The auto industry has co-opted our brains with snazzy advertising, unrealistic settings where drivers own the road, selling us cars with the idea that our very identity is tied to the vehicle we drive. In this car-dominated culture people defend their entitlement to drive even when the lives of vulnerable road users are at stake. Car production now outpaces population growth globally, spewing pollution, and destroying the environment and human health in general.
City streets are car sewers, but residents of cities are incensed about lack of parking, and whether bicycle riders should be permitted on sidewalks, boardwalks, or the street itself. The small amount of space allowed for bikes (and other micro-mobility) has become the most hotly contested parts of urban infrastructure. One of the greatest successes in automotive
brainwashing influence has been the antagonistic relationship of people walking against people riding bikes and scooters, taking the focus off the responsibility of drivers causing over 40 thousand deaths a year in the US alone.
We believe that in American cities, especially small cities like Asbury Park we can gradually reduce and eventually eliminate the need for personal vehicles by supporting alternative transportation options like micro-mobility (scooters, bikes, skateboards etc), and transit in the form of jitneys, pedicabs, and busses.
While we continue to build more infrastructure for people to get around without cars, we need to create more live-able spaces for people to safely gather, to play, to do business, and to move about the city.
#toomanycars #walkablecity #bikeablecity #placesforpeople
The researchers said future city planning must include a focus on reducing dependence on cars, promoting fewer and shorter trips and encouraging walking and cycling as primary modes of local transport. Public transport should be encouraged for longer journeys, the researchers argued, and cars should only be used for emergencies or special occasions.
Lead author Dr. Rafael Prieto Curiel commented: “The city of the future, with millions of people, cannot be constructed around cars and their expensive infrastructure. In a few decades, we will have cities with 40 or 50 million inhabitants, and these could resemble car parks with 40 or 50 million cars. The idea that we need cars comes from a very pollutant industry and very expensive marketing.”
In case you were not able to attend the Summit this year, here’s your chance to see these great presentations. Every session offered opportunities to learn ways to make our cities safer, more livable, accessible, and more equitable for everyone.
Friends and supporters will want to check out the session Advocates In Action Part 2: Pandemic And Beyond, presented at the NJBWC Summit on June 5th, which includes two founding members of Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition, Moderator Polli Schildge (http://apcopmpletestreets.org editor), and Pam Lamberton. In this session a panel of nine advocates shared ideas, initiatives, and frustrations.
The panelists gathered materials, graphics, videos, and valuable information for this engaging session of the 2021 Summit. We’re looking forward to continuing these conversations!
Check out all of the NJ Bike &Walk & Summit Sessions!
Bike/ped advocates have long been champions of social equity, accessibility, health, and sustainability. Since the pandemic, people all over the world are finally recognizing what the advocates have known all along – to achieve these values, it is critical to reduce automotive dependency, offer safe and convenient alternatives to driving, and to think differently about how we use our valuable public space.
Using this momentum, we are reimagining our streets, neighborhoods, and business districts as places not just for cars, but for all people. In this session, hear experiences from advocates around NJ followed by the opportunity to ask questions of panelists about how they’ve succeeded – or are still working- to build better places for people.
Help us pass the SAFE PASSING LAW!
Summer is here, and those of us walking or wheeling – riding bikes or scooters or other wheeled conveyances are at the mercy of drivers who are inattentive, distracted, or aggressive.
Right now, NJ is one of only 8 states without a law telling drivers how to pass us SAFELY. NJ does have a law about how to pass a horse and rider safely, but none for the rest of us.
Copy and paste the messages below into your email, personalize with your town and your name, and send to New Jersey Senator Stephen M. Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin to urge them to move the NJ Safe Passing Law to Governor Phil Murphy’s desk for signature as we enter the height of the summer season and the increased risks to vulnerable road users.
The state Assembly Law and Public Safety committee ultimately passed the law by a 6-1 vote. It’ll now proceed to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.
NJBWC will now be leading a campaign to move the bill through the Assembly and onto the floor of the State Legislature.
COPY AND PASTE AND EMAIL:
Senator Stephen M. Sweeney: SenSweeney@njleg.org
Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin: email@example.com
Asbury Park has initiated a new scooter share, and we have great hopes to see it succeed. The purpose of a scooter share and bike share in any city is to reduce car dependency. We have excessive traffic in Asbury Park, especially in the summer months, and parking is at a premium, so for those who might be interested in getting to destinations in the city car-free, a scooter is a great alternative transportation option!
There are rules in place that apply to scooter riding, which are similar to the rules for bike riding. We have a dream of a completely walkable and bikeable, car-free city. While we encourage everyone riding bikes and scootering to adhere to the rules, it may take time for users to feel safe and comfortable riding on streets along with motor vehicles, with only painted stripes between them and multi-ton vehicles. Until we effectively lower traffic speeds and reduce the volume of cars, people riding bikes and scooters are faced with the decision of where they can ride safely.
Currently the users of bike lanes in Asbury Park are not protected from vehicular traffic, and almost every existing bike lane is between traffic and in the “door zone” next to parked cars, which places these vulnerable road users in a position to possibly get hit by a driver door, or have to swerve into traffic. Scooter riders and bike riders are often quite literally invisible to many drivers. Some drivers are distracted or inattentive. And there are some aggressive drivers who are angered at the very sight of other road users.
Walkers often say that they were “almost hit” or are “scared” of riders on the sidewalk. People who ride bikes and scooters are almost literally between a rock and a hard place: whether they are willing to endanger their own lives on the road or whether they might frighten walkers on the sidewalk. So some riders will be courageous enough to claim the narrow painted strip of asphalt designated for bikes and scooters, but others may feel safer on the sidewalk.
We will have to allow time to get along. While we continue to build infrastructure on our streets to make them safe for people, we can build a cooperative relationship between walkers and riders. Let’s all focus on the real dangers of drivers of motor vehicles, responsible for killing over 40 thousand people a year in the US.
Fewer cars on the roads will save lives, improve human health and the environment. Enabling people to ride bikes and scooters safely will help make Asbury Park a city for people, not for cars.
Electric Scooter Sharing
Scooter share provides residents, employees, and visitors with an electric foot scooter to rent for a quick errand, a trip to the beach, or a climate-friendly commute. Riders can rent the nearest available scooter, ride it to where they want to go, and leave it responsibly parked for the next person to ride.
The City of Asbury Park has selected LINK powered by Superpedestrian to deploy an electric scooter share program across the entire City starting May 21, 2021. The program includes up to 250 scooters stationed at over 50 designated parking locations around Asbury Park.
In selecting the LINK team to help launch Asbury Park’s e-mobility project, the City is sure to receive quality products and commitment from the experienced e-scooter provider. These scooters will be equipped with front and rear safety lights, a bell and a speed limiter of up to 12mph. They will be available for rent Monday to Sunday from 7am to 9pm for riders 18 years and older.
We have an idea…
Vehicles have taken over our waterfront landscape, and we believe that people can take the space back. One way that people are succeeding in creating places for people on city streets is tactical urbanism.
That’s the message of “The quick way to make pedestrian plazas,” a new video by City Beautiful, a YouTube channel that features the strategies of tactical urbanism for the edification of city planners and livable-streets advocates. It mixes boosterism with some helpful pointers, such as best practices for dealing with Americans With Disability Act requirements and businesses that need freight loading zones.
There was a time in the early years of Asbury Park before cars were prioritized, that our waterfront was for people. Imagine restaurants and cafes, musicians, activities, and people strolling, bicycling and scootering along a car-free Ocean Avenue. Some have cited possible difficulty getting trash pickup and deliveries, and inconvenience to customers if they have to walk to their establishments. We know that businesses thrive all over the world where traffic is eliminated or reduced.
There are a (limited) number parking spaces on our waterfront, causing a continuous flow of vehicles all season with drivers circling, looking to snag an empty space. This constant (often torturously slow) movement of vehicles is the definition of traffic. The effect of traffic everywhere is environmentally disastrous, leading to disease, and catastrophic numbers of injuries and deaths yearly to people outside and inside vehicles.
We believe that city leaders get that we need to do something about traffic and we’re working on a solution to create a safe, inviting car-free, or much more people-centric Ocean Avenue. We’re looking for ideas for jitneys, pedicabs, other ways to get people to their beach destinations. Help us reimagine Asbury’s waterfront. We might also want to consider some tactical urbanism!
An article appeared in my inbox this morning, then an email appeared on the same subject: parks – a tool to evaluate accessibility to parks, and parks for teenage girls.
Asbury Park has large and lovely real estate devoted to parks, which has existed since the inception of the city. These tree-filled, “passive” parks are mostly located in only certain neighborhoods, and parks are completely lacking in others. According to The Trust For Public Land, Asbury Park ranks 76%, meaning that 76% percent of people can walk to a park within 10 minutes. That’s not an impressive score in a tiny 1.4 mile sq. city. Boston ranks 100%. Washington 98%, Alexandria, VA is 97%, and NYC is 99%.
Over 20% of people are unable to walk to a park within 10 minutes in Asbury Park, and existing parks are devoid of amenities for people. A park should be a destination, not just a place to pass through.
A “passive park” like the design in the master plan for Sunset Park would be a large, lovely ornament in the city. The design is intended for strolling, or dog walking, just as it was designed in the original plan for the city in the 1870s. It should not be designed that way in 2021. We believe that an Asbury Park is committed to equity and inclusiveness should actively invite everyone to every park in the city.
The underutilized Sunset Park
Basketball courts, skate parks and playgrounds overlook an important demographic: teenage girls. A burgeoning design movement is trying to fix that.
Susannah Walker, co-founder of the newly created British charity Make Space for Girls, saw in Swing Time something that would have delighted her 17-year-old self. “At the end of the summer holidays my friend and I ran out of money,” Walker wrote in a March post. “We had nothing to do and there was nowhere to go. So we’d go and hang out on the swings in the early evening and chat as the light slowly faded into dusk. It was better than sitting around at home.”
She highlights Swing Time to illustrate two points: One, girls love swings. And two, there aren’t enough swings made for teenage girls. “They are almost always placed with the equipment for younger children, so that if teenagers use them they are seen as invaders.”
The NJBWC Summit is New Jersey’s statewide meeting of bicycle and pedestrian advocates, elected officials and other township leaders, transportation and urban planners, bike shop owners and managers, cycling, walking, fitness and health enthusiasts and experts, recreation, trails and club leaders and others who are interested in making our state a better place to live.
Drawing on the momentum for change spurred by the pandemic, NJBWC is pleased to offer you the opportunity to learn lessons from communities that took action to open their streets to people, learn more about current Vision Zero, Complete Streets, and equitable mobility initiatives impacting your community, gain insights into different stages of trail development, learn about available public funding sources for your bike/ped projects, and identify strategies to advocate for a more bike and pedestrian friendly and therefore, more livable New Jersey.
Register for sessions at the Zoom New Jersey Bike & Walk Summit June 1st through June 5th
The final session of the Summit at 9:30am on June 5th features panelists from nine cities and towns in NJ, including Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition representative! This editor is happy to be moderating a panel again this year, Advocates in Action Part 2: Pandemic and Beyond.
Panelists from these nine municipalities will share inspiration, ideas and implementation of ways they have worked to enable people to move about their cities and towns safely during the pandemic. They will speak about how they have engaged with city leaders, the focus on equitable access, and plans to maintain these spaces in the future, for the health of residents and visitors, and for the health of the planet.