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  1. #26
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
    Mr. Forester talks of autocentric cities in the US as a given. For those of us who are not so old, this doesn't have to be the given that Mr. Forester assumes it is. I see two things that bicycling advocacy needs to accomplish. 1) it needs to teach cyclists to ride within the constraints of the present day city. 2) it needs to work with urban planners to make cities more liveable. Note that this doesn't mean that streets necessarily need to be dug up or buildings moved. It is primarily an exercise in zoning and street/traffic flow design. Moreover, it is already happening in some cities.
    Agreed... Mr Forester also seems to believe that the auto was key in the layout of American cities, which would be an interesting historical feat as many cities were laid out long before the auto was invented. The direction of later changes to these cities (Boston as an example) was auto centric, but that is only due to the urban planning in force at the time. As Brian points out, there is a new trend in urban design that is of the mind that auto centricity tends to dehumanize cities. Many years ago I studied "garage door dominate designs" and how that style has lead to isolated neighborhoods that are subject to crime due to the lack of porches and windows overlooking the streets. Clearly dehumanizing neighborhoods for the sake of the auto has it's drawbacks, and other solutions should be the focus of the future.

  2. #27
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    Agreed... Mr Forester also seems to believe that the auto was key in the layout of American cities, which would be an interesting historical feat as many cities were laid out long before the auto was invented. The direction of later changes to these cities (Boston as an example) was auto centric, but that is only due to the urban planning in force at the time. As Brian points out, there is a new trend in urban design that is of the mind that auto centricity tends to dehumanize cities. Many years ago I studied "garage door dominate designs" and how that style has lead to isolated neighborhoods that are subject to crime due to the lack of porches and windows overlooking the streets. Clearly dehumanizing neighborhoods for the sake of the auto has it's drawbacks, and other solutions should be the focus of the future.
    And now, I just saw recently on the news or in a newspaper (I forgot where), the ranch style house is on it's way out in favor of houses with a more prominent facade and multiple stories.
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  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
    Mr. Forester talks of autocentric cities in the US as a given. For those of us who are not so old, this doesn't have to be the given that Mr. Forester assumes it is. I see two things that bicycling advocacy needs to accomplish. 1) it needs to teach cyclists to ride within the constraints of the present day city. 2) it needs to work with urban planners to make cities more liveable. Note that this doesn't mean that streets necessarily need to be dug up or buildings moved. It is primarily an exercise in zoning and street/traffic flow design. Moreover, it is already happening in some cities.
    Ah, so Brian reduces the cyclist interest in urban design to zoning and street design. That's a great reduction from his remark about urban renewal somewhat earlier.

    Well, what zoning changes can cyclists produce that will further their interests? Of course, there are two issues, changes of zoning in built-up areas, and zoning for areas to be built-up. I suppose that there are about four or five kinds of zoning area concern: homes, employment, services, schools, recreation. The present system separates homes from employment and many services. Schools are necessary, but to some degree are more like employment centers than true neighborhood schools, particularly at the secondary levels. I understand that one current aim of urban planners is to produce areas in which homes, employment, and services are closely linked, so that people will not have to travel so much. Indeed, these are sometimes called villages, and they have all the disadvantages of villages, in that the residents have to be satisfied with the jobs and services there present. The older great city, such as New York's central areas, beat that problem by very high density, but at costs (financial and other) that many people chose not to bear, or just plain could not afford.

    Suppose that such a village came to pass. Just what do you think is the probability that your current employer will move his plant or office to within cycling distance of your house? And what happens when your promotion gets taken by a competitor, and you want to seek another employer?

    So, you are back to the little issues of street design to suit cyclists. That, I grant you, is a valid interest and one in which cyclists might have some effect.

  4. #29
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Suppose that such a village came to pass. Just what do you think is the probability that your current employer will move his plant or office to within cycling distance of your house? And what happens when your promotion gets taken by a competitor, and you want to seek another employer?
    Why do you assume the employer moves?

    You are right, to an extent, that the "village model" has disadvantages. But it is not all about cycling - I'd wagger it is only in the US where "bicycle commuters" are "hardcore" and willingly ride their bicycles long distances; I do it, and I'll freely admit that I bike for reasons other than for pure transportation - the "wrong" reasons, so to speak. Grouping zoning in small areas doesn't necessarily make the workplace closer together, but it does make stores and shops closer to residential areas. Also, if done right, it can make mass transit for traveling longer distances to the workplace more efficient, since these villages can be linked by transit and the interior of the village can be made practical for cycling in the 2 or 3 mile radius that most people would be willing to take up. Property values rise with urban renewal simply because those places are in demand (for all the right reasons) and there is little of it currently - but this is just a transient flux.

    This ties in with mass transit. The California suburb type of city is extremely inefficient for mass transit because, to make the daily rounds, one has to plan out round trips to hit all the necessary zoning areas which contain the workplace, the babysitter, the barber, the grocery store, etc. A car is absolutely necessary in this environment because there is no other method of transportation, even the bicycle which is a distant second, which offers the type of freedom to make these irregular round trips. If zoning were done in a way to create villages, then there is only a there-and-back trip to work. Everything from grocerys to the barber is at either destination. Round trips don't have to be planned, so bicycles (for short range flexibility) coupled with mass transit (for long distance trips between villages) works. Arguably, this works better and is more efficient time wise than the Califonia style suburban environment.

    What it is not, though, is efficient for companies. With the village model, you tend to get smaller shops, and probably somewhat higher cost of living. A big box store such as a walmart cannot survive in this environment very well, except by tearing it apart and putting everyone back on the streets in their cars and making round trips again. So the cost of living ends up slightly higher, but I would guess that the lack of a need to maintain a car would more than offset this increase in cost.
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  5. #30
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester

    Suppose that such a village came to pass. Just what do you think is the probability that your current employer will move his plant or office to within cycling distance of your house? And what happens when your promotion gets taken by a competitor, and you want to seek another employer?
    Imagine instead of a village, a series of villages where travel and distances within the village are easily serviced by walking and cycling, and the area outside of the villages is best suited to auto travel... The goal being that auto travel does not have to be the dominate form within the village, but is well suited for longer range travel between villages or clusters of villages. Clusters of villages can become cities.

    Currently the design of cities does not focus on a village like mentality, but instead provides for a central core (downtown) surrounded by widely spaced housing and isolated industry, designed with the auto in mind to accomplish all the transit requirements. This however removes the human scale from the environment and adds a dependency on the auto.

    The mall and box store are the result of the auto centric environment... distributed shopping at a neighborhood level is the antithesis of the auto centric mall system. Gross purchasing power can still be achieved by moving product to the neighborhood level vice moving the neighborhood (each via their own vehicle) to the large box store. The result is that the distribution system does not have to be co-located in an ideal living space, and the neighborhood village environment is retained.

    All of this retains the auto for longer trips, for which it is best suited, but scales the neighborhood to induce travel by foot or bicycle for the majority of daily needs.

  6. #31
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    With the product that my company makes, you can work from home...
    ~Diane
    Recumbents: Lightning Thunderbolt, '06 Catrike Pocket. Upright: Trek Mountain Bike.
    8.5 mile commute. I like bike lanes.

  7. #32
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    virtually everything I could possibly need is within 2 miles of me. work is five miles away. but I'm lucky that way. I use the truck for longer trips I have to make.

  8. #33
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes
    With the product that my company makes, you can work from home...
    I have to show up on my job 15 miles away. It's a great bike ride, though.
    No worries

  9. #34
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Hey, I live in America, and I go to dates on MY bicycle. Sport coat, tie, dress shoes, the whole bit.


    Many cities around the world are more 'bikeable' by higher percents of their citizens than American cities. Infrastructure plays a BIG part in cities' bikeability index, if we can consider it that way.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  10. #35
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UmneyDurak
    Speaking of Amsterdam, picture from last week.
    OMG, I see cyclists cycling vehicularly in the MV lane in Amsterdam!!!


  11. #36
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    "garage door dominate designs"
    Snout houses.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcl8a
    See UmneyDurak's picture above. I guarantee those people are going as fast as they want to.
    And I don't see much in the way of "great" facilities. Bike lane clogged on one side of the street, No BL on the other side (those cyclists are "taking the lane")

    So from the picture I would have to surmise that it isn't the facilities "facilitating" the cycling culture.

    [edit]

    And Peds standing in the BL OMG!

    -D

  13. #38
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by derath
    And I don't see much in the way of "great" facilities. Bike lane clogged on one side of the street, No BL on the other side (those cyclists are "taking the lane")

    So from the picture I would have to surmise that it isn't the facilities "facilitating" the cycling culture.

    [edit]

    And Peds standing in the BL OMG!

    -D
    You see what you want to see. A VC ideologue sees a scene of cycling horror - too many "incompetent" cyclists who would interfere with his speed and efficiency.

    I see a lot of bicyclists riding down a street. Having been in Amsterdam and other Dutch cities it is easy to see that this picture represents typical cycling numbers, equipment and attire. Facilities vary from street to street. The positive cycling culture is uniform.

  14. #39
    ---- buzzman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by derath
    And I don't see much in the way of "great" facilities. Bike lane clogged on one side of the street, No BL on the other side (those cyclists are "taking the lane")

    So from the picture I would have to surmise that it isn't the facilities "facilitating" the cycling culture.

    [edit]

    And Peds standing in the BL OMG!

    -D


    I lived and worked in Rotterdam for about a month and rode a bike everywhere (helmetless!). Not only did I ride all through the city but also off to Delft and The Hague on day long jaunts on bike paths. There were open air markets that sold tons of cycling related gear- I bought a briefcase-like pannier for about 10 euros ($15) that was better than anything I'd seen in the US for 4x's the price.

    I rode all over Amsterdam with my wife sitting side saddle on the back rack of my rental bike.

    Bikes rule over there. Not only do cars pay deference to you in an almost disconcerting way (at least until you get used to it) but pedestrians give you right of passage as well.

    Until you've ridden there and tried it (if possible with an open mind) you might think twice before knocking it.

    I suppose one could argue whether the "facilities are facilitating" the cycling or not but they are a part of the infrastructure and part of the culture- the same culture that sells a good practical commuting pannier for 1/4 the price we'd sell it here. In that way I would say that the cultural norm is to encourage cycling and the cycling facilities undoubtedly do just that

    What I noticed upon returning to the US was that cycling was discouraged by the autocentric design of our transportation infrastructure and I could feel the constant need to assert my right to my legal use of that infrastructure, something I seldom, if ever, felt in The Netherlands.
    Last edited by buzzman; 05-12-07 at 08:21 AM.

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester
    That is because the urban pattern in Amsterdam facilitates that kind of cycling. The characteristics of that city make slow, short-distance cycling useful, because it is slightly faster than walking, which would be the competitor.
    Amsterdam must be a terrible place for cycling if it is only slightly faster than walking. Around here, it is at least three times faster than walking at the same level of effort.

    Paul

  16. #41
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman
    What I noticed upon returning to the US was that cycling was discouraged by the autocentric design of our transportation infrastructure and I could feel the constant need to assert my right to my legal use of that infrastructure, something I seldom, if ever, felt in The Netherlands.
    This is primarily cultural, and results primarily from motorist reeducation and enightened motorist attitudes, something the Foresterologists don't seem particularly interested in persuing.

  17. #42
    ---- buzzman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulH
    Amsterdam must be a terrible place for cycling if it is only slightly faster than walking. Around here, it is at least three times faster than walking at the same level of effort.

    Paul

    I'm uncertain when I read a post like this if you are being facetious, naive, deliberately obtuse and argumentative or just plain ignorant. So my apologies if my response seems blatantly obvious or somewhat caustic.

    #1- If Amsterdam were such a terrible place to cycle why would so many people there do it? And why would so many of us who visit this great city rave about cycling there?

    #2- I rode an average of 30 miles or so per day commuting and sightseeing. And as I said in my previous post took long journeys to other cities in the Netherlands via an integrated network of bikepaths. The flat terrain and smooth, relatively uninterrupted bike paths between Rotterdam and Delft, for example, meant I travelled at an excellent pace (17-21 mph)- certainly faster than walking.

    #3- In the city of Amsterdam the pace of all travel is slower by choice not by circumstance. When I first visited the city I whipped around there on the bike pretty much the way I would in Boston there was nothing to stop me. But I was subjected to the Dutch equivalent of the "WTF?" look though the translation there might be "Where's the Fire?" as opposed to the American "What the F***?"

    It's a different culture- some of us adapt and some of us learn things, which we bring home with us and feel might improve the quality of life in our own communities.

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    Imagine instead of a village, a series of villages where travel and distances within the village are easily serviced by walking and cycling, and the area outside of the villages is best suited to auto travel... The goal being that auto travel does not have to be the dominate form within the village, but is well suited for longer range travel between villages or clusters of villages. Clusters of villages can become cities.

    Currently the design of cities does not focus on a village like mentality, but instead provides for a central core (downtown) surrounded by widely spaced housing and isolated industry, designed with the auto in mind to accomplish all the transit requirements. This however removes the human scale from the environment and adds a dependency on the auto.

    The mall and box store are the result of the auto centric environment... distributed shopping at a neighborhood level is the antithesis of the auto centric mall system. Gross purchasing power can still be achieved by moving product to the neighborhood level vice moving the neighborhood (each via their own vehicle) to the large box store. The result is that the distribution system does not have to be co-located in an ideal living space, and the neighborhood village environment is retained.

    All of this retains the auto for longer trips, for which it is best suited, but scales the neighborhood to induce travel by foot or bicycle for the majority of daily needs.
    We have seen several descriptions of urban designs that their proponents think preferable to what exists in America, or to the later parts of what exists. But at this time, these are no more than dreams. But to achieve any of these would require enormous amounts of effort on many fronts. I suggest that nothing that cyclists could do would either contribute significantly to the large-scale product or to the process of achieving it. The subject is largely irrelevant to the issue of how best cyclists should operate.

  19. #44
    Non-Custom Member zeytoun's Avatar
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    Ironically, with this talk about auto-centric sprawl and inhibited cycling...

    When the safety bicycle was being promoted, one of the key advertising points was that it increased your travel range over those that were readily available to the working man. So you could live farther from work, and pay less rent then in the city center...
    I am a mutated sig Virus. Please put me in your sig so that I can continue to replicate and mutate, blah!.

  20. #45
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman
    I rode all over Amsterdam with my wife sitting side saddle on the back rack of my rental bike.

    Bikes rule over there. Not only do cars pay deference to you in an almost disconcerting way (at least until you get used to it) but pedestrians give you right of passage as well.

    Until you've ridden there and tried it (if possible with an open mind) you might think twice before knocking it.

    I suppose one could argue whether the "facilities are facilitating" the cycling or not but they are a part of the infrastructure and part of the culture- the same culture that sells a good practical commuting pannier for 1/4 the price we'd sell it here. In that way I would say that the cultural norm is to encourage cycling and the cycling facilities undoubtedly do just that

    What I noticed upon returning to the US was that cycling was discouraged by the autocentric design of our transportation infrastructure and I could feel the constant need to assert my right to my legal use of that infrastructure, something I seldom, if ever, felt in The Netherlands.
    What is the cultural and practical norm in the Netherlands seems to be in stark contrast to the norm where I live in the US. While I am treated with respect by motorists, for the most part, I am more of an intruder upon the autocentric system. It's cultural, reinforced by the practical nature of our transportation system that motorists dominate.

    My feeling (though it's only a feeling, not a proven assumption,) is that to pattern the US cycling infrastructure model after that in Amsterdam would result in reinforcing the dominance of motorists on our existing roads. But as I said, I can't prove that assumption, just a gut feeling. After all, you can adopt the Dutch system, but you can't transplant it's culture.

    While I understand the simple reasons why so many Americans would prefer a Dutch model for cyclists, the fact is that our culture is so dominated by motoring that I think it would not create more respect for cyclists, but the opposite. I would prefer that any cycling infrastructure we implement in the US is paralleled by an equally concerted effort to establish the rights of cyclists to use any road we choose with equal status to motorists (I say "equal status," that does not necessarily mean "equal numbers" or "equal abilities.")
    Last edited by LittleBigMan; 05-12-07 at 10:23 AM.
    No worries

  21. #46
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester
    We have seen several descriptions of urban designs that their proponents think preferable to what exists in America, or to the later parts of what exists. But at this time, these are no more than dreams. But to achieve any of these would require enormous amounts of effort on many fronts. I suggest that nothing that cyclists could do would either contribute significantly to the large-scale product or to the process of achieving it. The subject is largely irrelevant to the issue of how best cyclists should operate.
    I'm already seeing some of this being built into the cities surrounding Portland. Most new residential developments carry with them some sort of "marketplace" where there is a grocery store, barber, insurance, carwash, oil change, coffee, numerous restaurants, etc. If you are claiming that has to happen tomorrow or not at all, I think you are being a bit close minded.

    This is largely relevent to cycling. Your version of vehicular cycling is aimed at a certain type of person, namely the commuter who commutes for the wrong reasons (not morally wrong, economically wrong - it costs the person more in money and/or time to commute by bicycle, the aim is for fitness and personal growth, not economics). New development means there will be more cyclists who will be open to commute for the right reasons. Those cyclists are not necessarily going to be the enthusiasts who you cater to exclusively now. They will demand an environment which is more suitable to cycling than what we have now. If that enviroment is provided, then they can be helped economically by cycling.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
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  22. #47
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeytoun
    Ironically, with this talk about auto-centric sprawl and inhibited cycling...

    When the safety bicycle was being promoted, one of the key advertising points was that it increased your travel range over those that were readily available to the working man. So you could live farther from work, and pay less rent then in the city center...
    that IS ironical.

  23. #48
    Non-Custom Member zeytoun's Avatar
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    But at this time, these are no more than dreams. But to achieve any of these would require enormous amounts of effort on many fronts. I suggest that nothing that cyclists could do would either contribute significantly to the large-scale product or to the process of achieving it. The subject is largely irrelevant to the issue of how best cyclists should operate.
    I contend that all of our biggest changes start as mere "dreams".

    Of course it would take enormous amounts of money and effort. But corporations are more then willing to contribute both if a market demand entices them with the promise of a profit. Why do you see so many cities experiencing redevelopment of city centers into more pedestian-friendly, interactive models? Aren't planners and developers just seeing that only some demographics prefer the strip mall, arterial, gated garage community model, and many others prefer something very different?

    John, I understand that the current model (of arterials, suburbs, strip malls) is often conducive to rapid service and short travel times. Both of these I am sure are high priorities to traffic engineers, who naturally would be against inefficiency and delays.

    But "pipe dream" argument aside. Do you feel that this development model is good for society? What do you think of claims such as that it enables the stifling of freedom of speech and deters people from acting like active citizens, by forcing them away from street-level face-to-face interaction, basically isolating them. Do you think this argument has any merit?
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  24. #49
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    I think what we see is local developments being adapted to what developers (with their investments) believe will be profitable. Many Atlanta developers have been investing heavily in older, often defunct downtown properites, turning them into expensive condominium developments, complete with nearby shopping, close to the city center. You can pay to a quarter to a half-million for one of these, and skip the ever-increasing, ridiculously long commute from far away cities.

    Where I live, these new neighborhoods are just as good for cycling as before, even better, due to repaving of roads and the elimination of some run-down areas. Also, the slower speed limits and residential nature of these neighborhoods makes cycling better than in some other areas, but that has not changed much since before the new developments were introduced. But is does make it better for cycling for those who move there from more traditional suburban areas.

    One thing that can happen is more crowded on-street parking by residents, since some of the older, newly-refurbished neighborhoods (not the condos, but the single-family dwellings) have very limited driveway space. So there is some additional competition for road space, sometimes, in places where all available space has already been used.

    But overall, I think these developments add much flavor to the city. (Unfortunately, older, poorer residents are displaced to who-knows-where.)
    Last edited by LittleBigMan; 05-12-07 at 10:51 AM.
    No worries

  25. #50
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulH
    Amsterdam must be a terrible place for cycling if it is only slightly faster than walking. Around here, it is at least three times faster than walking at the same level of effort.

    Paul
    What makes you think Forester's guesstimate about typical cycling/walking speed relationship in Amsterdam or anywhere else has any more value than a WAG? If he's ever been in The Netherlands he's kept it a secret. Perhaps one of his "associates" told him an anecdote; then just as likely, he made up the statistic.

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