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  1. #1
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    In an (almost) ideal world

    I wanted to make a smart comment that an ideal world would have us all giving up our cars and giving the roads up to bikes. But then I remembered that Ontario's economy depends heavily on the auto industry. So I'd be riding my bike to the unemployment line, and it wouldn't be a friggin' Surly Krampus either.

    But what if I somehow got what I wanted, in terms of cycling infrastructure? What would the city look like after I had my wish list?

    It actually wouldn't look too much different. I live in a city of about 300 000, with an old, compact downtown core and sprawling suburbs. I'll bet that most North American cities look pretty much just like mine, with bits of individual character thrown in. Through the downtown core I'd like to see two-lane roads with raised cycletracks on either side. The biggest change I'd make would be absolutely no street parking in the central core, where space is limited. Businesses still need deliveries, though, and I wouldn't begrudge special rules for vans and trucks, allowing them to park where they need, even halfway up a sidewalk or in a bike lane. In those compact cores, you have to make some sacrifices.

    Slightly out from the core, I would use painted bike lanes on what I call moderately busy streets (that's a bit fuzzy, but I can't think of a better way to explain myself). I define a "moderately busy street" as one which sees a high volume of traffic, but falls short of those main traffic arteries that people use for commuting.

    With the "moderate" streets using painted lanes, I've only left out quiet residential streets, which don't need anything special, and main arterial roads. Often, those traffic arteries have sidewalks that almost never get used, and where there are no sidewalks, there are always large, unused boulevard strips. I would simply double the width of all sidewalks and designate them as multi-use paths. These types of roads usually see almost no pedestrians, and this would give cyclists a chance to be segregated from heavy commuter traffic, allowing everyone to keep moving along.

    And this is how my dream city would look. Anywhere at all, a cyclist would have either a lane or a separate path to use.

  2. #2
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    I'm with you on the existing infrastructure being near ideal for cycling. But when the cars are gone, will the massive boulevards be sustainable? Perhaps the roadways will shrink as the population of cyclists expands, until we once again achieve gridlock conditions. I view bike-car relationship as an example of symbiosis- cyclists reduce the number of cars on the road and the cars necessitate some pretty nice tarmac for our bikes. And personally I thoroughly enjoy going as fast as my legs are capable without upsetting anyone. I fear that would come to an end if we were all on bikes.
    I.C.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Cyril's Avatar
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    As long as we're dreaming, perhaps businesses in the core could take their deliveries by drone. Or bike messenger.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Insidious C. View Post
    I'm with you on the existing infrastructure being near ideal for cycling. But when the cars are gone, will the massive boulevards be sustainable?
    I'm pretty sure that the large boulevards are there so that property owners can have a good-looking exterior, which I've never understood. Why does a plastic injection moulding factory in an industrial park need this massive manicured lawn? I don't actually know if the boulevard is public or private property, but it's definitely a big waste of available space.

  5. #5
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    I like what happens when you simply move the through auto traffic underground (thanks for the example Soedermalm, Stockholm).

    I would like to see old and compact downtown cores barred to private motorized vehicles - but then how to sustain businesses - here in North Am it is the urban poor who live in most downtown cores. So that means we need some degree of gentrification to move money downtown. It can't just be a free for all though, or the poor end up with no place to live - so - there needs to be a proactive affordable housing plan too, to keep things as mixed as the rich folks will stand for. I also like the idea that any big box who wished to operate in a city be required to open a branch location in the downtown - with bonus points for buying and maintaining historic architecture.

    Green space needs to be planned in, too, to make it a liveable space.

    Perhaps free (or subsidized publicly owned) parking garages on the perimeter of the downtown for residents who must have cars. Reliable and useable pulblic transit need to be part of the mix - it gives mobility to those who live car free, and access to the downtown for those who choose to live in the Suburbs. I think car share and bike share systems are both great ideas. I think many car shares could effectively be put together using electric cars - with charging stations wherever the cars are returned to the pool - I would be curious to see usage data from an operational car share to see if this might be viable. There is space in this scheme for rental companies too, for longer trips outside the car share service area.

    There also needs to be people space (public or private) downtown so that major public events are available to all - thinking of Minneapolis here - with pro sport venues and old industrial sites renovated to be people spaces, all downtown, and easily accessed via light rail or by bike.

    Secure parking for bikes - perhaps providing employment for marginally employable people as lot or locker attendants. I would rather see this than a fully automated system.

    And, to all of this must be added good coffee ...
    Last edited by auldgeunquers; 10-09-14 at 09:25 AM. Reason: spelling

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    As long as we're dreaming, perhaps businesses in the core could take their deliveries by drone. Or bike messenger.
    More than just dreaming. I'm waiting for someone to say that they have a radically different vision of urban planning than what I just threw out there. I always get a sense that people are against a lot of things, but not sure what they actually want.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Digital_Cowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Cid View Post
    I wanted to make a smart comment that an ideal world would have us all giving up our cars and giving the roads up to bikes. But then I remembered that Ontario’s economy depends heavily on the auto industry. So I’d be riding my bike to the unemployment line, and it wouldn’t be a friggin’ Surly Krampus either.

    But what if I somehow got what I wanted, in terms of cycling infrastructure? What would the city look like after I had my wish list?

    It actually wouldn’t look too much different. I live in a city of about 300 000, with an old, compact downtown core and sprawling suburbs. I’ll bet that most North American cities look pretty much just like mine, with bits of individual character thrown in. Through the downtown core I’d like to see two-lane roads with raised cycletracks on either side. The biggest change I’d make would be absolutely no street parking in the central core, where space is limited. Businesses still need deliveries, though, and I wouldn’t begrudge special rules for vans and trucks, allowing them to park where they need, even halfway up a sidewalk or in a bike lane. In those compact cores, you have to make some sacrifices.

    Slightly out from the core, I would use painted bike lanes on what I call moderately busy streets (that’s a bit fuzzy, but I can’t think of a better way to explain myself). I define a “moderately busy street” as one which sees a high volume of traffic, but falls short of those main traffic arteries that people use for commuting.

    With the “moderate” streets using painted lanes, I’ve only left out quiet residential streets, which don’t need anything special, and main arterial roads. Often, those traffic arteries have sidewalks that almost never get used, and where there are no sidewalks, there are always large, unused boulevard strips. I would simply double the width of all sidewalks and designate them as multi-use paths. These types of roads usually see almost no pedestrians, and this would give cyclists a chance to be segregated from heavy commuter traffic, allowing everyone to keep moving along.

    And this is how my dream city would look. Anywhere at all, a cyclist would have either a lane or a separate path to use.
    El Cid,

    Okay, I have to ask, how would these “raised cycletracks” be implemented? Would they be open air, or would they be enclosed in some fashion? If they’re open air I see them being a safety risk, particularly in states like Fl.

    I mean we have enough of a problem with “high profile” vehicles getting blown over. And on more then one occasion when I’ve been out on my bike when I’ve been along various roads even though I was going forward I was also being BLOWN sideways. So unless they’re enclosed I can see cyclists getting blown off of them and either landing on pedestrians on the sidewalk, or worse being blown into the street where they could end up getting hit by a car. And if they’re enclosed I can still see a cyclist getting pinned against the wall.

    Also given that these would be “raised cycletracks” how would a cyclist who wishes to go to a business that is both on the otherside of the street as well as mid street get there? Would these “raised cycletracks” also cross all sides of an intersection? If so how far off of the ground will the be located so that motor vehicles can safely pass under them? And see the above concern bout cyclists being blown off of the “raised cycletracks” by the wind.

    To me in an “ideal world” roads within city limits would be simple two maybe three lane roads, with the center lane being a dedicated turn lane. Speed limits would be no faster than 25– 35MPH. The “high speed” freeways would be routed so that they do NOT crisscross either cities or nieghborhoods.

    Both cyclists and pedestrians would have the right-of-way and as in Europe, if a motorist hits either the burden of proof that the cyclist or pedestrian was in the wrong would be on the motorist. Also LEOs would be required to take ALL reports of harassment towards either as the serious matter that it is.
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  8. #8
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    Wouldn't banning parking downtown lead to more suburban sprawl?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
    El Cid,

    Okay, I have to ask, how would these “raised cycletracks” be implemented? Would they be open air, or would they be enclosed in some fashion? If they’re open air I see them being a safety risk, particularly in states like Fl.

    I mean we have enough of a problem with “high profile” vehicles getting blown over. And on more then one occasion when I’ve been out on my bike when I’ve been along various roads even though I was going forward I was also being BLOWN sideways. So unless they’re enclosed I can see cyclists getting blown off of them and either landing on pedestrians on the sidewalk, or worse being blown into the street where they could end up getting hit by a car. And if they’re enclosed I can still see a cyclist getting pinned against the wall.

    Also given that these would be “raised cycletracks” how would a cyclist who wishes to go to a business that is both on the otherside of the street as well as mid street get there? Would these “raised cycletracks” also cross all sides of an intersection? If so how far off of the ground will the be located so that motor vehicles can safely pass under them? And see the above concern bout cyclists being blown off of the “raised cycletracks” by the wind.

    To me in an “ideal world” roads within city limits would be simple two maybe three lane roads, with the center lane being a dedicated turn lane. Speed limits would be no faster than 25– 35MPH. The “high speed” freeways would be routed so that they do NOT crisscross either cities or nieghborhoods.

    Both cyclists and pedestrians would have the right-of-way and as in Europe, if a motorist hits either the burden of proof that the cyclist or pedestrian was in the wrong would be on the motorist. Also LEOs would be required to take ALL reports of harassment towards either as the serious matter that it is.
    A raised cycle track is up on the curb, as high as the sidewalk. It's essentially a bike lane on the boulevard strip. But now I have a mental picture of you on a really high bike lane, running parallel to the El Train.
    Hard work pays off eventually, but laziness pays off right now.

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    Here's an example of a raised cycle track in the middle of the street. https://maps.google.com/?ll=40.69965...79.53,,0,10.96

    It's in Brooklyn on Sands St between Gold and Navy Streets. It's one of the approaches to the Manhattan Bridge bike path.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Digital_Cowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Cid View Post
    A raised cycle track is up on the curb, as high as the sidewalk. It’s essentially a bike lane on the boulevard strip. But now I have a mental picture of you on a really high bike lane, running parallel to the El Train.
    El Cid,

    Thank you for clearifying that. And when I first read your discription that is what I also thought as well, i.e. cyclists up on some sort of raised/elevated track. And sorry, but even if it’s just “raised” by nature of being as high as the sidewalk I am not in favor of segregated facilities.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Dave Cutter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Cid View Post
    ........ I live in a city of about 300 000, with an old, compact downtown core and sprawling suburbs. I'll bet that most North American cities look pretty much just like mine, with bits of individual character thrown in.
    And I'll bet you're right! But don't forget that most of the north American city's were built in the 17th-19th century around certain resources, in the shape of an ancient European model. Todays "modern" city makes very little economic or environmental sense. Although many try to rationalize and combine their passions.... like city life and cycling... it was an outdated concept back in 1920's. The concept is even more outdated now.

    Quote Originally Posted by SBinNYC View Post
    Here's an example of a raised cycle track in the middle of the street. https://maps.google.com/?ll=40.69965...79.53,,0,10.96

    It's in Brooklyn on Sands St between Gold and Navy Streets. It's one of the approaches to the Manhattan Bridge bike path.
    That's beautiful!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
    El Cid,

    Thank you for clearifying that. And when I first read your discription that is what I also thought as well, i.e. cyclists up on some sort of raised/elevated track. And sorry, but even if it’s just “raised” by nature of being as high as the sidewalk I am not in favor of segregated facilities.
    I think there are times when segregation makes sense. In a congested downtown core, cars are much less likely to jump a curb than to improperly use a painted bike lane. I suppose taking the lane is easier, since downtown traffic is usually pretty slow. Likewise, segregation makes sense for main arterial roads -- give the cars a high-speed road and give cyclists an alternative.
    Hard work pays off eventually, but laziness pays off right now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
    And I'll bet you're right! But don't forget that most of the north American city's were built in the 17th-19th century around certain resources, in the shape of an ancient European model. Todays "modern" city makes very little economic or environmental sense. Although many try to rationalize and combine their passions.... like city life and cycling... it was an outdated concept back in 1920's. The concept is even more outdated now.
    I really hate to think of cycling as outdated. If anything, the impending consumer debt crisis will make cycling more popular than ever.
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    Senior Member Dave Cutter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Cid View Post
    I really hate to think of cycling as outdated.
    I never posted that cycling was outdated. But the city/cycling/transportation ideal... came and went a hundred years ago. Modern city's are outdated... and have been for a few decades.

    Quote Originally Posted by El Cid View Post
    If anything, the impending consumer debt crisis will make cycling more popular than ever.
    Consumer debt (minus student loans) are at 40 year lows. Yeah.... you keep that dream alive. As fully half of the adult population couldn't run, walk (any distance), or ride a bicycle.... if their very life depended on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
    I never posted that cycling was outdated. But the city/cycling/transportation ideal... came and went a hundred years ago. Modern city's are outdated... and have been for a few decades.
    Cycling is outdated. Yet I still enjoy it immensely. But while I have no problem with the personal choice to use an outdated method of transportation, the reality is that it is outdated. Public transportation, if done right, is a much better option for urban areas than bicycling - especially in the parts of this country that have either rain, snow, heat, or cold, people with disabilities, elderly people, etc.

    And let's not be so smug about our carbon footprint while cycling. The inescapable reality is that it takes energy to move from point A to point B. When bicycling, it takes calories. Those calories need to be replaced. They are replaced by eating food. Growing food is an extremely high energy-intensive activity. Transporting that food takes energy. Cooking that food takes energy.

    I'd love to know what the energy difference is for transporting someone in a full commuter train versus by bicycle. While I don't know the answer to that, I do know that people are deluding themselves when they state that bicycling has no carbon footprint. I highly doubt that anyone making that claim has figured out a way to overcome the laws of physics.
    Last edited by VTBike; 10-12-14 at 07:06 AM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Digital_Cowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Cid View Post
    I think there are times when segregation makes sense. In a congested downtown core, cars are much less likely to jump a curb than to improperly use a painted bike lane. I suppose taking the lane is easier, since downtown traffic is usually pretty slow. Likewise, segregation makes sense for main arterial roads -- give the cars a high-speed road and give cyclists an alternative.
    El Cid,

    I’m sorry, but I still have to disagree with the idea of segregated facilities. As well as building multi laned ,high speed arterial roads that crisscross our cities/neighborhoods.

    As I’ve said in another thread earlier this year we had a 13-year old get ejected from the Florida State Fair. Then 3-hours later while he was attempting to cross I4 he was struck and killed. Add to that that the State of Florida has the dubious honor of holding the top four worst metro areas for bicycle and pedestrian crashes and fatalities. And the Tampa Bay Area is if I remember correctly is number two.

    So instead of bulding more multi laned high-speed arterial roads that encourage motorists to go as fast as possible we need to slow down traffic, because as I also have said in another thread I am sick and tired of seeing the sides of our roads “littered” with memorials to people who have lost their lives.

    I have also recently seen a new series of commercials on TV that is encouraging people to buy the MINIMUM insureance instead of buying the plan(s) that give them the best coverage possible.

    Also all building segregated bicycle facilities does in the long run is to “teach” people that if there isn’t any sort of bicycle specific infrastructure on a given road that we as cyclists are not allowed to operate on it. This can be proven by virtue of the fact that last year I was pulled over by a FHP officer who was under the mistaken impression that on roads without a bike lane that we were required to operate on the sidewalk, and I guess that if there isn’t either a bike lane or a sidewalk that we weren’t allowed to use it at all.

    So sadly, segregated facilities really are not the answer all they do is to reinforce the notion that we’re not allowed on the road.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Dave Cutter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VTBike View Post
    Cycling is outdated. Yet I still enjoy it immensely. But while I have no problem with the personal choice to use an outdated method of transportation,.......
    The bicycle was developed during the frenzy of creative solutions to replace the horse. The filth of countless tons of horse manure was polluting water supplies and making cities a breeding ground for all types pestilence and disease. The bicycle was the original iron horse... or machine that used human power to replace the horse.

    I live in a city... and admittedly even though I do see lots of sport cyclists like myself. The number of residents that use bicycles for basic or daily transportation is very limited. However... whereas most everyone I know has a bicycle in their garage or shed... no one has a horse.

    Congratulations to the modern safety bicycle..... job well done. Keep up the good work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
    The bicycle was developed during the frenzy of creative solutions to replace the horse. The filth of countless tons of horse manure was polluting water supplies and making cities a breeding ground for all types pestilence and disease. The bicycle was the original iron horse... or machine that used human power to replace the horse.
    Your point is lost on me. Are you suggesting that technology stopped when the bicycle was invented, or are you proposing we assess whether or not bicycles are outdated by getting in a time machine?

  20. #20
    Senior Member Dave Cutter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VTBike View Post
    Your point is lost on me. Are you suggesting that technology stopped when the bicycle was invented, or are you proposing we assess whether or not bicycles are outdated by getting in a time machine?
    Nether (of course). I pointed out that the original intent for the bicycle is still as effective and useful as day one after it's invention. There was never all that many individuals on horseback anyway. No one.... (then or now) rationally believes human powered transportation could ever be for the masses.

    The horse has been completely replaced as a mode of transportation. The air, water, and environment is MUCH cleaner now thanks to the replacement of horse power. And the bicycle played a part in that.

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    ...everything would be almost ideal.
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