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Old 05-12-07, 10:56 AM   #51
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ILTB,

What form would you like to see cycling infrastructure take in your area (if it needs any improvement, if not, what do you like about it?)
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Old 05-12-07, 11:01 AM   #52
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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.
Of course, the American Dream Coalition has already achieved their dream - domination of urban and suburban form and streetscape by motor vehicles and motor-vehicle oriented development - and at this point they fear change and are reluctant to share.
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Old 05-12-07, 11:04 AM   #53
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ILTB,

What form would you like to see cycling infrastructure take in your area (if it needs any improvement, if not, what do you like about it?)
Paving the shoulders on highways that currently are unpaved (at least 99% in Iowa) and covered everywhere with so much river rock as to be unrideable for practical cycling. That would improve the cycling environment on 55mph highways outside of the city by a 1000%. The lack of rideable shoulders on narrow high speed busy highways is the reason why I never see another commuter on my route, even when the weather is good.
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Old 05-12-07, 11:08 AM   #54
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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.")
you're giving up without even trying...IMO it's pretty depressing to see otherwise intelligent people rationalize the status quo when clearly there are better choices available, as has already been clearly demonstrated by the Dutch and others



as for your last point, no one here wants to see cyclists' rights diminished in any way, I think that's already been firmly established, you're beating a dead horse with this comment
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Old 05-12-07, 11:30 AM   #55
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you're giving up without even trying...IMO it's pretty depressing to see otherwise intelligent people rationalize the status quo when clearly there are better choices available, as has already been clearly demonstrated by the Dutch and others



as for your last point, no one here wants to see cyclists' rights diminished in any way, I think that's already been firmly established, you're beating a dead horse with this comment
As for your last point, there isn't a horse left living in the VC forum.

Again, cutting and pasting the Dutch model into American society might only give motorists more dominance over cyclists than they have now. You say it's been clearly demonstrated in Holland, but as I said, they don't have the American autocentric culture, as Buzzman pointed out.

You saw in my comments only what you were looking to see. I clearly pointed out that cycling facilities in this country must only be implemented alongside an equally vigorous cyclist-equality stance. That's not depressing, that's biting the bullet and facing the challenge.
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Old 05-12-07, 11:30 AM   #56
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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
Yeah. Not a good example. Not having been to Amsterdam, I can't really comment on the facilities there. But the point was, from what others have said and my own experiences in Denmark, 'facilities' do not slow bikers down all that much.

As for facilities 'facilitating' the cycle culture, it's hard to say which came first, as cycling is so ingrained in society here. You've seen the pictures of train stations with piles of bikes, but you see the same thing at the schools and work places. I find it hard to believe that so many children would be cycling to school without some kind of facilities (regardless of their actual merit -- they are certainly perceived as safer). In turn, the Danes learn at a young age that cycling is viable means of transportation, a feeling that they seem to carry with them their whole lives.

Whether or not it's an appropriate model for the US, I'll address in another post.
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Old 05-12-07, 11:38 AM   #57
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[I would like to see] Paving the shoulders on highways that currently are unpaved (at least 99% in Iowa) and covered everywhere with so much river rock as to be unrideable for practical cycling. That would improve the cycling environment on 55mph highways outside of the city by a 1000%. The lack of rideable shoulders on narrow high speed busy highways is the reason why I never see another commuter on my route, even when the weather is good.
It would seem highly favorable to implement your suggestions, indeed, imperative. Thanks for your post.

I think if I had to put up with conditions like that, I'd want exactly the same thing. Sharing the road with motorists in residential areas and on connecting arteries is one thing, but sharing a narrow, busy highway with 18-wheelers is another. I had one slip past me in my lane once without sufficient space. Time froze, and as I waited for what seemed like an eternity for the trailer to slip past, all my concentration was focused like a warrior on holding a narrow, perfect line. When we reached the next light together, I held back my desire to murder the driver (I would have lost that battle anyway ) and held up my hands in a measuring gesture. Talk about feeling completely impotent...one of those things can feel like they would just suck you up and spit you back out.
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Old 05-12-07, 11:41 AM   #58
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Of course, the American Dream Coalition has already achieved their dream - domination of urban and suburban form and streetscape by motor vehicles and motor-vehicle oriented development - and at this point they fear change and are reluctant to share.


you're giving up without even trying...IMO it's pretty depressing to see otherwise intelligent people rationalize the status quo when clearly there are better choices available, as has already been clearly demonstrated by the Dutch and others



as for your last point, no one here wants to see cyclists' rights diminished in any way, I think that's already been firmly established, you're beating a dead horse with this comment

Randya, you are quite wrong abut the American Dream Coalition, and your error is just one more sign of your ideological method of thought rather then considering facts and reason. The ADC did nothing to produce the current modern city; that was well under way before the ADC even existed. The ADC exists to protect the modern city from the anti-motoring forces that oppose it through regulations, taxation, and limitation of highways, and thereby make living more difficult rather than easier. It is true that the modern city favors automobile transportation rather than bicycle transportation, but most people have chosen to spend their money on the modern city rather than the old cities. That's just a fact of current life.

You are quite clearly wrong when you state "it's pretty depressing to see otherwise intelligent people rationalize the status quo when clearly there are better choices available, as has already been clearly demonstrated by the Dutch and others." That depends on what you mean by "available". Quite clearly, if you prefer the kind of life lived in Amsterdam, then go there because that is available. You might, instead, find that living in downtown Boston or downtown Philadelphia would be the nearest approximation to that in the USA. Then go live in one of those places. However, the downtown Amsterdam lifestyle (not that in the newer suburbs) cannot reasonably be reproduced elsewhere in the USA, and it is foolish to complain about that in a discussion whose subject is the methods of cycling on roads in the cities that we have.
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Old 05-12-07, 11:47 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
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.")
This is certainly a valid concern, and I make no claim to know how things would turn out were the system here to be transplanted to the US. Cyclists here are certainly 'respected' but they are also kept separated -- 'out of the way' -- from cars on major roads, and many minor ones.

But, I believe the facilities are a big reason why there are so many cyclists. I wrote in another post that cycling starts so young that it becomes part of the Danes' lives. I don't think this would happen without facilities. With such a large population of cyclists, car drivers are very aware of bikes, and this carries over to roads where there are no facilities, whether they're in town or out in the countryside. It's very much a compromise: we'll stay out of your way on Hjallesevej, and you don't run us over everywhere else

So implementing Euro-style bike facilities in the US really depends on what your goal is (if you have one), and if you're willing to potentially sacrifice some of your 'rights' in order to change the status quo, or if you think you can improve things under the current 'system'.
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Old 05-12-07, 11:49 AM   #60
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Randya, you are quite wrong abut the American Dream Coalition, and your error is just one more sign of your ideological method of thought rather then considering facts and reason. The ADC did nothing to produce the current modern city; that was well under way before the ADC even existed. The ADC exists to protect the modern city from the anti-motoring forces that oppose it through regulations, taxation, and limitation of highways, and thereby make living more difficult rather than easier. It is true that the modern city favors automobile transportation rather than bicycle transportation, but most people have chosen to spend their money on the modern city rather than the old cities. That's just a fact of current life.
I made no errors and no claims that the ADC 'invented' the modern city, all I claimed is that they blindly defend the status quo and fear any change that reduces the current dominance of the automobile and auto-centric design and culture in the US. The easy motoring life in the US is a 20th century phenomenon, and IMO we need to move beyond that paradigm before it becomes an anachronistic parody of itself, not to mention the fact that it is a completely unsustainable lifestyle choice.

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You are quite clearly wrong when you state "it's pretty depressing to see otherwise intelligent people rationalize the status quo when clearly there are better choices available, as has already been clearly demonstrated by the Dutch and others." That depends on what you mean by "available". Quite clearly, if you prefer the kind of life lived in Amsterdam, then go there because that is available. You might, instead, find that living in downtown Boston or downtown Philadelphia would be the nearest approximation to that in the USA. Then go live in one of those places. However, the downtown Amsterdam lifestyle (not that in the newer suburbs) cannot reasonably be reproduced elsewhere in the USA, and it is foolish to complain about that in a discussion whose subject is the methods of cycling on roads in the cities that we have.
America Love it or Leave it. Gotcha, John.

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Old 05-12-07, 11:56 AM   #61
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... 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.")
LBM,

My personal account of my experiences in the Netherlands is not meant to endorse any blanket or "one size fits all" solutions to the US. The United States is a much larger and geographically diverse entity than the Netherlands and what works there would probably not work everywhere in the US. Different regions and urban/suburban/rural areas would also need to adapt in ways that would embrace cycling in unique ways as well.

I would make the point that the Dutch, who interestingly enough settled much of Manhattan (originally named New Amsterdam), have devised a model which could have more direct applications in a city like New York than a city like Los Angeles or Phoenix. The cycling "culture" has been transforming New York city in the past 30 years and New York is becoming increasingly less "auto-centric". Dare I predict we will see even more bike lanes and bike paths in New York and less emphasis on accomodating the private automobile in the next 10 years. I expect there would be a resultant increase in bicycle ridership and that the city will eventually give new meaning to the moniker "New Amsterdam".

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Old 05-12-07, 12:28 PM   #62
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LBM,

My personal account of my experiences in the Netherlands is not meant to endorse any blanket or "one size fits all" solutions to the US. The United States is a much larger and geographically diverse entity than the Netherlands and what works there would probably not work everywhere in the US. Different regions and urban/suburban/rural areas would also need to adapt in ways that would embrace cycling in unique ways as well.
I agree. Each area has it's unique problems and solutions. Matching solutions to problems should be tailored properly.

Solutions in my area has had mixed results. In some cases, the results have been wonderful. But in other cases, solutions have been put in place that added no benefit and that made cycling more impractical, even dangerous. From the perspective of a new cyclist, they might have seemed helpful. But from my perspective, that of a cyclist already using a bike for transportation, the impractical solutions were painfully obvious. So I just avoided using them.

That's not to say I look down on "incompetant cyclists," I was a newbie once, too. But there is something to be said for the benefit of experience, and I think new cyclists can benefit from the perspective of more experienced cyclists as opposed to meekly adopting whatever solutions traffic engineers or other city planners put forth. I would guess some of these solutions were not even planned by cyclists, but that's only a guess, I could be wrong.

Then again, some of the more impractical solutions, from my perspective, might be very practical for new cyclists who don't want to get from A to B. They might just want a huge sidewalk to ride on for 20 minutes or so. That's up to them, but personally, I'd suggest they put their bike on their car and drive to the Silver Comet trail if they want a better experience. I understand that solutions vary not only according to locale, but cycling preferences and purposes.

I can't fathom implementing any more of solutions, like the more impractical ones, for transportation in my area, but others would differ, I'm sure. The important thing is to get input from all cyclists to make sure solutions are really meeting their needs.
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Old 05-12-07, 12:58 PM   #63
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This is certainly a valid concern, and I make no claim to know how things would turn out were the system here to be transplanted to the US. Cyclists here are certainly 'respected' but they are also kept separated -- 'out of the way' -- from cars on major roads, and many minor ones.

But, I believe the facilities are a big reason why there are so many cyclists. I wrote in another post that cycling starts so young that it becomes part of the Danes' lives. I don't think this would happen without facilities. With such a large population of cyclists, car drivers are very aware of bikes, and this carries over to roads where there are no facilities, whether they're in town or out in the countryside. It's very much a compromise: we'll stay out of your way on Hjallesevej, and you don't run us over everywhere else

So implementing Euro-style bike facilities in the US really depends on what your goal is (if you have one), and if you're willing to potentially sacrifice some of your 'rights' in order to change the status quo, or if you think you can improve things under the current 'system'.
Well, then, how was it that the Netherlands had one of the highest bicycle mode shares long before there were bikeways there? If bikeways are the cause of a high mode share, then the absence of bikeways must mean, as you and other argue, that without bikeways there will be only a small share. Of course, your argument is specious, because it ignores both history and urban design.
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Old 05-12-07, 01:13 PM   #64
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I made no errors and no claims that the ADC 'invented' the modern city, all I claimed is that they blindly defend the status quo and fear any change that reduces the current dominance of the automobile and auto-centric design and culture in the US. The easy motoring life in the US is a 20th century phenomenon, and IMO we need to move beyond that paradigm before it becomes an anachronistic parody of itself, not to mention the fact that it is a completely unsustainable lifestyle choice.


America Love it or Leave it. Gotcha, John.

Your earlier statement was "Of course, the American Dream Coalition has already achieved their dream ..."

I do not feel responsible for your errors in understanding the English that you use.

As for love it or leave it, why not? If you so dislike the motoring city and much prefer the cycling city, then go to such a city. Nobody that I know is stopping you.

What you should not do is to advocate the installation in a motoring city of bikeways suitable to a pre-motoring obsolete city, in the expectation that this will produce a cycling city. Not only will that not occur, but it will harm those cyclists who are operating in the modern city.
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Old 05-12-07, 01:26 PM   #65
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Well, then, how was it that the Netherlands had one of the highest bicycle mode shares long before there were bikeways there? If bikeways are the cause of a high mode share, then the absence of bikeways must mean, as you and other argue, that without bikeways there will be only a small share. Of course, your argument is specious, because it ignores both history and urban design.
I'd hazard a guess that bikeways were built in response to increased automobile traffic. Long before there were bikeways, there were also fewer cars.
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Old 05-12-07, 01:30 PM   #66
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As for love it or leave it, why not? If you so dislike the motoring city and much prefer the cycling city, then go to such a city. Nobody that I know is stopping you.
I pay taxes. I live here. There is no reason not to use the influence that I pay for to change the environment to what I'd like. Mine is only a little influence, as is yours, but if I can gather a group of likeminded people together and form a large influence, then that's my right.

This is how it works here. What USA do you live in? I'm not responsible for your lack of ability to get large numbers of people behind your politics of vehicular cycling.
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Old 05-12-07, 01:39 PM   #67
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What you should not do is to advocate the installation in a motoring city of bikeways suitable to a pre-motoring obsolete city, in the expectation that this will produce a cycling city. Not only will that not occur, but it will harm those cyclists who are operating in the modern city.
Who is advocating the blind application of European style bikeways to US cities? Obviously cities here are different than cities there, and not everything works and almost everything will have to be modified to some extent. But what's wrong with using their expertise for what it's worth?

What we should not do is to advocate the use of motoring specific infrastructure as a way to gain acceptance of cycling as a mode of transportation in the expectation that a show of vehicular cycling expertise by a few cyclists who bicycle for the wrong reasons will magically reduce all the barriers to bicycling for transportation to zero. Not only will that not occur, but it will harm those people who could economically benefit from cycling in the modern city.
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Old 05-12-07, 01:55 PM   #68
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They are not great at all. In Amersterdam, cycling traffic is very slow. A commuter is usually a person wearing street clothes, riding an upright bike with no helmet, in a bike lane or on a bike path. Germany is very similar. Lanes are generally much narrower than in the US, and most European countries have taken steps to discourage "vehiclular cycling."

What is different, however, is that most drivers respond better and drive more safely around bicyclists. Other than that, the infrastructure in far from ideal.

I find it interesting that the Netherlands, and Denmark/Copenhagen are both very popular bike countries---- and they are as flat as flat can get.

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I've been there, many times during the ten years I lived in Europe. Yes it is great and not just Amsterdam but in the numerous other Dutch cities. I liked the cycling conditions almost as well in Germany where I lived and visited.

You find John Allen's critiques of more interest than I. Of course, I view Mr. Allen, with his sloppy use of "crash rates" to prove vehicular cycling effectiveness and "dangers" of bike lanes as John Forester's Number One Protégé/Disciple.
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Old 05-12-07, 02:55 PM   #69
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They are not great at all. In Amersterdam, cycling traffic is very slow. A commuter is usually a person wearing street clothes, riding an upright bike with no helmet, in a bike lane or on a bike path. Germany is very similar. Lanes are generally much narrower than in the US, and most European countries have taken steps to discourage "vehiclular cycling."
You and I have a different idea of what is great cycling.

1. I don't endorse undue restrictions on bicyclists' speed, but the only thing I saw slowing down any cyclist in Amsterdam (or Heidelberg where I worked) is one heck of a lot of traffic (motor, pedestrians and bikes). That and bicyclists commuting in a bicycling culture that does not worship looking and acting like they are in a dang race at all times with something to prove, no matter what the distance of the trip. Given the amount of traffic how would the speed boys recommend changing the environment in such a densely packed city, with so many bicyclists to make cycling "great?"

2. Your derisive comments about "wearing street clothes, riding an upright bike with no helmet" have nothing to do with facilities, great cycling conditions, or vehicular cycling, but rather indicates you are either North American and/or you have adapted its typical racer boy/club cyclist mindset about what constitutes Real Cycling.
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Old 05-12-07, 03:10 PM   #70
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Yes we do have different ideas of ideal biking. You are making my point for me- it is the other bikers that slow everything in Amsterdam.

Where did I write anything derisive about wearing street clothes for biking? My point is that the infrastructure is generally used by this demographic... and it probably ideal for it.

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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
You and I have a different idea of what is great cycling.

1. I don't endorse undue restrictions on bicyclists' speed, but the only thing I saw slowing down any cyclist in Amsterdam (or Heidelberg where I worked) is one heck of a lot of traffic (motor, pedestrians and bikes). That and bicyclists commuting in a bicycling culture that does not worship looking and acting like they are in a dang race at all times with something to prove, no matter what the distance of the trip. Given the amount of traffic how would the speed boys recommend changing the environment in such a densely packed city, with so many bicyclists to make cycling "great?"

2. Your derisive comments about "wearing street clothes, riding an upright bike with no helmet" have nothing to do with facilities, great cycling conditions, or vehicular cycling, but rather indicates you are either North American and/or you have adapted its typical racer boy/club cyclist mindset about what constitutes Real Cycling.
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Old 05-12-07, 03:23 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by John Forester
Your earlier statement was "Of course, the American Dream Coalition has already achieved their dream ..."

I do not feel responsible for your errors in understanding the English that you use.

As for love it or leave it, why not? If you so dislike the motoring city and much prefer the cycling city, then go to such a city. Nobody that I know is stopping you.

What you should not do is to advocate the installation in a motoring city of bikeways suitable to a pre-motoring obsolete city, in the expectation that this will produce a cycling city. Not only will that not occur, but it will harm those cyclists who are operating in the modern city.
Your "this is the way it is and we've just got to live with it" attitude stinks, John. Shame on you, we can do better. Foresterology is an anachronism, 30 years old, 30 years out of date. You're an old-school motor-vehicles-first traffic engineer, John. You should step aside and let a younger generation take the next step.

PS - pre-motoring cities are not obsolete, pre-automobile inner cities are the most valuable pieces of real estate in the urban environment today. It's the suburban wasteland that is obsolete.
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Old 05-12-07, 03:30 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by filtersweep
You are making my point for me- it is the other bikers that slow everything in Amsterdam.
...the elitist VC 'real cyclist' rears it's ugly head...
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Old 05-12-07, 03:33 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by filtersweep
Yes we do have different ideas of ideal biking. You are making my point for me- it is the other bikers that slow everything in Amsterdam.

Where did I write anything derisive about wearing street clothes for biking? My point is that the infrastructure is generally used by this demographic... and it probably ideal for it.
And you and your VC buddies have just the solution too. Discourage cycling by all those other bicyclists with the inferior demographic profile with obstructionism at every possible opportunity, ala Forester and his wrecking ball crew. The goal being the ideal scenario where only the handful of Real Cyclists like yourself will rule the Roost, eh?
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Old 05-12-07, 03:37 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by randya
...the elitist VC 'real cyclist' rears it's ugly head...
Scratch the surface of almost everyone of 'em, with a few exceptions, and their Real Cyclist elitist pus will ooze out.
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Old 05-12-07, 03:38 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
The goal being the ideal scenario where only the handful of Real Cyclists like yourself will rule the Roost, eh?
Mixin' it up with the 'big guys' in the four wheelers, how macho for a buncha guys dressed in ***** kit...





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