Tuesday, July 20, 2010

From, The Urbanophile on outsiders in a community

I was going through my draft posts the other day and came upon this article from April from The Urbanophile. The premise of the article is that outsiders, e.g. non-natives to a region or city, are key to that city surviving economic problems or other calamities. They help in driving the city toward positive change and make it better for everybody to live in. The conclusion was based on data from corporate problem solving studies that show that a group working independently on a problem will solve the problem slower, or not at all than a group where outside individuals are brought in part way through the process.

So extrapolated out, migration is key to societies survival as a whole and specifically in cities where outsiders can bring a new prospective to what is valuable in a community, what needs to be encouraged, and what needs to change.

It can be hard to understand where these "outsiders" are coming from but if we learn to embrace other migrants to our communities, we might just be able to overcome the looming problems over the next 100 years.

Check out the article at, The Urbanophile.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A review of the Yuba Mundo V3 cargo bike by EcoVelo

EcoVelo has a review of the new Yuba Mundo extended frame cargo bike. This is a beast of a bike, able to carry 440+ pounds plus rider in a highly configurable state. I recommend you check out the review and the gorgeous pictures over at EcoVelo. If you need a cargo bike I am pretty sure this is the best you are going to get factory built.

check it out here, EcoVelo

Canada on high-speed rail from NYC to Montreal

This is an article from the National Post on the Canadian take on high-speed rail from New York City up to Montreal. Plattsburgh features in it as one of the largest communities north of the capital district that would be on a direct line north, and there may be local support for such a project. It would still be problematic; the ADK Park would pose so many problems that it might be easier to divert the line through Burlington and up the Vermont coast. But getting high speed from Plattsburgh North and from Saratoga South as well as improving rail and signaling in the park could still make it viable and at least on par with a car trip if not preferable to flying.

Take a read over at the National Post

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Streetfilms comes to Boston!

Streetfilms | NACTO’s “Cities for Cycling”

Streetfilms visits Boston for the Cities for Cycling event. I did know about it through my work for MassBike but I was unable to attend due to some reason or another. I was really glad that they came though and that Boston is part of the network of cities across the country. Too often Portland and NYC get the lime light in regards to cycling, but Boston has made drastic improvements over the past few years, the work MassBike has done alone is huge, from encouraging commuter rail trails, to working to get bikes on the T and commuter rails, to working on bus policy to state urban speed limits, to road widths. It is not glamorous all the time but we are doing the work and things are changing.

Please click through to the "Cities for Cycling" website to read more about who they are, which cities have joined, and what they are doing to improve cycling in the US

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New work and ongoing thoughts

Thanks to Tom Cochrane via Flickr

I am starting on my second working internship this summer with the Rockingham Planning Commission in Exeter, NH. This I am actually paid to do which is very very nice. My main project is working on designing implementing, logging and then fieldwork verifying locations for strategic share the road signs at problem spots around southern NH.

We will be implementing an online question survey for people to put in locations and problems as well as an option to plot the points live on a Google maps page. The goal is to give people as many options as possible to report problem areas. In August, we will also be doing a series of three live workshops where people can come and update problem spots live.

Once we start having some data filled out we are going to merge the maps into one layer file which will overlap the problem spots and create areas which (in theory) have a greater risk to more cyclists.

Once areas have been located I will be going out into the field with data sheets and a camera and take note of these locations for a final report to give to the state DOT for best areas for share the road signs.

Now true this is not an ideal option, share the road signs are very very limited and data about their effectiveness seems be inconclusive as far as I know.
But in this instance where there are only a handful of signs in the region and only 2 that I know about, perhaps some benefit can come of this, if only to let cyclists know about areas that are potential problem points.

I do hope this can help the current situation in some way. The roads are narrow, corners are tight, as well as speed being relatively high on many seacoast roads, it is dangerous for all but the most experienced riders.

We must never loose sight that these are only interim measures, share the road signs, sharrows, and bike lanes as means to provide safety, education, and connectivity about and for cyclists are very limited if successful at all. To provide for all cyclists and if we wish to encourage cycling as a true form of transportation and not just recreation, we must have separated infrastructure.

Now we do not need it everywhere, neighborhoods of 20mph can be safely shared spaces but when applied correctly and in their right context separated is the only proven way to get people to choose the bicycle for a majority of their trips.

The Netherlands (and Denmark) are really the only places that have a sustained level of cyclist mode share. We can do it too, but it starts by making everybody more aware of cyclists every day, and that I hope can start with increased pinpointed signage, at least the theory of it can.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Separated Facilities from EcoVelo and Slate

Tom Vanderbilt on Separated Facilities

From the folks over at EcoVelo and then onto the article from Slate. A simple concise pointer on why we need separated infrastructure if we truly want to see cycling as transportation in the US.

Also check out Tom's blog, How We Drive for more on this an other topics. Also check out his great book called "Traffic" most book stores should have it and your library might too!