Does the automobile industry own us? When you scratch just a little below the surface, you discover that we live in cities that are controlled by strange, outdated mathematical theories, models and engineering “solutions” that continue to be used despite the fact that they are of little use to modern cities.
In this excerpt from “Copenhagenize,” author Mikael Colville-Andersen talks cars, playgrounds and how we can leverage design to reclaim our “life-sized” cities.
“When the automobile appeared in our cities, it was an invasive species detested by citizens. Motorists were despised…”
“Here’s the baseline. We have been living together in cities for more than 7,000 years. By and large, we used those seven millennia to hammer out some serious best-practices about cohabitation and transport in the urban theater and the importance of social fabric. We threw most of that knowledge under the wheels of the automobile shortly after we invented it and have subsequently suffered through a saeculum horribilis in the urban context. Our overenthusiasm for technology and our human tendency to suffer short-term urban memory loss have further contributed to our zealous disregard for past experience.”
“We might be living through a new age of miracles.”
“Both the public and a few of our bolder political leaders are waking up to the reality that we simply cannot keep jamming more cars into our cities.
A century of experience has taught us the folly of it. Three pathologies emerge. First, every car becomes the enemy of every other. The car you hate most is the one that’s right in front of you not moving. As cars pile in, journey times and pollution rise.”
This article describes “bikelash”, which is the response from drivers in some US cities to the creation of infrastructure for the safety of bicyclists. They complain of interference to the flow of traffic, hindering delivery trucks, and diminished parking. Think about it. All of the complaints are about the perceived “rights” of drivers of motorized vehicles to drive unimpeded, and to park, basically taking up actual real estate on city streets to store cars. In the US we live in a car culture dominated by an industry that barrages us with advertising to support the mentality that a drivers’ individuality and freedom is defined by the car they drive, and they own the road in a sound-proofed, luxurious, motorized living room with built-in creature comforts and amenities. American drivers vastly outnumber bicyclists and they’re conditioned to believe that they own the road. No wonder drivers wail about giving up road space to bike lanes. Infrastructure for bike rider safety provides equitable access to city streets, and is is critically important to the health of every city as a whole, and for residents as individuals. But developing bike infrastructure is a process, and deconditioning people from the effects of indoctrination from the automobile industry isn’t easy, even in “Bike Town, USA”.
Creating Bike Lanes Isn’t Easy. Just Ask Baltimore. Or Boulder. Or Seattle.
Supporters say protected lanes prevent car-bike collisions; critics complain about less parking and more congestion
A cyclist rides in a bike lane separated from moving vehicles with a lane of parked cars on Roland Avenue in Baltimore. Some residents are fighting to get the city to remove the bike lane.PHOTO: SCOTT CALVERT/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
This article is rich with links. Peruse all of the reasons and ways that Anytown, USA needs to, and CAN step up to make walking safe everywhere.
“With the advent of the car, these public spaces were pushed to the margins, squeezed to the fringe of roadways widened and reinvented for speed. The invention of jaywalking shamed and blamed those who dared to leave the sliver of space demarcated for pedestrians.”
“Underserved neighborhoods, where there are higher rates of pedestrian deaths and injuries, face even greater equity challenges around sidewalks.
“Street safety is an environmental justice and racial justice issue,” says Emilia Crotty, executive director of the pedestrian advocacy group Los Angeles Walks. Across the country, she notes, African Americans and Latino Americans are 60 percent and 43 percent more likely to be killedwhile walking than white Americans. “The traffic deaths and injuries that are so common in these neighborhoods are a result of historical neglect and disinvestment in the streets, crosswalks, sidewalks, traffic signals, medians, and curb extensions that other communities have enjoyed for years.”
Yet clean, safe, unbroken sidewalks have become such a rarity in this country that designing an area where people can get around primarily by walking—the one mode of transportation that is available and accessible to everyone—is now seen as a harbinger of displacement. In 2016, an Urban Land Institute report noted that walkability had become so desirable that it was something “many households will not be able to afford.”
American society has so normalized our inferior sidewalk system that we don’t believe we deserve a place to walk.”
Yesterday I was in almost exactly the same situation as the writer of this article. I was sitting in my car checking messages in a vast grocery store parking lot in Red Bank, when a very elderly woman tapped on my window. The woman’s car wouldn’t start and she didn’t have a phone. She asked me if I could try to start her car. Luckily she had AAA, which I called for her, waited with her for a while, then left her hoping that the repair truck would indeed get to her within the hour as promised. The woman probably shouldn’t have been driving at all, and she wouldn’t have to if she could safely walk to the grocery store in Red Bank.
We have already come a long way in beginning to make Asbury Park a truly walkable city. Some seniors are able to get out and navigate a relatively safe sidewalk to get to a market, or walk on the boardwalk and enjoy the pleasure of sitting by the beach or in a park in certain areas of the city…but not all. We’re working on developing livable spaces and safe streets that provide and for the needs of the most vulnerable citizens.
Evidence from in-depth studies have shown for people who live in cities both walkability and nature have positive effects on mental health, cardio vascular health, hypertension, diabetes, COPD, and asthma.
The Science Is In: The healthiest neighborhoods are both walkable and green
Posting this again for the beginning of the spring/summer season. Asbury Park Police launched a bike registration program last year. If a bike is stolen it can be identified. If you have a computer and Adobe you can do it online, or print and mail it in. You’ll get a confirmation fast.
WE ARE A NETWORK OF INDEPENDENT BICYCLE CRASH LAWYERS WHO SHARE A COMMON APPROACH TO THE LAW AND TO HELPING CYCLISTS. OUR BIKE CRASH ATTORNEYS HAVE HANDLED THOUSANDS OF CASES. WE KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BICYCLE ACCIDENT AND BICYCLE CRASH, AND WHY IT MATTERS.
In October 2017, Delaware’S Governor Signed The Bicycle Friendly Delaware Act, Placing Into State Law Cutting-Edge, Pro-Bike Reforms.
“You say you want to change your state’s Rules of the Road even if the police are opposed? Bless your heart.
When it comes to the Rules of the Road in any state, the most important stakeholders are the police. Your state police will have a full-time lobbyist (or “liaison”) who attends every public safety committee meeting in your state legislature (and probably has been doing so for a decade or more). One way of attempting to reform the Rules of the Road in your state is to draft a bill without consulting with the police, find a willing legislator to introduce it, and let the chips fall where they may. Our comment on that strategy is “Bless your heart.” (According to Wikipedia, “bless your heart” is a phrase that is commonly used in the southern United States and which means “you are dumb or otherwise impaired, but you can’t help it.”)
Bike Delaware spent more time negotiating with the police on the text of the Bicycle Friendly Delaware Act than we did on any other aspect of the campaign. If you want to introduce a bill in your state legislature on a certain date, you should start negotiating with the police six months before that.”
Get a look at how much space is allotted to parking in cities around the world.
“At the moment, cars spend around 95% of the time parked, and only 5% of the time in use. Huge swaths of cities, either in parking lots, garages, or street parking spaces, are used as storage for cars (while, at the same time, many cities struggle to find enough land to build housing to keep up with demand). “There’s this huge space that’s basically wasted,” says Szell.”
“The visualization is part of a project called What the Street? that inventories parking lots in 23 cities around the world, along with the space used for roads, rail lines and rail yards, and bike paths and bike parking. ”