Thursday, April 23, 2009

Making streets safer for seniors

Transportation Alternatives' Safe Routes for Seniors campaign started in 2003 to encourage senior citizens to walk more by improving their pedestrian environment. Funded by the New York State Department of Health's Healthy Heart program, this was the first program of its kind to address the needs of elderly pedestrians. In 2008, the City of New York launched its own Safe Streets for Seniors initiative based on TA's Safe Routes to schools. Focusing on 25 areas with high senior pedestrian fatalities, this program is paving new ground. Yet, some including seniors not in these zones are asking, is it enough? Stats released by Transportation Alternatives show that: People aged 65 years and older make up 12% of the population, yet they comprised 39% of New York City's pedestrian fatalities between 2002 and 2006. The fatality rate of senior pedestrians is 40 times greater than that of child pedestrians in Manhattan. This video is an overview of what Transportation Alternatives, New York State Department of Health, NYC DOT, community groups, and elected officials are doing to promote safe streets for seniors.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sitting up straight, glamorously!

Cycling sitting up straight while wearing normal clothes, on a city bike with chain guard, fenders, a rack and a dynamo. This way of cycling has been promoted by Velo Mondial many years now. According to the New York Times, it is now becoming a trend. The newspaper quotes the owner of a vintage bicycle shop who says that not car culture, but bike culture is the problem, meaning that “the discourse about city biking is dominated by cycling zealots who don’t have the desire, or the skill, to attract people who don’t see themselves as cyclists, just as people who ride a bike to work”. Marketing bicycles as fashion items may be the way to save cycling from the cycling zealots, the New York Times suggests. Fashion store Club Monaco is selling somewhat dull Gazelle replicas of an 1892 ‘grandma’ bicycle. Incidentally, a similar approach was taken by bicycle mender Joep Salden from Utrecht, who designed a bicycle (pdf) that is only sold in fashion stores and interior design shops. In some bicycle stores, city bikes are now the biggest growth area. Meanwhile, bicycle commuting in New York rose by 35% from 2007 to 2008. Read more in News from Amsterdam.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Amsterdam Going Green, Smart & Fast

Among Amsterdam's 17th century town houses and meandering canals, big changes are afoot. On Utrechtsestraat, a major shopping avenue in the center of the Dutch capital, street trash soon will be collected by nonpolluting electric trucks, while the electronic displays in local bus stops will be powered by small solar panels. Elsewhere, 500 households will pilot an energy-saving system from IBM (IBM) and Cisco (CSCO) aimed at cutting electricity costs. An additional 728 homes will have access to financing from Dutch banks ING (ING) and Rabobank to buy everything from energy-saving light bulbs to ultra-efficient roof insulation. The projects, all getting under way over the next few months, represent Amsterdam's initial steps toward making its infrastructure more eco-friendly. The move comes as governments worldwide set aside billions of dollars to create so-called "smart cities," or towns that mix renewable projects, next-generation energy efficiency, and government support to cut overall carbon dioxide footprints. Yet, unlike cities that could take decades to upgrade their infrastructure, Amsterdam aims to complete its first-round investments by 2012. That makes it one of the first and most ambitious adopters of the smart city concept, attracting attention from policymakers worldwide hoping to glean lessons from the green experiment.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Velib Challenges vandalism

Despite the vandalism problems not only a new and more vandalism-proof Vélib bike is now being developed but also that the scheme is expanded with another 300 hire stations and 3,300 bikes. Vélib is currently being rolled outside the city for the first time. Recently the first of 29 suburbs was plugged into the network. Before the end of the year the cycle hire scheme is to be extended to the suburbs surrounding the French capital. Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe, who championed the original scheme and who lobbied for it to be extended to the suburbs, recently inaugurated the Boulogne network. The expansion of the network is costing Paris city € 8 million. JC Decaux, the advertising group that covers the cost of Velib, picks up the bill for labour and local authorities for roadworks. The fact that Paris city is paying for the Vélib stations and bikes in the suburbs is part of a new deal called “Avenant no. 1” that was negotiated with JCDecaux. According to Vélib’s project manager Mathieu Fierling, it is agreed in the new deal with the outdoor advertising company that the Paris city will pay more for by vandalism damaged bikes. Read more in Bike Europe

Monday, April 6, 2009


Velib with 20,000 shared bikes in the streets of the most spirited city in the world literally changed the face of Paris - overnight. B-cycle is the American answer. B-cycle is the zero-hassle, zero-emissions way to get around town. It's a bike sharing program that meets the transportation, health, and environmental needs of our communities. One that adapts to any size city, corporation or campus. It's wind in your hair, air in your lungs and bugs in your teeth. It's free and spontaneous but also organized and practical. B-cycle is the only "next"-generation bike-share program. Integrated data tracking will automatically capture information such as your distance traveled, equivalent calories burned and carbon offset after each ride. It will then upload this data to your personal user profile on B-cycle is the future of bike sharing, and it's available to your city now. B-cycle is a collaboration between three major players in three industries. • Humana • Trek Bicycle Corporation • Crispin Porter + Bogusky. All three share one common goal: cultural change. B-cycle will change the way you get around. And that will change our communities. So grab a B-cycle from the nearest B-station and we're on our way. Have a look here