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  1. #1
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    I wish every city was like Davis, CA

    I have lived in Davis, CA for almost 4 years and I must say it is the most friendly bike town I have ever seen; I wish all cities in the USA were like this!

    City Biking Video

    Actually the funny thing is that there are not even school busses in this city even little kids all ride bikes to school.

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    +1...Davis is one of the best cities in the US for cycling.

    My daughter lives there and rides everywhere. I got her a nice Trek hybrid a couple of years ago, fitted with racks and "shopping" panniers. She sometimes goes 6 weeks between gas fill-ups for her Honda Civic, because she rides the bike to work, the gym, grocery shopping, etc.
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    that is just the coolest thing! :-D

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    Non-Custom Member zeytoun's Avatar
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    Without starting a flame war here, I think Davis provides some examples to people on both sides of the vc debate.

    1) short distances and flat landscape are probably one of the hugest factors in transportational cycling participation. Compare to Portland, the other renowned cycling city, which also shares those two aspects (hills exist, but are at the edge of town center mainly).

    2) A car-driving public that supports bicycling. Davis' affluent, educated population has been primed for, and responsive to, bicycling as alternative transportation since the '60s.

    3) The use of applied statistics, and not clinging to an ideology, is key. Some cite the lack of ever-present bike lanes at Davis as a blow against the argument for bike lanes. However, Davis has clearly made a lot of efforts to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians in a lot of ways, be it cyclist bridges, and subtle designs of civil engineering. What this says to me is that a) bike lanes are not necessarily the only answer, and b) just forcing cyclist to "rise to occasion" of the existing road design is a recipe for failure. The key is sound engineering, which must include an effort to accommodate all users based on their inherent mannerisms.
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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Is there a documented modal share.... anything comparing trips to mode of transportation. Typically in the US it is near 2%; Portland Oregon is now claiming 6%. Some European Cities claim a mode share of 28%.

  6. #6
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeytoun View Post
    What this says to me is that a) bike lanes are not necessarily the only answer, and b) just forcing cyclist to "rise to occasion" of the existing road design is a recipe for failure. The key is sound engineering, which must include an effort to accommodate all users based on their inherent mannerisms.
    +1

    On point a) - I for one have never thought otherwise. On point b) absolutely true, expecially the idea car-centric designs can continue unabated and cyclists can make do just by trying to act like a car driver. They are both only ever going to be band-aid solutions, at best.

    The biggest battle imo in getting sound engineering is from the city engineers themselves. Rarely will you find such a conservative, resistant to change, unimaginative bunch of so-called professionals, and alleged 'bike advocates' like Forester that support the status quo aren't helping. Sometimes I think the only hope is waiting for the old codgers to die or retire and a younger, more open-minded breed of engineer taking their place. Does anyone know what the current state of civil engineering education is? Are they at least offering a more rounded education these days?
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    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Did I see a different video? There were tons of bike lanes and bike paths on it. My riding in Davis has only been at the rides put on by the Davis Bike Club, and the streets we were on had a bike lane, a wide shoulder, or were very wide for sharing.
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    Non-Custom Member zeytoun's Avatar
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    The biggest battle imo in getting sound engineering is from the city engineers themselves.
    Agreed, I was almost going to do a rant myself. I'm sure it's hard too, because all aspects of the city planning, from roads, to residential development, all contribute to the behavior of it's citizens. Unfortunately, short term profits have often harmed long-sighted planning...
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeytoun View Post
    Without starting a flame war here, I think Davis provides some examples to people on both sides of the vc debate.

    1) short distances and flat landscape are probably one of the hugest factors in transportational cycling participation. Compare to Portland, the other renowned cycling city, which also shares those two aspects (hills exist, but are at the edge of town center mainly).

    2) A car-driving public that supports bicycling. Davis' affluent, educated population has been primed for, and responsive to, bicycling as alternative transportation since the '60s.

    3) The use of applied statistics, and not clinging to an ideology, is key. Some cite the lack of ever-present bike lanes at Davis as a blow against the argument for bike lanes. However, Davis has clearly made a lot of efforts to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians in a lot of ways, be it cyclist bridges, and subtle designs of civil engineering. What this says to me is that a) bike lanes are not necessarily the only answer, and b) just forcing cyclist to "rise to occasion" of the existing road design is a recipe for failure. The key is sound engineering, which must include an effort to accommodate all users based on their inherent mannerisms.
    zeytoun,

    not to contribute to any kind of flame war (especially since I find it unfortunate that those of us who occasionally support facilities have been wrongly characterized in these forums as constantly pleading for bike lanes on all roads) but since Davis was just named the Platinum Award winning Bike Friendly City by the League of American Bicyclists it was featured in the March/April 2008 issue where it is pointed out that:

    Quote Originally Posted by LAB Magazine Mar/Apr 2008
    Davis has bike lanes on 95% of all its arterials and collectors. The city has 27 different grade separations for bicycles and pedestrians. In the last ten years alone, the city has spent well over $14 million on bicycle projects. The city has recently spent 7.4 million dollars completing a bicycle undercrossing of a two lane county road, six lanes of Interstate 80, and two sets of railroad tracks. Davis budgets about $100,000 per year on bike path maintenance.
    What this demonstrates is that while bike lanes may not be necessary on all roads in a community their judicious use combined with other well maintained facilities and well designed local roads makes for a bicycle friendly environment. When looking at the 73 other US cities awarded by LAB this year its obvious that facilities of all kinds and rider share show a direct correlation. And as is clearly demonstrated in Portland OR an increase in rider share combined with better facilities has reduced their indexed bicycle crash rate.

    To answer Genec's question regarding rider share:

    Quote Originally Posted by LAB Magazine Mar/Apr 2008
    Davis' bicycling usage is 14 percent, or roughly 35 times the national average.
    *edit- I think in the video someone says the ridershare is (17%)
    Last edited by buzzman; 04-13-08 at 08:31 PM.

  10. #10
    Share the Road ckeizer77's Avatar
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    I don't know much about Davis, but I've moved across the U.S, starting in the midwest, moving then to Denver, then to L.A. I've ridden in all of those places, for both recreation and as a commuter. When I moved from Lawrence to Denver I thought Denver was so much better. When I moved to L.A. I thought it was so great, the drivers here were so much more considerate! I can only imagine how great Davis is. I've heard rumors.
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    Just a little follow up: before I moved to Davis I had to fill up my car once or twice a week, now living in Davis with my trusty 1969 Schwinn Varsity I only fill up once every 2 months or so (talk about saving money with gas prices the way they are). I hope to make it up to Portland some day and try that area out as well.

  12. #12
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    I do like cycling in Davis very much. The facilities are great, and it's very care-free and convenient.

    I also tend to lower my praise for it simply because I think the city has it too easy. It's an isolated bubble-town, very flat and small, and many of the drivers are commuters who log their miles mostly out of town. I'd like for other cities to have the same facilities and general use of bikes, but I think that second part would be more difficult to realize in a different setting.

    It's like a "just-so" utopia that, while pleasant, doesn't apply to many other situations.

    Maybe I just need to spend more time in "bike-unfriendly" towns to get some perspective

  13. #13
    Senior Member pirate's Avatar
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    You wish every city was incredibly boring?



    j/k, sort of.
    “When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark,
    When work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having,
    Just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road,
    Without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.”
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  14. #14
    Night Rider Aquajag's Avatar
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    While that type of community would be appealing, for many of the built up communities, doing that type of thing would be near impossible to change without drastically changing the structure. For some of the smaller communities that people are spreading to, this might be a viable option. While seemingly boring, having a community built around biking I bet increases awareness and builds bonds between neighbors. Sounds like a nice town to live in for me, though some hills here and there would be nice. Living in the Seattle area has given me an appreciation for hills.

  15. #15
    unaangalia nini? baiskeli's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by varsityguy View Post
    I have lived in Davis, CA for almost 4 years and I must say it is the most friendly bike town I have ever seen; I wish all cities in the USA were like this!

    City Biking Video

    Actually the funny thing is that there are not even school busses in this city even little kids all ride bikes to school.
    Whoah!

    That would be my definition of heaven right there. I wish my city was even close to this.

  16. #16
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquajag View Post
    While that type of community would be appealing, for many of the built up communities, doing that type of thing would be near impossible to change without drastically changing the structure. For some of the smaller communities that people are spreading to, this might be a viable option. While seemingly boring, having a community built around biking I bet increases awareness and builds bonds between neighbors. Sounds like a nice town to live in for me, though some hills here and there would be nice. Living in the Seattle area has given me an appreciation for hills.
    Yeah but even well built up communities somehow manage to make more room for Freeways... Look at Boston and the hoops they went through for the Big Dig. Suggesting that a city cannot make room for cyclists is silly when many cities do manage to make room for the projects they feel they need. (and another Freeway lane is just feeding the same old problems)

    Further... while Davis is quite flat, there are a number of similar cities all around the nation (think Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa... just to name a few relatively flat states) where the terrain is quite suitable for easy cycling... and even in the less flat cities, there are still large districts (San Francisco as perhaps a notable exception) that are quite flat and could offer local cycling access for neighborhoods.

    The fact is the political will is generally not there... and that seems to be the biggest issue in both Portland and Davis... not some magical facilities, but the will of the people and government to make cycling work as transportation.

  17. #17
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Is there a documented modal share.... anything comparing trips to mode of transportation. Typically in the US it is near 2%; Portland Oregon is now claiming 6%. Some European Cities claim a mode share of 28%.
    For the US: http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet...-redoLog=false

    You can have a lot of fun with that box on the left to look at (some) cities and metro areas.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allister View Post
    The biggest battle imo in getting sound engineering is from the city engineers themselves. Rarely will you find such a conservative, resistant to change, unimaginative bunch of so-called professionals, and alleged 'bike advocates' like Forester that support the status quo aren't helping. Sometimes I think the only hope is waiting for the old codgers to die or retire and a younger, more open-minded breed of engineer taking their place. Does anyone know what the current state of civil engineering education is? Are they at least offering a more rounded education these days?
    In Maryland we are making great strides in getting "Complete Street" training to the road engineers. The problem with Complete Streets IMHO the designs show ped friendly options and bike friendly options but there is little to no mention what is friendly to both bikes and peds. So Complete Streets is changing us loosing out to car centric designs to us loosing out to car & ped centric designs (a particular nasty is the bulb out that blocks the bikeable area.)

    The last I heard there are only two civil engineering schools offering "really good" bike/ped courses and being well rounded in this day and age of specialization still seems frowned upon universally.
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  19. #19
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    I've lived in Davis, and many other Northern California cities. Davis certainly does have a lot of bicycle facilities, but a lot of them are really bad. I currently live In Alameda, and have lived in, and done a lot of cycling in Alameda, Oakland, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Davis, and Sacramento.

    Of these cities, Davis certainly has the largest number of signs next to the road with pictures of bicycles, and it's got the largest number of "bike paths" that meander back and forth through trees, for twice the distance that riding on the road would take to get to the same destination, all of which are poorly marked. It's also got things like that tunnel running under the train tracks parallel to Richards Blvd. that's shown several times in the video. It looks cool to have a separate bike path there, but it's a pain to use, because you can't get to it directly from the road, you have to cross the road at the previous intersection, ride up onto the sidewalk in front of a busy shopping center, and then head down to the tunnel.

    Certainly a lot of effort has been put into cycling facilities in Davis, but a lot of them really don't work that well. Of all the cities I listed earlier, the only one that really feels worse to bike in (to me) than Davis is Sacramento. The others are all pretty bike-able, even without the extra bike paths.

    I think the biggest thing driving cycling in Davis is just that it's so acceptable there. No one will look at you weird for riding your bike to school or work, and people will actually encourage it. I think that matters much more than bikeways in greenbelts (which are slower than the roads and apt to get you lost in some random neighborhood somewhere).

  20. #20
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by notfred View Post
    I've lived in Davis, and many other Northern California cities. Davis certainly does have a lot of bicycle facilities, but a lot of them are really bad. I currently live In Alameda, and have lived in, and done a lot of cycling in Alameda, Oakland, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Davis, and Sacramento.

    Of these cities, Davis certainly has the largest number of signs next to the road with pictures of bicycles, and it's got the largest number of "bike paths" that meander back and forth through trees, for twice the distance that riding on the road would take to get to the same destination, all of which are poorly marked. It's also got things like that tunnel running under the train tracks parallel to Richards Blvd. that's shown several times in the video. It looks cool to have a separate bike path there, but it's a pain to use, because you can't get to it directly from the road, you have to cross the road at the previous intersection, ride up onto the sidewalk in front of a busy shopping center, and then head down to the tunnel.

    Certainly a lot of effort has been put into cycling facilities in Davis, but a lot of them really don't work that well. Of all the cities I listed earlier, the only one that really feels worse to bike in (to me) than Davis is Sacramento. The others are all pretty bike-able, even without the extra bike paths.


    I think the biggest thing driving cycling in Davis is just that it's so acceptable there. No one will look at you weird for riding your bike to school or work, and people will actually encourage it. I think that matters much more than bikeways in greenbelts (which are slower than the roads and apt to get you lost in some random neighborhood somewhere).

    I have to agree. It's the identity that Davis has adopted for itself. In fact, the city logo is a penny-farthing. And they're well aware they live in a little liberal/academic bubble in the middle of the valley. That said, Sacramento isn't so bad in the center of town. But once you venture out into the 'burbs, good luck to you.
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  21. #21
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by notfred View Post
    I've lived in Davis, and many other Northern California cities. Davis certainly does have a lot of bicycle facilities, but a lot of them are really bad. I currently live In Alameda, and have lived in, and done a lot of cycling in Alameda, Oakland, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Davis, and Sacramento.

    Of these cities, Davis certainly has the largest number of signs next to the road with pictures of bicycles, and it's got the largest number of "bike paths" that meander back and forth through trees, for twice the distance that riding on the road would take to get to the same destination, all of which are poorly marked. It's also got things like that tunnel running under the train tracks parallel to Richards Blvd. that's shown several times in the video. It looks cool to have a separate bike path there, but it's a pain to use, because you can't get to it directly from the road, you have to cross the road at the previous intersection, ride up onto the sidewalk in front of a busy shopping center, and then head down to the tunnel.

    Certainly a lot of effort has been put into cycling facilities in Davis, but a lot of them really don't work that well. Of all the cities I listed earlier, the only one that really feels worse to bike in (to me) than Davis is Sacramento. The others are all pretty bike-able, even without the extra bike paths.


    I think the biggest thing driving cycling in Davis is just that it's so acceptable there. No one will look at you weird for riding your bike to school or work, and people will actually encourage it. I think that matters much more than bikeways in greenbelts (which are slower than the roads and apt to get you lost in some random neighborhood somewhere).

    I have to agree. It's the identity that Davis has adopted for itself. In fact, the city logo is a penny-farthing. And they're well aware they live in a little liberal/academic bubble in the middle of the valley. That said, Sacramento isn't so bad in the center of town. But once you venture out into the 'burbs, good luck to you.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  22. #22
    Senior Member pirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    That said, Sacramento isn't so bad in the center of town. But once you venture out into the 'burbs, good luck to you.
    So true. I actually enjoy riding around downtown/midtown/east Sacramento, but when you get out to rancho cordova or natomas, it gets ugly. You have the choice of riding on confusing side streets with weird dead ends or on 4 lane boulevards filled with speeding impatient suv's. No thanks.
    “When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark,
    When work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having,
    Just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road,
    Without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.”
    -Arthur Conan Doyle


  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    In Maryland we are making great strides in getting "Complete Street" training to the road engineers. The problem with Complete Streets IMHO the designs show ped friendly options and bike friendly options but there is little to no mention what is friendly to both bikes and peds. So Complete Streets is changing us loosing out to car centric designs to us loosing out to car & ped centric designs (a particular nasty is the bulb out that blocks the bikeable area.)

    The last I heard there are only two civil engineering schools offering "really good" bike/ped courses and being well rounded in this day and age of specialization still seems frowned upon universally.
    In my own city (Leeds UK and Bradford) bulb outs include a 1m wide cycle cut-through,tho' there are the usual problems with parking at each end. Can Baltimore's cycling advocay members push for this to be included in the city's highway designers' handbook?

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