Thursday, January 21, 2010

Everybody's Talking

The hot topic seems to be redesigning American cities for cycling. We are starting almost from scratch, at least in most cities, which makes the task seem impossible. Two articles caught my eye today (via Twitter and Planetizen).

First up is an article in Governing Magazine, "Cities for Cycling Embrace European Street Designs". This highlight Cities for Cycling's attempt to transfer knowledge of bicycle infrastructure to cities that need it. Their source are both American and European.

Second, is Miller-McCune, a research news aggregator, who covered a meeting of the Transportation Research Board, or TRB. TRB is a branch of the National Academies of Science, making it a quasi-federal entity. This too compares US and European cities, particularly Copenhagen where our climate scientists and politicians recently traveled.

I can only hope that all of these experts and reporters have started with a review of John Pucher's "Making Cycling Irresistible: Lessons from The Netherlands, Denmark and Germany", a fantastic review of infrastructure, promotion, and enforcement strategies that increase cycling. I should also point out that it's not just infrastructure. If half of the people who drove to work today rode their bicycle to work tomorrow, the streets would feel very different. And the rest still drove, or walked, or took transit. We could have the exact same streets, but they would feel safe, lively, and much less congested...

It's a lovely thought, but as Pucher points out, many people will only choose their bicycle if the infrastructure is present. Let's build it!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for these links.

    I voluntarily gave up my car two years ago and have been living the car-less since. As a result, I've become quite interested in the impact of transportation design. If we are to thrive in the post automobile era, (of which we are definitely beginning to witness), we will need to rethink the way live, work and commute in a more community-centric direction. Light rail access needs to expand beyond it's limited range in Atlanta to include the outlining counties, and pedestrian/bicycle infrastructure need to become a priority in the planning stage from this point forward. Once these things are in place and proven to be a reliable option, the public will use them. Ultimately, the one great hurtle to clear is the public's perception of change.