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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Across Europe, Irking Drivers Is Urban Policy

Pedestrians and trams are given priority treatment in Zurich. Tram operators can turn
traffic lights in their favor as they approach, forcing cars to halt.By
Published: June 26, 2011

ZURICH — While American cities are synchronizing green lights to improve traffic flow and offering apps to help drivers find parking, many European cities are doing the opposite: creating environments openly hostile to cars. The methods vary, but the mission is clear — to make car use expensive and just plain miserable enough to tilt drivers toward more environmentally friendly modes of transportation.

Click here for the entire article

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bike Rack Becoming Fan Favorite

It's apparent that the handcuffs on the Coeur d'Alene Police Department bike rack will become a favorite near the police substation at City Park. Huckleberries hears that this photo, featuring William Tickman & Chase Helgeson from Issaquah, Wash., is one of several already taken at the bike rack. More info & another photo here. (Coeur d'Alene police photo)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Protected bike lanes will change the fearful realities of urban cycling

I have seen the potential future of biking in cities across the country.

                                           Cyclists try out Chicago's first protected bike lane, the first of its kind in Chicago, while it is
                                           still under construction. When it is completed, cars will park along its left side, protecting cyclists
                                           from traffic. (Provided by Chicago Department of Transportation/MCT)

And friends, our heart-pounding, car door-fearing, bus-dodging urban rides may never be the same.

In Chicago, you can get a glimpse of it. It is a protected bike lane, the first of its kind in Chicago, under construction as part of a federally funded test.

But I recently saw and rode a fully operational version in New York, where 4.9 miles of protected bike lanes have been built over the last few years. I was ambling through the Village when I came upon a stretch of protected lane. I stepped off a curb on a major avenue and stopped, dumbstruck. I was standing in the parking lane, only it wasn't a parking lane. It was painted green and it looked to be a two-wheeled version of a pedestrian mall. People were strolling, in a cycling sort of way. They were riding unhurriedly and sociably, some of them chatting with friends riding next to them.

But wasn't this the parking lane? Where were all the parked cars?

They were in the next lane over, forming a protective barricade between the bike lane and moving traffic.

But what happened when the drivers parked and then opened their doors onto the bike lane?

They would be opening them onto the white-striped, no-go lane, twice the width of a car door, painted clearly on the road to the left of the parked cars.

My New York friend smiled indulgently as I gaped. It was just a bike lane. Didn't Chicago have bike lanes? Gamely, I defended our honor.

Certainly, we have bike lanes. They are narrow strips painted onto busy streets and marked with signs reading, "Good Luck, Pal." What fun it is to ride on them! The excitement of edging into traffic to keep out of parked car door range, the amazing sight of bikes pouring around both sides of stopped traffic like lava, the thrill of the bike messenger chase.

Dangerous? So what? It isn't urban biking unless you need an advance directive.

So I tried to defend Chicago's bike lanes, but my heart wasn't in it. There was only lust for those protected bike lanes in New York.

Then I came to the light.

The dedicated bike lane light, with its own signal — a little bike icon that blinks red or green.

I hung my helmeted head.

But now, Chicago is getting a protected bike lane of our own. Just one, and just a half-mile long — but look what the future portends.

"Under the mayor's transportation plan, the city would build 100 miles of protected bike lanes over his four-year term," said Adolfo Hernandez, director of advocacy for the Active Transportation Alliance.

The lanes would transform urban biking.

"You see kids riding their bikes, senior citizens," said Hernandez, who has ridden protected lanes in New York, Washington, D.C., and Seville, Spain.

"Anyone can just go out and ride, on any bike they have, in whatever they want to wear."

People bike more slowly and with more sociability, he said. And New York's bike lanes have not only reduced bike crashes, but also crashes involving pedestrians and vehicles.

"It serves as traffic-calming," he said.

Washington, D.C. is increasing its number of protected bike lanes in heavily-biked areas of the city. Officials say that the emphasis is on protecting cyclists.

"Separated bike lanes have been installed with great results in other cities including New York, Montreal and Madison, Wis., and they are the logical next step here in the District as well," said Department of Transportation Director Gabe Klein. "Half of our residents don't drive to work: they bike, walk and take public transit, and we need to provide the infrastructure for them to get back and forth safely."

Only a minority of New Yorkers has complained over loss of parking spaces, space for driving and the lack of sidewalk access to shops, he said. The majority support bike-friendly street improvements, as shown by two polls and annual double-digit growth in bike ridership.

"There are around 200,000 people riding our streets on any given day," he said.

Much as I have enjoyed my time racing in the peleton in the Tour de Milwaukee Avenue, I'm ready.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Streets Built For Bikes and Pedestrians Also Yield More Jobs

Streets Built For Bikes and Pedestrians Also Yield More Jobs by Angie Schmitt

Want to get the most job-creation bang for your infrastructure buck? Focus on meeting the needs of cyclists and pedestrians.

A new study from the University of Massachusetts finds that bike and pedestrian infrastructure projects create 46 percent more jobs than road projects built strictly for cars. The findings are based on an analysis of 58 projects in 11 cities, from Anchorage to Baltimore.

Building bike lanes puts more people to work per dollar spent than roads built only for car traffic, according to a new study. Photo: Mlive.com
When it comes to putting people to work, all projects are simply not created equal, says Meghan Cahill at the League of American Bicyclists in her overview:
On average, the “road-only” projects evaluated created 7.8 jobs per million, while the “bicycling-only” projects provided 11.4 jobs per million. For example, a roadway-focused project with no bicycle or pedestrian components in Santa Cruz, Calif. generated 4.94 jobs per $1 million spent. In contrast, a bicycle-focused project in Baltimore, Md. produced 14.35 jobs per million. The reviewers attribute the difference to the simple fact that bicycle and pedestrian projects are often more labor intensive.

“It’s no secret that investing in transportation infrastructure creates jobs and helps the economy,” said Caron Whitaker, campaign director at America Bikes [sponsors of the study]. “This study proves bicycle and pedestrian projects are no exception — in fact, they are especially efficient in creating jobs.”

Kind of flies in the face of the whole “we can’t afford to spend money on sidewalks during a recession” argument being advanced by some leading members of Congress, doesn’t it?

Elsewhere on the Network today: Mobilizing the Region explains that an under-reported aspect of GOP proposals for HSR in the Northeast Corridor is a massive reduction in funding. New Jersey Future says it’s a sign of the changing times: Multi-family housing developers in the Garden State have formed a lobby to promote their interests. And Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood reports on The Fast Lane about widespread support among the U.S. Conference of Mayors for the president’s high-speed rail plan.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Kids Fun Run

Click HERE to Register
Click HERE for The Route Map

Ford Ironman is partnering with the City of Coeur d'Alene this year to bring you the 2011 Kids Fun Run. The Fun Run is a one mile run for kids starting and finishing in City Park. The entry fee is $5 and all proceeds go to the Parks Department to help fund Trails and Bikeways. Register either online, at the City Hall Parks Department counter, or at the City Park Gazebo on the day of the race between 1pm and 5:30pm. The run begins at 6:00pm. If you would like to volunteer for this event please contact Monte McCully at mmccully@cdaid.org.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

To you it's a car...

Bike Skills 101

The Coeur d'Alene Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee is currently working on getting a couple members licensed to teach bike safety classes through the League of American Bicyclists. Until then, there is this opportunity to learn some road skills through this free online course. It is no replacement for a hands-on experience but you'll likely learn a few things that could improve your safety on the road.

From the Leaugue's website:
The City of Houston is proud to be a partner with the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) in the development of this online course to represent the classroom portion of the League's Traffic Skills 101 course. The BikeEd program is designed to develop the craft and science of bicycling, the ability to use a bicycle with confidence and competence for pleasure, utility and sport under various roadway, climate and traffic conditions.
With this convenient on-line course, we hope that you will find valuable tools to provide you with knowledge and confidence to ride safely and in a commendable manner. By completing the online portion of Traffic Skills 101, you are on your way towards becoming a bicycle ambassador. Your example will demonstrate to your co-workers and to our residents your bicycling initiative. We hope that your positive example and endeavor motivates Houstonians to recognize the value of bicycling and they consider riding themselves.
To take the online course or learn more about it, click HERE.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

More Sidewalks = Less Traffic

A study from the Washington State Department of Transportation looked at the impact of various community design strategies on travel and carbon emissions. Among the findings: filling in a community's sidewalk network so that 70% of streets offer safe pedestrian space reduces vehicular travel by 3.4% and carbon emissions by 4.9%. Other factors, such as a mix of land use and changes in the price of parking, also reduced vehicular travel and emissions.

Ironman coming to town again

From the Coeur d'Alene City blog:

Ford Ironman Coeur d'Alene

On Sunday, June 26th, more than 2,500 athletes from around the world will be visiting Coeur d'Alene to test their physical and mental limits. Over the course of 17 hours, they will race throughout the community as they compete with a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile run. We ask for your cooperation and understanding on race day as you travel around town. Expect traffic delays if you drive on the race route, and please watch for cyclists. If you live on the route itself and think you may be going out on race day, consider backing into your driveway the night before so that you are not backing out onto the street during the race. Participants count on you for support on race day, so bring your friends and cheer them on! Please CLICK HERE for more information and a list of road closures and partial road closures.
My advice would be to plan on sticking close to home that day and make it a car-free day. Walk or bike to wherever you plan on going that day...the store, restaurant, church, tavern....whatever...it makes life simpler.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fish by Bike

I snapped this photo a couple months ago at a Ballard (Seattle area) farmer's market. This couple hauled fresh fish from Vancouver, BC to the market by bike. These Surly Big Dummy bikes were tricked out with signs and custom trailers made for keeping their fish fresh and getting them to market car-free. We couldn't help but support them by buying some fish.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy needs your help today

The future of funding for trails, walking and bicycling in America is in serious jeopardy.

As Congress ramps up efforts to pass a national transportation bill, some senators and representatives are pushing to eliminate the dedicated federal programs without which most of our nation's trail, walking and bicycling infrastructure would not exist. These programs currently receive less than two cents of every transportation dollar, yet have tremendous impacts on their communities.

Make no mistake: If we lose this battle, communities all around the country will find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to build the trail systems they need. Since Senator Crapo from your state of Idaho is on the Environment and Public Works Committee, you have an important voice in this debate. If Sen. Crapo stands with us, it could mean the difference between a future that includes trails, walking and bicycling... and one in which Americans are denied the innumerable economic, mobility and health benefits of active transportation.

But, he needs to hear from you.

Please sign your name to the constituent letter* below by Tuesday, June 14:
Dear Sen. Crapo,

I urge you to stand up for dedicated funding for trails, bicycling and walking, and to ask Senator Inhofe not to eliminate the Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational Trails programs.

These three programs have brought essential funding to our state’s towns and cities. The projects they support provide jobs and economic development; improve safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers; give people the option to walk or bike for short trips, reducing congestion; and provide opportunities for physical activity. We need alternatives to paying the high price of gas to get to work, school and other destinations.

Please let Senator Inhofe, ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, know that you and your constituents need the small amount of funding dedicated to Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and the Recreational Trails programs.

Thank you,
Sign the letter now!
Automatically sign with
one click.


Want to manually fill out the petition yourself?

Read more, and sign the letter now.

This is one of the biggest fights we have had in years. Your signature is absolutely critical to our success.

Thank you very much,

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

*This letter is being circulated by several groups as part of a large-scale effort to communicate the breadth of support for trails, walking and bicycling to Sen. Crapo.

Wet weather riding


In a June 1st FastLane blog entry, Transportation Sec'ty LaHood wrote, "Transportation is about a lot more than just getting around. Our roadways, runways, and railways connect people with all of the things that make life worth living: family, education, job opportunities, and recreation. That's why we here at DOT -- and the entire Obama Administration -- are laser-focused on improving access to transportation for all Americans."

"Last week, I joined the White House monthly disability call with the Special Assistant to President Obama on Disability Policy, Kareem Dale, to discuss with hundreds of stakeholders everything we're doing at DOT to improve transportation access for people with disabilities. In the twenty years since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, there's no doubt we've made significant strides forward. But we won't rest until everyone has equal access to all forms of transportation..."


According to the May 31st edition of Braking News, "It's official! After three legislative sessions of hard work by Cascade and other supporters, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signed the Vulnerable User Bill into law on May 16. Several Cascade staff, along with victims of negligent drivers and their families, stood during the signing with the bill's sponsor, Senator Adam Kline, and Representative Joe Fitzgibbon, who introduced a companion bill in the state House. Also present was outgoing Advocacy Director David Hiller, whose tireless work played a gigantic role in this victory. The law will go into effect June 1, 2012."

Will Idaho be next?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Route of the Hiawatha Trail is open

If you haven't ridden there, it's worth checking out. An easy ride, great scenery, and with the long tunnels it's somewhat of an adventure.

Route of the Hiawatha is open 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. seven days a week. Tickets, bike, rentals, shuttle passes food, beverages and picnic lunches are available from 8:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area, located 12 miles east of Wallace off Exit 0 on Interstate 90 at the Idaho/Montana border. The St. Paul Pass Tunnel trailhead is about 7 miles from the ski area. Helmets and lights are required and available for rent. Equipment reservations are recommended. For more information about Route of the Hiawatha, call 208-744-1301 or visit www.ridethehiawatha.com for trail information.

Bike lane video

Here is a funny video from NYC from a guy who got a ticket for not riding in the bike lane. Check out his humorous response to this incident.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Speed Kills

Drivers speeding in areas of New York City will see these signs. It's an effort to illustrate the danger of high speeds. I think the picture is cool and it's a somewhat clever idea...however, I think it might have the unintended consequence of encouraging people to speed just so they can see the pedestrian change into a cool skeleton.

Bike Commuting at Michigan Tech University

I just had to post this picture because it's from my university. Ah, brings back memories...

Found at http://www.bikerumor.com/

Monday, June 6, 2011

Great advice from a kindergartener

On riding a bike...and on life...

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Dump the Pump

The annual Dump the Pump day is happening on June 16th all around the country! Everyone is encouraged to dump the pump that day and find a different way to get to work, outside of driving to work. I can think of a few ways to get to around without driving a car...

Poll results are in...

We asked:
Are you going to bike to work during Bike to Work Week?

57% said “I'm biking all month long....it is Bike Month!”
14% said “I will bike all 5 days...the 16th thru the 20th”
23% said “I'll bike to work at least once“
4% said “Nope! I'm driving my 1 MPG Hummer to work every day twice!”

Stay tuned for our next completely unscientific poll...

Hiawatha Trail to open soon...

From the Coeur d'Alene Press:

LOOKOUT PASS - In the rugged mountain range along the Idaho/Montana border, some lingering snow drifts have delayed the opening of the Route of the Hiawatha bicycle trail.

But according to Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area, venturesome riders won't have to wait long - the famed 15-mile route, formerly the main line of the Milwaukee Road railway, is scheduled to open Saturday, June 11.

"We've still got a lot of snow to deal with," said Bill Jennings, director of marketing and sales at Lookout. "We're waiting for the snow to melt so we can get access."

Known for its stunning scenery, spindly trestles and dark railroad tunnels, the Route of the Hiawatha attracts thousands of visitors every season. Because of its high elevation - the Pearson trailhead, the trail's lowest point, is 3,175 feet above sea level - the trail is blanketed with snow for much of the year.

Lookout Pass, which operates the route during the summer months, had originally planned for a May 28 opening day. The Bitterroot Mountains, though, had other ideas.

After a long winter in the high country, East Portal, one of the trail's main entry points, was still snow-covered last week, Lookout President and CEO Phil Edholm said. Upper reaches of the trail were also snowbound, and near the midpoint of the route, Tunnel 26 remained icy.

"We let Mother Nature melt the snow off," Edholm said.

In the meantime, the Hiawatha is gearing up for another busy season. Trail crews are clearing deadfall, filling potholes, painting facilities and prepping shuttle buses.

"We've got 47 interpretive signs on the trail, and they all have steel covers on that we have to remove and store," Edholm said. "We inspect all 15 miles of the trail, make sure it's a nice surface."

Before the route opens, Forest Service engineers look over the route, Edholm said. They pay special attention to the historic tunnels and trestles, searching for any safety hazards.

Every day, Hiawatha trail marshals examine the wire ropes on every trestle, Edholm added. Exposed to the elements, the ropes may expand or contract as conditions change. If they become too tight, they might pull on certain parts of the bridge.

"We inspect those on a daily basis," Edholm said, "and loosen and tighten them as needed."

New for this season, Lookout added 200 Trek mountain bikes to its rental fleet. Riders can now choose between a hard-tail or full suspension model.

More than 34,000 people rode or walked the trail in 2010, and Edholm anticipates another successful year.

"The Hiawatha is literally drawing people from all over the globe," he said. "As long as Mother Nature cooperates, I think it's going to be bigger than ever."

More than 100 years old, the Milwaukee Road's Pacific extension was completed in 1909. Freight and passenger trains once rumbled along the Route of the Hiawatha, switchbacking through the scenic Loop Creek drainage.

In 1998, long after the railroad was abandoned, 13 miles of the old grade were opened to hikers and mountain bikers. Last fall, the route was named to the Rails to Trails Conservancy Hall of Fame.

To learn about the new Route of the Olympian click here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

EMS Bicycle Team

LANCASTER, NY - The Lancaster Volunteer Ambulance Corps has added a new team to better serve and care for the residents of Lancaster.

The new EMS bicycle team was launched Sunday afternoon at a Health and Safety Exposition.

Now LVAC can reach places they would have more difficulty getting to by ambulance like heavily crowded areas and park trails.

Captain of Bike Patrol Gabe Casucci told 2 On Your Side "We're also going to be utilizing it to be out in the public eye, so we can stop and talk with people, and just get to know the people we're working with in the town."

Casucci says the bikes have enough supplies to care fore 2 people at an incident. They have supplies such as a defibrillator, oxygen tanks, and standard first aid supplies.

The four new bikes will be manned by 8 patrol officers of the new unit.

LVAC annually responds to over 3,300 emergency medical calls in the Town of Lancaster, the Village of Lancaster, and the Village of Depew.

Drive your bicycle

California program extends cycling to the disabled

The Bay Area Outreach Program (BORP) supports clients with a wide range of conditions and
disabilities. BORP is a non-profit organization that helps get the disabled - and non-disabled - up and rolling through a number of recreational activities, including group rides on handcycles. The program promotes as much independent use of of available facitilities as possible.

BORP is an organization driven by its users," said Cycling Program Director Greg Milano. "We were founded by people with disabilities."

Read Adam Hunt's piece on BORP in Bicycle Times online: