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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    What is your city doing to promote cycling?

    I'm delighted to tell you that the city I've called home for the past twenty years, Seville, Spain, is becoming decidedly "bike friendly".

    To start with, the city fathers are building a 77-kilometer network of bike paths connecting all of the city's neighborhoods. These are not just lines painted on the street; they are separated completely by a barrier. The first ones have already been opened, and the rest are supposed to be finished by June. What a pleasure it is to ride without worrying about automobile traffic! I can now cross the city in about half the time it used to take.

    Another step they've taken is to place bike racks throughout the city.

    The latest decision they've made is to make 1,500 public bicycles available (2,500 by 2008) for rent at very low rates (10 euros a year). You'll be able to grab one of these at the bus or train station, at the entrances to the new subway system they're building, at bus stops, etc., and you'll be able to keep it for up to 24 hours.

    I'm really excited about these developments, and I wonder if your towns and cities have taken similar (or different) steps to encourage bicycle usage. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Regards,

    Ekdog

  2. #2
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    The San Francisco Bicycle Plan created by the SF Bike Coalition is an extremely comprehensive plan to create a citywide bicycle network and improve bike safety, awareness and facilities. It's currently being blocked by a lawsuit using an ironic interpretation of the CEQA code, but the goal is to get 10% of all trips in the city on bikes by 2010.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    That's interesting, Jeff. I wonder what they mean when they say they want to "provide a comprehensive network of signed and mapped routes for bicyclists and provide improvements that expedite travel and improve safety along these routes". I hope they're not going to just put up a few signs and issue maps instead of building real bike paths.

    You're lucky to have a good mass transit system there in S.F. Are bicycles allowed on BART trains? What about on MUNI buses? I'm originally from San Diego, and they have bike racks on the outside of some buses, and bicycles are allowed on the San Diego Trolley, as I recall.

    Regards,

    Ek

  4. #4
    the bike made me do it oneredstar's Avatar
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    Ekdog, glad to see your city is taking a big step forward for bicycles. The city I live in is not doing anything to promote cycling, even though we have the 2nd highest number of cyclist per capita in Canada. There was a big push a few years back for bike lanes, but they basically just painted some lines on the raod between the right hand drive lane and parking. You basically ride in the "door" zone of parked cars.

  5. #5
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    My town is not really big enough(>10k) to do too much in terms of bicycle specfics. However they are at least going to do some bike racks and extend the local Rails to Trails into the downtown area as part of the revitalization. I am working on doing a bike map that shows the cycle friendly routes through town. When I get done we may be able to get it printed. In reality there are only 2 roads that I would stay off of, one is the main US highway. It is a very narrow, high traffic count 4 lane with a steep crown, curbs and guttering, posted 35 mph but traffic runs a lot faster on it. Other than that all the roads are pretty decent and have plenty of room to share.

    Aaron
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    "There was a big push a few years back for bike lanes, but they basically just painted some lines on the raod between the right hand drive lane and parking. You basically ride in the 'door' zone of parked cars."

    Our politicians tried something similar, but the cyclists wouldn't accept it. They just kept demanding real bike paths, and they are finally getting what they wanted.

  7. #7
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc
    My town is not really big enough(>10k) to do too much in terms of bicycle specfics. However they are at least going to do some bike racks and extend the local Rails to Trails into the downtown area as part of the revitalization. I am working on doing a bike map that shows the cycle friendly routes through town. When I get done we may be able to get it printed. In reality there are only 2 roads that I would stay off of, one is the main US highway. It is a very narrow, high traffic count 4 lane with a steep crown, curbs and guttering, posted 35 mph but traffic runs a lot faster on it. Other than that all the roads are pretty decent and have plenty of room to share.

    Aaron
    I disagree with your first statement. My son, who is a student landscape architect, worked as an intern on a project for a small town in Iowa last summer. Their goal was to implement some type of "traffic calming" strategies so that the highway running through town wouldn't feature cars zooming through at 65mph. They planted trees on an island in the highway to give the town some presence or "shape" . They planted some flowers and developed a town logo to draw attention to some of the local businesses. I figure this sort of thing would be ideal for cyclists in a small town. Probably yours.

  8. #8
    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    Seattle, where I live, has a comprehensive plan to improve and encourage cycling, which includes mostly a lot more more bike lanes, a few bike paths and more education, the usual stuff. However, if our recent record with mass transit is any indication, these plans will languish in committee for years, run into obscene cost overruns before a single bike rack is constructed, be harshly criticized even by its original supporters, subjected to threats of legal action from many quarters, and eventually abandoned.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  9. #9
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    Wow, I'm having a hard time trying to decide where to begin with Portland. It's very comprehensive, but I think what really makes it work is that it's not just the city government doing things. We are experiencing a shift in cultural perceptions about bikes and cycling - and that must happen at the individual and private level.

    So let's start with individuals. We've got our road cyclists who may or may not be involved with clubs. We've got dedicated mountain bikers. We have other sports cyclists - people who race competitively, and I include cyclocrossers here. Many people from those categories commute by bike or make a living by bike, as in bike messengers. Some of both also work in our local, growing bike industry, either in retail or building/production. Some of both also incorporate bikes into their daily living and recreation choices - and I don't just mean recreational riding. We have a growing "bikey culture" - a subculture with the bicycle as a central feature. This attracts artists and creative types, as well as people who just want to have fun and want their bikes to be an important part of that. Because of artists, musicians, and other creative people, our bike culture remains a living, ever changing thing. You may never be involved in such alternative "scenes", but it affects all bicycling folk for the better, IMO.

    How does this tie into government planning? Well, there are government-employed planners who are a part of the bike-oriented culture. They ride every day, they may or may not be involved in sporting activities involved with bikes. They're teaching their children to include bikes in their everyday lives. These are the people who plan our facilities. Our city is now in the process of revising our current bike master plan that will carry us into the next 20 years. How are they getting ideas about what needs to happen and what to try? They're asking people who ride, naturally. There are monthly rides planned for the next year and a half, bimonthly in good weather. I've been on 2 so far. On these rides I have met an incredible range of people: moms (even a pregnant one!) and dads with their children in tow (or not), "professional types" who commute by bike, off-duty law enforcement, newspaper reporters, "government movers and shakers", doctors, lawyers, artists, food service workers, office workers, bike advocacy organization staff, bike messengers, club cyclists, mountain bikers, nonathletes, transportational/utilitarian cyclists, helmet wearers, helmet rejecters, owners of fancy bikes, owners of "department store bikes", "retro grouches", riders with 30+ years experience on the roads, riders who just started riding their bikes because it seemed the thing to do in Portland - you name it, they were represented. We all ride in the city and they want to know what we think about how things are now and how we believe things should be changed (if changes should occur at all). We ride around and meet afterwards to talk about the things we saw. There are big pieces of paper that are scribbled all over, maps, handouts about "bikeway tools", and people who aren't afraid to speak their mind. (It helps when we meet someplace that serves beer. )

    Why am I confident in this process? Because I ride the results of the last master plan every day. It's not perfect, but it's pretty darn good, especially for North America. Other people seem to think so, too, as it's clear that our numbers are increasing. My mom just left after a week's visit here. She couldn't believe the number of bikes out there, even in the rain. As someone who has never left North America, she had never seen anything like it. Our city is doing more than planning facilities - it's also trying to attract more bike-related businesses to locate here. They tend to employ people who incorporate bicycles into their everyday lives. It spreads, too. Businesses who don't have a single cycling employee are learning really fast that they get more customers if they put in parking for us or are laid back about having a bike inside their store for a short period of time. I'm even seeing a few individual home owners start to put in staple or small ribbon racks in their front yards. There aren't too many, but it's growing.

    Finally, there is one local advocate who has done so much to pull the entire community together. His website is part newspaper, part opinion blog, and he carefully lists just about every cycling resource that exists in the area. His site is my browser's default home page. He has the ear and trust of a wide range of bike culture members, local government, law enforcement - no one person here could have done what he has. He just won our local bicycle advocacy group's annual award, and I couldn't have thought of a better choice.

    So, I know this is extremely long and rambling, and I barely scratched the surface of what is going on here, but I guess that's the point. There is no one magic bullet area to focus on to promote cycling. Perhaps in 2008 when Portland hosts the Towards Carfree Cities conference, more observant and articulate people than I will visit here, be able to see what's happening, and communicate it widely. I hope I will be able to meet some of you at that time.
    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

  10. #10
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    Portland is teh rocks.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by donnamb
    Wow, I'm having a hard time trying to decide where to begin with Portland. It's very comprehensive,...
    i read your post completely, and wish my town was 10% of yours! not only more than one cycling club, but a PEDESTRIAN CLUB? git outta dodge! we don't have enough pedestrians on the pavement at any one time for them to each wear a letter in the title of your ped club!

    Port was on a very short list my sister & i had for places to relocate to, but there are a couple things we noticed in our research that we just can't get past. i'd still put Port on the 'visit' list, though -- behind the Maah Daah Hey & before Moab!

    rock on, 2-wheelers!

  12. #12
    Mister Goody Two Shoes KnhoJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigpedaler
    i read your post completely, and wish my town was 10% of yours! not only more than one cycling club, but a PEDESTRIAN CLUB? git outta dodge! we don't have enough pedestrians on the pavement at any one time for them to each wear a letter in the title of your ped club!
    Yeah, Portland rules for bicycles. They like to rub it in. I live on the wrong side of the Columbia river, but I do find the opportunity to ride down there as often as possible! I start feeling cynical if I don't get my Portland cycling fix after a while. Like yesterday, I knew spring was here when I saw three other cyclists on my 20 mile ride in Vancouver. <--- You see, cynical!
    Portland does have a great thing going. I remember driving around Portland a few years back; going from downtown to the Stumptown on Division and 45th was way out of the way! But now it's just a little detour on the bike, and I don't even give it a second thought. Riding a bike in Portland is so much easier and fun that it's hard to believe people drive cars there.

  13. #13
    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donnamb
    Wow, I'm having a hard time trying to decide where to begin with Portland.
    .
    Wow is right. I'm sure Portland will serve as a model for other North American cities in the very near future.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  14. #14
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    My city makes some effort. There's a bike to work week and they keep trails up pretty reasonably. I think they would do a lot more if more people actually biked for transportation.

    http://www.bikeiowa.com/asp/bike/

    On the other hand, maybe I should try to promote that week at work. I think there are a few who would like to try it.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bragi
    Wow is right. I'm sure Portland will serve as a model for other North American cities in the very near future.
    I hope you're right. It sounds like Portland's definitely moving in the right direction. From what I've been reading, Portland isn't the only bike-friendly community in Oregon. I came across this site, which gives a gold medal to Portland and Corvalis, a silver to Eugene, and a bronze to Ashland, Beaverton and Bend.

    Davis, California, is the only town that was awarded a platinum.

  16. #16
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    And - Vancouver, WA recently got a bronze (yes, KnhoJ!). Ekdog, Vancouver, WA is just across the river from Portland, and really is part of our greater metropolitian area, as is Beaverton. I think Oregon as a state is pretty darn progressive when it comes to promoting bicycle transportation. Every single Oregon member of the House and Senate belongs to their respective Bicycle Caucus, as does the House Rep. for Vancouver, WA.

    Ekdog, if you look at US cities, you will notice that many of the ones that have won awards for being progressive in this area are "college towns". Corvallis, Eugene, Ashland, and Davis, CA are all smaller cities with a university located in them. Portland does have some colleges and universities, but they are not the "dominant feature" of our economy. This is also true for Beaverton, Bend and Vancouver, WA. I would never dismiss the great work college/university towns have done to promote bicycle transportation, but I do believe it is really amazing and exciting when a larger city or metro area does a lot to promote bicycling and begins to see a significant increase in the number of trips made by bicycle.
    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

  17. #17
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KnhoJ
    Yeah, Portland rules for bicycles. They like to rub it in. I live on the wrong side of the Columbia river, but I do find the opportunity to ride down there as often as possible! I start feeling cynical if I don't get my Portland cycling fix after a while. Like yesterday, I knew spring was here when I saw three other cyclists on my 20 mile ride in Vancouver. <--- You see, cynical!
    Portland does have a great thing going. I remember driving around Portland a few years back; going from downtown to the Stumptown on Division and 45th was way out of the way! But now it's just a little detour on the bike, and I don't even give it a second thought. Riding a bike in Portland is so much easier and fun that it's hard to believe people drive cars there.
    You know, you do have a tireless advocate in Todd Boulanger. He's fantastic and has taken Vancouver quite far in a very short period of time.
    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

  18. #18
    Mister Goody Two Shoes KnhoJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donnamb
    You know, you do have a tireless advocate in Todd Boulanger. He's fantastic and has taken Vancouver quite far in a very short period of time.
    Absolutely, I'll second that! I think we Vancouverites ought to feel a little smug in having Todd doing his bikey deeds on our side of the border.
    Things are definitely improving over here, but it's not even funny how much greener the grass is on the other side. It's like we're sitting next to Einstein's kid in math class. Well, maybe not that bad... Downtown Vancouver's a lot of fun to ride through, and there are some good routes here and there. But we do have some patches of Clark County still stuck in the automotive dark ages, like where I'm at, that encourage a little cynicism. It's definitely improving, though: Riding to work in Salmon Creek several years ago was a real adventure before Hazel Dell Avenue received some major improvements. Now the hills are the worst part of the ride!

  19. #19
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    I am not sure but the results are clear Scottsdale, Tempe, Gilbert, Mesa, Chandler (east valley) all won BF community awards. The same cities all fall under 50 from the top 100 walkable communities.

    Tempe is rather active from a government level.
    I think there is idividual effort as in cycling (although I don't see many get off the sidewalk) rather than having groups that I know of. Of course we have weekend groups rides. However not many daily riders.
    We try critical mass in Phoenix and recivied maybe 5 people. In tempe is was more like a dozen if that.
    My Youtube Cycling Videos Here

  20. #20
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Not all is bright here. We're having trouble with a bar owner who insists upon setting up his sidewalk café on the new bike path.


    Last edited by Ekdog; 03-25-07 at 12:11 PM.

  21. #21
    Life is short Ride hard
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    West Michigan is still hostile as ever there are bike racks on the GR and Holland buses at least that is one thing that many people dont have
    The Ferrari ('05 Bianchi Forza) had a flat (Stupid Glass) the Japanese wagon ('77 Nishiki with Arkel Utility Basket) was in the body shop (On my bench being repainted...repent ye rust)
    so I took the SUV ( Cannondale V2000 Active 100SL)

  22. #22
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ekdog
    Not all is bright here. Were having trouble with a bar owner who insists upon setting up his sidewalk café on the new bike path.


    Looks like a good place for a CM ride

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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  23. #23
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    That bar owner will be reported to the proper authorities, although images like this one have people wondering if it will do any good:


  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ekdog
    That's interesting, Jeff. I wonder what they mean when they say they want to "provide a comprehensive network of signed and mapped routes for bicyclists and provide improvements that expedite travel and improve safety along these routes". I hope they're not going to just put up a few signs and issue maps instead of building real bike paths.

    You're lucky to have a good mass transit system there in S.F. Are bicycles allowed on BART trains? What about on MUNI buses? I'm originally from San Diego, and they have bike racks on the outside of some buses, and bicycles are allowed on the San Diego Trolley, as I recall.
    From my understanding, the SF Bike Plan aims to connect every neighborhood with striped bike lanes on good quality pavement. This would have a two-fold improvement since streets with bike lanes get priority in repaving and more streets would get striped. I think the issue with bike paths is a whole other animal - it opens a can of issues having to do with vehicular cycling and whether or not bikes should be on the streets along with cars or not. I don't want to get too far into that other than to say, while I'd like to see more bike paths, it's not realistic because of how dense San Francisco already is and because of the perceptions and confusion it would create/further about where bikes belong.

    The Bike Plan also makes it mandatory for all parking structures to include bike parking, improve bicycle access on bridges, ensure bicycle access to rail and transit systems, and increase funding towards bicycle related projects and facilities.

    MUNI is kind of a hot topic these days, yes it's pretty good compared to other transit systems, but it also faces a major deficit and fare collection problem. Almost all busses have racks up front. Bikes are allowed on BART (except on rush hour trains and front cars). Public transit is sort of a non-issue for me personally though (right now) because I ride everywhere (one for fun, two for exercise, three to avoid public transit).

  25. #25
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ekdog
    That's interesting, Jeff. I wonder what they mean when they say they want to "provide a comprehensive network of signed and mapped routes for bicyclists and provide improvements that expedite travel and improve safety along these routes". I hope they're not going to just put up a few signs and issue maps instead of building real bike paths.
    I'm wondering if they're going to go for something like this. BTW, they are up now (signs are green and not blue), and I will say they are much more helpful that a poorly designed bike path or bike lane. The little circles on the streets have gotten me home many a rainy night from an unfamiliar part of town. There are all kinds of facilities, and I think the best system is when type of facility complement other types. I think a network of signage and markings are especially good in a dense, urban environment.
    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

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