When I commute or train on my road bike, or cruise around town on my basket bike I feel alternately strong and empowered, or vulnerable and endangered. There is rarely a ride of any type or duration that is without concern for my safety, yet I ride and I will continue to ride. This author needs to be concerned with her own health issues as well as her safety, yet she rides.
“When I bike I defy those who catcall me, those who are trying to make me feel less safe in my city. From my perspective one of the best ways to make the city safer for women is to just be visible, don’t go away, use the bike lanes, use the roads, advocate for yourself by not letting other people change your commute.”
Separated bikeways are clearly safer and will encourage more bicycling leading to economic, health and environmental benefits. But there needs to be a commitment from local city government, residents and voters.
A LOOK AT DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO SEPARATED BIKEWAY IMPLEMENTATION
WEB EXCLUSIVESAFETY ARTICLE BY ROCK MILLER, MARCH 12, 2018
“A complete network of separated bikeways serving a dense city center can often attract 10% or more commuter trips to the city center from nearby neighborhoods. And once cyclists find that they enjoy commuting by bicycle, they are not likely to give it up. Bicycling can also serve many non-commuting trips, such as shopping, entertainment or schools. This can make a tremendous difference in areas where parking is difficult or transit is crowded because travel times by bicycle are often faster within the city center than driving or transit. But potential new bicyclists generally must feel safe and comfortable riding in bikeways and must be able to reach their destinations with minimal travel away from bicycle facilities.”
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 When you scratch just a little below the surface, you discover that we live in cities that are controlled by strange, outdated mathematical theories, models and engineering “solutions” that continue to be used despite the fact that they are of little use to modern cities.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.