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No, protected bike lanes are probably not too expensive for your city to build.

Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

No, protected bike lanes are probably not too expensive for your city to build.

Old 03-07-14, 02:29 PM
  #26  
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It's pretty established that funds put towards alternative transportation methods have a great return on investment. Arguing at this point whether it's better to continue to build bike paths or roads is equivalent to arguing whether it's better to to invest in a mutual fund or light your money on fire.

The base I work near has had a tremendous influx in people, but they've had trouble coming up with the transportation funds for the local infrastructure. As a result, they haven't been able to just build roads wherever they want and have had to come up with other ways to get dozens of thousands of people on base every morning. That means shuttles, pedestrian gates, bike lanes, everything… they've even built apartments on the base in an attempt to increase density and decrease the number of people coming through the gates every morning. The bottom line being that you can get the same number of people to work every morning with $100m dollars of road improvements or $25m dollars of alternates.

I'm of the opinion that we should have alternate funding sites and alternate facilities for bikes and cars. I think the ultimate result of that, though, would be that daily driving habits would be priced almost out of existence.
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Old 03-07-14, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Good point. Thanks for explaining it in more detail. I think you're right that one must be very careful when comparing various types of projects. However, if expanded bike infrastructure actually does result in a significant switch from cars to bikes, comparisons can be made. There are currently 15 cities with bike mode shares of 25% or greater, up to 55%. Cost benefits of bike infrastructure at those levels of ridership are surely significant and can be directly compared to costs of car infrastructure.

In many cases, adding more car infrastructure increases traffic gridlock, adding to the problem. And some cities simply don't have the room for more car infrastructure, so ultra-expensive projects are required, such as double deck bridges and Boston's Big Dig. I won't even go into parking issues, economic inequality, public health, and pollution--although these are other factors to be considered when comparing the relative costs of various infrastructures.
I'd be interested to see how much of the cycling infrastructure in those cities is separated facilities, and how much of it is on street bike lanes. In my opinion, you can't reach those numbers with on street facilities.
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Old 03-07-14, 03:19 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by GodsBassist View Post
It's pretty established that funds put towards alternative transportation methods have a great return on investment. Arguing at this point whether it's better to continue to build bike paths or roads is equivalent to arguing whether it's better to to invest in a mutual fund or light your money on fire.

The base I work near has had a tremendous influx in people, but they've had trouble coming up with the transportation funds for the local infrastructure. As a result, they haven't been able to just build roads wherever they want and have had to come up with other ways to get dozens of thousands of people on base every morning. That means shuttles, pedestrian gates, bike lanes, everything… they've even built apartments on the base in an attempt to increase density and decrease the number of people coming through the gates every morning. The bottom line being that you can get the same number of people to work every morning with $100m dollars of road improvements or $25m dollars of alternates.

I'm of the opinion that we should have alternate funding sites and alternate facilities for bikes and cars. I think the ultimate result of that, though, would be that daily driving habits would be priced almost out of existence.
Your base is an interesting microcosm that shows what's happening in many cities. I was interested that they built housing on base in order to lessen traffic. Many cities are using multiple use zoning to accomplish this. They're putting housing close to jobs, schools, and shopping so that people can travel shorter distances and use more non-motor means of transit. Land use changes might be the single most important change that can be made, although I agree that alternative infrastructure is also important.
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Old 03-07-14, 08:46 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by GodsBassist View Post
It's pretty established that funds put towards alternative transportation methods have a great return on investment. Arguing at this point whether it's better to continue to build bike paths or roads is equivalent to arguing whether it's better to to invest in a mutual fund or light your money on fire.

The base I work near has had a tremendous influx in people, but they've had trouble coming up with the transportation funds for the local infrastructure. As a result, they haven't been able to just build roads wherever they want and have had to come up with other ways to get dozens of thousands of people on base every morning. That means shuttles, pedestrian gates, bike lanes, everything… they've even built apartments on the base in an attempt to increase density and decrease the number of people coming through the gates every morning. The bottom line being that you can get the same number of people to work every morning with $100m dollars of road improvements or $25m dollars of alternates.

I'm of the opinion that we should have alternate funding sites and alternate facilities for bikes and cars. I think the ultimate result of that, though, would be that daily driving habits would be priced almost out of existence.
This is also similar to my base, which is actually not very far from you. I'm guessing you're talking about Meade? I'm down at PAX.

Unfortunately, they discontinued the shuttle, which is horribly unfortunate as I had planned to take it to the hangar on the worst weather days of the winter. It was one of the first things gone during the Sequestration last spring.

Lots of traffic plugging up Rt 5 during the evening and morning rush hours. Not big-city like, but it's a problem. Unfortunately, the lanes have been built up along so you'd have to bulldoze buildings to improve it. This includes a considerable length of fence that forms the base perimeter. Just isn't going to happen. There is a bike lane on that road, though, for a considerable distance between Gate 1 and 2 and beyond Gate 1, however. It petters out somewhere near the Rt4 intersection and just never comes back.

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Old 03-09-14, 12:23 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
Cycling increased tenfold over here after segregated facilities were built.

http://lcc.org.uk/pages/seville-goes-dutch
Looking at the link, I can't help but mention PIGS. As you likely know, that refers to the nations that saw huge influxes of (mostly German) Euros and a corresponding economic boom when the Euro came to be. Once the bubble burst, these nations, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain, were left to find a way out of a nasty downsizing. As has been noted time and again, cars are more than a little expensive to own and operate and there is something about massive unemployment that would seem to discourage many people from driving any more than they absolutely need to.

So, two things occur simultaneously: Seville, like the rest of the PIGS area, is crushed economically. (If Seville somehow avoided the fate of the rest of the PIGS, do tell; I'm assuming it didn't.) It also commits to a large but inexpensive build of segregated bike infrastructure with an emphasis on continuity (while freely granting right of way over cars, which is a nice touch) and a bike share program to boot. Subsequently, Seville sees an increase in ridership from sub-US levels to something more respectible.

So, did the ridership increase because of the segregated facilities? Did it increase because of the right-of-way decisions? Was the bike share program responsible? Or was it the same thing that led to large increases in many other places at that time, the Lesser Depression (or Great Recession)? Who knows? I've seen places with far worse infrastructure and higher rates of ridership than Seville currently boasts. I've seen places add dramatically to their infrastructure and see only modest gains or even decreases. (Of course, as noted in the nice article you linked to, if infrastructure does not connect, then it will not succeed even if it is well done.)

A reverse experiment was done in Munich. They REMOVED many of their segregated facilities and replaced them with two meter or better on-street bike lanes. Their ridership expanded from 7%, where it had been stuck for several years, to nearly 20%. Were the segregated facilities holding them back? Are bike lanes what led to the boom? Maybe. Or maybe it was just the economics of the time or the growing cultural awareness of the insanity of western energy use. Maybe it is something else entirely.

That was a long-winded way of saying correlation is not causation. While it is nice to have a model that explains what we see, we should recognize when our adherance to a particular model is more faith than reason.
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Old 03-09-14, 12:40 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Your base is an interesting microcosm that shows what's happening in many cities. I was interested that they built housing on base in order to lessen traffic. Many cities are using multiple use zoning to accomplish this. They're putting housing close to jobs, schools, and shopping so that people can travel shorter distances and use more non-motor means of transit. Land use changes might be the single most important change that can be made, although I agree that alternative infrastructure is also important.
There are some real unintended downsides to multiple use zoning. First off, unless the zoning is extremely finely defined, you get situations where people are expected to live across the street from a towing company that enters/leaves its yard all night long with its lights flashing and its loud engines and brakes doing their thing. Then you have the bars/taverns who turn their customers out into the neighborhood at 2:00 AM to loudly wake the sleeping residents (multiple use zoning almost always restricts the size of the parking lots, which disperses the cars onto the streets where people's homes are.)

And let's not forget those famous pizza delivery guys. Their story involves the fact that pizza delivery guys drive by each other many times each night because people don't really care which pizzeria is the closest, they want the pizza from their favorite place. Same deal with having shopping centers in every neighborhood. People don't necessarily shop at the closest grocery store (or hair salon or gymnasium...). They go to the one they like the best. Putting them all next to housing just puts more cars onto residential streets, in my experience.

Oh, and those multiple use zoning areas generally involve much higher density living than single zoning areas do. That can be great when your many neighbors behave well and don't have huge impacts on each other. However, I live in a relatively uncivilized city. It's not working here. If many people insist on driving many trips per day, creating smoke (tobacco, barbecues, fireplaces, diesel engines), playing loud music or whatever, it really does matter how many of them live around you. I have seen some studies indicating the constant noise that is endemic to European cities has been documented to take a measurable toll on the health of the people who live there.

These problems aren't unsolveable, but they are rarely mentioned by fans of the "New Urbanism", "Mixed Use Center", "Densification" or whatever name this is going by today.
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Old 03-09-14, 06:00 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
There are some real unintended downsides to multiple use zoning. First off, unless the zoning is extremely finely defined, you get situations where people are expected to live across the street from a towing company that enters/leaves its yard all night long with its lights flashing and its loud engines and brakes doing their thing. Then you have the bars/taverns who turn their customers out into the neighborhood at 2:00 AM to loudly wake the sleeping residents (multiple use zoning almost always restricts the size of the parking lots, which disperses the cars onto the streets where people's homes are.)

And let's not forget those famous pizza delivery guys. Their story involves the fact that pizza delivery guys drive by each other many times each night because people don't really care which pizzeria is the closest, they want the pizza from their favorite place. Same deal with having shopping centers in every neighborhood. People don't necessarily shop at the closest grocery store (or hair salon or gymnasium...). They go to the one they like the best. Putting them all next to housing just puts more cars onto residential streets, in my experience.

Oh, and those multiple use zoning areas generally involve much higher density living than single zoning areas do. That can be great when your many neighbors behave well and don't have huge impacts on each other. However, I live in a relatively uncivilized city. It's not working here. If many people insist on driving many trips per day, creating smoke (tobacco, barbecues, fireplaces, diesel engines), playing loud music or whatever, it really does matter how many of them live around you. I have seen some studies indicating the constant noise that is endemic to European cities has been documented to take a measurable toll on the health of the people who live there.

These problems aren't unsolveable, but they are rarely mentioned by fans of the "New Urbanism", "Mixed Use Center", "Densification" or whatever name this is going by today.
Good points. My advice to cities on mixed use, etc. is to start easy and go slow. Its often better to add new residential to commercial areas rather than add commercial to residential areas. For example, city planners here decided to re-license for rental the old apartments above stores, which had been unlicensed and vacant for decades. The people who moved into these "new" apartments were people who wanted to live in a downtown or old town environment. This was much better than allowing businesses to move into quiet residential areas.
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Old 03-09-14, 08:45 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
Looking at the link, I can't help but mention PIGS. As you likely know, that refers to the nations that saw huge influxes of (mostly German) Euros and a corresponding economic boom when the Euro came to be. Once the bubble burst, these nations, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain, were left to find a way out of a nasty downsizing. As has been noted time and again, cars are more than a little expensive to own and operate and there is something about massive unemployment that would seem to discourage many people from driving any more than they absolutely need to.

So, two things occur simultaneously: Seville, like the rest of the PIGS area, is crushed economically. (If Seville somehow avoided the fate of the rest of the PIGS, do tell; I'm assuming it didn't.) It also commits to a large but inexpensive build of segregated bike infrastructure with an emphasis on continuity (while freely granting right of way over cars, which is a nice touch) and a bike share program to boot. Subsequently, Seville sees an increase in ridership from sub-US levels to something more respectible.

So, did the ridership increase because of the segregated facilities? Did it increase because of the right-of-way decisions? Was the bike share program responsible? Or was it the same thing that led to large increases in many other places at that time, the Lesser Depression (or Great Recession)? Who knows? I've seen places with far worse infrastructure and higher rates of ridership than Seville currently boasts. I've seen places add dramatically to their infrastructure and see only modest gains or even decreases. (Of course, as noted in the nice article you linked to, if infrastructure does not connect, then it will not succeed even if it is well done.)

A reverse experiment was done in Munich. They REMOVED many of their segregated facilities and replaced them with two meter or better on-street bike lanes. Their ridership expanded from 7%, where it had been stuck for several years, to nearly 20%. Were the segregated facilities holding them back? Are bike lanes what led to the boom? Maybe. Or maybe it was just the economics of the time or the growing cultural awareness of the insanity of western energy use. Maybe it is something else entirely.

That was a long-winded way of saying correlation is not causation. While it is nice to have a model that explains what we see, we should recognize when our adherance to a particular model is more faith than reason.
Seville was definitely affected by the economic downturn, but that couldn't have been the cause of the spectacular rise in ridership for the simple reason that the protected lanes had already been built and most of the increase in modal share had already occurred before the crash. Also, if the surge was caused by economic necessity, why is it that other Spanish cities which are suffering just as much economically as Seville but which haven't invested in cycling infrastructure have not seen similar increases?

As regards the bike-share program, Sevici, it has been a success. I recently participated in a bike count carried out by the University of Seville, and about 25% of the bicycles I counted were Sevici bikes, so, yes, I do think that program helped to make transport cycling more popular here. However, I'm convinced that it wouldn't have worked on its own, and this has been borne out in other towns in the region which have initiated bike-share schemes without investing in protected and connected bike lanes. Most of these projects have been abysmal failures and many have been discontinued. None have brought about a substantial increase in cycling modal share.

As to what you describe in Munich, I don't think that would work here because drivers would invade unprotected lanes. In fact, I've ridden in such lanes in other Spanish cities, and that's just what happened. Cars used them as turn lanes and parking lots.
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Old 03-09-14, 09:56 AM
  #34  
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Protected lanes need the correct legal framework and proper design to make motorists respect them, really.

Liability defaulting to the less vulnerable user (whether by direct rule, or by giving the more vulnerable user right-of-way over their own lane).
Priority for traffic in the protected lane, over turning motorists.
Prohibition on right turns on red.
As few intersections as possible.
Where this isn't possible, enough space for a car to come to a complete stop and LOOK before crossing. (Look at how the Dutch do intersections for a model of this.)
Separate light cycles for intersections where cars are crossing, with the exception of very low traffic (residential, not commercial) driveways.
In areas with sufficient space and lots of destinations that motorists want to access, consider low-speed (20 mph or less) service roads instead of protected lanes, with sufficient traffic calming to actually keep motorists at that speed.

Also, if you can get the modal share up... that helps a lot.

Now, the next challenge is actually maintaining the bike lanes... including actually convincing the crews to clean them in winter.

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Old 03-09-14, 11:28 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
Seville was definitely affected by the economic downturn, but that couldn't have been the cause of the spectacular rise in ridership for the simple reason that the protected lanes had already been built and most of the increase in modal share had already occurred before the crash. Also, if the surge was caused by economic necessity, why is it that other Spanish cities which are suffering just as much economically as Seville but which haven't invested in cycling infrastructure have not seen similar increases?

As regards the bike-share program, Sevici, it has been a success. I recently participated in a bike count carried out by the University of Seville, and about 25% of the bicycles I counted were Sevici bikes, so, yes, I do think that program helped to make transport cycling more popular here. However, I'm convinced that it wouldn't have worked on its own, and this has been borne out in other towns in the region which have initiated bike-share schemes without investing in protected and connected bike lanes. Most of these projects have been abysmal failures and many have been discontinued. None have brought about a substantial increase in cycling modal share.

As to what you describe in Munich, I don't think that would work here because drivers would invade unprotected lanes. In fact, I've ridden in such lanes in other Spanish cities, and that's just what happened. Cars used them as turn lanes and parking lots.
The bold text gets to the one thing that I have seen work in getting people to use bikes: traffic law enforcement. The Germans are stereotyped as law-abiding and they appear to have earned it. It's a pity the U.S. has turned its back on this great tool, and apparently so has Spain. Even when the new mayor of New York announced a Vision Zero safe streets program, the NYPD responded by issuing ten-fold more jaywalking citations than they normally do and not increasing the citations to scofflaw motorists. No wonder they are having trouble achieving any meaningful ridership. The Los Angeles Police Department is doing the same thing. I guess we can't be too careful regarding the impending epidemic of people being killed by jaywalkers.

That traffic law issue is one of the reasons why segregation is such a bad idea in the US. Since motorists are taught from a very early age that they need not yield to anything that isn't also a motor vehicle, the inevitable driveways and intersections that bedevil segregated facilities are horrific to navigate on a bike. The most dangerous place in Davis has always been the segregated sidepath along Russel/5th/hwy128. I have known a number of people who have been injured at the driveway/roadway/on-ramp crossings along this thing. It got so bad that the traffic engineer changed the right-of-way to give the motorists absolute right-of-way when they cross it. It's a bit difficult for most folks to yield to a car that is overtaking them and turning across their path, but that is what one must do on that thing.

My knowledge of Spanish geography/culture/anything fits into a VERY small space and still leaves mostly vacuum. Has there really been no increase in ridership in Spain since the Lesser Depression started? Even in cities with universities? We have the data of the U.S. Census American Community Survey, which isn't perfect, but does spot trends pretty well. Is there anything comparable in Spain?
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Old 03-10-14, 05:24 AM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
Has there really been no increase in ridership in Spain since the Lesser Depression started? Even in cities with universities? We have the data of the U.S. Census American Community Survey, which isn't perfect, but does spot trends pretty well. Is there anything comparable in Spain?
There hasn't been an appreciable increase in cycling outside of Seville that I'm aware of. I expect this to change as protected bike lanes and bike-share programs are introduced in other Spanish cities.
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Old 03-10-14, 01:42 PM
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I guess I should prioritize Seville, then, if I ever visit Spain. Sweet, I can put these kludgey high school Spanish skills to work!

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Old 03-11-14, 02:25 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by MEversbergII View Post
I guess I should prioritize Seville, then, if I ever visit Spain. Sweet, I can put these kludgey high school Spanish skills to work!

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Let me know if you're going to be in town. I'd love to show you around. The same goes for all other LCF subforum participants--even the trolls!
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Old 03-11-14, 02:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
There hasn't been an appreciable increase in cycling outside of Seville that I'm aware of. I expect this to change as protected bike lanes and bike-share programs are introduced in other Spanish cities.
There are big plans to promote cycling in other parts of the Andalusia region. Here's an interview with the Vice Minister of Development and Housing.

European Cyclists' Federation ? Andalusia Cycling Plan Now Launched: Meet its Mastermind
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Old 03-11-14, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
There are big plans to promote cycling in other parts of the Andalusia region. Here's an interview with the Vice Minister of Development and Housing.

European Cyclists' Federation ? Andalusia Cycling Plan Now Launched: Meet its Mastermind
Two things from the link:
1. I really liked the picture of the cyclists crossing the trolley tracks. Those were smooth; we have nothing like that in the western US. Is that the norm in Spain?

2. A proposal for a mandatory helmet law in Spain was mentioned. Does that have a real chance to happen, or is it just the usual troublesome minority trying to throw sand in the gears of cycling progress?
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Old 03-11-14, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
Two things from the link:
1. I really liked the picture of the cyclists crossing the trolley tracks. Those were smooth; we have nothing like that in the western US. Is that the norm in Spain?

2. A proposal for a mandatory helmet law in Spain was mentioned. Does that have a real chance to happen, or is it just the usual troublesome minority trying to throw sand in the gears of cycling progress?
1. I'm not sure if the trolley tracks are common or not. That's the only trolley line we have in this city and I haven't noticed any elsewhere. They must be crossed at the correct angle, by the way. I know a couple of cyclists who've "come a cropper" because they weren't careful about that.

2. The mandatory helmet law is a real threat, unfortunately, as it's being pushed by the ruling Popular Party in Madrid. We're doing all we can to fight it, as you might imagine.
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