A new study from U.S. PIRG gives us perhaps the most detailed yet look at the “peak car” phenomenon whereby America’s passenger-miles driven keeps falling. As Ashley Halsey writes (washpo. 04.12.13), perhaps the most important contention of the report is “data that show the cities with the biggest drop in driving suffered no greater unemployment peaks than those cities where driving declined the least.”
PIRG’s takeaway is that it’s time to stop lavishly funding new highway construction and instead focus money on a mix of maintaining existing infrastructure and improving mass transit services. I agree with that, but the budget allocations are in some ways the smallest pieces of the puzzle. The real gains are to be made in rolling back the implicit subsidies to parking and barriers to multi-family apartments, leveling the regulatory playing field between private cars and private transit (slate, 21.06.12), and looking at operational issues that prevent cost-effective transit operations in the United States (slate, 12.11.13.).
Rush hour with cyclists and pedestrians making up the bulk of the movement in central Copenhagen, Denmark.
For North America to accept and integrate bicycle use into our transportation systems it is important to understand what is standing in the way.
To this day, we are faced with a biased mainstream media portrayal of cycling. We are faced with politicians pandering to people in their cars who are far too hesitant to take the aggressive steps needed to build a complete network of safe bicycle infrastructure. We are faced with a bicycle industry that continues to push the agenda (and products) that cycling is merely a sport or a hobby.
National media outlets continue to portray “cyclists” as a homogeneous group of lawbreakers who must attain an unrealistic, ideal behavior before being granted designated room on our streets. On June 27, 2013, Canada’s National Post ran a widely circulated story that liberally tossed around the hideous word “scofflaw” yet provided no statistical evidence to back their claims that “too many” riders are disobeying the law. While these news stories continue to use anecdotal evidence to support their claims researchers are seeking the truth. A recent study conducted by Portland State University found that 94 percent of riders obeyed red lights – a fact that media outlets conveniently overlooked.
Too many politicians and city leaders have yet to understand that creating safe bike infrastructure requires building a complete network as well as altering laws to favor travel by bike, foot, and transit. There is a glimmer of hope in cities like New York, NY, and Chicago, IL, but elsewhere change is too slow, too small, and often completely non-existent. Forcing riders to compromise their safety in order to share space on our streets with drivers will never lead to civilized cycling.
For potential and existing riders, the bike industry has yet to deliver quality bikes and accessories that cater to people using their bicycles for transportation. In Europe, a majority of bicycles on the street come fully equipped for daily use. There, major brands like Giant and Raleigh provide bicycles off the shelf with lights, fenders, chainguards, kickstands, and racks. Yet in North America there seems to be little movement within the industry to even recognize this segment of the market.
Despite these dominant societal forces working against us, there are changes (many within the past three years) that give us hope.
Strong political leadership in Chicago and New York has quickly brought significant and wide-sweeping change. Chicago added 27 miles (43.5 kilometers) of protected bike lanes in just two years and has ambitious plans to reach 100 miles (160 kilometers) by 2020. New York launched North America’s largest bike share and within the first month sold more than 100,000 daily, weekly, and annual memberships. In these cities, leading lifestyle transportation bike companies like Linus, Biria, and PUBLIC are providing the right products for these new urban landscapes. Will the North American industry learn from these small brands or will they miss the boat on what may be the largest opportunity we have ever seen?
Mia Kohout, editor-in-chief, Momentum Magazine. 09.09.13.
A teenager was killed and two others critically injured in a Pacific Heights crash on Pine at Gough streets at around 7:00am in San Francisco, California, on Friday, September 27, 2013. Police Sgt. Danielle Newman said a witness reported the responsible driver as driving 80 miles an hour into a minivan stopped at a red light. Photo: Liz Hafalia.
The father of a 16-year-old boy killed last week in San Francisco’s Western Addition by a speeding motorist made a plea Monday for the city’s motorists to slow down.
“We cannot comprehend why anyone would be driving 80 miles an hour in the streets of San Francisco,” said the father of Kevin San, a Lincoln High School junior killed just before 7 a.m. Friday on Pine Street near Gough Street.
"Instead of Kevin, it could’ve been any one of our children in our community - please, everyone, slow down!" said Hong Man San, through an interpreter.
On Saturday, police arrested Jennie Zhu, 58, in the crash that left San’s mother and sister seriously injured in addition to three other people in a nearby catering van.
Zhu, who suffered minor injuries, has since posted $300,000 bail.
Police say Zhu was apparently speeding at up to 80 mph in her Mercedes-Benz when she hit the San family minivan and the catering truck. She faces charges of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.
“There’s this argument about streetcar versus BRT (bus rapid transit), and what should primary cities, secondary cities sort of look at,” said Klein. “I think, first of all, you shouldn’t count out bike-share as mass transit.”
The numbers Klein presented certainly support his point. Divvy, Chicago’s bike-share system, just hit 10,000 trips a day, said Klein, who hopes that figure will be several times greater by next summer. (New York transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, who was sitting beside Klein during the discussion, informed him that the Citi Bike system just hit 42,000 daily trips.)
"So it can have a real effect," said Klein. "The fact is not everyone can afford to put a new rail line in."
The price of bike-share is also right. Klein, who used to run the transportation department in Washington, D.C., said the entire Capital Bikeshare system was put in place for $6 million. Citi Bike is privately funded. Streetcar systems, by comparison, cost tens of millions of dollars in public money to build. For all that spending, their ridership figures can end up in the same ballpark as those of bike-share; Portland’s very successful streetcar system, for instance, carries 11,000 people a day.
the Portland Streetcar. photo by john s. on flickr.
In other words, said Klein, cities should be having the BRT versus bike-share debate as often as the BRT versus streetcar debate.
"Really the bike-share system has almost taken the place of streetcars, which used to very slowly move people around the city above ground," said Klein. "It’s a much cheaper way to do it. … So there are high-return, lower-cost investments you can make in some of these smaller cities and towns."
You may also know the media tendency — mostly in non-cycling countries — to report about cyclists killed or injured in collisions with motorised traffic. “Hit by a truck/fast moving vehicle…. wasn’t wearing a helmet.” Written by journalists who are hopelessly uninformed (and perhaps uninterested) about a helmet’s limited industrial design capability in collisions with vehicle. They never seem to write “Man fell from 3rd floor. Wasn’t wearing a helmet.” You get the point.
What we’re seeing lately is how the everpresent Culture of Fear is encroaching on our lives in a new(ish) way. The safety nannies and their lackies are now desperately trying to dictate what you, the citizen, wears. They are trying to make fashion choices for you in the name of their holy, car-centric “safety”.
Even here in Denmark.
Last night a young woman was killed in central Copenhagen. Run down by a taxi. By all accounts, she was crossing against the light. A young life snuffed out.
The death of the young woman comes a day after one of the police departments in Denmark —Vestegns Politi — tweeted: “Do you and your child light up in the dark? Reflectors = 70% fewer accidents for pedestrians.” Seriously.
The Culture of Fear is a nasty bitch. Destructive to our societies. It is, however, rather easy to trace where messages come from. In this case, it’s the darling of the automobiile industry…
Basically, if you feel the need to advertise reflective clothing for pedestrians and cyclists, you are advertising your complete ineptitude about building safe and liveable cities. You are shouting to the world that you believe cars are king and everyone else is at their mercy.
i totally agree that all the crap the media blows up and simultaneously neglects (ie. the victim wasn’t wearing reflective clothing and/or a helmet, but no mention of bad street designs while making the driver/killer look innocent) is very harmful, perpetuating the culture of fear in our society.
but just because you promote reflective clothing doesn’t mean you don’t know shit about building safe and livable cities. that only applies mostly to politicians tweeting blindly.
like, my leggings have a couple reflective strips on the back of my calves, which makes me feel safer as i’m more visible in cars’ headlights, since my pedals don’t have reflectors. (i do use a rear red light, too)
timbuk2 and chrome make bags and backpacks with reflective features. the people running those companies probably care about safe streets, but don’t have the time to advocate for them.
really, it’s a sign of the poor infrastructure (inadequate street lighting) in many places. and the basic real life fact that if you are not visible, someone may crash into you. be a little more aware if you’re crossing a street late at night wearing black and no streetlight nearby—don’t cross if you see a car coming. drive and bike slower at night, especially (or at least) as you enter intersections. common sense?
TriMet (Portland transit) started a night safety campaign when daylight savings time struck.
I’m pretty sure TriMet in its role as the transit agency to improve transit connectivity in the area has livability as one of its goals… but bottom line in their reflective gear campaign is probably that they simply don’t want any of their bus drivers accidentally running over anyone.
wearing reflective gear is a placeholder until cities come up with enough money to install more streetlights, build safe bikeways and redesign intersections.
Filling a Hertz bus tank with Redeem, a fuel made from rotting organic material, in Los Angeles.
California’s Clean Energy Fuels has just announced that they have begun the sale of a car fuel made with methane that they source from landfill sites. It’s already projected to do remarkably well; the company expects to sell 15 million gallons of Redeem biogas in California this year at 40 filling stations as well as to a customer base that includes SuperShuttle and Hertz.
The primary benefit of landfill-sourced methane is that we don’t have to frack for it—thus no irradiated rivers or unexpected earthquakes caused by its production. But it turns out there are other environmental benefits too: Clean Energy’s CEO explained to the nytimesthat “Redeem can burn 90 percent cleaner than diesel.”
Additionally, the removal of methane gas from landfill does have some impact on reducing the gas’s significant environmental impact. Methane is the second most prevalent source of human-driven greenhouse gas emissions, and landfill sites are the third-largest source of those emissions. Furthermore, because of the source of the gas, it counts as a renewable source of energy.
for a class project, i’ve been reading up on recent apartment buildings going up in Portland that do not provide residents with off-street (on-site or any other space for) car parking. from a ruling made 13 years ago, developers are not required to provide parking in areas of close proximity to transit.
Some residents of these new apartment buildings own cars, however, and park them on the nearby streets. The residents of nearby neighborhoods are now complaining about parking spillover, and who can blame them? Fortunately, the city of Portland can solve this spillover problem without new parking requirements. The problem is not a lack of off-street parking spaces, but the lack of on-street parking management.
Portland can allow the residents of any block to adopt an overnight permit parking district that prohibits overnight parking on the block except for cars with resident permits. This will prevent nonresidents from storing their cars on the block, and it will eliminate the parking spillover from apartments without parking…
The city can make residents of apartment buildings without off-street parking ineligible for residential parking permits on nearby blocks, so anyone who rents an apartment in those buildings will know that overnight parking in front of nearby homes is illegal. Tenants will have to live without a car or make arrangements to pay for off-street parking. The market for these apartments without parking is large, however, because almost a quarter of renter households in Portland do not own a car.
read more: guest columnist Donald Shoup on theoregonian, 05.01.2013.
surprising that Portland doesn’t have a parking management program/strategy, while the city/metro area has got land use planning and transportation down for the most part.
like, Portland has no parking permits for residential areas? (ok, they do, but not in every residential area and they started some mini area pilot project, but that’s neighborhood-initiated and no one’s applied yet…) and developers can’t get residents to pledge not to move in to their new apartments with their cars?
It has been established, for example, that suburban streets all over America ought to be as wide as two-lane county highways, regardless of whether this promotes driving at excessive speeds where children play, or destroys the spatial relationship between the houses on the street.
Back in the 1950s, when these formulas were devised, the width of residential streets was tied closely to the idea of a probable nuclear war with the Russians. And in the aftermath of a war, it was believed, wide streets would make it easier to clean up the mess with heavy equipment.
Zoning codes devised by engineering firms have been “packaged” and sold to municipalities for decades, eliminating the need for local officials to think about local design issues. This is one reason why a subdivision in Moline, Illinois, has the same dreary look as a subdivision in Burlington, Vermont. All the design matters are supposedly settled, and there has been little intelligent debate about them for years.
America has now squandered its national wealth erecting a human habitat that, in all likelihood, will not be usable very much longer.
In Japan for work, sick and low on sleep, with a day at the end of the trip to sightsee with a friend but no plans and almost no Japanese language skills… we randomly ran into expat Noel of Travels In Japan (and recently a new project, Tokyo Biking Tours) and struck up a conversation.
He gave us a few suggestions of places to check out, then mentioned— “I have spare bikes stashed around the city— I could loan two of them to you… or hey, I could even move three to the same location, meet up with you tomorrow morning, and take you on a ride around the city”.
The next morning, we set off on sturdy, single-speed mamacharis for what ended up being a 12 hour biking and walking tour around all of central Tokyo, somewhere between 35 and 45 miles of riding, with many stops to walk around shrines, historical sites, shopping districts, parks, and places to eat. Photos continue below the map.
We cruised past what I believe was a Noh performance, with one performer in a mask, one holding a broom, and sharp, rehearsed body motions:
Saw rivers and many bridges:
Lunch, for about US$7:
The giant water lilies were starting to die (seasonally) in Shinobazu pond in Ueno park:
Biking on sidewalks is allowed, and in parts of the city was easier than riding in the road, as long as you’re willing to keep a slow appreciating-your-surroundings pace (and isn’t that the point?)
Bike crossing (sidewalk to sidewalk):
Two-level bike parking:
A sudden flat. An attempt to fix it with a spray can of tire-inflating foam. But the hole was too large. We walked it to a nearby bike shop (courtesy google maps), and were on the road again a while later:
Serendipitously, the bike shop was a few blocks from Kappabashi-dori, a street with many kitchen supply stores including a shop selling the realistic-looking plastic models of food used in the windows of many Japanese restaurants:
Later, in Asakusa (one of the more scenic sections):
Following our noses to dinner, near Yurakucho Station:
Excellent yakitori (chicken thigh, leeks, shisito peppers, pig heart) and beer in icy glasses:
After riding back across the city, this time at night, we reached Shibuya and Hachikō and neon:
A great day, with such a different feeling for how Tokyo connects than just hitting the hot spots by train gave me in the past, and another fine example of the kindness of strangers. Thanks, Noel!
On November 19, KQED Pop, a web initiative of public media outlet KQED, ran a blog post entitled “A San Franciscan’s Guide to Living in Oakland.” The article was written by Serena Cole, a UC Berkeley art teacher and Oakland resident for the last decade. Cole listed several places she recommends for new residents forced out of San Francisco due to high rents – in other words, the very same people commonly referred to as gentrifiers and hipsters.
Where it gets interesting, though—and the reason we’re writing this article—is a paragraph Cole wrote which stated the following: “The only rule to living here is to find where to go and not to go. The places I am going to take you on a tour through will label me as ‘bougie’ by Oakland standards, but I don’t think there is anything elitist about coming home in one piece. So stay out of East Oakland and West Oakland. That doesn’t sound like it leaves much, but it does. Trust me, my friends have been violently mugged in East Oakland and had the same house robbed three times in West Oakland. But be my guest if you want to go to either for ‘cool points.’”
Hold on. Full stop. Let’s back up. Did KQED’s blogger just tell recent SF transplants to avoid three-quarters of the city on general principle? Yup.
Radio personality, journalist, and webmaster Davey-D took the media outlet to task with a lengthy Facebook post, in which he admonished KQED, “you guys should be ashamed of yourselves for allowing such a disparaging article that bashes on our city and its hard working residents…I guess with small minded, bigoted attitudes like the ones displayed in your article you should definitely stay out of West and East Oakland and the town in general… Middle finger to you guys for allowing that article to be published.” Davey’s post generated more than 50 comments, most of which expressed similar sentiments.
…While the incident certainly caused embarrassment throughout KQED’s Potrero St. headquarters, “we’re actually very grateful” that it happened, Lupetin insisted. “We’ve learned a tremendous amount from the feedback” from community members and subscribers, he added, noting that many KQED staffers live in Oakland. “When you make a mistake,” he said, “you need to learn from that. We take it very seriously.”
So, these are the kinds of messages that are constantly thrown at us in our society which makes people of certain racial and ethic groups (i.e., low-income Black people) feel “less than”. Yes, East Oakland is dangerous, however a lot of people live here, including myself. The article conveys that we don’t count; the only people who are important, the only people who need to be protected, are “her” people. We are Other. These are the kinds of things that contribute to unconscious bias.
the perception (that is based on actual crime rates but then blown up by negative media) that oakland is dangerous is pervasive.
i do have friends who are scared of setting foot in the Town ask, Isn’t Oakland dangerous? and among friends who are fellow oaklanders, we can semi-joke on July 4th, “Not sure if fireworks.. or gunshots”.
when introducing newbie friends to oakland, i sort of agree that west and east oakland are probably the most crime-ridden parts of town, but add in that shootings can occur anywhere. and recently in north oakland, lots of inattentive people have been getting their iphones stolen. (which probably doesn’t allay their fears.. haha.. until I take them to a local bar and they relax a bit and can feel the awesome, chill vibe that emanates in oakland.)
it is a pretty general “principle” to “avoid” east and west oakland, unless you live there, of course. but then don’t just blatantly dismiss those areas! most people would want to introduce their friends to the best spots and give a good impression of their city, and that’s understandable. but you could later go explore east and west oakland instead continuing to suffocate yourself in your little white person bubble.
there’s so much rich history in oakland, especially in west oakland. to just pretend three-quarters of the city doesn’t exist is offensive. I totally stand with Davey-D’s comment: If you just want to hold tight to your negative perceptions (that may be false) and not try to learn and understand people who are different from yourself, GTFO of Oakland—don’t come here at all!
"This is an outrage to me. I don’t think I am more or less entitled to be here than anyone else … but those of us who have not made a lot of money are being punished by being removed from our homes," she said. "The crisis has fallen on normal people like us, with normal jobs and normal incomes. … It’s my community, and it’s hard, at almost 50, to think of having to leave."
Jennifer Jameson eats dinner in her partially-packed home, which she has lived in with her husband Dean for the past seven years. They found out their rent had been doubled in August and once they informed their landlord they would not be able to afford it, they were given until December 31, 2013 to move out. The two have been searching for a new place for a few months and have not found one yet. Photo: Leah Millis
"Ellis Act evictions are just a small part of the problem … but they are really emblematic of the crisis, because they tend to target vulnerable tenants - the elderly and disabled who are in long-term, rent-controlled apartments," she said. "The other reason they are emblematic of the crisis is that they tend to be done by speculators, corporations coming into the city to prey on these folks for greed … and it causes a total displacement of community, because rents are so sky high that when you lose your home, you have to leave the city."
A cyclist gave up cycling today in an unprecedented move to do the right thing. Cyclist Valerie Spoke was moved to act after reading comments in her local paper about cyclists. Overcome with shame, she realised for the good of humanity she should stop her selfish cycling behaviour and get a car.
“I didn’t realise until today that my behaviour had a direct effect on other cyclists, so when I cycled on the pavement, it caused other completely blameless cyclists to be shouted at. Worst of all, when I forgot my lights last week it caused plans for a new cycle lane 4 miles away to be cancelled – because money can’t be spent on cycle improvements until all cyclists behave.”
Valerie is not put off taking up motoring by issues such as parking, she said:
“I don’t have a parking space at home, but I don’t think that will matter. My neighbours will be fine with a bit of cheeky parking outside their house, and I can always park partially on the pavement where the road is quite narrow. At work you need a permit to park, which I won’t be allowed because I only live 3 miles away, but there are lots of residential streets nearby so I should be ok.
One thing Valerie is looking forward to is shopping. she said:
“Until now, I have been cycling to the local shops, but shopping at an out of town centre could end up cheaper – and with the cost of fuel, I will have to make that sacrifice!
Local pedestrian Ethel Bypass spoke of her concern that yet another car on the road will make the roads more dangerous for pedestrians, but Valerie urges people not to worry.
“I am a very cautious driver. really! I’m not going to zoom off at junctions, I’m much more the sort to wait until I can be absolutely certain it is safe. If it takes a minute or so it is worth the wait – I am putting that sort of risky behaviour behind me.
“Pedestrians just need to travel safely. Responsible pedestrians wear bright florescent clothes in the day and reflective clothes at night, there is no excuse not to dress safely and keep alert, it’s bad pedestrians wearing black that cause a bad name for all the rest.”
One term I’d never heard before but really resonated was “lived displacement” — a concept put forward by John Stehlin, a grad student at UC Berkeley. Even when residents are able to stay in their homes, what happens when the neighborhood character changes beneath their feet with shifts in retail and street life? That’s displacement, too. And we’re just at the beginning of this important discussion.
Planning + Play
In a session called “Who is mainstream?” Miguel Ramos and Laura Torres from Multicultural Communities for Mobility (MCM) in LA also stressed the importance of investing and partnering with community organizations that already exist. Ramos created a great visual showing how those already embedded groups are, in fact, the spokes that connect the community members to advocacy engagement.
I’m old enough to remember when driving was fun. If you can tell a lot about a society’s culture from its popular music lyrics, the 1960s were surely the golden age of the American automobile.
Instead, for most driving has become simply a matter of getting from point A to point B, and far too often doing so hampered by traffic congestion and stress, to say nothing of the havoc wreaked on our natural environment…
When it comes to land use, driving and the environment, location matters most…
To enable lifestyles with reduced driving, oil consumption and associated emissions, environmentalists should continue to stress opportunities for revitalization and redevelopment in centrally located neighborhoods.
atlanticcities, 18.11.13. excerpted by kaid benfield’s forthcoming book: People Habitat: 25 Ways to Think About Greener, Healthier Cities.
21-year-old D’Paris Williams, a.k.a. “DJ,” a City College student, was assaulted Friday afternoon for what appears to be no reason:
Yesterday afternoon, while riding his bicycle home from the Make A Wish Foundation’s “Bat Kid” happenings, DJ was confronted by two undercover police officers in an unmarked vehicle at the Valencia Gardens Apartments in the City’s Mission District.
Apparently, the officers said something to DJ about riding his bicycle on the sidewalk as he was pulling up to his home in the complex. It is unclear whether the officers identified themselves or not, but did proceed to get out of their car, grab DJ from behind as he was entering the home and beat him for no apparent reason.
A police search uncovered a cupcake and juice that DJ had just purchased from the corner store. Nobody has spoken to DJ since the incident occurred as he was immediately taken to S.F. General Hospital for treatment, and then to the 850 Bryant police station.
Three residents came to DJ’s aid when they saw officers beating him up, only to find themselves also under attack by officers. By this time, uniformed backup had arrived on the scene. Including DJ, a total of four individuals were beaten and arrested by officers.
“You have some of the worst streets you could possibly have.”
San Diego may bill itself as America’s finest city, it’s also a city with some of the worst streets in the country, uninviting buildings, underused parks and an underappreciated waterfront, urban designer Fred Kent told a meeting sponsored by the Downtown San Diego Partnership this week.
To Kent — who helped revitalize central Manhattan in the 1970s and ’80s with projects to make sites like Rockefeller Center and Times Square more people-friendly — the remedy is to create narrower roadways, larger sidewalks and bike paths, and more outdoor dining and shopping to draw more foot traffic, both downtown and in the outlying neighborhoods.
"Don’t drive anywhere," Kent told a packed room of local urban planners, designers, architects and others. "Get used to walking. You lose your sense of place when you’re always in your automobile."
An abandoned block of Chase Street in Baltimore will be redeveloped by Johns Hopkins University.
Large-scale destruction is well known in Detroit, but it is also underway in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Buffalo and others at a total cost of more than $250 million. Officials are tearing down tens of thousands of vacant buildings, many habitable, as they seek to stimulate economic growth, reduce crime and blight, and increase environmental sustainability.
The continuing struggles of former manufacturing centers have fundamentally altered urban planning, traditionally a discipline based on growth and expansion.
Today, it is also about disinvestment patterns to help determine which depopulated neighborhoods are worth saving; what blocks should be torn down and rebuilt; and based on economic activity, transportation options, infrastructure and population density, where people might best be relocated. Some even focus on returning abandoned urban areas into forests and meadows.
“It’s like a whole new field,” said Margaret Dewar, a professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Michigan, who helped plan for a land bank in Detroit to oversee that city’s vacant properties.
The Strand Theatre, which ACT purchased for $4 million and subjected to a $32.5 million restoration effort, is slated to open in January 2015.
“It wasn’t Twitter that revitalized Market Street,” Lee insisted, holding court at Strand Theatre’s ribbon-cutting ceremony last week. “It was the arts organizations. We talk a lot about technology in the city, but technology cannot live without the arts.”
And yet, there’s often a serial, repetitive nature to how San Francisco’s various “theater district” campaigns have played out. The great romance of San Francisco is to create a city where art, music, theater, and technology all flourish together, but so far, that vision hasn’t quite borne out in reality. From a city booster’s perspective, that might not matter; the tech sector will generate enough money to bankroll an arts district, even if the two worlds never intersect. Rising land values may cause small businesses and nonprofits to get displaced in the meantime, but that’s just the cost of gentrification.
related: The Bacon-Wrapped Economy: Tech has brought very young, very rich people to the Bay Area like never before. And the changes to our cultural and economic landscape aren’t necessarily for the better. eastbayexpress, 20.05.13.
tl;dr of ebx article: the new, young rich (tech) has different preferences of what they spend their money on (ex. bottle service at clubs, bike-to-work pants), vs. the old rich (going out to see plays, symphony orchestras..), and the effects of this on the economy and development.
my views are still pretty fixed—i can’t even imagine having a real job, making money.
read all those articles about millennials being optimistic but whatever… I’m not [optimistic]. the economy sucks—the friends who have jobs all seem to be in tech (or science), and they’re the ones who inadvertently contribute to gentrifying neighborhoods and raising rents.
i really don’t care all that much about making money… like these numbers in those graphs above.. i can’t even imagine what they mean. they’re so out there.
i just want enough to go travel, bike tour, rent a nice apartment with hardwood floors and south-facing windows, and buy an electric bike for my mom.
not even pay back student loans. fuck that shit. the student loan bubble better burst and the american education system reformed before i make enough money to start paying back student loans.
Drivers and cyclists don’t have to be angry and fearful. With smart planning, a city can design safe roads for all.
This is one of the better write-ups I’ve seen on the whole discussion around cyclists obeying rules of the road. Quite simply, the rules don’t fit. And don’t get me started on motorists not obeying rules. (Like cyclists are the only ones rolling through stop signs.) A change in mindset is needed. It’s starting to happen here in Chicago, but there is a long way to go. Simply look at the way residents have cried out in anger at speed cameras. These are cameras, that will automatically ticket you for not obeying the law. (gasp!) Until we change our mindset and get serious about making the roads safer for all users, these arguments about paying your fair share (cyclists pay taxes too!) or following the “rules of the road” (just because you saw one cyclist run a red light doesn’t mean we all do) will persist.
You’re going to like my next HuffPo article.
"But what happens if you take a step back, and consider the possibility that such behavior is an inevitable result of the infrastructure we have? It’s a shared car-bike infrastructure that satisfies no one, encourages and even causes risky interactions, and self-selects for risk-taking. And it’s absolutely not inevitable—it’s the result of decades of confused policy, based on the essential flaw that bikes should be treated and operated like cars, being confusingly remedied. Other countries took a different route decades ago, and none do it better than the Dutch.”
“Meanwhile, the seed of Dutch cycling was planted in the United States, if very briefly. Californian cities like Davis, Palo Alto, and Berkeley began to implement Dutch-inspired infrastructure. But then a funny thing happened—arguably the original sin of cycling in America. A British-born Californian traffic engineer named John Forester, the son of C.S. Forester, began to advocate for a concept called “vehicular cycling,” popularized in the book Effective Cycling (recently re-released by MIT Press).”
john forester is one of the root causes of evil!! he’s now buried himself in his home in lemon grove, ca (san diego) on bike forums repeating his old claim that there is no evidence that separate bike infrastructure is safe. whereas in reality, news reports consistently tell of cyclists getting killed on dangerous streets (forced to “vehicularly cycle”).
Wear a helmet, don’t wear a helmet; you choose. We just want you to ride.
It’s probably no surprise to our regular readers that by and large, the most contentious issue you write to us about is helmets. Helmet feedback floods our inbox, Facebook page, Twitter feed and website more than any other subject related to riding a bike. Each time we publish a photo of someone not wearing a helmet we either get yelled at or applauded. So it’s time we officially share our opinion on the subject with you.
We don’t believe the law should require helmets for people over the age of 16. We believe that adults should have the right to choose whether or not they wear a helmet. It feels wrong and repressive living in a city where cyclists are targeted by the police and looked down on by other citizens for not wearing a helmet. Making people who choose to respectfully travel by bike, while following the rules of the road, become the victims of attacks and fines is unreasonable.
At best, helmets may reduce the consequences of collisions, but they cannot stop a crash from happening in the first place. Helmet arguments focus much-needed energy away from what really matters in making cities safe for cycling: lower (and enforced) speed limits and separated and connected bike infrastructure.
We understand that our readers often have personal stories of loved ones who feel that they were saved by wearing helmet. We definitely won’t argue that helmets don’t save lives when people fall and hit their heads. In some cases we are sure that helmets have saved lives.
But we don’t need to police helmet use; it is a waste of resources and a waste of our time as promoters of safe, everyday cycling for transportation. Before you write us about helmets, please first write a letter to your local representative asking for better bike infrastructure and separated bike lanes. We need to move the conversation forward. We need to unify our voices and put our energy towards lobbying for infrastructure and enforced universal lower speed limits. Tell your friends why we need better bicycle infrastructure. Write more letters to local politicians. Don’t remain silent when it comes to making cycling safer for everyone.
Momentum Mag will continue to publish photographs of people biking with and without helmets because we proudly promote the bicycle as transportation and present everyday people riding bikes in everyday situations in whatever clothing and accessories they choose to wear. We need more role models and we need to take more action towards better cycling conditions. Encourage, don’t discourage. Our cities need the voices of people who ride bikes to unify and fight as allies, not judgmental enemies.
Please help us move the conversation beyond helmets. We all have much more important things to talk about.
Mia Kohout & Tania Lo Publishers, Momentum Magazine
momentum mag is awesome. subscribe! or pick up a free copy at your next local bike event!
but if you’re “pro-helmet”, you should reevaluate your views based on evidence. If you’re truly “pro-helmet”, you’d advocate for motorist and pedestrian helmets in addition to bike helmets. (see: motoringhelmet.com)