Friday, February 20, 2009

Shared space gaining momentum

Both in the Netherlands and abroad increasing numbers of roads are being designed in accordance with the Shared Space philosophy. Recent publications demonstrate that some dozen towns in the Netherlands are using or considering Shared Space. In the rest of Europe the design philosophy is gaining adherents as well. In the Shared Space approach public spaces form the heart of society. They are areas where you stay, where you meet others, where you observe, where you undertake something with or without others, where you relax, where you become familiar and part of the living environment. Public spaces also enable you to look at what people are saying about themselves - in the way in which they present themselves or in the way in which they design and modify their own spaces, their house or their garden. Staying in a public space enables us to remain up to date with the world and the environment in which we live or stay. The layout of the public space tells us what society looks like, who forms part of it, how people deal with each other and what they consider important. It is a window on and a mirror of society. Shared Space views public spaces first and foremost as spaces for people. Read more. & Click here for more pictures in Drachten, The Netherlands. The slide show opens and closes with a few examples of spectacular bike bridges and of bike parking facilities at a random Dutch railway station.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hot mode of transport

When the Spicycles project was launched in 2006, cycling was not the ‘hot’ mode of transport that it has become today. As project partners, we wanted to gather experience related to specific areas of cycling policy. We were keen to explore how key elements such as communication and awareness raising, and the building of local partnerships, might increase the modal share of cycling. We had big expectations at the beginning of the project regarding cycling planning, but could not have predicted the explosion in the popularity of public bicycle systems that has taken place during Spicycles. In the course of the project, cycling became increasingly relevant to city policy makers and transport planners, as well as to citizens. This interest was heightened by the looming economic crisis: petrol prices rose dramatically, and economic recession became a reality. Public discussion of issues such as those raised in Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” began to change people’s way of thinking, and from being regarded as ‘old-fashioned’, cycling was increasingly perceived as a relevant and contemporary mode of transport. Read more of this article in V1 Magazine.

Amsterdam Best Green Transport Capital of Europe

The Best Green Capital Award for Europe in the category Transport would have been won - hands down - by Amsterdam if there was one. The Jury Report of the Best Green Capital in Europe mentions: 'Amsterdam has a transport situation which is very favourable for bicycles and public transport and restrictive to individual motorized transport in the city, without aiming to restrict overall mobility. In the city of Amsterdam bicycles are the most commonly used means of transport. In addition, the city has a public transport fleet which is 100% low emissions. Successful measures to enhance cycling further and reduce car traffic to city, starting from already high level have been introduced in recent years. A very wide range of transport measures are planned or currently being implemented, including further expansions of bicycle and public transport networks, road charging experiments anticipating the national scheme, more park and ride facilities, further parking restrictions, priorities for parking to car sharing organisations, environmental zones, incentives to scrap polluting cars, stimuli to use electric cars, electric support for pleasure craft use, and more. Also freight transport and waste transport are considered. Overall Amsterdam has an impressive transport policy legacy and promising outlooks.' Read the full jury report here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Berlins expansion on bike network & bike parking

The city of Berlin explored the framework conditions for the planning of a Second Level Bicycle Route Network for the borough of Pankow. It also assessed parking needs for bicycle. The outcome are guidelines for a network and parking facilities ready for the implementation and widely accepted by retailers, housing societies, private companies and of course inhabitants in the respective area. The implementation (i.e. the actual building and creation) will take place when the necessary finances will have been acquired. The “Bike Network Planning Guide” serves two purposes: first, it proposes a local network of cycle routes for the city district Pankow and secondly, as a pilot, represents a systematic planning aid for other Districts and European cities. For an increase in cycling attractive and secure parking facilities at the start and destination of a journey are fundamental. The “Bike Parking Guide” therefore describes not only the legal requirements on bicycle parking facilities but names the conditions of a good bicycle parking rack and lists contacts to enterprises producing them. Download these guidelines (in English) here: Guide Bike Network Planning Berlin & Guide Bike Parking Berlin

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Need for bicycle planning in Gulf increases

Al Ain Police have warned bicyclists to stay away from the main streets and follow the safety regulations in the city. The warning was issued yesterday due to the rising number of accidents involving bicyclists. The traffic police have recently noticed an increase in accidents involving bicycles from different nook and corners of the Oasis city. "We have been taking measures to control it," said a senior police officer at Al Ain Traffic Police Department. Bicycle is an efficient and cheap mode of transport which is popular among expatriates who use it to cover short distances. They are, however, not allowed to come on the high speed roads as it posses threats to their lives and those of others. Majority of the bicyclists, said the officer, is disobeying the safety regulations and peddle along the high speed traffic on main roads. "This is dangerous and not acceptable and we'll take strict action against such bicyclists," he warned. Read more here.