Monday, May 31, 2010
That comment is being met with fierce criticism from some bike advocates.
"That floors me. Those words (about returning space to cars) should never come out of the mouth of a bike coordinator," said one city bicycle official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Can bikers and drivers coexist peacefully?
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
. . Although Bike Walk Tennessee has reached a reasonable compromise with TDOT on this matter, we must remain vigilant and engaged. Board Members have elevated this matter to these three organizations and insisted on their involvement.
. . Bike Walk Tennessee will be assisting TDOT and their contractor RPM Transportation Consultants in identifying routes important to bicycling. Please visit our Web Page that provides instructions on how bicyclist can help in this effort.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
The deadline for comment is Jun 15th but USDOT staff are urging people to submit sooner.
Stephanie Potts, Federal Policy Coordinator
National Complete Streets Coalition
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Way to go, San Fran!
Monday, May 24, 2010
At Court Square, Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton Jr. addressed a crowd with enthusiastic support for increased biking in Memphis. Later, he tweeted: "Great Bike-To-Work celebration in Court Sq! Memphis will have many more miles of bike lanes in the next year."
"Those two small things made a difference," Mr. Ivey said.
This is just a small step. A LOT more needs to be done and we need help.
"Clearly one area where improvement is needed is educating the public about safe bicycling and driving practices," TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely said in this same Free Press article.
Sarah Lovett, Founder and Membership Chair of BWT, has started a program with the Rutherford County Safety Commission that could become an education model for all of Tennessee. Sarah is taking us that next step.
Friday, May 21, 2010
This will be the sixth year for this series of races, but only the second time in downtown Johnson City. The Sanofi-aventis Criterium was a success last year in its inaugural presentation. The spectators enjoyed the European experience of a meal shared while watching an exciting sport. They sat at sidewalk tables at a number of the restaurants on the racecourse while the racers flashed by just eight feet away.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Planning for bike-friendly communities is becoming more common in major cities, suburbs, and small towns across the country. Everyday decisions by planners, engineers, and others affect how safe and convenient it is to bike for recreation or transportation. However, most of these officials have had little to no training on these issues.
So how does Bike Walk Tennessee want to get started at this?
Tennessee’s 43’rd ranking last year disappointed those working to promote bicycling in our State. In response a lot was accomplished this year both at the State and Municipal level and both in government and advocacy. It was a joint effort of all parties. The improvement was unprecedented click here to find how Tennessee did.
Jessica Wilson (TDOT) took a lot of time and effort this year to complete the survey accurately. It was reviewed by Pat Clements, Bruce Day, and Tom Evans. Copies of it are here. For a quick summary as to how Tennessee ranked in the individual categories click here.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
1. The time required .
2. I already know everything there is to know about cycling.
Now comes a chance to test reason number 2 in the comfort of my own home in the hours between midnight and sleep usually wasted watching the Weather Channel. This from Arkansas Tom Ezell.
Thinking about taking the Traffic Skills 101 class, but don't have time to sit through hours of Powerpoint slides? One thing the League is experimenting with is offering the classroom portion of this course on-line, and letting the student jump directly to the hands on, bike riding part.
Interested? Go to http://www.bikeed.org/default.aspx, register at the site, and you can take that part on-line in your spare time. Each module has a set of questions (the applicable part of the written exam for Traffic Skills 101). At the completion of the online class, the site will tally up your score (passing score is 70%; 85% if you intend to pursue becoming an LCI yourself), and allow you to print a certificate asserting that you've completed that part of the class.
Next, take your certificate and look up one of the League Cycling Instructors (at the "Instructors" link) who have agreed to participate in the on-line test of the Traffic Skills course. Contact the LCI, and schedule a time and place to take the riding part of the class and the road test... And then you're on your way to Smart(er) Cycling!
This web site is part of a large effort to improve safety training for the 2010 Houston-to-Austin BP MS-150 bike ride. It's been shown to work well, and now it's being made available on a national basis to those facing a time crunch on sitting in class...
Monday, May 17, 2010
First, please accept my condolences for the loss of your friend.
We were made aware of this tragic incident through members of our statewide bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group, Bike Walk Tennessee. This group has been actively working with the Department on ways to make Tennessee a safer place to cycle. I would like to share with you several initiatives that we have developed during the past year to make this goal a reality.
In September of 2009, our agency signed a revision of the State Strategic Highway Safety Plan that, for the first time, includes measures to reduce bicycle and pedestrian crashes and fatalities. As a result, TDOT’s Bicycle and Pedestrian staff now attend road safety audit reviews where we make recommendations for bicycle and pedestrian safety measures at high crash locations identified through data collected by our Project Planning office. In addition, we worked with the Tennessee Department of Safety to geo-code bicycle and pedestrian crashes and fatalities so that we can better identify these locations. We also worked with the Department of Safety to include a section on ‘Sharing the Road with Bicycles and Pedestrians’, as well as corresponding test questions, for an upcoming revision to the Tennessee Driver’s License study guide and exam.
You mentioned in your letter that you would like to work with TDOT to identify routes that cyclists from Alabama frequent most often, so that they can be better defined as bicycle routes. Bike Walk Tennessee is currently collecting this information for our office as part of an update to our Long Range Plan, and I feel certain that they would welcome your involvement. I am copying the Chair, Pat Clements, to make him aware of your interest. You may also reach him by e-mail at BikeWalkTN@gmail.com.
Again, I am truly sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. Thank you for reaching out during this time of sorrow to help make Tennessee roadways safer for all users.
Please feel free to contact me or the Department’s bicycle/pedestrian coordinator, Jessica Wilson, at 615-741-5025 or Jessica.L.Wilson@tn.gov if you have any additional questions or concerns.
Jeanne Stevens, AICP, Director, Long Range Planning Division
- More than $700 million in stimulus funds is being used for bike and pedestrian projects
- Critics question project in North Carolina that would add bike lanes to busy street
- Cities should choose wisely where to add lanes, paths, expert says
(Click here to read more)
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Twenty one million motor vehicle journeys are made each day in London. The average speed is 9 mph. Gridlock is a constant and growing threat. There are half a million cyclists using the same roads.
No mode of personal transport is more efficient than a bike in an urban environment. But in using space more effectively than either pedestrians or motor vehicles, the cyclist often attracts unfair criticism from those who have little knowledge of the twilight world between the piety of the pavement and the mad world of the drag strip.
Does there need to be a radical re-evaluation of road space? This will shortly be answered in a paper, Civilised Streets, to be published by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment. The following is some of the thinking we hope it contains.
RIP OUT THE TRAFFIC LIGHTS AND RAILINGS - OUR STREETS ARE BETTER WITHOUT THEM
Simon Jenkins The Guardian - Friday 29th February 2008
Drivers and pedestrians negotiating shared space is shown to cut accidents and traffic, yet flat-earth planners won't believe it
Best news this week is that traffic police in Timisoara, Romania, are to have ballet lessons. Videos revealed an "awkwardness and lack of elegance" in their movements, confusing drivers and impairing road safety. Their instructor in pirouettes and pliés claims that Swan Lake offers the best role model, a nuance lost on me. Sadly, the police would not be wearing tutus but will perform in standard-issue uniforms.
Traffic police have long gone out of fashion in British cities. They have been replaced by technology, otherwise known as traffic lights. The common assumption is that this constitutes an advance, a machine being invariably better than a human. This is untrue.
Cut to Professor John Adams of University College London. Meeting Adams is to feel like an Inquisitor grappling with Galileo. He persists in rejecting received wisdom. In his virtual world, white is black, mad is sane and the Earth is round, when everyone knows it is flat. Among other things, Adams has long regarded seat belts and crash helmets as lethal, a menace to public safety. They raise the personal risk threshold and, while making the wearer safer as he drives faster, cause more injury to others. Needless to say, Adams has figures to prove it. He also thinks traffic lights should be banned, along with stop signs, zebra crossings, kerbstones and railings. The reason is not that he is a libertarian nutcase but that they kill people.
Traffic lights force drivers to watch and obey robots rather than other road users - an obedience not enforced to the same degree on pedestrians, skateboarders or cyclists. One result is that zebra crossings are dangerous because drivers are no longer used to eye contact with other road users. Technology makes them drive like zombies.
Traffic lights, like one-way systems, are also hopelessly inefficient allocators of road space. Even in London's busiest streets, half the tarmac is vacant, waiting for a light to release vehicles on to it. Many British streets are so empty they might as well have shops and houses built over them. We build over countryside but treat roads as sacred.
The concept of traffic-light removal is simple. It is that all users of public space adjust their behaviour to that of others, balancing a measure of danger and risk in return for convenience. Drivers undirected by signs, kerbs or road markings are faced with confusion and ambiguity. Since they do not want to cause accidents at junctions, or damage their cars, they reduce their speed and establish eye contact with other users.
I recently watched the result of a traffic-light failure in London's Portland Place. Two things happened. One was that drivers opened their eyes and scrutinised other drivers and pedestrians as the intersection became like an American "flashing amber". The other was that traffic flowed steadily over the crossing without being held for minutes while nothing moved. Drivers instinctively policed the crossing and rationed the road space on their own.
While the concept is not universally applicable, for instance on access to main arteries, it is no longer radical. Across the world, except in Britain, the so-called shared space movement preaches that urban streets should be redesigned for use by all and sundry, motor vehicles weaving their way along them as best they can with chicanes and other devices offering relative protection to pedestrians.
The concept has long been familiar in Italy's historic towns. It has been introduced, at the last count, in 3,500 zones in Germany and the Netherlands, 300 in Japan, 600 in Israel, and in cities as widespread as Lyon, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Melbourne and Portland, Oregon. All have experienced a drop in accidents, and most a drop in journey times. At the now celebrated lights-free Laweiplein intersection in Drachten in the Netherlands, the chief danger is from crowds of foreign experts watching incredulously as traffic merges with pedestrians and separates, unaided by robots.
Why has the concept not caught on in Britain? The reason is simple. Policy is in the hands of traffic engineers. These people deal with road builders, kit manufacturers, consultants and health and safety inspectors. All have large budgets and a vested interest in treating streets as policed corridors of total control. To them, traffic management involves herding pedestrians into cages and hurling vehicles along fast, one-way streets to bring them to a halt at the next stop light or traffic bump.
As a result, road users in cars and on foot in Britain are probably having to travel twice as far as necessary to get from A to B, with controlled crossings and cars negotiating tortuous one-way systems with long waits at lights. This increases traffic volume, causes more accidents, misallocates road space, slows buses and doubles carbon emissions. It is plain dumb. British traffic engineering is stuck in the dark ages, covered in woad and chanting runes about "gridlock".
One of the few progressive councils in Britain, London's Kensington and Chelsea, has bold politicians leading from the front. The deputy leader, Daniel Moylan, studied shared space abroad and designated Kensington High Street as an experiment (as if it needed one). Railings and crossings were removed. Pedestrians were encouraged to cross where they chose. Bicycle racks were placed on the central reservation. The whole street was tidied.
The effect over two years has been a dramatic cut in accidents, down 44% against a London average of 17%. Pedestrians and wheelchair users are no longer dragooned behind railings. Drivers have slowed and pedestrians look at drivers rather than traffic lights. Moylan did not have the courage to remove all lights, but perhaps that will come with the extension of the scheme to Exhibition Road. The experience has been a success.
What pushed the Kensington High Street scheme was an eagerness by businesses to make their street more attractive against competition from malls. They wanted, as Moylan puts it, "to get away from the idea that streetscape is essentially an exercise in safety engineering". His latest report tells of the need to overrule health and safety officials, who seemed uninterested in evidence that accidents would fall. As for engineers in general, they seem to care only about "making it harder for road accident victims to bring successful litigation against highway authorities". Because of this opposition, Moylan is gloomy about his efforts being imitated elsewhere in Britain. The pro-accident vested interest is too strong. Like Adams, he thinks officialdom would rather people died than admit it was wrong.
Certainly the concept of people and vehicles sharing the road, and thus rendering it safer and more efficient, is counter-intuitive, because vehicles are regarded as inanimate thugs that do more damage than bicycles and pedestrians. But vehicles are driven by people with eyes, who only become dangerous when treated as automatons. That is why shared space has saved thousands of lives across Europe in the past decade. It also saves pollution, time, money and policing costs. It is a no-brainer.
In Britain the flat-earthers deny evidence and cry that the great god traffic would "grind to a halt" if streets were shared and traffic lights were abolished. Yet as Galileo told the Inquisition, "Eppur si muove", and yet it moves.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Read Legal Research on Liability Aspects of Bikeways
Monday, May 10, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
The bill has apparently been attached to DUI legislation that allows repeat offenders to get their licenses back and is supported by MADD. It apparently slid through and is now waiting for Governor Crist to sign it. The only option for Florida cyclists is to request the governor veto it.
Now, if this were Tennessee, and Bike Walk Tennessee is successful in building its membership and communication network, we can hopefully detect this kind of thing and help the Tennessee walk/bike community resist any such thing. Can you imagine mopeds zipping along through Shelby Bottoms in Nashville, golf carts along the Tweetsie Trail when it's complete, or mopeds circling Stones River Battlefield in Murfreesboro?
In the mean time, we'll keep working, and I hope we can count on you for your support. Florida, we hope you get your veto and send your legislators back to work to fix it. BWT will be studying your case as a lessons learned after this is over. We wish you well.
PS - I'm sure Forrester is mumbling "I told you so."
One mile of bike lane has been recently been installed on Pennsylvania Avenue, perhaps the nation's most significant roadway, while adjoining roadways in the DC downtown have also received new bike facilities.
The car owners's insurance association, AAA, also released a document with their opinions on the potential impact of the new bike lanes. Their ideas are attached below.
Given that as many as 5 bicycles often occupy the same space as a single passenger car, are AAA's claims that an increase in bicycle traffic capacity will overall traffic congestion? Might new bicycle riders attracted by safer facilities actually improve the flow of traffic?
AAA News Release REMOVAL OF TRAFFIC LANES ON PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE FOR BIKE LANES DRAWS IRE OF MOTORISTS
Return to News Release Index
|Contact:||John B. Townsend II |
Phone: (202) 481-6820
|Contact:||Lon Anderson |
Phone: (202) 481-6820
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
- Early registrations cost $395 for Alliance members, $475 for Non-Members, and must be received by June 30, 2010
- Regular registrations cost $450 for Alliance Members, $530 for Non-Members
- Looking for Scholarships?
- The Alliance will have limited additional scholarship opportunities available for the Alliance Leadership Retreat. Apply here. Deadline to apply is May 20.
- Hot off the press: In partnership with the National Center for Bicycling and Walking, we are able to offer Susie Stephens Advocacy Scholarships to leaders of Alliance member organizations for $100 off Pro Walk / Pro Bike® registration (which follows the Leadership Retreat). While the normal Pro Walk / Pro Bike® rate is $600, you can apply for the reduced rate of only $500. Apply here. Deadline to apply is May 20.
Want more info? Click here .
Monday, May 3, 2010
Leslie A. Meehan, AICP | Senior Transportation Planner
More Than 200,000 a Day Now Cycling, Data Suggests
Build it and they will ride. That’s the message conveyed in the latest annual estimate of the number of bicyclists in New York City by Transportation Alternatives, which found roughly 236,000 New Yorkers riding each day in 2009, up 28 percent from 185,000 daily riders the year before. ( read more . . .)
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Our last venture was in Quebec around Montreal and Mont Tremblanc areas where we rode parts of the 4,000km Le Route Verte and met with organizers of Velo Quebec who have encouraged the use of the bicycle, whether for tourism purposes or as a means of clean and active transportation, so as to improve the environment and the health and well-being of citizens.
Two years ago we were fortunate enough to visit in Wales, UK and get to know the incredible Sustrans organization. This UK-wide charity supported network's vision is a world in which people choose to travel in ways that benefit their health and the environment. Riding and walking in the rural areas and villages was the common mode of transportation and we learned how transport planning can effectively integrate alternative modes of movement in a highway and road system. Paths and trails criss-crossed the country and access to these is protected by law.
We have a lot to learn in Tennessee and borrowing models from other areas is to me one way to enrich the quality of life in our state. I'll be blogging along next week as the journey continues.