#217 Monday, December 22, 2008
CenterLines is the bi-weekly e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking. CenterLines is our way of quickly delivering news and information you can use to create more walkable and bicycle-friendly communities.
-> Earlier this week, Mark Plotz and Bob Chauncey from NCBW were sitting around a conference table in a small city in northern Minnesota, with a dozen or so pairs of eager eyes staring back at us awaiting our answer. The question they had posed to us: "How do we get started? Yes, we want to help our residents walk and bike more regularly, and yes, we have several ideas about doing so. But, what do we do next?"
Because we hear this question quite frequently, we proposed to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in our role as their Active Living Resources Center, that we work with communities to create an answer. More specifically, that we work to create a "roadmap" -- a way for communities to sort through all the various sources of sage advice, all the various tools, all the success stories -- to select a specific way of proceeding that works best for them. And, after having selected an approach, to actually implement it effectively!
If you are currently engaged in an effort to increase and improve walking and bicycling, we would like to hear about how you are implementing your efforts. We are interested in knowing, of the tools and resources created to help communities become more walkable and bike-friendly, which ones you are aware of, are using, would like to use, or would use again. We are also interested in knowing what barriers or constraints prevent you from using some tools and which of your needs are currently unmet because of inadequate or non-existent tools and resources. And, we'd like to know how your effort is progressing.
Please take a few moments to complete the Roadmap survey at: http://tinyurl.com/6tpd2l
The Roadmap survey should take only 15-20 minutes to complete. Should you agree to participate, we will be happy to share the results with you. Thank you so much for your help!
-> Here's a reminder of a present that is under the tree for bicycle commuters: beginning January 1st, employees who regularly use their bicycles to get to and from work will be eligible for a $20-a-month, tax-free reimbursement from their employers for bicycle-related expenses. Employers will in turn be able to deduct the expense from their federal taxes.
The Bicycle Commuter Act was part of the larger set of Renewable Energy Tax Credit Initiatives included in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, a.k.a. the "Wall Street Bailout Bill, signed into law by President Bush in early October 2008. Section 211 of the "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008" allows for a "qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement" for "reasonable expenses incurred by the employee...for the purchase of a bicycle and bicycle improvements, repair, and storage, if such bicycle is regularly used for travel between the employee’s residence and place of employment."
"We're hearing that a lot of employers don't know anything about the bicycle commuter provision, nor that it goes into effect at the first of the year," said Peter Harkness, Board of Directors Chair of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking (NCBW). "This provision is a matter of equity; it gives bike commuters similar benefits to those already enjoyed by those who drive or take public transit to work."
The $20-a-month bicycle commuter benefit comes in well behind the $115 mass-transit benefit already available, or the $300-plus parking subsidies aimed at helping those who drive to work. "The original ask was for an $80-a-month benefit ," said Harkness. "But during the compilation of the House and Senate bills, the compromise amount was set at a maximum $20 a month. It's not a perfect program, but it's a good start."
Sharon Roerty, NCBW's executive director, agrees. "There are a lot of inexpensive ways to encourage more bicycling and make a cyclist's life easier, and maybe this benefit will encourage efforts in that direction. More people might give bicycle commuting a try if they know their business supports it, even at this basic level." Roerty noted that employers may reimburse employees, tax free, for expenses including equipment and bike purchases, bicycle parking, repairs, shower facilities, and storage. "The Christmas gift is there for bicycle commuters, but you've got to tear the wrapping off and get your employer involved," she said.
The League of American Bicyclists is maintaining a Frequently Asked Questions page pertaining to the Bicycle Commuter Act at:
-> The Active Living Resource Center has introduced a new Help Desk feature, built around blogging software. "We built the Help Desk because we realized that ALRC/NCBW staff members were continually answering questions from individuals, and that those answers might benefit others in the bicycle/pedestrian field," said Chris Jordan, senior web designer for ALRC and the National Center for Bicycling & Walking. "A staff member can put a good deal of effort into providing information, and historically only one person has been the beneficiary."
John Williams, the NCBW's CenterLines editor, has in the past been tasked with answering the majority of the technical questions that come in 'over the transom.' "I like the fact that the Help Desk will make available to a wider audience the information that staff members provide on a routine basis," Williams said. "In addition, the structure of the Help Desk will allow site visitors to comment on the answers we've provided, further building the information that we can give to an individual who has posed a question."
You can review past questions, comment on answers, or submit a new question to staff of the Active Living Resource Center/NCBW at:
-> Roger Geller, the Bicycle Coordinator in Portland's Department of Transportation, will discuss adapting the Cycle Zone Analysis tool to other locales, and what would be required to implement this planning tool in your community. The one-hour webinar will take place on January 21, 2009, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
The Cycle Zone Analysis webinar will review a tool created by planners in Portland as they moved away from that city's eight traditional planning areas—defined largely by political boundaries—and instead divided the city into 32 "cycle zones" which describe distinct micro-environments for bicycling. Find out how this tool helps Portland planners more accurately assess and improve cycling conditions. Participants will learn how to define cycle zones, develop a bikeway rating index, and use the resulting analysis to improve cycling conditions.
The Professional Development webinar series is co-hosted by the National Center for Bicycling & Walking (NCBW), the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP), and Cullbridge Communications. The charge for each location is $50 for APBP members, and $60 for non-APBP members. Note that you can have more than one person at a given webinar site, but you can have only one computer link and phone line for audio under the fee structure above.
Register for the webinar at:
For more information about the webinar series and for site payment, see:
DESOTO AND FERGUSON (MO) ADOPT COMPLETE STREETS POLICY
"'Complete Streets legislation has been popping up across the country at various levels of government and is often cited as the beginning of a more comprehensive commitment to building healthier communities,' said Phil Valko, Trailnet Active Living Program Manager. 'Complete Streets means more walkers and bikers, therefore healthier individuals; more walkers and bikers means more neighbor-to- neighbor interaction, resulting in stronger communities; and less driving means less pollution, resulting in a healthier environment.'
"'I heard Phil Valko talk about complete streets and its implications for the community, but until I went to the Pro Walk/Pro Bike Conference in Seattle and attended several breakout sessions on the topic I did not REALLY hear him,' said Dwayne James, Ferguson City Councilman. 'What I brought back from the conference is that Complete Streets puts policy in place to consider everyone in the planning and design of capital improvement projects.'..."
Two views on the incoming Secretary of Transportation...
-> In a recent note, Ed Barsotti of the League of Illinois Bicyclists wrote "I want to provide information on our incoming USDOT Secretary, Ray LaHood, a moderate Republican Congressman from central Illinois who was retiring from his seat this year. In summary, he’s been great for us! He is an active supporter of bicycling and trails, and he has very visibly gone against the wishes of his party leaders on our issues:
-> According to a Dec. 18th Gristmill blog entry, "Wednesday's surprise pick of Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) to head the Department of Transportation caught greenies and urban-planning types off guard. Though they're not condemning the pick, they are emphasizing that transit will be a major challenge and that the next secretary needs to be up to the task. LaHood has served on the House Transportation Committee in the past, though never in a leadership position. He most recently served on the House Appropriations Committee. Many think his nomination is based on politics rather than experience or expertise.
"'It appears as though others with longer, more distinguished resumes were bypassed,' Brian Imus, director of the public interest group Illinois PIRG, told the Chicago Tribune. Imus noted that LaHood will face the tough task of rebuilding 'a federal system that is truly broke.' For the most part, though, environmental groups are holding their fire. Or at least they are on the record..."
-> In a recent note, Richard Blomberg, president of Dunlap and Associates, Inc., wrote "It is with profound sadness that I inform you of the passing of Kenneth D. Cross on December 11 after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Ken was a wonderful husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, friend and colleague. He made numerous contributions to the human factors profession including his landmark study of bicycle-motor vehicle accident types and multiple publications related to helicopter training, design and operations. It was my privilege to have known and worked with him for over 30 years. His counsel and humor will be missed by all of us who were fortunate enough to have received them.
Expressions of sympathy can be sent to his wife, Joyce, and his daughter, Kimberley, at:
-> According to an article on the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia website, "The path to urban sustainablity is paved by streets that accommodate all users, not just cars and trucks. The 2008 bicycle counts, conducted by Bicycle Coalition staff and volunteers at key intersections and the Schuylkill River bridges, found that bicycling increased 104% since 2005, or 35% per year.
-> According to a Dec. 17th American Automobile Association news release, "AAA projects a slight decline in the number of Americans traveling during the Christmas holiday period. Nearly 63.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Christmas holiday travel period, a decrease of 1.4 million travelers (2.1 percent) from last year’s total of 65.3 million. This is the first decline in Christmas holiday travelers since 2002. AAA projected year-to-year decreases in the number of travelers for all five of the major travel holidays this year (Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas)..."
The 2nd Safe Routes to School Conference is taking place August 19-21, 2009 at the Hilton Portland in Portland, Oregon. A call for proposals is currently open with a February 2, 2009 deadline. To submit your presentation or poster proposal, please visit:
Presentations and posters should exemplify Safe Routes to School programs' ability to address a range of issues that affect our society, and give schoolchildren the tools to change habits and stay two steps ahead of health issues, environmental problems, and traffic congestion. The conference will offer 90-minute workshops and interactive 180-minute training opportunities that allow for more in-depth discussion and hands-on events. Presenters should focus their messages on a single age group (K-5, middle school) or geographic location (urban, suburban, rural). Any individual, organization, business, non-profit, or public agency that is actively engaged in Safe Routes to School and can demonstrate experiential success is invited to submit a proposal for presentation and/or posters.
For more info or to submit a proposal, go to: http://tinyurl.com/4s2cvz
-> According to the Dec. 19th issue of Environmental Roundup, "Transportation in the U.S. is responsible for 30 percent of our global warming pollution and 70 percent of our oil consumption. We cannot solve the energy and climate challenge without making our transportation system far cleaner and more efficient.
"President-elect Obama and the congressional leadership are moving quickly to pass an economic stimulus package that creates green jobs with a new, clean energy infrastructure. Public transportation, smart growth and green transportation alternatives are a crucial part of this effort.
"Unfortunately, the road-building lobby is attempting to hijack this bill and divert billions of dollars to the construction of new, unnecessary roads, highways and bridges that would deepen our nation's dependence on oil and increase greenhouse gas emissions."
AASHTO RESPONDS TO TRANSPORTATION REFORM MOVEMENT
-- John Horsley, AASHTO Executive Director
-> In a Dec. 16th alert, Deb Hubsmith of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, wrote "Please help us document the need for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) funding in the federal economic recovery/stimulus bill, by taking 10 minutes to fill out a survey about your SRTS infrastructure needs by December 30.
"In early November, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership collected more than $50 million worth of ready-to-go Safe Routes to School projects from organizations around the country to document the need for SRTS funding to Congress as they work on an economic stimulus bill.
"As the economic situation has worsened, Congress is now considering an economic stimulus or recovery bill that could include two types of funding for infrastructure projects-short-term funding for projects that can start construction in three months, and longer-term projects that can be built in less than two years..."
Opportunity #1: Funding for Bicycling in Economic Stimulus
-> According to a Dec. 17th Quick Release article, "MassBike has already been working with local and national advocates, state agencies, and our Congressional delegation to support funding for bicycling projects in the infrastructure spending currently being debated in Washington, DC as part of a massive economic stimulus package. Here is an opportunity for you to add your own voice via one of our national partners, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. RTC is compiling an online petition to send to President-Elect Obama and Congressional leaders, asking them to provide funding for trails, walking, and biking.
Click here to sign the petition: http://tinyurl.com/6g9l8v
Opportunity #2: Make Bicycle Transportation a National Priority
Ideas for Change in America, a project of Change.org, is asking for public input on ideas for the incoming Obama Administration. Individuals can vote for ideas they support. One idea that is getting significant attention is to make bicycle transportation a national priority.
Click here to cast your vote: http://tinyurl.com/a2pt2s
-> According to an article in the Dec. 18th Weather Report newsletter, "The Thunderhead Alliance for Biking and Walking is launching our new annual Awards for Excellence in Bicycling and Walking Advocacy.
"We invite you to nominate a person or organization for any of the six award categories:
"The deadline for nominations is January 31st, 2009. Awards will be presented in March in Washington, DC to coincide with the timing of the National Bike Summit. For full descriptions of the awards, more information on the process, and to make your nominations, visit: http://tinyurl.com/8fmq3m
-> According to an article in the Dec. 12th edition of the AASHTO Journal, "Despite fuel price declines, the nation's motorists continued to reduce driving, apparently in response to the worsening economic picture. Meanwhile, Americans took 2.8 billion trips on public transportation during Third Quarter 2008, an increase of 6.5 percent over the same quarter last year – the largest quarterly year-over-year increase in 25 years, the American Public Transportation Association reported Monday...
"Transit ridership gains came as motorists drove 3.5 percent less in October 2008 compared to October 2007, according to data released today by the Federal Highway Administration. This is the sharpest decline of any October since 1971, the administration notes. Americans' vehicle miles traveled have now gone down for 12 months in a row..."
-> According to an article in the Dec. 18th issue of RTP and TE Update, "The Departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Interior, Army, and Transportation signed a Memorandum of Understanding to Promote Public Health and Recreation. This MOU establishes a general framework to promote uses and benefits of the Nation's public lands and water resources to enhance the physical and mental health and well being of all Americans, through sound nutrition, physical activity, and recreation in America's great outdoors."
For related links to Recreation resources, go to: http://tinyurl.com/7c6rzq
-> According to the City of Edmonton's website, "We live in a winter city and snow is no stranger to Edmontonians. When it snows, City crews clear our roadways and property owners clear their sidewalks -- all in an effort to keep Edmonton moving. But for some Edmontonians, particularly seniors, moving snow is an impossible task. They need your help -- they need a snow angel.
"Become an Angel! To be a Snow Angel, adopt a senior's sidewalk this winter and keep it clear. Watch for people in your neighbourhood that could use help removing snow from their sidewalks and driveways and ask if you can lend a hand. You can also pick up some free sand to add traction to your neighbour's sidewalk from the boxes at any Edmonton community league -- remember to bring a container.
"You can help reduce health and safety risks for seniors. Every winter, people are injured by slips and falls because of icy and snowy sidewalks. Edmonton Emergency Medical Services (EMS) often responds to an increased number of cardiac events on days with heavy snowfall -- typically as a result of physical exertion. All emergency services, including paramedics, fire, and police, can respond faster to emergencies where walkways are clear of snow and ice..."
-> According to an article in the Dec. 12th Bicycle Colorado eNEWS, The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has presented a sample list of ready-to-go projects for Congress as they look at an additional economic stimulus package for job creation through funding transportation projects. The sample project list includes $1.1 billion in road projects and $144 million in transit projects but no real mention of the state's unfunded bicycle or pedestrian projects.
-> According to a December 16th article in the Kansas Cycling News, "U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D., Republican from Oklahoma, recently released a report entitled '2008: Worst Waste of the Year,' which highlights "absurd federal spending from beltway bureaucrats and elected officials."
"Here's an excerpt from the report*: 'Some examples of Washington waste are well-intentioned, but raise questions about whether certain projects are best left to local government or private financiers. The Wilson Skateboard park for youth in the suburbs of Los Angeles is one such example, which received nearly $300,000 in federal grants this past year. Another is the free-bike library in one Colorado town, which allows local residents to check out bikes at no cost -- it received $66,000 in 2008.'
"Fort Collins, Colorado received the federal grant to promote clean air, which it used to start the Fort Collins Bike Library, which allows residents, students, and visitors to Fort Collins to borrow check out bicycles for free for up to five days. Since it opened in April of this year, more than 1,700 different people have checked out a bike, reducing vehicle trips by an estimated 15,958 miles, and keeping 7.3 metric tons of carbon dioxide out of the air because people are using the bikes instead of cars. The Bike Library has proven so popular that a major expansion is planned for 2009.**
- See this story on the Kansas Cyclist website: http://tinyurl.com/9gh54d
-> According to an article in the Transportation Research Board's Dec. 17th newsletter, "In conjunction with the TRB Annual Meeting, the District Department of Transportation will lead a three-hour tour of some of the city's bicycle infrastructure, new SmartBikes system, neighborhoods, and other sites. The tour will take place on Monday morning, January 12, 2009. The time and date was selected in order not to conflict with any bicycle or pedestrian session at the Annual Meeting. The ride will be approximately 12 miles at a slow to moderate pace with frequent stops.
"To participate, you must send an e-mail to <Jim.Sebastian@DC.gov>. Those with their own bikes and helmets can ride for free. Others may reserve a $20 rental bike with Bike and Roll by calling 202-842-BIKE."
-> According to a Dec. 18th American Hiking Society alert, "Today, the National Park Service (NPS) released a proposed rule change to amend current regulations for designating bicycle use on NPS lands. American Hiking Society remains vigilant on behalf of our membership and partners and is analyzing the proposed changes to safeguard your hiking experience. We are committed to ensuring that trail use decision making processes are equitable, consistent with agency policies and offer transparent stakeholder involvement...
"American Hiking Society encourages all hikers and trails enthusiasts to get involved, become informed, and participate in public processes that impact the National Parks where we love to hike. We urge those of you who care about trails in our National Parks to take advantage of the opportunities for public comment to which you are entitled. Read the National Park Service proposed ruling* and submit your comments within the next 60 days. Your voice can ensure that decisions determining trail use in our National Parks are consistently and clearly applied.
"On November 3rd, American Hiking Society alerted our members and partners that this ruling was expected, and that it would be released without sufficient efforts to educate and engage all trail users in the process of designating trail uses in our treasured National Parks. Within days, hundreds of hikers responded to our call to action, urging the Secretary of the Interior to engage all trail users in their rule-making process..."
-> According to a recent news release, "The New York City Department of Transportation is proud to host the 10th International Conference on Walking and Liveable Communities 2009. The conference will take place at New York University in Manhattan's Greenwich Village, from Wednesday October 7th to Friday October 9th 2009.
"We would like to invite you to submit an abstract for this exciting event. Download a copy of the Call for Papers (see below). The deadline for submitting an abstract is 27 February 2009. More information will continue to be added to this site as we build the programme for the conference and related activities..."
Go to: http://tinyurl.com/67kk4m
-> According to a Dec. 15th press release from the University of Texas, "Bicyclists in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio are more concerned with being involved in vehicle crashes compared to bicyclists in other Texas cities, according to a survey conducted by the Center for Transportation Research at The University of Texas at Austin. 'This is quite intuitive, given the high levels of traffic congestion in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio,' said Professor Chandra Bhat, who spearheaded the survey and is one of the world's foremost authorities on travel behavior.
"In addition, almost 70 percent of the survey respondents feel bicycling is 'very dangerous' or 'somewhat dangerous' in terms of traffic accidents. In contrast, only 21 percent of respondents feel bicycling is 'somewhat dangerous' or 'very dangerous' in the context of crime. The survey, sponsored by the Texas Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, was conducted entirely online. The results should help establish planning guidelines for the design of safe and efficient bicycle facilities and environments in Texas and around the country..."
-> According to an article in the Dec. 18th Marin County Bicycle Coalition newsletter, "Some people think that riding in the rain must be unpleasant or dangerous. But if you've got the right equipment and know-how, you can ride safely whenever and wherever you like!
"Let this short video from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition help you get out on the road when the weather leaves you feeling home-bound."
-> According to a Dec. 17th news release, "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is making nearly $3 million available in 2009 to reduce pollution at the local level through the Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) program. CARE is a community-based program that builds partnerships to help the public understand and reduce toxic risks from numerous sources.
"EPA will award CARE cooperative agreements in two levels. Level I awards range from $75,000 to $100,000 and will help establish community-based partnerships to develop local environmental priorities. Level II awards, ranging from $150,000 to $300,000 each, will support communities that have established broad-based partnerships, have identified the priority toxic risks in the community, and are prepared to measure results, implement risk-reduction activities and become self-sustaining..."
-> According to Brian Fellows, a long-time reader (and Arizona's Safe Routes coordinator), "I’m responding to the recent article about walkable urbanism at Lego. It’s great that Lego, Inc. is building this into the interior of its theme park. However, and ironically, their parking lots are terrible. We visited Legoland last summer – the massive parking lot lacks ample curb cuts, crosswalk striping, and protected pedestrian ways between rows. How can we alert them to this hazard?"
Ed.- How about organizing a parking lot escort service with the Boy Scouts?
-> In a Dec. 20th "Memo to the President," Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution wrote "Metropolitan areas drive our nation's long-term prosperity. To propel the U.S. economy into the 21st century, the nation should reform the way we invest in human capital, infrastructure, innovation, and quality of place -- the fundamental assets that concentrate in our metropolitan areas. The president-elect has a chance to rethink the way we build roads and rails. Rather than wastefully dividing up the spoils, the benefits would reverberate nationwide..."
QUOTES R US
-> "Driving, as measured by national 'Vehicle Miles per Hour,' began to plateau as far back as 2004 and dropped in 2007 for the first time since 1980. Per capita driving followed a similar pattern, with flat-lining growth after 2000 and falling rates since 2005. These recent declines in driving predated the steady hikes in gas prices during 2007 and 2008. Moreover, the recent drops in VMT (90 billion miles) and VMT per capita (388 miles) are the largest annualized drops since World War II."
-> "There's no evidence so far that the Obama infrastructure plan is attached to any larger social vision. In fact, there is a real danger that the plan will retard innovation and entrench the past."
-> "There are no sidewalks in our area on either side of University [Ave.] and yet there are quite a few bus stops. When you get off the bus, where do you walk? In the wintertime, there's snow and people walk in the street."
-> According to an article in the October edition of Oregon Cycling, "The 2007 Oregon Legislature passed HB 3314, creating an enhanced penalty for careless driving if it contributes to serious physical injury or death to a 'vulnerable user of a public way,' and will go into effect January 1, 2008. The purpose of this article is to discuss the Vulnerable User legal concept and its potential for improvement in safety for non-motorized roadway users such as bicyclists and pedestrians. Earlier this year, I wrote about the need for enhanced protection for vulnerable roadway users. The concept of "vulnerable roadway user" has been used by planners and safety organizations in Europe to categorize and describe non-motorized roadway users.
"The label is a nice one because it incorporates the inherent vulnerability of humans who use the roads without being encased in a protective steel shell. Inclusion of the concept of vulnerability evokes a more sympathetic image and focuses on the shared vulnerability of these different user groups. By including vulnerable users within a single term, the requirement for protection is brought to mind to counterbalance the somewhat natural reaction some people have to improving safety by restricting access, such as by restricting bicycle access to freeways or pedestrian crossings or road access..."
-> In a Dec. 9th New York Times column, David Brooks wrote, "The 1980s and 1990s made up the era of the great dispersal. Forty-three million people moved every year, and basically they moved outward -- from inner-ring suburbs to far-flung exurbs on the metro fringe. For example, the population of metropolitan Pittsburgh declined by 8 percent in those years, but the developed land area of the Pittsburgh area sprawled outward by 43 percent.
"If you asked people in that age of go-go suburbia what they wanted in their new housing developments, they often said they wanted a golf course. But the culture has changed. If you ask people today what they want, they’re more likely to say coffee shops, hiking trails and community centers.
"People overshot the mark. They moved to the exurbs because they wanted space and order. But once there, they found that they were missing community and social bonds. So in the past years there has been a new trend. Meeting places are popping up across the suburban landscape..."
-> According to a Dec. 18th Herald article, "A cooperative effort between the city of St. Peter and St. Peter Public School District has its sights on seeing more kids walk or ride bike to school, and part of that task is providing safer routes to school.
"Earlier this year, the city and school district oversaw the final stages of improvements to sidewalks and trails to school through the 'Safe Routes to School' program. Through this program St. Peter received approximately $172,000 of federal funds along with another $5,000 for educating the public.
"'This was a program we heard about at a conference we attended and was something we thought might work well in St. Peter,' St. Peter Public Works Director Lew Giesking said. 'After that we decided to meet with the school to look at deficiencies with our sidewalks and trail system that needed to be addressed and out of that meeting we were able target specific projects..."
-> According to a Dec. 18th Commercial Appeal article, "With freezing rain and arctic temperatures teasing the Mid-South, one might think bicycling would be the farthest subject from people's minds. But bicycling -- more importantly, how to engage the entire community in bicycling -- was the topic of discussion this week when the city of Hernando hosted a Bike Friendly Community workshop. Sponsored by Bike/Walk Mississippi, the bicycle summit featured speaker Jeff Peel, a program specialist with the League of American Bicyclists.
"'Accommodating cyclists in your community is a solution not a problem,' Peel told the group, which included Hernando Mayor Chip Johnson, Alderman Gary Higdon, Hernando's bicycle police officers, several civil engineers and a handful of biking enthusiasts. Peel presented several statistics to support his case including that 40 percent of trips made are 2 miles or less and 89 percent of those trips are made by car. 'Motorists think bicyclists are in the way, but really it's one less motorist in a car in front of you at the stoplight,' Peel said..."
-> According to a Dec. 17th Politicker article, "Assembly Majority Leader Bonnie Watson Coleman has introduced legislation to promote and incentivize local zoning initiatives that encourage the development of environmentally sound, economically diverse and easily accessible neighborhoods.
"The measure -- the Smart Housing Incentives Act (A-3632) -- would provide planning grants to municipalities that create 'Smart Housing Zones' that feature compact, energy-efficient residential developments near job centers, schools and transportation hubs. It stems from the work of the Smart Housing for Economic Prosperity Task Force, which New Jersey Future convened in 2007 to explore ways to increase the supply and variety of housing available to working and young families, professionals and the elderly.
"'New Jersey needs to move away from past zoning decisions that have moved families further apart and farther away,' said Watson Coleman (D-Mercer). 'Our state has historically been a patchwork quilt of close-knit, walkable and accessible communities. It's time we return to the ideal of not just building houses, but building neighborhoods.'..."
The bill (32kb pdf) can be downloaded here: http://tinyurl.com/3ngptv
-> A Nov. 4th Metro article suggests, "Hey southside speeders! Check the bumper sticker on that slowpoke in front of you: It might be your neighbour going the speed limit.
"The city is launching a pilot project in Twin Brooks that will encourage motorists to display signs or bumper stickers on their vehicles pledging they will always follow the speed limit, along with watching out for pedestrians. Vehicles that display the signs will be dubbed 'pace cars.'..."
-> In a Dec. 21st Sacramento Bee column, Katherine Evatt wrote, "In 2008, we saw the consequences of rapid growth and poor planning throughout the region. Cities and counties struggled to pay their bills, high-end subdivisions went belly up, developers filed for bankruptcy, commuters pinched pennies, new subdivisions sat virtually empty, and people lost their homes. That should have taught us we can't afford the old model of post-World War II sprawl development. It doesn't work in the long run.
"As we move into 2009, we can start to act on that lesson. In Amador County, where I live, the county and its cities are updating their general plans – the 20-year blueprints for local development and conservation. We have time to incorporate 2008's lessons into those plans. If we do, they'll focus on building sustainable communities and strong, 'buy local' economies..."
-> According to a Dec. 15th AP story, "New research illustrates the health benefits of regular biking, walking or taking public transportation to work, school or shopping. Researchers found a link between "active transportation" and less obesity in 17 industrialized countries across Europe, North America and Australia.
"'Countries with the highest levels of active transportation generally had the lowest obesity rates,' authors David Bassett of the University of Tennessee and John Pucher of Rutgers University conclude. Americans, with the highest rate of obesity, were the least likely to walk, cycle or take mass transit, according to the study in a recent issue of the Journal of Physical Activity and Health. The study relied on each country's own travel and health data.
"Only 12 percent use active transportation in the United States -- 9 percent walk, 1 percent ride a bike and 2 percent take a bus or train -- while a quarter to a third are obese, the study said. By comparison, 67 percent of commuters in Latvia, 62 percent in Sweden and 52 percent in the Netherlands either walk, bike or use mass transit. Latvia's obesity rate is 14 percent, the Netherlands' is 11 percent and Sweden's is 9 percent..."
For a link to the study, go to: http://tinyurl.com/8ssu4u
-> According to a Dec. 18th Daily Score blog entry, "Earlier this year, the RAND Corporation, a non-profit think tank, put out a report on how to get traffic moving faster. They considered lots of the standard solutions -- improving signal timing, clearing accidents quickly, encouraging telecommuting, and so forth -- and found that many of them could, in fact, provide some temporary congestion relief.
But here's the rub: RAND found that over the long haul, these kinds of solutions simply don't have much effect on congestion. They can briefly get traffic moving faster, but just about every improvement in travel time results in...more people taking to the road! Over the long haul, apparently, most congestion relief efforts sow the seeds of their own destruction..."
To download the Rand report, go to: http://tinyurl.com/9ofd9q
-> In a Dec. 21st Island Packet column, Josh Marton wrote, "Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The most recent example of insanity in the Bluffton area is the proposed Tanger Outlet redevelopment plan. For 30 years, the land along U.S. 278 in the Bluffton area has been developed using the latest in settlement patterns, more commonly known as conventional suburban sprawl. The 'U.S. 278 Conventional Suburban Sprawl Model' can be easily characterized by its isolated, unconnected uses, such as shopping centers, single-family, single-entry residential 'plantations' and business parks.
"The high proportion of cul-de-sac settlement (which every residential development along U.S. 278 embodies with the exception of Westbury Park in Bluffton) and looping streets within each land-use area demonstrates the automobile-dominated environs of the U.S. 278 Conventional Suburban Sprawl Model. The U.S. 278 Conventional Suburban Sprawl Model achieves its primary mission -- diminution of vehicular and pedestrian connectivity -- so all motorists must use just a few arterial streets to move about the region. The focus on vehicles moving as fast as humanly possible through the U.S. 278 corridor has produced a public realm that is composed of 'opaque buffers,' lack of building articulation, and seas of asphalt. It is so surprising that one would want to visit the quaint European network of streets of Charleston rather than take a stroll along the unique U.S. 278 corridor..."
In a Dec. 17th New York Times column, Jim Motavalli asks readers to "Consider two scenarios for 2020: In the first, the world is congested and choking on tailpipe fumes, greenhouse gases are heating the atmosphere and more than two billion vehicles are on overcrowded roads from New York to Shanghai. Without a car, you aren't able to get from here to there.
"In the second vision, cities are working to offer a smorgasbord of transportation options, from light rail to bike paths; suburbs are being transformed to walkable villages; and consumers who may not even own a car can use a pocket computer to line up ride-sharing services or a jitney pickup. Without a transportation revolution, the first scenario is more likely than the first.
"In 2000, I noted in my book 'Forward Drive,' that by 2030 'there could be one billion cars taking up space on the Earth.' But if you include trucks, we've gone past a billion already, according to Deborah Gordon and Daniel Sperling, authors of 'Two Billion Cars: Driving Toward Sustainability.'..."
-> According to a Dec. 18th Eccentric article, "Kilmer Plaza will have retail and residential units amid a 'walkable' environment with more than 30 percent open space, according to the developer. Until construction for the residential component starts, however, there will be more open space than that. The Troy City Council approved Monday the planned unit development on Big Beaver Road where retail construction will have a head start on residential building, due to the declining housing market, according to the development consortium from Royal Oak.
"'Residential will likely lag the retail,' co-developer Ryan Marsh, from T.H. Marsh Construction, told the council. 'This is a higher-end development, and we'll try to attract the right type of tenant that can withstand the economic impact.' Council members voted 6-1 to approve the Kilmer Plaza PUD, with Councilman Martin Howrylak being the lone dissenter..."
-> According to a Nov. 27 Economist article, "An ambitious plan, led by an American bike-maker, Craig Calfee, and a group of scientists at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York, aims to introduce and sell bamboo bikes in Africa. Bamboo has a higher tensile strength than steel and can be taped together with natural fibre and resin. A finished frame should be light, easy to handle and ideal for carrying goods.
"Production is set to begin next year in Ghana's second city, Kumasi, in the hope of selling bikes for $55 on a business plan backed by KPMG, an accountancy firm. Material will come from bamboo forests in the surrounding Ashanti region, with wheels and other parts imported. If the Kumasi bike proves durable, workshops across Africa could start turning out their own versions..."
AND NOW, FOR SOMETHING THING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT...
RECYCLED UNIVERSE THEORY BASED ON LOOP QUANTUM COSMOLOGY
-> According to an article in the Dec. 12th New Scientist Newsletter, "Abhay Ashtekar remembers his reaction the first time he saw the universe bounce. 'I was taken aback,' he says. He was watching a simulation of the universe rewind towards the big bang. Mostly the universe behaved as expected, becoming smaller and denser as the galaxies converged. But then, instead of reaching the big bang 'singularity', the universe bounced and started expanding again. What on earth was happening?
"Ashtekar wanted to be sure of what he was seeing, so he asked his colleagues to sit on the result for six months before publishing it in 2006. And no wonder. The theory that the recycled universe was based on, called loop quantum cosmology (LQC), had managed to illuminate the very birth of the universe -- something even Einstein's general theory of relativity fails to do..."
BEYOND PLANNING FOR CARS IN NAIROBI, KENYA
IN MEXICO CITY, BICYCLES RULE SUNDAY STREETS
SOUNDING OFF ON RUTLAND (VT) SIDEWALKS
TAIWAN'S UPSCALE BIKE SALES TO GROW 50% IN '09
"LARGEST BICYCLE PARADE" FEATURED IN NEW BOOK
-> "WALKABLE EDMONTON TOOLKIT"
-> "WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF COMPLETE STREETS?"
-> "SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL, STEPS TO A GREENER FUTURE..."
-> "SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL IMPROVES THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT"
-> "SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL LEADS TO GREATER COLLABORATION..."
-> "CHILDHOOD INJURY REPORT: PATTERNS OF UNINTENTIONAL..."
-> NEW URBANISM: COMPREHENSIVE REPORT..."
-> "MOVING LOS ANGELES -- SHORT-TERM POLICY OPTIONS..."
-> "CHARACTER AND IDENTITY: TOWNSCAPE AND HERITAGE..."
opportunities are available on the National Center for Bicycling &
Walking web site. Add your own items to the on-line calendar...it's quick
and easy. Please be sure your calendar items pertain to training and workshops
in the bicycle, pedestrian, or livable community fields. Go to:
HEY, YOU! SEND US YOUR CALENDAR ITEMS -- PRONTO!
-> January 22-24, 2009, 8th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth, Albuquerque, NM. Info: http://tinyurl.com/6mlrmr
-> February 5-6, 2009, Building Healthy Lifestyles Conference, Mesa, AZ. Info: Barbara Mattingly at (480) 727-1959, or visit:
-> February 18-20, 2009, Active Living Research Annual Conference, San Diego, CA. Info:
-> March 1-4, 2009, National Main Street Conference, Chicago, IL. Info:
-> March 7, 2009, Bike Summit LA, Los Angeles, CA. Info: http://tinyurl.com/6zu2yu
-> March 15-20, 2009, PTBA Conference, Asheville NC. Info: Michael Passo
-> March 25-28, 2009, Health and Fitness Summit and Exposition, Atlanta GA. Info: American College of Sports Medicine
-> April 22-25, 2009, 14th International Conference on Urban Planning, Regional Development and Information Society, Sitges (Spain / Catalonia). Info:
-> May 12-15, 2009, Velo-City 2009, Brussels, Belgium. Info:
-> June 5-7, 2009, 7th International Conference on Diet and Activity Methods, Washington, DC. Info:
-> September 2-4, 2009, 2nd International Urban Design Conference, Gold Coast, Australia. Info:
-> September 15-16, 2009, Research to Practice Symposium Promoting Environmental and Policy Change to Support Healthy Aging, Chapel Hill, NC. Information and updates will be available at:
-> October 7-9, 2009, 10th Annual Walk21, New York City NY. Info:
JOBS, GRANTS, AND RFPS
-> JOB -- PROJECT MANAGER -- BRISTOL, UK.
Project Manager Ref: 21142; £41,083 - £43,745; Fixed term until April 2011
We're excited about rising to the challenge and are just as enthusiastic about finding the right people to help achieve our aims. Let's see if we can get your pulse racing with just a few of the projects you could help lead:
* Establishing a 're-cycling' scheme that repairs bikes and provides them free of charge to deprived communities
But that's just for starters. There's also the need to challenge attitudes to cycling, encourage people to get out and about and help improve everyone's quality of life.
-> JOB -- TRANS. EQUITY CAMPAIGN MGR -- W. HARLEM ENV. ACTION
West Harlem Environmental Action (WE ACT), one of NYC's oldest and strongest community-based environmental justice organizations, is looking to hire a Transportation Equity Campaign Manager.
-> JOB -- EDUCATION PROGRAM MANAGER -- BICYCLE COLORADO
Bicycle Colorado has posted a position for Education Program Manager whose main function is assisting in the hands on execution of Safe Routes to School programs around Colorado.
If you know anyone who may be interested please pass along this link:
-> JOB -- DEPUTY DIRECTOR -- CASCADE BICYCLE CLUB
Cascade Bicycle Club (CBC), a Seattle-based organization with 10,000 members, is dedicated to building a better community through bicycling. The Club is a local, regional, and state-wide leader in bicycle and transportation advocacy and provides bicycle commuting programming and youth and adult safety education and training.
For a full job description with qualifications and application information, visit: http://tinyurl.com/6ptc65
-> JOB -- PROGRAM MANAGER FOR SAFETY -- AASHTO
More info: http://tinyurl.com/5jye75
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Contributors: John Williams, Sharon Roerty, Gary MacFadden, Chris Jordan, Mark Plotz, Bob Chauncey, Linda Tracy, Bill Wilkinson, Russell Houston, Ken Wusch, Kathi Weilbacher, Kristen Steele, Deb Hubsmith, Christopher Douwes, Richard Blomberg, Brian Fellows, Noah Budnick, Ed Barsotti, Phyllis Orrick, Peter Jacobsen, John Cinatl, and J.B. Lenoir.
©2008 - NCBW | The National Center for Bicycling & Walking is a program of the Bicycle Federation of America; http://www.bikewalk.org/contact.php