Sunday, March 27, 2011

Less cars yet growing source of annoyance

Amsterdammers who do not own a bicycle themselves seem to become less critical of cyclists and more critical of car drivers. The cause of this development is not immediately clear. In Amsterdam, everybody seems to own a bicycle, but in reality there are also Amsterdammers who live in households where no one has a bicycle. In the City's bicycle satisfaction studies it regards one in five to six respondents. In these studies, people were asked whether they get annoyed at other road users, and if this is the case, at which ones most often. In 2008, respondents without bicycles most often identified cyclists as the primary source of annoyance. However, in 2010 the situation has reversed: now, they get annoyed primarily at motorists. The difference is statistically significant. Researcher Jessica Greven says the cause of this development is not immediately clear. “One might think that road closures might cause more annoyance, but then there were road closures in 2008 too. It will be interesting to see in the next study whether the development continues.” Among respondents who do own a bicycle themselves, there is no clear trend discernable. They mainly get annoyed at motorists, but almost as often at other cyclists. The moped comes in third. Velo Mondial predicts that the motorbike will rapidly gain 'terrain' on this chart.

Source of Annoyance: Blue - cars; brown - bicycles; source: News from Amsterdam

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Will Mayor Bloomberg's bikie lanes survive?

Well-connected New Yorkers have taken the unusual step of suing the city to remove a controversial bicycle lane in a wealthy neighborhood of Brooklyn, the most potent sign yet of opposition to the Bloomberg administration’s marquee campaign to remake the city’s streets. A two-way bike lane along Prospect Park West in Brooklyn is the focus of a lawsuit filed Monday. But while the suit seeks only the removal of that particular lane, it incorporates criticisms of the administration’s overall approach in carrying out the high-profile initiatives of its transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, including placing pedestrian plazas in Times and Herald Squares and rededicating dozens of miles of traffic lanes for bicycle use. Although this is not the first legal challenge against bike lanes in New York City — the Koch administration was sued in 1980 — the case opens a new front in one of the most heated civic disputes since smoking was banned in bars. The suit also quotes e-mail correspondence that suggests a close relationship between top Department of Transportation officials and the cycling advocates who are vocal supporters of expanding the city’s bicycle network. Read more in the New York Times. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Stand alone Cycling Policy is a vulnerable approach

ON a balmy night last June, the city’s Congressional delegation gathered for dinner at Gracie Mansion. Representative Anthony D. Weiner, who aspires to live in the mansion someday, knew he would have only a few minutes with the host, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. So he brought up the hottest topic he could think of: bicycle lanes, and the transportation commissioner who had nearly doubled the number of the number of them, Janette Sadik-Khan. “When I become mayor, you know what I’m going to spend my first year doing?” Mr. Weiner said to Mr. Bloomberg, as tablemates listened. “I’m going to have a bunch of ribbon-cuttings tearing out your [expletive] bike lanes.”You can read the full article in the New York Times here. The reason why Velo Mondial highlights this article is because the candidate in New York sends the strong signal that stand alone cycling policy  is vulnerable. When cycling is not embedded in a wider policy of sustainable mobility  politicians can easily use a cycle path in their negative campaigning. A  path is easily destroyed so politicians can have a field day promising just that. Cycling policy needs to find itself in a framework of policy ambitions a city should have regarding economic growth, social cohesion and environmental objectives. As long as that has not happened, cycling policy will be under threat in the years to come.