The outbreak of COVID-19, is one more strike against mass transit with public health agencies urging people to avoid public gatherings, and “social distancing. “It’s still early to know exactly how this will unfold, but without proper mitigation efforts from local governments, we could be feeling the effects of coronavirus on public transportation service for years to come.”
Mass transit has pretty much always had a bad reputation in popular culture – bus and subway riders in film are often depicted as poor and derelict at worst, and just short of miserable at best.
Ride share like Uber and Lyft has chipped away at transit ridership, flooding streets with more cars, and undermining struggling transit systems. “The legacy of these companies amounts to a warning to the public and policymakers: If you do not provide people with good transportation options, they will take bad ones.”
One way for people to avoid exposure during the outbreak of COVID-19 is to ride bikes, but in some cities like NYC, with “cyclists are reporting huge increases in biking this week” the conditions for bicyclists are not optimal, and the administration isn’t currently planning to focus on better bike infrastructure, as seen in this film: Streetfilms: Biking is the Way to Beat Coronavirus.
As spring approaches in Asbury Park we can get around within this 1.4 mile sq. city on foot, on bikes, and we can utilize other micro-mobility options as they become available. Supporters of Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition can continue to lobby for more and better infrastructure for walking and biking in the city, now and onward.
Ridership is likely going to plummet, which will make it harder on local transit agencies
By Aaron Gordon Mar 10 2020
Coronavirus is beginning to upend American life. The stock market is crashing, universities are cancelling classes or moving them online
, conferences are being canceled
, and airlines
are struggling. Unsurprisingly, public transportation is also going to be greatly impacted. It’s still early to know exactly how this will unfold, but without proper mitigation efforts from local governments, we could be feeling the effects of coronavirus on public transportation service for years to come.
The tools we need are right in front of us. If we have any hope of mitigating the effects of transportation on our health, climate, and our very lives, the solution is simple. Bikes and other micro-transit, and buses/mass transit are obvious answers, and the elevator has also enabled people in cities to do more in less space, while in suburbia buildings are limited to one or two stories, requiring that residents are dependent on motor vehicles to get to work or for any services. This article covers every aspect in detail of why we must cut dependency on motor vehicles, while the industry continues to create ways to get more cars on the roads. Besides the critical health impacts from emissions, “last year, 36,560 Americans died in car crashes, not including 6,283 pedestrians killed by cars.” The auto industry has anesthetized us to these statistics, but we can wake up.
The Hyperloop and the Self-Driving Car Are Not the Future of Transportation
The bus, the bike, and the elevator are.
Question: Among our readers, who, like me learned to drive at a time when we were taught that pedestrians had the right of way? I was taught when I was behind the wheel that I had the awesome right and responsibility to drive a huge metal engine-powered machine, and I had to look out for those more vulnerable on the road. Things seem to have changed. Right now we can see daily reports from cities everywhere of drivers involved in hit and run, and other fatal crashes with people walking and riding bikes, in which drivers are getting away with “failure to yield”, or “reckless driving”. (Police reports say: “She came out of nowhere.” “I didn’t see him.” Or even more ridiculous, “He/she wasn’t wearing a helmet.”)
We’re in the midst of a crisis of an health crisis of vaping. There have been 13 fatalities to date, and may be more to come. It’s a serious problem and it’s in the news every day. But we don’t see a similar response to car crash deaths that occur daily by the hundreds and yearly by tens of thousands! The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that in 2018, 40,000 people died in car crashes (and almost the same number deaths from guns, but that’s another discussion). We have normalized car-related deaths as built-in to our dependence on driving. The US can do so much better, and things are beginning to change -very gradually. It takes time to change a culture. Cities like Asbury Park are making strides to create streets that are safe for everyone, especially the most vulnerable – walking, riding bikes, pushing strollers, navigating wheelchairs, and yes, scooters too. (Check out scooter education on Sunday 9/29!) Watch for continued improvements to infrastructure all over Asbury Park with the goal is to increase availability, convenience, and safety of micro mobility, and reduce car dependency, as it becomes less convenient and less desirable to drive.
Cyclist Deaths Are Exploding Because U.S. Cities Are Car-Friendly Death Traps
Bike-related fatalities are up 25 percent across the U.S. since 2010.
In 2019, more and more cities across America are encouraging their residents to commute by bicycle. Cycling, of course, is good for the environment in terms of reducing pollution from car-dominant streets, and it’s a healthier way to travel.
But cities gaining new cyclists are quickly, tragically finding that they do not have the proper infrastructure to keep them safe. Cyclist fatalities have gone up 25 percent across the U.S. since 2010, and up 10 percent in 2018 itself, while all other traffic fatalities have decreased.
This is a familiar characterization of many people who don’t think bikes belong on the street. This person is a driver who believes that roads were designed for cars and should stay that way. “Bicyclists break traffic law!” “Cyclists don’t pay taxes!” “People on bikes act entitled and run stop signs and disobey traffic signals!” Some of these drivers are aggressive, and even try to frighten people on bikes, intimidating them by buzzing, yelling, honking or even throwing things at them. As your writer I can attest that all of this happens to me frequently. I’m close to being injured or killed by a driver almost every time I commute the 12 miles to and again from my work place.
It can change, with better infrastructure, and more people on bikes.
Chris Cox used to despise cyclists, believing they should get off the roads. Then something changed
Not long ago, Chris Cox used to think bikes shouldn’t be allowed on the road and loathed cyclists. Then, something changed.
Amsterdam wasn’t always this way. We have plenty of work to do- with the prevailing love affair with cars in the US.
“Making a city where most trips are done on bikes requires utterly discarding conventional car-centric ways of thinking about transportation. Over the last 60 years, Amsterdam’s leaders, planners and designers have by trial and error created a template for a city where bikes are the dominant force in transportation planning and design. That template has five essential characteristics; skip or short-change any one of them and your city of bikes won’t work as well.”
5 Reasons Why Amsterdam Works So Well for Bikes
In most cities, the network of bicycle tracks and lanes is far sparser than the overall street network for vehicular traffic. In Amsterdam, the street network map is the bike network map. Almost all streets in the city have excellent bike facilities of one type or another. What is extraordinary is that in Amsterdam you are more likely to need a specialized car map than a bike map, since many streets have limited or no car access.”
People unfamiliar with the idea of the bicycle as real transportation sometimes see Amsterdam—the famously bike-friendly Dutch capital—as a fantasyland that has very little to do with the grown-up transportation world of cars and trucks. In reality, a readjustment of perspective is needed, since Amsterdam has succeeded in creating a transportation system that is one of the most successful in the world. Transportation in Amsterdam is the epitome of sustainability. It is convenient, cheap, clean, quiet, efficient, and safe.