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  1. #176
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post

    Yes Virginia, if you build it, they will come.
    I think we can agree on that, although perhaps there are others here who still don't. Empirical data are messy. I don't know all the gory details about the ACS sampling and time of year, but I do know that climate, construction, and local events can significantly affect commuting month to month and day to day.

    Once-per-year cyclist counts by local governments and advocacy groups are severely affected by weather, and correction attempts for that are always going to be controversial. Bicycle-specific, 24/7 measuring devices are not cheap, but can provide useful data at choke points. All of the reasonably careful studies that Minneapolis and a few other places do are hard to generalize to other cities.

    Paired city comparisons like the quickie I did a page ago seem compelling to me, but not necessarily to advocates of other points of view.

    My basic conclusion is that we can infer trends and effects, but can probably never convince the absolutists on other side. But I do think I answered the OP with a solid example, so my work is done here .

  2. #177
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    Quote Originally Posted by FanaticMN View Post
    But I do think I answered the OP with a solid example, so my work is done here .
    Not so fast. Stick around and answer some questions about this seemingly anomalous place. I note from the information provided that the bulk of the infrastructure build occurred after 2007. Let's split the data given into 2005-2007 and 2007-2012 as pre-infra and post-infra. (Please show me why that would not be a legitimate approach if you object; I'm completely ignorant of the situation in Minneapolis/St. Paul other than what I get from a couple of friends who went to vet. school there.) From that, we see a decrease in the rate of increase of cycling that corresponds to the infrastructure build out. At least it didn't lead to a total flattening like Portland or a decrease like Davis.

    I'm also not sold on the assumption that the only meaningful difference between Minneapolis and St. Paul is the bicycling infrastructure builds. Local to me, we have two conjoined cities along a river also, although they are smaller than yours. Both Eugene and Springfield are adding bike-specific infrastructure, although Eugene is much more committed to the Portland partial-segregation goals than Springfield is. The demographics appear to be quite similar, but there is a huge cultural difference caused by the presence of the University of Oregon. As a result, Eugene has traditionally had much higher bicycle use than Springfield. Eugene has historically been around 7% while Springfield has been at the 1-2% level.

    Interestingly, as the Lesser Depression/Great Recession started, Eugene put in its first bike-specific signal lights and built its first cycletrack segregated infrastructure. After the bump up in riding numbers due to the LD/GR, it saw an immediate drop off in cycling. Here's the three-year numbers for the two cities from the ACS:

    Year __ Eugene _ Springfield
    2007: ___ 7.3___ 1.3
    2008: ___ 7.1___ 1.6
    2009: ___ 8.7 ___ 2.0
    2010: ___ 8.6___ 2.4
    2011: ___ 8.5___ 2.0
    2012: ___ 8.1___ 1.6

  3. #178
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    I have a question for FanaticMN regarding the bike-specific infrastructure.
    Quote Originally Posted by Understanding bicyclist-motorist crashes in Minneapolis, MN
    In Minneapolis, crashes are concentrated along major arterials and at intersections. In fact, 81 percent of crashes occur within 50 feet of an intersection.
    (http://www.senate.mn/committees/2013...20handouts.pdf)

    Is the bike-specific infrastructure a factor in this number? Do they run the bike lanes to the right of lanes from which motorists can turn right? Do they have side-paths which place cyclists out of the line of the normal scan area for motorists? Or do the motorists and cyclists in Minneapolis just have trouble negotiating normal intersections?

    Obviously, I suspect the segregation attitude is at play here. This has long been the primary argument against segregation: it is extremely difficult to make the intersections safe for cyclists in an American roadway setting when cyclists are shunted off to the side like pedestrians or placed in the gutter to the right of right-turning motorists. I'm seeing evermore of this dangerous (IMO) infra going in these past few years. I suspect it can look attractive to people who don't ride, but once one has a few close calls at the intersections it doesn't look or feel safe anymore. In fact, back when Davis was "The Bicycle Capital of the World", it had one of these sidepaths where cyclists were expected to yield to motorists who were overtaking them to turn across their path. Needless to say, this was the one and only place where cyclists were getting hit by cars. I had numerous acquaintances injured in bike-car crashes at this location.

  4. #179
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    These are good questions and, while perhaps off topic, are worth considering.

    There is a certain complexity to this issue and it seems complexity doesn't lend itself to forum discussions.

    I'll take a stab at this with as basic a response as I can.

    #1 attributing too much weight to certain economic factors as a motivation for cycling can be misleading. I say this because the demographic of bike riders both recreational and those who commute tend to be in the higher economic brackets. They are often the people least affected by a rise in gas prices. In fact, look at the cities with higher bike shares. look at the cities adding bike infrastructure. It is the cities with the higher than average incomes. It's not like we're hearing America's poorer neighborhoods screaming for bike paths and lanes and watching streams of people pouring in and out of those neighborhoods on bikes. As popular as bike share programs are they are having difficulty taking off in economically deprived communities even when placed there.


    #2 It's possible the greatest motivating factor for riding a bike is its appeal to the young at heart, those who are physically motivated and enthusiastic about life. It is part of an appealing "lifestyle". Our cities are becoming social centers. Dave Cutter rightly points out in a post that our cities are changing from centers of commerce and business as we go increasingly virtual. What the thriving American cities are doing are becoming social centers. Mayors are revitalizing cities by adding theaters and art centers, building parks and open spaces, making cites more walkable, bike able. This is happening world wide- because it works. Paris took an old abandoned rail line and turned into a pedestrian walkway. NYC has done the same thing. NYC ripped down an old highway and got rid of crappy old buildings along the river, threw down some pavement and suddenly the waterfront comes to life- CHEAP with a big payoff!

    And here's where economics comes in. Often this takes place during an economic downturn. Why? Because these are actually less expensive ways of keeping people happy. Believe it or not when you look at the budget of big cities turning a couple of empty lots into a park or an abandoned building into a theatre or repaving a street and putting down some bikes lanes or turning an abandoned rail bed thru the city into a bike path are relatively cheap ways to make citizens happy. These kinds of changes are a form of stimulus to the economy. Build a theatre and two or three restaurants will follow. As will an increase in nearby property values. make it all easy to walk and bike around and it's even more pleasant and drives values up higher.

    #3 Bike riders are not driving these changes. In fact, they are barely a voice. It's why it would be better for cyclists to present a more unified voice or simply each of us go rogue and join whatever group more closely represents our needs. Bike infrastructure is being built to satisfy what has become an attractive lifestyle. And, it is. It's a much more livable city when you aren't dodging 4000 pounds of glass and metal every time you want a cup of coffee. It's a quieter city, too. Less congested, less stress, cleaner, better air, less pollution. Lots of payoffs.

    I don't care if this goes off topic or not. I strongly agree with point number two. This should be taught as its own course for all those city planners that I love to hate before they are allowed to practice.

    I'm not certain you first point is accurate. In fact, in the city I am currently residing in, the only neighborhood with substantial ridership is the poorest neighborhood in the entire city (21% ridership, also 21% public transit). Our somewhat reasonable, for the US, ridership numbers boil down the the University neighborhood (poor/indebted students) and the Whiteaker (just plain poor). Sure, the folks I encounter on my longer joy-rides tend to live in the less-impoverished neighborhoods, but they don't ride in town much and they are very few in number. I also recall a blurb in Grist or some such that showed the income numbers for cyclists fairly closely mirror the population as a whole.

  5. #180
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    Quote Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
    *20-25 mph speed limits.
    *Mostly tamed bulls.
    *Road dieted arterials.
    *Businesses designed for (and by) cyclists.
    *Bike parking.

    Well, wherever and however you ride here's to wishing you all the best for the holidays and a Happy and Safe New Year of riding!


  6. #181
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    I don't care if this goes off topic or not. I strongly agree with point number two. This should be taught as its own course for all those city planners that I love to hate before they are allowed to practice.

    I'm not certain you first point is accurate. In fact, in the city I am currently residing in, the only neighborhood with substantial ridership is the poorest neighborhood in the entire city (21% ridership, also 21% public transit). Our somewhat reasonable, for the US, ridership numbers boil down the the University neighborhood (poor/indebted students) and the Whiteaker (just plain poor). Sure, the folks I encounter on my longer joy-rides tend to live in the less-impoverished neighborhoods, but they don't ride in town much and they are very few in number. I also recall a blurb in Grist or some such that showed the income numbers for cyclists fairly closely mirror the population as a whole.
    Keep in mind that I am saying that putting too much emphasis on certain economic factors, like gas prices, can be misleading. Not that those factors are not at play.

    Certainly it is a cheap way to get around. But it's a cheap way to get around for the motivated and those with some physical energy. As someone who rode a bike for years in part because I was too broke to own a car I can personally attest to its value, however, friends and family in similar economic straits did not choose to ride a bike.

    Over emphasis on this, falsely, in my opinion, feeds the concept of the bicycle as a stepping stone to eventual car ownership rather than a life long satisfying means of transporting oneself regardless of economics. I'm the first to admit, and brag about, how much money I've saved over the years not owning an automobile. But what is it really that keeps us on the bike? What is it that makes someone want to get up and ride to work every morning? It's not some kind of hair shirt we wear like some penny pinching Puritan saving our pennies while denying ourselves life's pleasures, I hope. No, it's because it's one of life's hidden pleasures.

    Yeah, the demographics of bike ownership are tough to figure- like most of the stats we see in these threads. One set of figures may show that households with bicycles tend to be higher income households other stats may show less economically endowed people use a bike to get to work. I don't know if there is enough accurate data to fully assess. One thing that is obvious is that the communities, outside of college and university towns- which skew the demographics- most demanding of bike infrastructure and accommodations are the well-to-do communities.

  7. #182
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    I have a question for FanaticMN regarding the bike-specific infrastructure....

    Is the bike-specific infrastructure a factor in this number? Do they run the bike lanes to the right of lanes from which motorists can turn right? Do they have side-paths which place cyclists out of the line of the normal scan area for motorists? Or do the motorists and cyclists in Minneapolis just have trouble negotiating normal intersections?....
    Minneapolis infrastructure ranges from completely separated "bicycle freeways" (three paths: one path for bicycles in each direction, a separate path for pedestrians) to separated bike paths, to MUPs with lines on them, to bike lanes, to sharrows, to nothing.

    I encourage you (all of you) to go to the page I previously posted:

    http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/bicycles/data/safety

    Where you will find a link to the voluminous report, with raw data in appendices, that you can read and form your own opinions. It describes the infrastructure, the buildout, and shows pictures. It will tell you about left hooks, right hooks, dooring, etc etc. The only thing that's a bit hard to discern for the nonresident is the stats on infrastructure-related vs. non-infrastructure related crashes. My take on the report is that most of the dangerous corridors cited have little or no cycling infrastructure. And, perhaps obviously, the truly separated infrastructure (Greenway, Cedar Lake Trail, etc) have very few auto vs bicycle crashes (there aren't many street crossings; those crossings are for the most part not the orange and red dots in the report, and a few that were problematic have been addressed.)

    I also think that crash rates are too low, and spread out over too long a period, to make many finely-detailed analyses. I do think it's safe to say the conclusion that the rate is flat even as cycling has increased is valid.

    It's all there for the motivated reader.
    Last edited by FanaticMN; 12-25-13 at 03:02 PM.

  8. #183
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    Not so fast. Stick around and answer some questions about this seemingly anomalous place. I note from the information provided that the bulk of the infrastructure build occurred after 2007. Let's split the data given into 2005-2007 and 2007-2012 as pre-infra and post-infra. (Please show me why that would not be a legitimate approach if you object...)
    Um, no, that won't work. There was a recession that started in late 2007. Highway traffic volume fell, gas prices fell, all kinds of macro effects happened. Pretty much everything associated with economic activity crashed. Why would cycle commuting be different?

    There are other factors involved as well.

    For example, in the entire Mpls-StP metro area, automobile traffic volume has declined since 2004, even as population has increased:

    VMT92-2010.gif

    In addition to the recession, that may be in part related to gas prices and also to other cultural demographic effects mentioned in this thread. For example, look at gas prices, superimposed on cycling rates below (prices in dollars, commuting share in %; the scales happen to line up:

    Msp vs STP vs Gas prices.png

    Employment here has declined ~steadily from 8% to 5% now, so that's another factor.

    So, sorry, it isn't a very easy analysis.

  9. #184
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    Keep in mind that I am saying that putting too much emphasis on certain economic factors, like gas prices, can be misleading. Not that those factors are not at play....

    Yeah, the demographics of bike ownership are tough to figure- like most of the stats we see in these threads. One set of figures may show that households with bicycles tend to be higher income households other stats may show less economically endowed people use a bike to get to work. I don't know if there is enough accurate data to fully assess. One thing that is obvious is that the communities, outside of college and university towns- which skew the demographics- most demanding of bike infrastructure and accommodations are the well-to-do communities.
    I agree with all of this!

  10. #185
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    Quote Originally Posted by FanaticMN View Post
    Minneapolis infrastructure ranges from completely separated "bicycle freeways" (three paths: one path for bicycles in each direction, a separate path for pedestrians) to separated bike paths, to MUPs with lines on them, to bike lanes, to sharrows, to nothing.
    I would add to this that many streets with no marked bike lanes or sharrows are good riding streets. Minnapolis and St. Paul are not cities of cul de sacs. The layout of the cities helps make them bike friendly. This is in stark contrast to my experience with cities in much of the country where you simply can't get "from here to there" without going on major arterial roads.

    This also means that even though there are bike paths and highways biking really isn't all that segregated in the cities.

    FWIW.

  11. #186
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    I will commute to work regardless of bike lames. Infrastructure has little to no effect on my decisions unless things become predominantly highway. I am not the norm

  12. #187
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    Quote Originally Posted by FanaticMN View Post

    For example, in the entire Mpls-StP metro area, automobile traffic volume has declined since 2004, even as population has increased
    That's called peak car and it has been a nationwide phenomenon. Personally, I'd like to see the decade-long trend of reduced per capita miles driven and the half-decade long trend of reduced total miles driven continue. It's one of the reasons I am interested in what bike-specific infrastructure gets built (the other being a concern regarding mandatory use laws).

  13. #188
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    Cambridge MA bicycle counts. (Aside - I just noticed I got counted in 2012. Cool.)

    Compare to the ACS for Cambridge over some of the same time:


    2012: 8.4% +/- 1.7%
    2011: 5.7% +/- 1.2%
    2010: 6.8% +/- 1.8%
    2009: 8.5% +/- 2.1%
    2008: 6.3% +/- 1.5%
    2007: 6.0% +/- 1.9%
    2006: 5.4% +/- 1.5%
    2005: 5.3% +/- 1.9%


    Which study gives a more meaningful picture of what is happening with cycling in Cambridge MA?

    -mr. bill

  14. #189
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thechemist View Post
    I will commute to work regardless of bike lames. Infrastructure has little to no effect on my decisions unless things become predominantly highway. I am not the norm
    No you are not. But you may be the flip side of the norm.

    As I see it Infrastructure has the lowest impact on commuting of any possible use. Unless one includes amenities at work as part of infrastructure.

    Without showers and a place to change commuting to work is right out for the vast majority of folks. For me it is out in any case. For me there are few options. Take the freeway, take the road next to the freeway, go and extra 5 miles to take Mulholland. After that we are talking 20 extra miles for a 7 mile base commute.

    It just so happens my most usual is the surface street and I see how people drive that route during rush hour. I'm not taking it on a bike at that point.

    It seems to me that reasonable infrastructure makes a much bigger difference for recreational riding or even shopping. For shopping especially if safe bike parking is part of the infrastructure. One huge difference between commuting and almost anything else is for commuting to get the major benefits one has to do it every single day. Otherwise they have to have the car and parking permit. Not for shopping, one can choose to bike to shop only when it is nice out and one has the time.
    Perish any man who suspects that these men either did or suffered anything unseemly.

  15. #190
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    Quote Originally Posted by thechemist View Post
    I will commute to work regardless of bike lames. Infrastructure has little to no effect on my decisions unless things become predominantly highway. I am not the norm

    I commuted to work with no bike lanes for 40 years. Now I have them, use them and like them. If they disappeared over night, which they recently did due to a snow storm, I'd still bike to work. I just prefer with them to without them. I am not the norm.
    Last edited by buzzman; 12-26-13 at 07:57 PM.

  16. #191
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    I commuted to work with no bike lanes for 40 years. Now I have them, use them and like them. If they disappeared over night, which they recently did due to a snow storm, I'd still bike to work. I just prefer with them to without them. I am not the norm.
    I do agree, I have sections that are and sections that are not and I do prefer the bike lane when available.

  17. #192
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith99 View Post
    ...As I see it Infrastructure has the lowest impact on commuting of any possible use. Unless one includes amenities at work as part of infrastructure...
    Could you elaborate on this? It runs contrary to my observations in the two cites I ride (and commute) in most frequently, that is NYC and Boston. The addition of bike lanes in the city, particularly leading to and from the bridges connecting Manhattan to the other boroughs, like Brooklyn, has definitely impacted bike commuting. The addition of bike infrastructure on the bridges has made a substantial difference in the number of people who choose to bike into Manhattan.

    In Boston the addition of bike lanes on Commonwealth Avenue has substantially increased the number of commuters, particularly students and faculty at Boston Univeristy and several other colleges, universities and conservatories in the city.

  18. #193
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    Could you elaborate on this? It runs contrary to my observations in the two cites I ride (and commute) in most frequently, that is NYC and Boston. The addition of bike lanes in the city, particularly leading to and from the bridges connecting Manhattan to the other boroughs, like Brooklyn, has definitely impacted bike commuting. The addition of bike infrastructure on the bridges has made a substantial difference in the number of people who choose to bike into Manhattan.

    In Boston the addition of bike lanes on Commonwealth Avenue has substantially increased the number of commuters, particularly students and faculty at Boston Univeristy and several other colleges, universities and conservatories in the city.
    I stand corrected. I was thinking of Los Angeles where commutes are often longer and high density routes are rare.

    You also cited the exception I should have noted. Infrastructure can make a HUGE difference if it is put in to make the nastiest part of a commute better. Your bridge example is a perfect one for that. Saddly I often see just the opposite. Infrastructure is put in everywhere EXCEPT the nasty part, or is put in for nasty parts in a way that still leaves them nasty.
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  19. #194
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith99 View Post
    I stand corrected. I was thinking of Los Angeles where commutes are often longer and high density routes are rare.

    You also cited the exception I should have noted. Infrastructure can make a HUGE difference if it is put in to make the nastiest part of a commute better. Your bridge example is a perfect one for that. Saddly I often see just the opposite. Infrastructure is put in everywhere EXCEPT the nasty part, or is put in for nasty parts in a way that still leaves them nasty.
    Yup the So Cal ("nobody walks in LA") approach to things. This is car land my man... cars get first place treatment everywhere here... never mind that the weather is nearly perfect for riding bikes and that the human body is revered here... bicycles are toys only to be ridden by men out doing the Lance wanna be thing. Or at least that seems to be the general conviction in the south land.

    Again, never mind the near perfect climate for year 'round cycling or the fact that bikes don't pollute, or that the roads are packed with rolling living rooms.

    Yup, here a photo op is adding sharrows to a 25MPH residential road and hoping that someone will applaud. Sad. Meanwhile enjoy the narrow painted "lane" on that 65MPH arterial road you share on the way to work... sigh.

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    I definitely think that if they built a decent bike path from my community to Penn State that it would increase ridership. Two of the townships along the way refuse to clear the horrible bike path that does exist, so that does away with using it for 1/3 of the year. The road alternatives are poor, a 4 lane road that sees speeds in excess of 60 mph, and a rural road that tacks on extra miles. There is a second bike path that is also not cleared in the winter and adds a batch of hills.

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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Yup the So Cal ("nobody walks in LA") approach to things. This is car land my man... cars get first place treatment everywhere here... never mind that the weather is nearly perfect for riding bikes and that the human body is revered here... bicycles are toys only to be ridden by men out doing the Lance wanna be thing. Or at least that seems to be the general conviction in the south land.

    Again, never mind the near perfect climate for year 'round cycling or the fact that bikes don't pollute, or that the roads are packed with rolling living rooms.

    Yup, here a photo op is adding sharrows to a 25MPH residential road and hoping that someone will applaud. Sad. Meanwhile enjoy the narrow painted "lane" on that 65MPH arterial road you share on the way to work... sigh.
    Ugh.

    I may be working in LA for a few months next year. My last experience in LA was disappointing for getting around by bike but that was in the 90's. I was hoping things had changed a bit. I just remember a lot of shoulderless roads with narrow lanes and high speed traffic. The best times to ride, oddly enough, were when traffic was at a standstill but the time of day at which they might be did not seem predictable.

  22. #197
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    Ugh.

    I may be working in LA for a few months next year. My last experience in LA was disappointing for getting around by bike but that was in the 90's. I was hoping things had changed a bit. I just remember a lot of shoulderless roads with narrow lanes and high speed traffic. The best times to ride, oddly enough, were when traffic was at a standstill but the time of day at which they might be did not seem predictable.
    "A bit" IS all things have changed... Long Beach and Orange county have probably been the most proactive about cycling, but overall, the car is king and the roadways tend to be fast. Sorry to bear the bad news... maybe you'll find a sharrow or two, but overall, don't anticipate any wonderful improvements.

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    Baby steps. Downtown LA now has conventional sized street signs for pedestrians. You no longer have to cross one-way streets to turn around and see what the cross street is with the ENORMOUS street signs on high. Of course, with map applications on smart phones....

    Damning with faint praise. Much better pedestrian city than Anaheim.

    Speaking of building it, will they come? No, the bike share prototype in Anaheim was an enormous flame out this year. A city well known for its mostly "pro-cyclist" activism, they've only got a couple of miles of useless sub par bike lanes on Euclid and Brookhurst, and a mile of goes nowhere bike lane on East Broadway. I don't think the Santa Ana River Trail counts, since Anaheim had nothing to do with it and it's on the border of city. Other than these few mistakes, "pro-cyclist" activists rule, ensuring that almost all transportation dollars go to the roads. Zoning laws requiring acres of off street automobile parking also is very "pro-cyclist." It's such a "pro-cyclist" dream, lots of wonderful seven lane posted 40 mph (50 mph actual typical) arterials which are so wonderful for cyclists, but nobody rides on them. OK, probably not nobody. There's got to be *SOMEBODY* who rides on them. Doesn't there? (If they do, they are very stealthy.) But that's OK, since nobody walks in Anaheim, the cyclists ride (twice walking speed typical) on the sidewalks. At least several dozen of them are older than 16.

    Bike Nation 2013-2013 - rip.

    (Actually, downtown LA is indeed a walking city.)


    -mr. bill
    Last edited by mr_bill; 12-28-13 at 11:56 AM.

  24. #199
    Senior Member Dave Cutter's Avatar
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    Those that think the power of ideas, great minds, perfect planning, vast amounts of government dollars, [government incentivized] corporate sponsorships, and celebrity involvement will create a socialized utopian city.... visit (or study about) Arthurdale, West Virginia.

  25. #200
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    Ugh.

    I may be working in LA for a few months next year. My last experience in LA was disappointing for getting around by bike but that was in the 90's. I was hoping things had changed a bit. I just remember a lot of shoulderless roads with narrow lanes and high speed traffic. The best times to ride, oddly enough, were when traffic was at a standstill but the time of day at which they might be did not seem predictable.
    LA is a huge city. Parts are really nice to ride, parts border on suicide. And some change back and forth. Mulholland Highway is a really nice ride before noon on a weekend, but I'd never ride it during rush hour.
    Perish any man who suspects that these men either did or suffered anything unseemly.

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