Suggestions & Comments from CenterLines Readers
Build up an archive/library of useful papers and pictures.
Have a helpdesk feature - I occasionally need to find data on cycle carriage on transit (percentage of total boardings, management etc) and sources for handy stats to quote.
A little less of the goofy stuff and more of the things of use to every day practioners.
As an Monty Python fan, I love "and now for something completely different."
I like the synthesizing aspect to it. And I enjoy the infusion of humor in the whole danged thing.
Any chance you'd have a section on news related to advocacy plans for Reauthorization leading up to the next transportation bill?
About the same frequency, no more than weekly.
It does tend to be quite lengthy - and every two weeks, which provides quite a bit of info to wade through. However, it's great info!
I think the frequency is about right. The issues are frequent enough to keep up with current issues, without cloging up my in box.
Once a month would be great.
It has gotten long, which can be frustrating. I tend to hardly look at the In the News section lately because it is so long.
I usually hate the status quo, but there is nothing I would change with your newsletter.
More information and stories on encouraging people to commute in bad weather and winter days would be good.
There is so much transportation research going on that I would like to made aware of more; a summary of the main points of the research helps so that I can judge whether to explore further.
Maybe more content on research as opposed to professonal practice - I do like seeing the summaries of activities in other communities.
Current trends, updates, curriculims and course materials being used in bicycle safety education courses in lower, middle, and upper schools.
Give information on how professionals or politicians decide whether to use an onroad bike facility or a bike path. Give a great deal of information on the contect in which this " decision" is made. Do stories on unsuccessful bike paths. These do exist. Show why these paths are unsuccessful.
Grassroots ped/bke success stories.
More articles on what school kids can do on a bike, go to school, go to a friends house, head to the park, form a trail riding team, etc.
Maybe add a "profile" each time of some individual city on what's working, what's not, particular problems and successes -- that's always what's discussed at conferences among us attendees.
I think it is right at a content point that is perfect.
It would be great if there was more Canadian content but you probably rely on folks sending you stuff, so maybe we just need to spread the word around more in Canada about what you are doing.
I would like to read more about efforts to encourage non-traditional communities to ride bicycles more often (low-income, people of color, non-english speaking population, etc.) That is something that I am trying to attempt in my work.
I would like to see less news bits (fluff stuff) or to have them relegated toward the rear and more in-depth stories about solving problems, profiles of our colleagues or inspirational accomplishments.
I would like to see more "best practices" and updates on the state of the technical practice; more about design best practices.
I would like to see more reader feedback/interaction as was featured in the last issue (red light cameras).
I would like to see soem research on bike safety. What are the most common crach type. How do you change motorist and bicyclist behavior?
I'd like to see more resources for planners, such as information on webinars and conferences, links to where to buy the good covered bike shelter plans and best racks, links to the best commuter cyclist clothing (we live on an island, so do a lot of online ordering, and it rains and gets icy a lot here). More information on all-weather cycling.
If possible more resources/reports/publications. I'm in Canada and while the news of events is US cities is interesting.... it's not as easy to relate to as news from Canadian cities.
Information on how communities have used education to improve cyclists' behavior, and the influence this has had on accident rates, community acceptance of cycling, and individual people's acceptance of cycling as a viable means of transportation and/or recreation.
Innovatinve ideas to help sell bike/ped to decision-makers who consider it a frill or more current/powerful information. This is probably where the greatest barrier sits for making infrastructure happen. Need to show them the economic impact in a powerful, innovative way.
It would be really interesting to see what the repsonse might be to an 'international section' perhaps one article of interest from aroudn the world.
Links to funding sources; would love to see more innovative funding examples.
Living in Hungary, I'd like more cycling news from Europe. Transport cycling is much more developed here than in the States and can offer a lot in terms of best practice examples.
Carry longer articles.
Maybe format it in a way that is less overwhelming, shorter, and perhaps less architected in terms of layout. The print is small, so bigger print would be great; more links and fewer full stories.
Maybe more of regional foucus, i.e., list things by parts of the country so you can see easier waht you can do / join in your own area.
It's an easy-to use-format that works equally well for a quick perusal or longer study.
Maybe more statistics with regard to economic, health and environmental benefits of biking.
More about naked streets and the work product of the late Hans Monderman, it fascinates me how simple is better. to my knowledge there has never been a fatal accident with a Monderman design.
More about utility cycling: bakfiets, Xtracycles. More about the methods of people and communities where people can live carfree-- promote not just commuting but getting the groceries by bike…with the kids.
More Canadian news and features, although I suspect that there is not a lot of such available for you to report on. More examples of Canadian issues/success stories/lessons learned.
More features; fewer "Quick Hits."
More global news! I think it would be great if CenterLines had a better international section.
More info on local area best practices - parking, storage, striping, integreation with BRT ect. Most areas of the country need better facilities - additional bicycling will follow if you build the facilities.
More info on ped/bike research / programs.
More innovative and unique projects - whether small scale or large scale. I know you already look for those stories - so this is just encouragement to keep doing more of that.
More international universal features.
More items related specifically to bicycle commuting and pedestrian travel, less with health statistics. Maybe have an advocacy group or a community spotlight each issue.
More job listings. I don't know how many subscribers you have, but the newsletter has the opportunity to be a major job hub. This is out of your control if there just aren't more jobs out there to be listed, but perhaps outreach to industry employers could increase the number of listings and increase the number of subscribers.
More of-links to nature access/recreational trails, stories about how and why valuing mulitiple modes of travel becomes a core value (for those of us in less enlightened areas..how can we get our leaders on board?)
More on bike commuting and if possible more on rural bike /ped transportation ideas, etc.
More school things- so I can have examples of how my school needs to change.
More stories of policy triumphs over an entrenched bureaucracy. It inspires me to keep plugging away.
More stories with practical suggestions on advocacy. How to promote bicycling, especially street cycling.
More studies reporting the effects of walking and bicycling programs, policies, facilities, or evaluation tools that other organizations are using to measure effectiveness.
More submissions from advocates, government, professionals (and not just transport people; public health, economic development, climate experts, etc, etc).
More success stories about Bike/Walk issues, because that means we will be living more success stories as advocates! Also, more stories about what is going on elsewhere in the world such as in Scandinavia with the Vision Zero experiments.
Now that active living and urban design for bike/ped "friendliness" have developed cachet, many cities, towns, companies, etc. have announced plans for summits, master plans, trail systems, ... Who's looking to see which of these announcements has real political commitment and resources behind them, and which ones have actual cyclists and pedestrians as leading partners? If CenterLines could help individuals and institutions get well-deserved credit for effective, diligent, and innovative work while subtly parting the veil on half-baked ideas and marketing ploys with minimal substance, it would benefit the field.
Occasional features on static resources (websites and on-line documents not nessarily new, but of long standing value) which would be of on-going interest to professionals and advocates.
One topic that I believe deserves national attention is that of paved/unpaved trails that cross a roadway at mid-block. There is so much confusion out there because state laws are somewhat vague. Too often, what happens is that a crosswalk is removed from the crossing, thus essentially making anyone (ped or bike) crossing the roadway jaywalkers/riders. De-striping of such crossings is regressive, discriminatory, and is not in harmony with the intent of most state laws on the books. (Maybe that's why I spend as much of my time on the road as possible!)
Pass more attention to communites that are in the developing world.
Perhaps if you have time to do so, organizing the stories by region may help ease the reader into the context of place.
Cite resources behind some of the facilities development actions i.e. design standards developed by communities being reported.
Add photos: Path of the week, Idea of the week, Geek of the week.
Quick summaries. Maybe a section focused on urban issues.
Reporting on studies that contradict some of the viewpoints held by NCBW relating to bike facilities and the safety thereof.
Reports on what different national advocacy groups are doing - so we can avoid duplication, learn from each other, collaborate, etc. Send regular inquiries to the different groups to solicit news from them.
Results of intervention, innovative initiatives, succes stories.
Rural issues re: bicycles - not just bike paths but how to get more bike-friendly attitudes developing. Could we ever ride daily to work on rural highways without getting smashed by a two ton pickup with a confederate license plate on the front?
Shorter issues that are easier to read within available time.
Some folks consider certain "traffic calming" measures such as bulb-outs, or bicycle lanes, to be bad for cyclists (bulb outs eliminate clearance for cyclists, and bike lanes sometimes lead to impressions that cyclists are not allowed on streets without lanes) and not very helpful for pedestrians, while some folks cheer anything that spends money on cyclists and peds as a good thing. I'd like more research based on actual cases; pro- and con- educating here. I don't care for news every time some community adds brick pavers or other cosmetic to a downtown somewhere.
Sometimes there is a lot of content, but I like the "headlines first" format.
Substance about bicycling issues instead of kudos for paint-'n'-path efforts that mainly serve to convince both non-cyclists and uninformed/incompetent cyclists (1) bikes don't belong on the roads (2) bicycling is too dangerous to attempt without a helmet and a segregated facility.
The issues are pretty long and sometimes hard to get through - perhaps shorter issues would be better? Or ways to make it easy to scan the entire content with links to read more if you prefer more info.
There are often too many articles for me to want to skim through to find the few I'm interested in.
Ways to find private funding sources to implement projects.
We'd like to see case studies of innovative bikeway infrastructure, such as bike boulevards and blue lanes.
Some of the “hardware/technical suggestions we received:
Easier article navigation (if possible).
Fewer stories that are continued with a link to a website (put all of the story in the newsletter). Our web blockers at work often block these (especially articles on recreation, children's issues, sports, etc), and I often have to e-mail the link to my home e-mail address so I can read the rest of the story later!
I enjoy Centerlines a lot, but the text is very small. I have to forward Centerlines to my elected officials whenever there was something I thought they should be aware of. More than once they have complained about the small font size.
Would be helpful to have a different subject line each newsletter, with something intriguing that would draw me to take the extra steps to open it immediately. Grist is a good example.
Perhaps if NCBW has the resources the newsletter can be developed into a web resource (thinkning of Planetizen).
I would *love* if you offered CL as an RSS feed. That makes it easy for me to pick and choose the items I want to read more thoroughly. The long-scrolling format is not as user-friendly.
I'm feeling a little over-blogged and don't necessarily want to encourage a blogger format, but it might be nice to see some pics every now and then.
More summary headlines/subheads at the start of news pieces so I can tell whether I want to read it or not.