Sunday, September 26, 2010

Capital Bikeshare

The project, known as Capital Bikeshare, is the latest to come to a major American city, mirrors the systems have become integrated into many European cities. Its goals are both modest and potentially transformative: to get more people riding bikes, thereby promoting health, and shift the way transit systems work in cities. In June, Minneapolis launched its Nice Ride program, with over 60 solar-powered stations and 700 bikes. A similar effort got under way in April in Denver, with 425 bikes. A major program is set to make its debut in Miami this fall, and New York is studying a massive program, with 30,000 bikes. For the last two years, Washington has had a very small bike share program, SmartBike, which was owned and operated by Clear Channel. Vandalism and theft were not a major problem for Washington’s earlier program, as it was in Paris. The new stations are portable, solar-powered and wirelessly connected to a central processing hub. Memberships cost $75 a year, and bikes can also be taken out by the day for a $5 daily membership fee paid by credit card. After that, the first 30 minutes are free. The next 30 minutes cost $1.50, followed by $4.50 for the next 30 minutes and $6 for every subsequent hour.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A 20-minute city plan - Portland USA

How do you convince people to see what isn’t there? When you’re talking about the future of transportation, there is more than one city planner or politician who wishes they had a magic wand. More than a hundred years of a towering car culture has left many citizens unable to envision a different future, much less plan for it. Getting people to see fewer cars can seem like an insurmountable challenge. For Portland, Oregon, creating a sustainable city with sound policy and smart transportation has proven to be not just economically viable, but popular.  Portland, a city of 537,000, now has a combined total of 500 kilometres of bike lanes, off-street paths, signed connections and car-free boulevards.How do you sell a bicycle-friendly plan when voters have never been more polarized? Mayor Adams knew he had to convince everyone, whether they rode a bike or not, that it was in their best interest. Becoming a cycling Mecca would only make good policy if it made good economic sense for Portland. The foundation for the future of this western seaboard city is comprised of tight unity between economic development, climate action and the bicycle plan. Portland had to see these planning decisions create jobs, achieve prosperity and social justice. The cohesion of all these requirements under a 25-year strategic plan is bearing fruit. Read on in Wheels.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

'Less car policy' landed more scooters in Amsterdam

Velo Mondial sides with the majority of Amsterdammers who want the 21,000 (and counting) Amsterdam mopeds banned from the separated cycle paths in the city. Last year, the municipality promised to deal with moped problems, but a plan will probably not be presented until spring 2011. Political parties and cyclists’ organisations want mopeds banned from bicycle paths. When Velo Mondial guided a Taiwanese group showcasing Amsterdam, the leader of the group was knocked off her bike by a moped. The incident was no exception. People who ride a moped are not only themselves frequent victims of accidents; they also cause victims among cyclists. In addition, cyclists breathe small particles spread by scooters using the bicycle path. All kinds of organisations call for a solution. A Facebook group wants mopeds banned from bicycle paths. The Fietsersbond is collecting complaints and its Amsterdam branch will launch a petition in early October, in collaboration with environmental organisation Milieucentrum. As in other situations, the speed difference and the close proximity on the paths make the possibility of accidents high. The fact that mopeds go at a much faster speed than allowed makes the situation worse. Read more in News from Amsterdam here.

Friday, September 17, 2010

10 Lessons from the Low Lands

Velo Mondial spoke with David Vega-Barachowitz who writes the wonderful Ramblers Highway blog. He describes ten impediments to the widespread practical usage of the bicycle in the United States. The headings are: First. Terrain. Topography. Climate. The Netherlands is flat. The United States is not flat. Second. Sprawl. The Netherlands is an incredibly dense place. Third. Infrastructure and Facilities.  Fourth. Critical Mass As cities like New York or Minneapolis are quickly realizing, the installation of painted bicycle lanes is not enough. Fifth. Culture. Upbringing. The cultural differences between the US and the Netherlands represents a lengthy and complex topic. Sixth. Car culture. People in the United States are proud of their cars. Seventh.  Funding Speaking of funding, the Dutch have high taxes. Very high taxes.  Eighth. Policy. Policy is perhaps the trickiest piece of the puzzle and one of the least understood. Ninth. Multi-modal transportation network.  Tenth. Culture of Exercise. The culture of exercise and activity in the US is biased towards the young.

Sustainable Urban Freight Transport

CIVITAS MIMOSA, the European flagship project on urban mobility will be hosted by  the City of Utrecht on 26 and 27 October 2010. Sustainable Urban freight transport will be at the heart of this high level meeting. CIVITAS MIMOSA -of which Velo Mondial is a partner - will work together with EUROCITIES in order to present the State of the Art in Urban Freight Transport across Europe. CIVITAS MIMOSA and EUROCITIES invite urban politicians and practitioners to join the meeting in Utrecht! PROMOTION & BROKERAGE WORKSHOPS on 'Construction logistics', 'Urban goods consolidation concepts at the fringe of the city' and 'Goods flow to consumers' are only a few of this high up European event. Site visits on Emission-free goods transport, showcasing the prize-winning Cargohopper and Beer Boat and a visit to the Innovative HEMA Distribution Centre are only part of the programme that you can find here.  Deadline for registration is 15 October 2010.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

ThinkBike in mini 'Amsterdam Bike Slam' format

The City of Toronto and the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands are hosting  bicycle planners on September 20th and 21st for the ThinkBike Workshop. For Velo Mondial Arjen Jaarsma from Balancia will be the leader of the Dutch delegation. Toronto and Dutch bicycle professionals will form two teams for this event. The teams will consider new elements to improve Toronto's cycling strategy. Each team will be given a Toronto cycling infrastructure problem to solve, the exercise will including drafting recommendations for marketing and communications. The two teams will be competing to develop the most exciting proposal. Explore the necessary treatments to convert the existing bicycle lanes along Sherbourne Street, from Queen’s Quay Boulevard to Elm Avenue, to a design that will provide a physical separation between bicycle lanes and the general purpose traffic lanes. Explore design options for locations where other bicycle lanes intersect Sherbourne Street. Intersection designs will consider existing on-street facilities, as well as physically separated design options for future development. Velo Mondial  sees this ThinkBike Workshop as a mini format that precedes the new and improved version of the 'Amsterdam Bike Slam' that we will offer the world imminently. Read more here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ergo Crosswalk

'Ergo crosswalk'  by Jae Min Lim from korea is one of the 240 shortlisted entries from more than 5100 participants in a recent designboom competition 'design for all' in collaboration with seoul design fair 2010.  Designer's jae min lim: 'when people cross roads, they tend to take the fastest shortcut. they sometimes do it intentionally, but mostly it is an unconscious act.  This kind of action violates the traffic regulations and sometimes threatens the safety of the pedestrians.  The 'ergo crosswalk' is a design that makes people follow the law, as well as consider their habits or unconscious actions.  It will encourage pedestrians to follow the lines of the cross walk and protect them from any potential danger.  If regulations cannot force people to follow the law, wouldn't it be more reasonable to change the law and fulfill the main purpose of keeping the safety and convenience of the pedestrian? Velo Mondial notices that Zebra crossings, Pelican Crossings and other pedestrian crossing issues are in debate at many places now. Pedestrian safety is becoming an increasingly important issue. Read on here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Gehl & Hook: a cool duo

Urban consultant Jan Gehl and Walter Hook have together set out ten key steps to creating more sustainable cities in a new publication “Our Cities Ourselves: 10 Principles for Transport in Urban Life”. What are the ten principles of sustainable transport? 1. Walk the walk: Create great pedestrian environments 2. Powered by people: Create a great environment for bicycles and other non-motorized vehicles 3. Get on the bus: Provide great, cost-effective public transport 4. Cruise control: Provide access for clean passenger vehicles at safe speeds and in significantly reduced numbers 5. Deliver the goods: Service the city in the cleanest and safest manner. 6. Mix it up: Mix people and activities, buildings and spaces. 7. Fill it in: Build dense, people and transit oriented urban districts that are desirable. 8. Get real: Preserve and enhance the local, natural, cultural, social and historical assets. 9. Connect the blocks: Make walking trips more direct, interesting and productive with small-size, permeable buildings and blocks. 10. Make it last: Build for the long term. Sustainable cities bridge generations. They are memorable, malleable, built from quality materials, and well maintained. Velo Mondial is happy to promote both authors and their 10 principles.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Europe: more action on road safety

The European Commission has Juy 20, 2010  adopted challenging plans to reduce the number of road deaths on Europe's roads by half in the next 10 years. Initiatives proposed in a set of European Road Safety Policy Orientations 2011-2020 range from setting higher standards for vehicle safety, to improving the training of road users, and increasing the enforcement of road rules. The Commission will work closely with Member States to implement this programme.  Europeans are calling on Member States to boost their efforts to improve road safety, according to a survey published by the European Commission today. Nine out of ten Europeans (94%) considered driving under the influence of alcohol to be the most significant road safety problem, while eight out of ten (78%) called speeding a major safety problem. A majority of respondents (52%) said Member States should focus on improving road infrastructure as a first or second priority, while 42% said the same for improving the enforcement of traffic laws and 36% for dealing equally forcefully with resident and foreign traffic offenders. The Eurobarometer survey was commissioned by the Commission as part of its ongoing campaign to cut road fatalities across the EU. Read more here.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Walking in Mumbai, less harrowing?

A pilot project to survey the state of footpaths and pedestrian infrastructure between the busy Andheri railway station and Seven Bungalows has been initiated by the environment cell of the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC). The aim is to enable the creation of a walking policy and a manual to aid the preparation of pedestrian-friendly policies.The project will be implemented in four stages. The first step will entail identification of the key problems of pedestrians. In the second stage, a comparative analysis with other cities will be done to see how certain aspects of pedestrian infrastructure there could be emulated in the city’s environment. Proposing a walking policy and a walking manual will follow. Lastly, various civil society groups will be empowered to take up walking environment improvement projects. The brain behind the initiative, Rishi Aggarwal of MRCC’s environment cell, said it is an attempt at creating a good walking environment for the city’s harried pedestrians. He pointed out that according to Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s comprehensive transport survey, out of the 2.5 crore trips made by commuters in the city every day, 1.5 crore are of pedestrians. The need for pedestrian-friendly policies in the city is thus immense. Read on in the Daily News & Analysis

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cars scrapped, Parking Meters converted to Bike Racks

New York City has done a good job in recent years to encourage cycling instead of driving in the city.  The Earth Policy Institute released a study showing that car ownership dropped by 4,000,000 vehicles in 2009; the Upper West Side of New York City will be converting 240 parking meters into bicycle racks. During 2009, 14 million cars were scrapped while only 10 million new ones were purchased.  The U.S. fleet of cars declined by 2 percent from 250 million to 246 million within the year.  This marks the first time since WWII that the number of cars scrapped was greater than those purchased. Bike lanes and paths have been created and new policies have been instituted to protect cyclists and pedestrians, but the city may be planning the biggest encouragement yet:  a huge bike-sharing program. The proposed program, created by Mayor Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, would start with 10,500 bikes availabe for rent and then quickly spread to 49,000 bikes, similar in scale to the successful Paris VĂ©lib’ program. With ECOGEEK we'll be excitedly awaiting more news. Read more in EcoGeek.