Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
In their latest report, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia found that of the U.S. ten largest cities, Philadelphia ranked #1 for bicycle mode share (nearly two times higher than Chicago in 2nd place). According to the Coalition, "Bicycle commuting increased 151 percent from 2000 to 2009." Although the shift to cycling seems high, the mode share for bicycle commuting in Philadelphia only amounts to 2.16% of total commutes. Other cities are grossly outperforming the major cities, like Davis, California for instance with a bicycle modeshare of 17%, and 25% throughout the mid 1990's.
Needless to say, there is room for improvement everywhere. In the Coalition's report, they determined "streets with bike lanes have more bike traffic." Statements like these may seem straightforward, but it is important to have studies that support policy actions for better multimodal infrastructure.
Yet, amidst Philadelphia's success, City Councilman Greenlee wants to impose "legislation that would require City Council approval for installation of any bike lane in Philadelphia." The Coalition flatly opposes the legislation as it would stifle progress throughout the city and "delay making our streets safer." Alex Doty, Executive Director of The Coalition touts "We're #1 in big city bicycle commuting," but "do we really want to be #1 in bike lane bureaucracy?"
Image courtesy Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia | bicyclecoalition.org
Like many cities, D.C. is confronted with growing car ownership and limited parking spaces. Studies have shown "some households park five, six, seven and even more cars on residential streets" - which causes people to shape their lives around parking, in hopes to find a space close to home or their destination. D.C. Councilman, Tommy Wells, proposes an increase for parking permits; "fees would allow households that legitimately need several cars to continue using street parking, but it would also encourage them to seek alternatives." Right now, D.C. resident's are issued parking permits by house - the permit costs around $15 a year. Wells proposed an incremental increase per vehicle, "$35 for a first sticker and, because many households have two adult drivers, charge an only slightly higher fee of $50 for the second. Only after the second car would the cost of a permit double to $100." Wells argues that parking is undervalued especially when comparing the price paid for public uses - the annual fees for placing a dumpster ($1,676), moving container ($3,650) or moving truck ($18,250) is far higher. He also mentions the selling of alley parking spaces on craiglist at $250 a month.
The city could also use the revenue. Wells proposal will raise an additional $1.1 million for transit projects in D.C. Without the parking fees, D.C. will be faced with transit cuts - "That means the 37 percent of D.C. households that do not own a car and probably depend on Metro for their basic transportation would lose a city service, while those who own cars would continue receiving a tangible city benefit for only a nominal fee." As Wells puts it, sounds like a "win-win" to me.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Most are aware of the benefits of moderate daily exercise. The New York City's Department of Health released the results of a recent survey announcing that most of the City's residents meet their exercise requirements just by commuting - to work, for errands, etc. For those who walk or bike to work, they were active for 68 minutes per day and they also walked an additional 14 minutes for recreation (on average). Even those that rely on private cars or taxi still have moderate activity levels of around 28 minutes per day. The DOH notes "just 30 minutes of walking or biking each weekday reduces your risk of premature death by 20 percent."
With New York City's unique infrastructure and culture, Janette Sadik-Khan, New York City’s innovative transportation commissioner, demands new measures to assess modeshare within the city. Sadik-Khan wants to shy away from the method provided by the U.S. Census, because it does not count non-commute trips or provide ways to chose different modes for commuting. For example, when the census asks, ‘How do you get around?,’ if you take the train three days a week, or bike three times a week, that’s not counted.” With more accurate reporting of modeshare, Sadik-Khan hopes to obtain more transportation support from the state.
Image courtesy New York City's Department of Health via Streetsblog.org | streetsblog.org
Manifesto Architecture proposes a new vertical structure for bicycle storage for underutilized facades. "The bike hanger" will be made of recycled materials - metal, plastic and carbon frames. Each hanger can hold 20-36 bikes. The mechanics are powered by the cyclist at the base of the installation. "The human generator" helps turn the wheels within the structure, rotating the bikes until the owner's bike is released. Installations are schedules for Seoul and London.
Image courtesy Manifesto Architecture | mfarch.com