LET’S CARE FOR ONE ANOTHER
Stop shaming people riding bikes.
Stop shaming people running/jogging.
The enemy is not each other.
It’s the virus.
COVID-19 may change the way people think about bikes
In fact, everything about the way people on bikes are treated in North America is absurd. Right now there are so many people competing for sidewalk space that some cities are converting the almost empty traffic lanes to create more space for bikes, runners and pedestrians. It’s got to the point where people have stopped complaining about cyclists and are complaining about runners instead, which is a nice change. It really is time for a reallocation of road space to give more room for people who walk, and a safe, separated space for people who ride bikes or use other micromobility platforms. It’s also time to recognize how useful and important bikes can be in a crisis like this.
APCSC is proud to be a signatory on the letter sent to Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader McCarthy, and Minority Leader Schumer: “We write because America’s transportation system is in a crisis…”
“The point of transportation is to get people where they need to go, meaning we should prioritize infrastructure and transportation projects that connect people to jobs and services. Since the dawn of the modern highway era, we have used vehicle speed as a poor proxy for access to jobs and important services like healthcare, education, public services, and grocery stores. The way we build roads and design communities to achieve high vehicle speed often requires longer trips and makes shorter walking, bicycling, or transit trips unsafe, unpleasant, or impossible. New data can help to address decades of disinvestment which have disconnected communities and worsened economic outcomes.”
14 Apr 2020
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to shift the political landscape, 293 elected officials and organizations from 45 states signed Transportation for America’s letter urging Congress to reform the federal transportation program in the upcoming reauthorization. Because rethinking transportation policy matters now more than ever.
When Transportation for America first wrote this letter advocating for groundbreaking changes in the upcoming federal transportation reauthorization, COVID-19 had yet to radically alter our everyday lives. But as the effects of the virus grew more and more dire, we’ve realized that establishing a new framework for U.S. transportation policy matters more now than ever.
We’re not alone: 293 elected officials and organizations from 45 states signed this letter, with many signatories joining as the coronavirus accelerated. While focused on reauthorization, adopting the reforms in this letter is necessary for Congress to guarantee that any future COVID-19 stimulus substantially improves American lives—not just pump more money into a broken highway program that fails to create new jobs.
Read more here:
Polli Schildge, Founding Member
Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition
Take a look at these photos of the astonishing improvements in air quality in cities all over the world. But what will happen when the COVID-19 pandemic is over? Some politicians are trumpeting that the goal is to “get back to normal”. But not if normal means that people are dying due to poor air quality. The EPA just declined to change air quality standards despite health risks, so when companies are back in production and and cars again choke our roads, is “normal” the goal we want to strive for? Automotive traffic is responsible for most air pollution. After the pandemic will cities have the will to make changes to provide for alternative transportation, improved transit, wider sidewalks for pedestrians, and infrastructure for micro-mobility?
It is the absence of cars on some of the world’s most congested roads that seems to be making the most crucial differences.
Indeed, the fear among environmentalists and residents is that, rather than attempting to maintain the low levels of pollution in the world’s biggest capitals, when industry and cars kick back into action post-lockdown, the situation will go back to square one, and perhaps even worsen, as people and industry attempt to make up for the lost months.
While India’s powerful car lobby has long disputed that cars are a major cause of Delhi’s pollution, Sunita Narain, director of the Centre for Science and Environment, said the lockdown and resulting rapid drop in pollution showed once and for all just what a polluting role vehicles had in the city.
There’s less traffic everywhere in the world right now. More people are staying close to home, and many are walking and riding bikes. At the same time drivers are speeding more. Maybe it’s an increased sense of driver entitlement with more open roads, or the knowledge that police are less likely to engage with speeders, and in some cities even refusing to respond to calls for non-injury crashes, all making streets even more dangerous.
As always, but especially now we need to be more aware of the most vulnerable moving about in our cities: people walking, biking, and using other forms of micro-transit. To maintain 6′ distance during the viral outbreak, people walking must move off too-narrow sidewalks into the street. Those who ride bikes must also maintain 6′ distance. But bike riders fearful of speeding and distracted drivers may feel safer on sidewalks, even if there are bike lanes. Paint doesn’t protect.
The problem isn’t walkers or people on bikes. It’s #toomanycars, and #slowthecars.
Let’s consider closing some Asbury Park streets to automotive traffic to allow more space for people. If we envision the successful street closures during the Sea. Hear. Now Festival, we can see that Ocean Avenue could be closed to cars, at least temporarily while the boardwalk is closed (and probably soon the beach). Cookman Avenue would make a great walking plaza, especially now while businesses are mostly closed, and maybe it could remain permanently a place for people. It’s becoming evident all over the world that cities are more vibrant where there are fewer cars. This would be a great time to try it out.
How to Open Streets Right During Social Distancing
“The first place we should start, the advocates we spoke to argued, is with closing off as many streets as possible that run through our parks to motor vehicles — not just a handful of them, as may cities are doing now. And it’d be even better to close off roads adjacent to parks, too: Mike Lydon and Tony Garcia, tactical urbanism superstars and co-principals of Street Plans, offered particular applause to Minneapolis’ decision to allow limited road closures near its river front.
Next stop: the cul-de-sacs. Streets that are already pretty quiet have absolutely no reason to allow non-resident traffic right now, when the risk of killing new crowds of of walker vastly outweighs the risk of holding up a traffic pattern that has largely come to a standstill. And that goes for through-streets that don’t connect major essential services, too.
Third stop: those small, walkable shopping districts where all the businesses are closed anyway. Jason Roberts of Better Block thinks it’s particularly important to give residents safe, contactless access to window shopping, street vendors, and even shuttered restaurants, which can be converted into open-air markets through Better Block’s free downloadable shelf plans.”
Read all about it:
Trump Says COVID-19 Deaths May Be the Price We Pay For A Strong Economy — Just Like Traffic Deaths
Deadly car crashes are not the price we must pay to sustain our civilization. Neither are coronavirus deaths.
“Trump’s comment followed an equally jaw-droppingly callous statement by Wisconsin Senator and Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson a week earlier.”
“We don’t shut down our economy because tens of thousands of people die on the highways,” told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on March 18 in a discussion about the impact of coronavirus on the national economy. “It’s a risk we accept so we can move about.”
Read the article:
With a concern for overcrowding in hospitals, Italy and Spain have, as of March 16th, banned cycling in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Health authorities there are urging cyclists not to ride because of the risk of being injured on the road and putting additional stress on an already over-burdened healthcare system. This is a backward approach. The real danger is speeding motor vehicles. Cars, particularly speeding cars killed over 40,000 people in the US last year. Each year, 1.35 million people are killed on roadways around the world. Driving a motorized vehicle is far more dangerous than riding a bike, so let’s #slowthecars so we can ride safely, now – and always.
Lowering Speed Limits Will Help Stop COVID-19
The last thing our hospitals need right now is more car crash injuries.
Why not encourage cycling during the coronavirus lockdown?
Bikes allows people to maintain isolation but provide important respite from being indoors
Cycling for everyday transport has not so far been restricted outside places which have imposed hugely draconian containment measures, like China. While Italy and Spain have placed temporary bans on leisure cycling, riding a bike for permitted everyday travel is officially allowed, albeit with reports of some over-zealous police enforcement.
On Thursday, the chief executive of British Cycling, Julie Harrington, wrote to the health secretary, Matt Hancock, urging ministers to add cycling to their list of recommended activities during the outbreak.
Earlier this week, a group of nearly 50 academics and experts on public health and transport wrote an open letter to the government, urging ministers to not discourage walking and cycling amid the pandemic, noting their vital importance in the wider public health issue of combating inactivity.
Read about it~
After the Covid-19 pandemic is over will Americans will acknowledge that fewer motorized vehicles on the road had a great effect on the environment and human health? Will we change behaviors and opt to drive smaller vehicles, and drive less? It remains to be seen, but “… these preliminary numbers demonstrate that this global health disaster is an opportunity to assess – which aspects of modern life are absolutely necessary, and what positive changes might be possible if we change our habits on a global scale.”
Using the Tropomi instrument on the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, images taken from 1 January to 11 March 2020 showed nitrogen dioxide dropping dramatically. See the amazing video.
But if there’s a sliver of good news, it’s about how the spread of the new coronavirus has been decreasing air pollution, and possibly even saving lives in the process.
Back on March 8, Stanford University environmental resource economist Marshall Burke did some back-of-the-envelope calculations about the recent air pollution drop over parts of China and potential lives saved, posting it on a global food, environment and economic dynamics blog, G-FEED.
The situation has continued to unfold since then, so those numbers won’t stay current for long; but according to Burke, even conservatively, it’s very likely that the lives saved locally from the reduction in pollution exceed COVID-19 deaths in China.
“Given the huge amount of evidence that breathing dirty air contributes heavily to premature mortality, a natural – if admittedly strange – question is whether the lives saved from this reduction in pollution caused by economic disruption from COVID-19 exceeds the death toll from the virus itself,” Burke writes.
“Even under very conservative assumptions, I think the answer is a clear ‘yes’.”
Read about it: