Conservancy: https://secure2.convio.net/rtt/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=283
League of American Bicyclists: http://capwiz.com/lab/issues/alert/?alertid=55292501&PROCESS=Take+Action

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Council Moves Forward on Harborview Road

By an overwhelming vote, Charleston County Council Thursday afternoon gave the go-ahead for an alternative version of Harborview Road that promises to be far friendlier to bicyclists, pedestrians, and trees.
The alternative, sponsored by Councilman Joe Qualey of James Island, abandoned plans for a 10-ft.-wide "multi-use path" separated from the road, and placed the main bicycle traffic on the sides of the road, with marked bike lanes in each direction.  Charleston Moves had counseled against the original multi-use path because it crossed so many side-streets and driveways where motorists would be less likely to anticipate cross traffic.
Charleston Moves had presented a yet more aggressive proposal that would have eliminated much of the planned center turn lane (a.k.a. "suicide lane).  Charleston Moves Director Tom Bradford says such center turn lanes are "no-no's" on bicycle and pedestrian-friendly roads because they complicate car traffic and make travel less predictable for everyone.
Charleston County Roadwise Director Jim Armstrong estimated that the changes could cost over an additional $1.4 million, but admitted that many of the figures used in that addition could shift, depending on circumstances.  A total of $18 million is allocated for the project, and, in answer to questions from Councilman Dickie Schweers, Armstrong predicted the project would be likely to remain within budget.
Armstrong also estimated that further permitting and studies could take another 18 months.  He said any plans must be approved by the City of Charleston, the South Carolina Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration.
Charleston Moves today sent letters to each member of the Council suggesting that there would be huge savings in retaining the current drainage ditches, a feature that seems to be popular with many residents of James Island.  That move would spare the county the expense of constructing a massive drainage system as well as curbs and gutters. Charleston Moves had also suggested this "leaner" approach would eliminate the cost of moving other utilities while preserving the area's "rural" nature. Bradford said Charleston Moves would "stay on the case, arguing for still more improvements that will make Harborview Road a model of a "complete street."


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Here is the letter sent today to Councilman Qualey and all members of County Council:


Charleston County Council Member Joseph K. Qualey

Dear Council Member Qualey:                                                 October 20, 2011
We’re grateful for the patience you and your colleagues have had for the Harborview project, and especially to you for your leadership on the issue.  The discussions are on track to yield results that will make everyone proud and happy.
As you’ve said, “this is a process.”  In that spirit, we have been working hard to submit further refinements for your consideration. 
“It’s a process” means patience remains the order of the day — patience because anything but the best design could be detrimental to quality of life, to business and to real estate values.
“Best design” means striking a balance between the needs of “the motoring public” and the human-scale needs of families in the neighborhoods that line Harborview.  “The motoring public” may clamor for 45mph thruways. But in the meantime, schoolchildren, folks walking dogs, couples out for an evening stroll, or people bicycling to “The Pig” for a loaf of bread have other needs. Harborview should connect people and neighborhoods, not divide them.
We already have design elements elsewhere in Charleston County that might serve well in this case. Roundabouts smooth traffic flow on both Mathis Ferry and Rifle Range Roads, both of which carry higher traffic volumes.  Not only do roundabouts meter traffic flow while providing safe entry points at intersections, they also provide constantly available “U-turn” options, reducing dependence upon the center-turn lanes, aptly nicknamed “suicide lanes.” (Those nasty center lanes may be the first “no-no” on friendlier, “complete streets.”)
Now, to the matter of costs: The last thing we want is a bigger price tag due to delays. But we stress that there could be much higher long-term costs to the people of James Island if Harborview doesn’t achieve the best possible balance. That’s another reason the plan ideas we submit also deal with the construction dollars issue.
The drawings attached assume retaining improvements already incorporated in “the Qualey Plan,” namely reduced speeds, bike lanes on the roadway, a sidewalk meandering through the oaks, traffic signals (also where pedestrian crosswalks are placed). But our additions suggest:
·       shrinking the length of center turn lanes by adding roundabouts at Ft. Johnson and Mikell
·       Vastly cutting costs by eliminating the new drainage system and highway-type infrastructure and retaining much of the fixed utility infrastructure (which will also preserve elements of James Island’s scenic rural roots)
We believe Harborview Road provides the textbook case for “complete streets” in Charleston County and an extraordinary opportunity to show the way for communities all over the Lowcountry and across South Carolina.  We ask for your courage, patience and wisdom in moving resolutely in this direction.
Very truly yours,

­­­­­­­­­­­­_________________________     (signed)                                   (signed)
Tom Bradford, Director     Stephanie Hunt, Board Chair     Christopher Tullman, LEED AT
Enc: Drawings






Monday, October 17, 2011

Legal Breakthrough for South Carolina: Motorist Convicted of a Felony for Killing a Cyclist

....departure from "slap-on-the-wrist" for car-vs. cyclist crimes
When the person in control of a two-ton gasoline or diesel-powered vehicle isn't paying enough attention...or doesn't care enough to "give three feet" clearance to a person on a bicycle, is it just an everyday "ooops, sorry!" accident...or is it homicide? 
Perhaps the tide is turning in South Carolina...toward justice.
Here's the lede paragraph from today's posting in the BIKELAW.COM blog:

BREAKING NEWS: Monday, October 17, 2011, Aiken, South Carolina
The driver who killed cyclist Dr. Matthew Burke pled guilty to felony manslaughter just after 3 p.m. and was sent to jail by an Aiken Circuit Court Judge.

DR. MATTHEW BURKE


On October 1, 2010, on a straight road in broad daylight in Beech Island, South Carolina, driver Daniel Johnson slammed into Matt and four other cyclists. After 128 days in a coma under life support, Matt was pronounced dead on February 6, 2011.



Daniel Johnson will be sentenced on Tuesday, Oct. 18 for this crime, marking a huge departure in how these horrific acts are treated in our state.


FOR MORE, CLICK HERE TO VISIT BIKELAW.COM

EcoThon event

EcoThon race is coming up next weekend, October 23rd. see all the details at: http://ecothon.org/ I hope you can come out and join me at this wonderful event that highlights the great location we have here on the coast. You will get a nice bike ride, a fun run/walk on 2 different islands, and a paddle along the inter-coastal (kayaks available if you don't have your own), as well as a quick swim (boats will be on site to guide you). There are still some spots left to sign up. Join me for a great day on the barrior islands.

Hope to see you there

BARRIOR ISLAND ECOTHON, ISLE OF PALMS SC
www.ecothon.org
Fundraiser for cancer

Thursday, October 6, 2011

In Copenhagen, Gas Stations Morph Into Bike Repair Shops



.....courtesy of THE DAILY GOOD 
It's a rocky road out there for bicyclists riding car-dominated streets and freeways. With potholes, angry drivers, and the constant threat of a swift pancaking all posing hurdles, biking means always moving against the flow of traffic. But in Copenhagen, one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, an oil company is making things just a bit easier for the two-wheeled commuters.

Norwegian energy company Statoil ASA has installed bicycle care stations at select gas stations in Copenhagen, reports Copenhagenize. The bike stations were installed using unused wall space at existing gas stations, and feature a pull-down shelf to lift and hold bicycles during repairs, an air hose, paper towels, and gloves. Inside the stations are free bicycle care kits that can be borrowed for more involved repairs. Just imagine, instead of filling up on non-environmentally-friendly fossil fuels at the local gas station, you ride your bike there and revel in your tiny carbon footprint while taking care of your sweet ride.

The note on the stations reads: "You can care for your bicycle here. You can pump and wash your bicycle and, inside the shop, you're welcome to borrow a free bicycle care kit with oil, tire levers, allen keys, etc."
While these repair stations are only a small step towards setting up a broader bike-friendly infrastructure—like more bike lanes—the project certainly represents a friendly gesture from an industry often hostile to bikers. Let's hope other international oil companies follow Statoil’s lead.

(...SOME DAY!!)

Bike Sharing for Charleston

by Carlsen Huey

Bike Sharing seems to be such a natural need for Charleston - particularly for the peninsula. We have limited parking and congested streets. We also have nice weather year round. Shared bikes could replace that trip from MUSC to a King St. restaurant - or from a lawyers office to the courtroom - or from a hotel to a tourist destination. Already present in other cities, most sharing installations use single speed cruiser bikes that can be ridden in any type of clothes. They use a card or other type check out/in system, charging only for time used. Here's a link to an article on our recent visitor Mia Birk, and her company's contract to install bike sharing in NYC:
http://bikeportland.org/2011/09/15/mia-birk-new-york-city-bike-share-is-game-changer-on-many-levels-59056