Maybe some day Link could get a bike car

Completely stolen from the Slog.

Bike Parking

Useful idea from SDOT, via press release:

SEATTLE – Working to support the city’s growing number of bicyclists, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will create on-street bicycle parking in neighborhoods around Seattle. With a goal of having one to two per neighborhood, the department will install these unique bike facilities at three locations starting next week.

Taking the place of one to two motor vehicle parking spaces, on-street bike parking will be filled with bicycle racks and surrounded by a raised curb. Bicyclists can enter the parking area from the sidewalk and each car-sized space will accommodate up to eight bikes.

This new program addresses the expanding need for bicycle parking and is part of the ongoing implementation of the Bicycle Master Plan, which seeks to triple the number of people bicycling in Seattle over ten years.

By mid February the new bike facilities will be installed:

? Mid block of Broadway E between E Harrison Street and E Republican Street (by Broadway Market)

? At the corner of 12th Avenue and E Spring Street (by Stumptown Coffee Roasters and Café Presse)

? At the corner of Woodlawn Avenue NE and NE 70th Street (by the Greenlake Condominium)

SDOT is planning additional on-street bicycle parking locations for 2009.

For bikers who also bus . . .

For bikers who also bus . . .

Metro is also launching a demonstration project to ease restrictions in the tunnel on where bikes can be loaded and unloaded from bus bike racks. The change is expected to make it more convenient for people who ride both bikes and buses. Cyclists are urged to take care when moving off the platform to load their bikes on the front of the bus, and are reminded to use the stairs or elevators – not escalators – between street level and the platforms in stations. If the demonstration project proves successful, Metro will consider making the changes permanent.

Joshua Kelley

Bike Accidents…Down

Since we’ve been having a heated public debate on bicycles in the urban environment, it seems worthwhile linking to this study, showing that the more bicyclists you have on the streets, the safer bicycling becomes for everyone. It’s a “virtuous cycle,” much like London’s congestion pricing: fewer cars on the road leads to better bus service, which leads to fewer cars on the road, etc., etc.

This also reminds me of a recent Ezra Klein post comparing bicycle ridership and accident rates in the US vs. several European countries. The trend is obvious, hardly anyone cycles in the US, and yet our accident rates are astronomical:



This is where government policy can really help. By doing things like dedicating more street real estate to exlusive bicycle right-of-way, we can jolt the virtuous cycle into action.

To be sure, all the policy in the world isn’t going to change the fact that a 65-year-old on a one-speed cruiser can navigate the flat streets of Amsterdam and Copenhagen relatively easily, whereas it takes a fair bit of physical strength and a relatively sophisticated bike to make it up and over, say, Queen Anne Hill. But improvements on the margins can still have a farily substantial impact.

(via Autopia)

Reflections on Critical Mass

The recent problem with the Critical Mass ride points to some deeper problems with our “love affair” with the car. First and foremost would be the bias shown by the police and mainstream journalism. Initial reports described a driver terrified by an unprovoked attack that broke his windows, causing him to flee and “accidentally” hit some cyclists.

Those of us who have read the interviews, including those with the driver, now know this story was completely false- but there’s been no prominent retraction. The police quite obviously are trying to “take down” Critical Mass and using a credulous press as one tool to do so.

This is a big mistake. At the core of Critical Mass is an anarchist (and by “anarchist” I mean “intensely self-disciplined”) spirit that revels in revolution. They will love a challenge, and it’s hard to scare people who are accustomed to riding bikes in American traffic.

The Cascade Bicycle Club has weighed in with disapprobation for Critical Mass- according to Cascade, drivers should be gently encouraged to tolerate cyclists. One big problem with this theory- the driver of the car was formerly a bicycle commuter.

Any such discussion will include the guy who hates cyclists because they “run red lights- the laws are for everyone” and blah blah blah. But if the talk turned to cameras to ticket drivers who run red lights, the guy is against it, and, wouldn’t you know, has studies to prove that strict enforcement causes more accidents.

What we’re left to deal with is an institutional bias in favor of cars, and the fact that, behind the wheel, we do things we wouldn’t otherwise do, and sometimes profoundly regret. None of this, of course, would matter if the oilfields of Texas were infinite, and the laws of physics suspended so that global warming would not occur.

But in the real world, our “love affair” has turned into an ugly situation in which our mistress, the car, seems likely to ruin our marriage to civilization. Some years ago, possibly before you were born, Jean-Luc Godard took one look at this problem with a film called Weekend. It’s not as though we weren’t warned.

Stupid Bike Lanes

I’m posting this out of solidarity with Seattle’s bicyclists:


The Pasadena Bikeway

This article has some pictures of the Pasadena Bikeway of 1900, in case you’ve never seen it.

Why Not Start Here?

Years ago, the University Bridge had six lanes instead of four. Apparently the two outer lanes were a bit challenging for the evolving motorist, and they were closed to traffic. Why not re-open them, to bicycle traffic only?

Paint it green, and put up some real dent-your-car bollards to keep the cars out. Give the cyclists a full lane across the bridge. Spend like crazy and it might cost as much as $10,000 for the city to put its money where its mouth is, with a short segment of real bikeway.

Lord knows, things are challenging enough at either end of the bridge. It’s the least we could do.

Bike Racks

3-bike racks are being removed from some Metro buses until they can be fixed.

Dispatches from the Front

So crushed was I by the stunning defeat of Prop 1, I had to step across the pond for a bit and bathe my wounded political sensibilities here in a land of livable communities, commuter choice, and healthy lifestyles.

[deep breath] Ahhhhhh …

Actually, I’m here in Eindhoven on a business trip. I’ve apparently reached a point in my career where I’m expected to, uh, work, so I’ve had precious little time to wax philosophic about the things we care about here at Orphan Road, namely, our love of public transit and our quest to get more and better in Seattle post haste.

A few quick thoughts before my industrious Dutch office mates catch on to my literary procrastination:

  • Walk like a European – I had the great honor of attending last weekend’s PSV-AZ game at Philips Stadion. We were a little concerned about how we’d get out to the game, until we realized that the stadium is less than a ten minute walk from the center of town. They don’t even bother to provide a parking lot — it’s just assumed that you’re walking to the game.
  • I want to ride my bicycle – The Dutch are famous for their love of bicycles, and Eindhoven is no exception. Bikes are so woven into the fabric of life here that it’s hard to imagine this culture without them (supposedly, one of the reasons Dutch hate Germans is that, during the war, the Germans poured salt into the Dutch wounds by confiscating their bicycles and melting them down for the raw materials – OUCH!). And I’m not talking post-hippie strung out Seattle-ite bike riding style — this is hot girls on their way to work smoking cigarettes and talking on their cell phones bike riding style. Pretty amazing.
  • Cigarette anyone? – Despite a HUGE amount of smoking and drinking here, plus food that’s not exactly low fat, the people here seem to be remarkably healthier than their American counterparts … guess it’s all the exercise that’s built naturally into their lifestyles.
  • Trans Netherlands Express – For about $20, you can take a train anywhere in the Netherlands. Train service on four or five main lines runs every half an hour, even on weekends. Service is so regular that the trains don’t even have conductors — it’s an honor system similar to what I’ve seen for subways in Eastern Europe. Hell, when you have that many trains and are committed to running them, there’s effectively zero marginal cost.

One more night in Amsterdam and then back to Seattle. Make no mistake — we are way, way behind Europe these days.