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  1. #51
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post

    Clearly gasoline powered cars are dead technology and were a bad idea to begin with. But the question is will we replace them with human powered travel or replace them with cleanly powered personal or mass transit vehicles? Even if our personal preference is for bikes/walking, surely you can see the unlikeliness of going that way instead of progressing to some new technology (as has been the path of mankind since the beginning: when have we ever gone "back" away from machines?)
    When indeed... you mentioned "the Dutch." There is your example. And going back? To a more efficient machine? That is hardly a "retreat."

    The problem is our cities have been designed around a highly inefficient form of transit... as we come to realize this, our cities too will change.

    The personal auto won't go away... but how it is used and integrated into society will change... and with that change will also be the embracing of efficient transit, such as mass transit and, the bicycle.

    Need another example... consider the congestion charges of London... and the attempt to do the same in NYC. These are clear indicators of the realization that the cities must and will change. "The Dutch" just realized it first.

    The thing is we stand at this cusp of a new beginning... and how we embrace it could spell how we deal with our collective future. We could go down kicking and screaming as a population... fighting for oil until we simply have no other choice... or we could embrace the future of natural resources and use our ingenuity to discover, design and build a new stronger nation.

    As far as cars being a bad idea to begin with... not hardly... they were an alternative to the horse and buggy... a rather dirty technology that had itself reached it's own peak. (the amount of horse manure and urine that hit the streets of NYC at the time were just overwhelming, by comparison, the auto was "clean.") The auto was a replacement alternative technology... one we have just allowed to go a bit too far. Time for Change.

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
    Yes. But I'm not asking the rest of the world to make any changes on my behalf.
    I'm wondering if that's even possible. I mean, the only phrase that comes to mind is, "No man is an island."

    Whether we ride for recreation or transportation the world is constantly changing around us. Our simple presence alters the landscape in some way and the world, whether we intend it to or not, will alter around us. I think that trickles down to politics, urban planning and road design. If there are a large number of recreational riders on a road eventually their needs will become more dominant. When, inevitably, the road needs resurfacing some consideration will more than likely include their use.

    Quote Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
    The status quo is fine to me.
    Great. A lot of that depends on where you live and where you ride. It also seems to imply that time simply stands still. Here in New England every winter causes enormous damage to our highways and bridges and they need constant repair- status quo doesn't last all that long before it crumbles away for some of us.

    Quote Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
    I'm in my 40s now and do not view cars as evil. They are freakin' brilliant. Yes, the fuel we've chosen to power them with has become problematic, various safety aspects could be improved, and so on, but the idea of a powered, comfortable, personal transportation vehicle is perfect for the North American continent. My car (old italian convertible) totally expands the land that is possible for me to see and interact with.
    I doubt many of us see it quite so simplistic terms as "cars are evil". I own a car and occasionally use it and, yes, it expands my horizons exponentially. In terms of it's technology much of it is absolutely brilliant. However, I disagree that it is "perfect" and it most certainly depends where you are in the North American continent. As I ride my bike into Boston every morning and look over at the long line of traffic going the same place and taking longer to make the trip it doesn't look all that perfect to me and my bike makes a lot more sense.


    Quote Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
    This is why saying stuff like "tell it to the Dutch," is so irrelevant. Their country compared to the usa is apples to oranges. Population density, geography, transportation history...everything is different.
    I'm sorry but this is absolutely inaccurate. The United States is so large and diverse in terms of population densities, geography and transportation infrastructures to render your comment moot.

    The city of New York is not only very Dutch in terms of it's history (it was originally called New Amsterdam) but the layout of Manhattan is ideal for a far less autocentric environment. Now perhaps the roughly 9 million people who live and work in Manhattan every day don't matter much to you as you ride your bike in your insulated world in California content with the status quo but they do matter to people like me- especially given I often live and work there.

  3. #53
    1973 Sekine dogbreathpnw's Avatar
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    First of all, I really liked your original post. I feel like there has been a polarization and stagnation in the cycling advocacy world, and something like is a fresh viewpoint that might allow some room for original innovation.

    However, I'd like to see some serious brainstorming on practical suggestions and policies that this approach might engender. I have some rambling thoughts towards those ends, and I'm interested in your thoughts.

    First of all, let's acknowledge that there are multiple legitimate uses for the roads. In addition to moving people from place to place, roads are an important aspect for public safety and for providing essential goods and services. Put simply, if I need to go the emergency room at the hospital, I really want the option to get there via ambulance instead of by foot or bicycle.

    Similarly, having my groceries delivered to the local supermarket by truck is a really good thing.

    I believe that policy makers think of these essential uses of motorized transportation and immediately dismiss walking, cycling, and light rail as impractical.

    This is an example of black-and-white absolutist thinking. The truth is colored with shades of gray; these essential motorized uses form a very small percentage of the overall usage of American roadways.

    Let's think about freeways for a moment. As I understand it, American freeways were developed in response to the terrible problems the Allies had responding to the German military's tremendous mobility. The ability of moving tanks, trucks, soldiers, and related materiel is indisputably greater when freeways are available.

    Along these lines of thinking, I really don't have a problem with the existence of freeways. Where I draw the line, though, is when urban planners make them an essential part of everyone's mobility. For instance, once when I was young I ended up in the Dallas-Fort Worth airport and discovered, to my horror, that there was no egress from the airport that was not on a limited access arterial! (This was many years ago, and hopefully this has been corrected.) You literally could not leave the airport without paying for motorized transportation. You couldn't even go between the concourses without paying for motorized transportation!

    Similarly, in the outer reaches of Oregon (such as Pendleton, Baker City, or Klamath Falls), sometimes, the only bridge for miles in any direction is--yes, you guessed it--the one that the feds have built for the freeway. Fortunately, state law expressly allows pedestrians and cyclists on the freeway in these areas.

    Let's flip the coin and look at non-motorized routes. We have had some issues locally with bike ways, especially involving safety. Inasmuch as a bike way does not follow a motor vehicle route, it ends up getting short shrift in terms of lighting, law enforcement patrols, and even street cleaning. Not to mention that if you actually want to go somewhere (the store, the school, the post office, the doctor), a bike way will form only part of a route.

    The real issue I have with the "separate but equal" facilities argument is that the greatest threat to vulnerable roadway users occurs when motorists cross the path of those roadway users. Regardless of the type of infrastructure you have, these threats will still remain, especially near the beginning and the end of your route.

    So, here's where I'm leaving it open-ended. What sort of changes should we be pressing for? I have concluded, for instance, that education for both motorists and cyclists is paramount. Most of the right hook accidents I have investigated have been due to either the stupidity of the cyclist (not paying attention to the motorist and his blind spot), the indifference of the motorist ("hey, there's a bike lane, so I don't need to pay attention anyone over there"), or a combination. I could give examples of other types of accidents, but I think you see where I'm going.

    Again, what are the practical changes we should be seeking from our policy makers?


    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    <snip>
    There are those who willingly accept bans of bicyclists along 'high speed roads' if reasonable alternatives are available for bicyclists. Doesn't this predicate the notion "bikes off of (high speed)roads for the convenience of motorized traffic?"
    <snip>
    When was the last time a bicyclist fell asleep at the wheel and killed a family of four? It's the motorists that are the problem.

  4. #54
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dogbreathpnw View Post
    Along these lines of thinking, I really don't have a problem with the existence of freeways. Where I draw the line, though, is when urban planners make them an essential part of everyone's mobility. For instance, once when I was young I ended up in the Dallas-Fort Worth airport and discovered, to my horror, that there was no egress from the airport that was not on a limited access arterial! (This was many years ago, and hopefully this has been corrected.) You literally could not leave the airport without paying for motorized transportation. You couldn't even go between the concourses without paying for motorized transportation!
    I was just back there in September... I don't think things have improved. Heck I had a hard enough time driving from the airport. But you just provided a classic example of the problem... the thinking that such places should only be reached by Auto...


    Quote Originally Posted by dogbreathpnw View Post
    Again, what are the practical changes we should be seeking from our policy makers?
    Start with your example above... there should be provisions to get to anywhere by bike and by walking... and except for limited access freeways... how about if in town arterial roads had speeds that were more suitable for sharing... such as less than 45MPH.

  5. #55
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dogbreathpnw View Post
    However, I'd like to see some serious brainstorming on practical suggestions and policies that this approach might engender. I have some rambling thoughts towards those ends, and I'm interested in your thoughts.
    I will note that so far feedback from LAB on the Bicycle Friendly City and the Bicycle Friendly State program have been helpful in getting some traction with the policy makers. But I will note that it is up to us to keep the agenda items diversified and keep the fires lit under items that do not involve bikeways. It is way to easy for the political machinery to focus on just miles of bikeways and nothing else.

    (Again for the record, I have nothing against good bikeways but they should not be the beginning and end of bicycle advocacy.)
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  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRA View Post
    It amazes me how many bicyclists seem unable to believe that the bicycle can be a practical means of transportation in the U.S.
    I don't see that idea expressed by any posters, including John Forester.

    The point I make (even as someone who has used my bicycle as a practical means of transportation for decades) is: the transportation paradigm shift at the cultural level needs to be mostly about shifts to mass transit and walking - not bicycling. To the degree there is a bicycling element in changes to US transportation, bicyclist will have their greatest positive when understood in the context that bicyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles, using the road portion of the public way.

    Quote Originally Posted by JRA View Post
    can be. And riding according to the rules of the road can be practical, too-- with or without bike lanes, the fight over which is just about the stupidest thing I've ever seen in my life...

    It is well past time that rules of the road bicyclists adopt a new paradigm, stop obsessing about bike lanes (and wasting whatever political capital they may have on what is surely a relatively minor issue)
    Education of bicyclists is the primary need of the bicyclist community. Bikelanes represent miseducation painted into the infrastructure. Opposing bikelanes and explaining that opposition will always be one of my major efforts anytime I live in a place where bikelanes are proposed or placed. Opposing bikelanes is a twofer: 1) the explanation of opposition is education; 2) it is working against illogical roadway design.

  7. #57
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    I have read with interest the answers to my question of who and where was taught vehicular cycling in school, and the replies that referenced films that were said to teach that.

    Sure, you were told to obey the traffic laws, just as motorists had to do. But you were neither instructed in traffic cycling nor were you shown films of cyclists operating as drivers of vehicles. You were actually instructed in curb-hugging cycling with all of the characteristics that I have criticized over the years. Largely, the instruction was stay to the right, stop at stop signs, and signal your turns, and the films went no further than that, and some didn't go that far. Nothing has been presented that tells of being taught driving judgment, which is a required component of vehicular cycling. As I have written before, I have read discussions, by the then experts in traffic law, that the curb-hugging practice, as given in the three restrictive statutes, was adopted in order to relieve child cyclists from the necessity of exercising judgment and, therefore, being held liable if they failed to exercise it. That is the legacy that has so strongly adversely affected American cycling.

  8. #58
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    Links to a local list that expand on my transportation paradigm shift thoughts, and bicyclists' role in that:

    http://www.meetup.com/Portland-Bike-...50/20#16612075
    http://www.meetup.com/Portland-Bike-...69/20#22862730

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRA View Post

    much snipped

    Cyclists who believe in riding according to the rules of the road need to abandon the defeatist attitudes of that ideology, which holds that bicycles are impractical as a primary means of transportation in the U.S., that mass transit is impractical as well, that dedicated transportational bicyclists (which the guru of VC-ism admits he never was) are all cyclist inferiority phobic anti-motorists, and that anyone who disagrees with The Great One's crackpot social and psychological theories should be given one of the derogatory terms for other bicyclists, the coining of which seems to be the foundation of VC-ist "they're all against us" know-it-all-ism that is perhaps the worst thing that has happened to rules of the road cycling since the 1960s.
    I suppose that the above claims are typical of "dedicated transportational bicyclists." Rather interesting that JRA claims that those who believe it best to obey the rules of the road should have such irrational superstitions. "Bicycles are []practical as a primary means of transportation in the U.S."? There is no evidence that has ever occurred, and the hope that it might occur is based on such enormous changes in the U.S. that validate my argument as to the present and reasonably foreseeable future. "That mass transit is []practical."? Mass transit has been declining as a share of personal transit since about 1926, for reasons well understood by the economists and transportation engineers in the field, and the decline accelerated as our cities decentralized, until it now has what, less than 5% of the field? The hope that mass transit will develop a much stronger modal share depends on, again, such enormous changes in the U.S. that, if they occur, will make the U.S. entirely different from the U.S. of today. These statements that I have just made are all in the mainstream of thought about urban affairs. The views that you attribute to "dedicated transportational bicyclists", on the other hand, occupy only fringes of the field. If either is to be termed "crackpot", then it ought to be the views of the "dedicated transportational cyclists".

    I was an extremely active cyclist in all fields: transportation, education, engineering, organizations, touring, racing. It was precisely because I did not have the closed mind of the "dedicated transportational cyclist" that I was able to apply my wide-ranging knowledge to bicycle transportation engineering while avoiding the superstitions inherent in being dedicated to an improbable hope.

  10. #60
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester View Post
    "Bicycles are []practical as a primary means of transportation in the U.S."? There is no evidence that has ever occurred, and the hope that it might occur is based on such enormous changes in the U.S. that validate my argument as to the present and reasonably foreseeable future. "That mass transit is []practical."? Mass transit has been declining as a share of personal transit since about 1926, for reasons well understood by the economists and transportation engineers in the field, and the decline accelerated as our cities decentralized, until it now has what, less than 5% of the field? The hope that mass transit will develop a much stronger modal share depends on, again, such enormous changes in the U.S. that, if they occur, will make the U.S. entirely different from the U.S. of today.
    Bear in mind that the changes you outline above occurred in less than 100 years... due primarily to the introduction of the personal motor car. Prior to that, mass transit was the dominate form of transportation in America... and the primary forms of personal transit were either horse or bicycle.

    Now since those changes happened in a relatively short time (that aforementioned 100 year span), no doubt any other future changes could also occur in a similar short time.... fueled by certain events, it is quite conceivable to picture the demise of the individual gasoline powered motor car... which could trigger "enormous changes in the U.S." As we "speak" for instance the development of such things as alternative fuels and autonomous drive vehicles could be the catalyst for such change.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester View Post
    These statements that I have just made are all in the mainstream of thought about urban affairs. The views that you attribute to "dedicated transportational bicyclists", on the other hand, occupy only fringes of the field. If either is to be termed "crackpot", then it ought to be the views of the "dedicated transportational cyclists".
    While that statement made in the US is true, there are plenty of European based examples where dedicated transportational cyclists are not considered "crackpots... " and some of those European models are being examined for use in the United States... The congestion charges of London for example... have been in discussion for use in NYC.

  11. #61
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester View Post
    "Bicycles are []practical as a primary means of transportation in the U.S."? There is no evidence that has ever occurred, ...
    I have to assume that you mean a significant (what ever that is) modal share and sometime after the general use of the Automobile. While that (given those assumptions) may be true I see a significant number of our roadways failing just because of a small % increase in traffic and more and more states have declared that they cannot build themselves out of congestion (by use of roadway expansion.) So even small percentages of alternate mode of transportation can help keep people moving. Now add to that studies show that parents transporting their kids to school can make up to as much as 20% of rush hour traffic, the reduction of that alone can have a profound impact on our roadways.

    But when you look outside transportation analysis "of the primary means of getting to work" the bicycle as a significant means of transportation for kids going to school or to colleges does have it evidence. Bicycling as transportation does have a place in our society and removing that place (as evident in parents driving kids to school) has a profound negative impact.

    Lastly it looks like motoring is finally on its way down:
    http://blogs.wsj.com/environmentalca...-good-and-bad/
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/09/op...?_r=1&emc=eta1

    Mass Transit +1 Cars -1
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  12. #62
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester View Post
    "Bicycles are []practical as a primary means of transportation in the U.S."? There is no evidence that has ever occurred, and the hope that it might occur is based on such enormous changes in the U.S. that validate my argument as to the present and reasonably foreseeable future. "That mass transit is []practical."? Mass transit has been declining as a share of personal transit since about 1926, for reasons well understood by the economists and transportation engineers in the field, and the decline accelerated as our cities decentralized, until it now has what, less than 5% of the field? The hope that mass transit will develop a much stronger modal share depends on, again, such enormous changes in the U.S. that, if they occur, will make the U.S. entirely different from the U.S. of today.
    Gotta agree with John here...and add that the pain involved in the major changes required ain't gonna be pretty nor short-lived.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  13. #63
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    Gotta agree with John here...and add that the pain involved in the major changes required ain't gonna be pretty nor short-lived.
    True, but expecting that we can continue the current trend of the use of inefficient, non renewable resource using, and largely empty conveyances is a bit fool hardy.

    There is going to be some sort of shift from the current trend to something in between the current use of the personal inefficient auto and the highly efficient bicycle.

    No doubt the real answer is something none of us can foresee.

    Here's to the future! Happy 2009.

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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Bear in mind that the changes you outline above occurred in less than 100 years... due primarily to the introduction of the personal motor car. Prior to that, mass transit was the dominate form of transportation in America... and the primary forms of personal transit were either horse or bicycle.

    Now since those changes happened in a relatively short time (that aforementioned 100 year span), no doubt any other future changes could also occur in a similar short time.... fueled by certain events, it is quite conceivable to picture the demise of the individual gasoline powered motor car... which could trigger "enormous changes in the U.S." As we "speak" for instance the development of such things as alternative fuels and autonomous drive vehicles could be the catalyst for such change.



    While that statement made in the US is true, there are plenty of European based examples where dedicated transportational cyclists are not considered "crackpots... " and some of those European models are being examined for use in the United States... The congestion charges of London for example... have been in discussion for use in NYC.
    The 100-year change from centralized cities to decentralized cities, which was made possible by the automobile, was also made possible by two other things: a population that was severely under-housed and was growing. We needed more housing and more jobs, and the automobile enabled us to put them in better locations. Reversing that 100-year change, even if we returned population size and job numbers to those of 100 years ago, would be most unpleasant. And while retaining the present population and job numbers, extremely painful, and probably producing a much less efficient society with an even lower standard of living.

    And you, genec, claim that the development of non-petroleum fuels and cars that drive themselves would reduce the dominance of the automobile in a society? That's surely nonsense, for such would tend to increase the dominance of the automobile in any society.

    And the fact that congestion charges, similar to those in London, are being discussed for NYC does not demonstrate that that idea is not crackpot. The results in London are quite varied and no reasonable single conclusion matches the facts, besides which there is much evidence that London stands far above its competitors in the power of its financial sector, and is thereby more immune to the deleterious results of congestion charges than those other cities in which such have been either tried or discussed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    I have to assume that you mean a significant (what ever that is) modal share and sometime after the general use of the Automobile. While that (given those assumptions) may be true I see a significant number of our roadways failing just because of a small % increase in traffic and more and more states have declared that they cannot build themselves out of congestion (by use of roadway expansion.) So even small percentages of alternate mode of transportation can help keep people moving. Now add to that studies show that parents transporting their kids to school can make up to as much as 20% of rush hour traffic, the reduction of that alone can have a profound impact on our roadways.

    But when you look outside transportation analysis "of the primary means of getting to work" the bicycle as a significant means of transportation for kids going to school or to colleges does have it evidence. Bicycling as transportation does have a place in our society and removing that place (as evident in parents driving kids to school) has a profound negative impact.

    Lastly it looks like motoring is finally on its way down:
    http://blogs.wsj.com/environmentalca...-good-and-bad/
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/09/op...?_r=1&emc=eta1

    Mass Transit +1 Cars -1
    I wrote that bicycling had never been a primary means of transportation in the USA. You reply, as if refuting my statement, with two answers. You claim that it was such before the automobile. I debate that; I have seen no evidence that bicycle transportation ever was a primary form during the age of horse and steam. Even then, it was a fad, not used by many Americans for their daily travels. It was in Europe, even after the advent of the automobile, but that's a different issue. Your other answer is to provide the niche use of students going to school. Important for them, but not transportationally significant for society at large.

    Now you advance the new argument that even very small increases in bicycle transportation will greatly reduce motoring travel time. I have seen neither analyses nor empirical data demonstrating the accuracy of that argument.

  16. #66
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    electric rickshaws. golf carts with air conditioning.

    Grandmas driving their electric wheelchairs to the walmart. heck, ME driving an electric wheelchair to WalMart.

    I have higher hopes for america than surrendering to continued strangulation of american society with the fetters of an autocentric landscape.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  17. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    True, but expecting that we can continue the current trend of the use of inefficient, non renewable resource using, and largely empty conveyances is a bit fool hardy.
    It is much more likely that we will simply have vehicles powered by another, "greener", method that still operate on the existing road infrastructure rather than get the population to go back in evolution from a machine they operate with little effort to a tool that they have to power themselves.

    Bicycles will persist as sporting/fitness equipment, transportation for those too young or too drunk to drive, and fashion accessories for the hip, and holier-than-thou, but there is no way typical americans (especially as the country ages) will consider them appropriate for their daily transportation needs in this country.

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester View Post

    Now you advance the new argument that even very small increases in bicycle transportation will greatly reduce motoring travel time. I have seen neither analyses nor empirical data demonstrating the accuracy of that argument.
    Ever hear of queuing theory? A small percent change of the number of vehicles can make a huge difference in throughput. This was clearly demonstrated during the LA Olympics.

    Increasing modal share of cyclists to 5% can ease overcrowding freeways. There is no need to get even a majority population to use alternative means.

    This is also the advantage of the autonomous drive vehicles... and it was demonstrated right here in San Diego on Highway 15... the auto drive cars hold a better position to each other, obey the laws and are very predictable... all things that tend to reduce crowding.

  19. #69
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    pacific slim is stuck in the old paradigm of sport&fitnes/young&drunk american bicycling - no way more people will bike!

    defeatist notions bandied about by those unable to see change in how americans move about the country. changes have been vast in the last 150 years.

    does this mean we've acheived the highest order, no further change necessary or even possible, of personal transportation mobility in this country? that sprawl, pollution and congestion associated with personal solo auto trips is the best way to structure our society's transportation network and public spaces?

    I think not.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    pacific slim is stuck in the old paradigm of sport&fitnes/young&drunk american bicycling - no way more people will bike!

    defeatist notions bandied about by those unable to see change in how americans move about the country. changes have been vast in the last 150 years.

    does this mean we've acheived the highest order, no further change necessary or even possible, of personal transportation mobility in this country? that sprawl, pollution and congestion associated with personal solo auto trips is the best way to structure our society's transportation network and public spaces?

    I think not.
    I think not either. I also suspect the petroleum commodity markets of the coming decades won't even allow it as a choice anymore.

    However bicyclists signing on now as adjunct cheerleaders for finer and finer segregation by classes of vehicles and by modes of users, on higher and higher engineered, more and more expensive public corridor design, would be getting on the wrong side of history.

    Bicyclist can provide their maximum benefit at the system level by recognizing that they "fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles."

    If bicyclist are to have their best positive impact on the bigger transportation issues, we need to work on accelerating the maturation of the bicyclist population - We must not pander to misconceptions. Roadway bicyclists - as users of the part of the system which is already WAY WAY too well treated - are doing as well now, in many facets, as we should ever expect. Going forward a more reasonable roadnet will operate more often, and in more places somewhat closer to capacity. Now the good news is that as drivers of the unique, flexible small bike vehicle, we will always be the least adversely impacted when faced with this change. However, it does require learning why it is reasonable to ride safely integrated with normal roadway traffic. It requires learning what you need to do and need to understand so that you can _enjoy_ that riding.

  21. #71
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester View Post
    Your other answer is to provide the niche use of students going to school. Important for them, but not transportationally significant for society at large.

    Now you advance the new argument that even very small increases in bicycle transportation will greatly reduce motoring travel time. I have seen neither analyses nor empirical data demonstrating the accuracy of that argument.
    Working backwards; I'll assert that individualized motorized transport reaches a saturation point where it ceases to be idyllic and by necessity people seek out alternatives, one of which is biking. I am not asserting that biking will reduce the saturation so motoring becomes idyllic again but I am asserting that roadways cannot be infinitely expanded so there is no saturation, no congestion and no people seeking alternatives like cycling for transportation.

    Looking at the saturation point in some detail lets say at one traffic light the rate of cars is such that one does not make it through, then at the next cycle its two cars that don't make it through so over a course of an hour we have 40 additional cars backed up and that's with just one car (a very small percentage) over the capacity of the light. In addition traffic jams happen when roads are at or near capacity as demonstrated here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Suugn-p5C1M Then there is the road network paradox That by trying to increase capacity with new routes actually slows the system down. Basically once the road system is at the saturation point small increases in traffic have a devastating effect.

    Next, a local situation where we had a week long convention which brought in ~1000 new drivers to the city from the 4 corners of the state (a few hundred coming in from any one point.) Coincidentally the number of additional cars ~ matched our bicycle modal share of 0.4%. Guess what, traffic delays all over the city of over an hour. So I will assert that Baltimore cyclists are saving drivers time even at our dismally low modal share.

    If there is any place where congestion is not in the news and traffic delays are not a rush hour news item then sure bikes as transportation is not significant for that place. But otherwise your ideas are very much like the archaic storm water management that insisted we could channelize storm water. The more people channelized storm water the more previous efforts broke due to the lack of capacity that the new efforts imposed on the old. Trying to channelize transportation into one mode might work in one place but breaks other places. So your argument is like saying since a water retention pond can only process a small area worth of storm water and wastes valuable real estate so it is inferior to a storm sewers that can handle larger volumes over a larger area and takes up no real estate. Local trips is the majority of our transportation need and trying to channelize that into one mode and one road is dysfunctional. As collage students know that the bicycle is important for localized travel other segments of society are catching on as well.
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  22. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    pacific slim is stuck in the old paradigm of sport&fitnes/young&drunk american bicycling - no way more people will bike!

    defeatist notions bandied about by those unable to see change in how americans move about the country. changes have been vast in the last 150 years.

    does this mean we've acheived the highest order, no further change necessary or even possible, of personal transportation mobility in this country? that sprawl, pollution and congestion associated with personal solo auto trips is the best way to structure our society's transportation network and public spaces?

    I think not.
    Your habit of misconstruing other people's posts is getting annoying. I did not allege that there is no further change necessary or possible in transportation. I specifically said such change in inevitable but predict it will be by further development of machines that do the work for us rather than bicycles that we have to move along with human power.

    Yes, there have been great changes in transportation over the last 150 years. But the arrow has run from more human effort towards less. To go back to bicycles on a large scale would be counter to that transportation evolution.

  23. #73
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
    But the arrow has run from more human effort towards less. To go back to bicycles on a large scale would be counter to that of the obesity epidemic.
    Correction noted.
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  24. #74
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    One reason mass transit works so well in Europe and so poorly in the US is that European cities are much more dense than here. In most major cities, you have most streets surrounded by multi-story apartment buildings. A transportation engineer friend told me (and it makes sense) that for light rail to be financially practical, you need the entire route lined by 4-6 story apartment buildings.

    When you are only going short distances, Dutch-style sidewalk cycling can work. But here, many commuters go 5-20 miles. You can't traverse those kind of distances efficiently on bike when you have a Dutch-style system. You need real roads.

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    FWIW I ran across this: Study: Rail Transit May Slow Growth in Traffic Congestion

    Some of this debate is about how you define "works" and what a "significant" impact is.
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