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I went to this “pub talk" yesterday @laurelwood​ pub yesterday, hosted by TriMet. The topic was "Climate Change and Transit", and a person from Metro and from TriMet both presented. Lots of people asked great questions.
pretty cool that TriMet (Portland area public transit agency) is doing these events to get more engaged in the communities.
the next event will be in Tigard:

What is BRT?  BRT stands for Bus Rapid Transit, which is among the transit options being considered in the Southwest Corridor and along the Powell-Division corridor.  Learn more about BRT and how it’s been implemented in communities around the world.  
Wednesday, January 29, 20145–7 p.m.Max’s Fanno Creek Brew Pub12562 SW Main St, Tigard, OR 97223
RSVP:  ridersclub@trimet.org
» Scientific Proof That Cars and Cities Just Don't Mix

A fascinating new study has revealed what many Planetizen readers already know: cities aren’t meant to be experienced from behind the wheel of a car. Researchers at the University of Surrey found that drivers perceive exactly the same things more negatively than those who walk, bike, or take transit, confirming the anecdotal experience of literally every person that’s ever tried to find parking in an urban downtown.

Pacific Standard Magazine has a great write-up describing the results of the study, in which participants were asked to judge the traits of people they saw from a car, transit, bicyclist, or pedestrian perspective:

"The researchers found that participants who saw the video from the perspective of a car rated the actors higher on negative characteristics (threatening, unpleasant) than participants in the other three conditions. Participants who saw the video from the perspective of the pedestrian rated the actors higher on positive characteristics (considerate, well-educated) than those in the car condition."

These findings have a few interesting implications…

These studies, taken together, indicate that cities working to emphasize walkable, transit-oriented communities are laying a strong foundation for continued growth. Improvements that focus on how people interact with cities at a human level, rather than the driving experience, are likely to be the changes that produce the most positive experiences for visitors and new residents. And the more alternatives residents and visitors have for getting around without a car, the fewer negative impressions they’re likely to form of the city.

planetizen: 30.12.13.
Why Your Big Move to the Big City May Be Your Last. psmag, 19.12.13.
Hoody, goody or buddy? How travel mode affects social perceptions in urban neighbourhoods. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour Volume 21, November 2013, Pages 219–230

» Even An 85 MPH Highway Can't Fix Austin's Traffic Tangle

Texas Highway 130, a new Austin bypass toll road, is so far east of the city that it sees little traffic. The state recently raised the speed limit there to 85 mph in hopes of boosting its use.

Mayor Lee Leffingwell, a native Austinite, says he’s watching automobile traffic slowly ruin his beautiful city.

"There was kind of an epiphany — a moment in time when we realized that we are going to have to quit ignoring the problem, which we’d done for so many years in the past," Leffingwell says.

An ‘If We Don’t Build It, They Won’t Come’ Mentality

While Austin fiddled decade after decade, Dallas was busy building the largest light rail system in the country. Thirty years later, the Texas city with the conservative reputation has the regional mass transit network, not Austin. Austin has done practically nothing in that regard…

Like many in Austin, businessman Kevin Tuerff moved here to attend the University of Texas and never left. Ten years ago, he bought his dream home in the Austin Hill Country. Traffic has become a mess as the population has exploded.

By last year, Tuerff was fed up with two hours on the road every day. Now he rents a high-rise apartment in a gleaming new building downtown.

"My office is about five minutes by car or 12 minutes by bicycle," he says. "And that’s what I love about this place."

Tuerff is part of that 40 percent that Lomax needs to make his transportation models work. And there’s a growing population of successful professionals paying $3,000 to $5,000 in rent every month for the privilege of walking and biking to work and play.

But what about Austin’s many musicians and artists — and, in fact, everybody else?

npr, 17.12.13.

» Driving Is Going Out of Style

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.).

slate, 05.12.13.

(Source: emergentfutures)

» Can North America Become a Civilized Cycling Society?


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.

» Seeing Bike-Share as an Alternative to Streetcars


photo by anne p. on flickr.

the Portland Streetcar. photo by john s. on flickr

atlanticcities, 07.10.13.

» Blaming Victims and Dictating Clothing

read more: copenhagenize, 21.10.13.

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.

drumnbass:

One reason why London is great. Push through.
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