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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Deal Done! We have a Rail to Trail property in NE TN

City officials signed off on the contract for a rail to trail contract linking Johnson City and Elizabethton, TN. Elected officials and city's staff comment on the positive impact here:

Linking communities, sch00ls, parks, historic sites, and providing transportation choices is what we should all be advocating in today's world.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Jeff Roth Cycling Foundation - Share the Road License Plates

Current 3 ft Law Plate Count

The Jeff Roth Cycling Foundation deadline for obtaining at least 1000 specialty license plate pre-orders has been extended by a year. The current number of orders is displayed above. Pre-orders are being accepted online. Only when 1000 pre-orders have been obtained can the plates go into production.

The license plates are a great way to support the Jeff Roth Cycling Foundation, as well as promote awareness of the 3 ft passing law and cycling in general. Families with multiple cars can sign up for multiple plates, up to the number of cars owned. The plates also make a wonderful gift for anyone who's a cyclist. If everyone who's already signed up signs up one more person or plate, this plate will finally become reality!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bike Trains - another potential way to promote cycling?

This article at the Guardian's (a British newspaper) bike blog describes bike trains. Bike trains are groups of riders who assertively ride busy urban streets in order to remind people that cyclists may be found on every street, and to reclaim road space. By moving in larger numbers (the average British bike train consists of eight riders), safety or at least visibility is improved relative to a single rider.

Do bike trains exist within the state? They could potentially also be organized to facilitate bike commutes on busier streets.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

“Sorry I Didn’t See You” is no longer a legal excuse

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (June 20, 2011)  With four grandchildren and eight great children, Jerry Norman, 74, wanted to keep fit and active to enjoy their company. So, on the advice of his doctor, Norman took up walking. But, on his regular early morning walk on June 29, 2010, a driver fell asleep at the wheel and killed Norman while he walked on a Nashville sidewalk. His family suffered the loss of a loved one — and a travesty of justice when, under current Tennessee law, the motorist could not be prosecuted for any crime.

Friday, June 17, 2011

USBR on Fast lane

At the last Board meeting it was reported that Adventure Cycling had exceeded its goal of $30,000 for the USBR System. Not mentioned was that in addition to this the prestigious AASHTO contributed and additional $5,000 to show the support of state highway professionals for this system. Guess we'd better stop calling them the Association of Cars and Trucks, though the appellation may still fit some individual state DOT's.
More good news is that on my recent mini tour of South Central KY (Thanks Guy Coggin and Mark Crutcher) even the rumble strip manic Kentucky shows signs of progress. The section of US 31 E between Scottsville and Barren River State park has a newly installed 3 foot shoulder with no rumble at all! Anyone having done any cycling in KY knows how amazing this is.
Even in a tight economy great tings are happening.
Link to Adventure Cycling Report.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bike Snob Philosophizes on Commuting

Many cyclists who spend too much time on the internet are familiar with the cycling blogger Bike Snob NYC. He has a unique satirical style that led to a book and a gig in Bicycling magazine. Several of his past blogs have been on the police crackdown on (allegedly) scofflaw cyclists in New York. He generally skewers both law enforcement and cyclists. His June 8 blog post has a fascinating and enlightening sky view video about bicycle, auto and pedestrian traffic in New York. He juxtaposes a video of a joint police and bike club effort in Chicago to suggest legal and safer riding habits in the Windy City. I'm pretty sure he intends to contrast police efforts in NYC to those in Chicago. It's well done as usual.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Universal Bike Lanes: A Way to Mass Cycling?

This study clearly shows that a multi-faceted approach to bicycle and pedestrian improvements is the Complete way to go in changing a county's auto center culture.

"Despite the fact that some parts of the country are still cycling deserts, the good news in recent years is that cycle use in Britain overall has at last started going up – albeit from a very low base compared to many of our continental neighbours. London has led the way, with its hire-bikes, super-highways, cycle maps and excellent marketing initiatives, which have more than doubled cycle use in less than 10 years. But places like Portsmouth and Leicester have also achieved a great deal with a lot less cash. They have been investing in 20mph speed limits and closing off city centre streets to all but cyclists and pedestrians. They have been running 'smarter choices' programmes like cycle training or carefully targeted social marketing programmes to promote cycling for women, children, employees, health patients and so on. All these measures are proving very effective at boosting cycle use, thereby gradually building up the political will to do the things that will really transform our car-dominated congested roads into cycle-friendly, neighbourhood-friendly streets for people and the surrounding communities." Read the Sustrans article HERE.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Road Repairs

Smart Growth America and Taxpayers for Common Sense have just released a report entitled Repair Priorities: Transportation spending strategies to save taxpayer dollars and improve roads. The report basically makes the point that many of the existing roads are not in good shape, and that it would be most cost-effective to repair the existing roads before they deteriorate further. However, states have a tendency to build and expand new roads before caring for existing ones. New construction means more road to maintain later on, adding to the financial burden. According to the report, Tennessee has 30% of roads that are in less than good condition. Between 2004 and 2008 though, it spent $487 million on new construction and $116 million on maintainence.

Walking and cycling facilities are frequently included in new construction, and are less likely to be added to a maintainence project. Retrofitting existing streets to make them more pedestrian and cyclist friendly is sometimes difficult to impossible, depending on traffic volumes and speeds. However, where retrofitting is possible is often where significant progress can be made at minimal cost. Road diets that take one underused lane and convert it into bidirectional bike lanes are one example; if there is substantial turning traffic, simply restriping the road to have dedicated left/right turn lanes and pockets frequently means that a three lane road can handle as much traffic as a four lane, and be safer even for cars. Narrowing existing lanes to widths of 10-11 ft (termed a lane diet) sometimes would permit the striping of bike lanes. Even if bike lanes cannot be accomodated, a cycling-friendly wide outside lane of 14-15 ft may be possible. The key point is that with maintainence that needs to be done anyway, simple reconfigurations require nearly zero construction cost. With today's tight transportation budget, such savings are crucial. Portland, OR was able to take advantage of such "low-hanging fruit" in order to obtain their network for a grand total of around $60 million.