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Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 04:22 PM UTC
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Highway vs Mass Transit Funding

Mass Transit * Since 1956, federal, state and local governments have invested nine times more capital funding in highway subsidies than in transit.
* In 2004, state governments spent nearly 13 times more public funds on highways than on transit.
* The process for securing funding for new transit lines is far more onerous and less certain than for highway projects, with the federal government generally picking up a smaller share of the tab for new transit lines than for new highway projects.

Yglesias also notes:

Of course you can't bring this subject up without legions of people informing you that the gas tax pays for the highways. This simply isn't true. All the funds raised by the gas tax are spent on highways, and then a bunch of additional money is also spent on highways.

Mark Delucchi at the U.C. Davis Institute for Transportation Studies backs that up as well. In a study published last fall, Delucchi found that "current tax and fee payments to the government by motor-vehicle users fall short of government expenditures related to motor-vehicle use by approximately 20 to 70 cents per gallon of all motor fuel." U.S. drivers do not pay their own way.

After the jump is another great chart from A Better Way to Go. Anyone want to guess how many millions of dollars in gasoline cost savings and tons of carbon dioxide emissions reductions the New York City Transit produces annually? [Hint, start in the billions.]
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Will Car-Free ‘Summer Streets’ Work?

Biking ElsewhereBy Sewell Chan

The city’s Summer Streets program will have its debut Saturday morning. The Bloomberg administration plans to bar motor vehicles from a 6.9-mile north-south route in Manhattan for six hours each on three consecutive Saturdays. In an interview this morning with Fox 5, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg expressed hope — but not certainty — that the event would be a success:

Cars are important, but streets are there for everybody. And we’re going to try, for three days in a row – three Saturdays in a row – to see if the public wants to go out in the streets and reconnect with each other and bicycle and skateboard and walk and kibbitz and maybe a lot of restaurants will put tables out – something different.

He added, “This has been done in Bogotá for 30 years. They love it. It’s phenomenally popular and it probably will work here. If it doesn’t, at least we’ll have tried.”
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New York City Art & Design - Bike Racks?

Biking Elsewhere...
In recent years his [David Byrne] interest in bicycles has expanded from riding them to thinking seriously about the role they play in urban life, as he has started making connections with politicians and international design consultants keen to keep cars from taking over the city. So when the Department of Transportation asked him to help judge a design competition for the city’s new bike racks, he eagerly agreed — so eagerly, in fact, that he sent in his own designs as well.

They were simple shapes to define different neighborhoods around the city: a dollar sign for Wall Street; an electric guitar for Williamsburg, Brooklyn; a car — “The Jersey” — for the area near the Lincoln Tunnel. “I said, ‘Well, this disqualifies me as a judge,’ ” he recalled, “but I just doodled them out and sent them in.” He figured maybe they’d be used to decorate the contest Web site,

...on Friday nine racks made from his own whimsical designs were installed around the city. “They immediately responded, saying, ‘If you can get these made, we’ll put them through,’ “ he recalled. “I was kind of shocked.”
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Enraged motorist swerves into bicyclists, injures one

Biking ElsewhereBy Steve Gehrke, The Salt Lake Tribune

A 41-year-old man who allegedly used his truck to swerve into groups of bikers on Mirror Lake Highway over the weekend has been charged with third-degree felony aggravated assault and a pair of misdemeanors.
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Driver picks the wrong pedestrians to go after with his truck

Biking ElsewhereAfter jumping out of the way, the four off-duty cops call 9-1-1 and have the driver arrested

By Lee van der Voo The Lake Oswego Review

In the end, hitting the gas may have been a very bad idea.

But a Portland driver who allegedly gunned his three-quarter ton truck at four pedestrians in a Lake Oswego parking lot is now in the Clackamas County Jail.

Turns out the joke’s on him.

Richard J. Halley, 55, is accused of racing his vehicle toward four men in the parking lot of the Albertson’s store at 11 S. State Street.

It happened at 12:20 p.m. Wednesday as the four men walked across the parking lot onto the sidewalk after just having lunch at the Subway.
He was charged with four counts of menacing, one count of reckless driving and one count of recklessly endangering. He is being held in the Clackamas County Jail on $45,000 bail.
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Schools move to eject cars from campuses

Biking ElsewhereBy Gwen Purdom, USA TODAY

High schools and colleges are steering students away from cars to save money on gas, save the environment and promote physical fitness.

This fall, Ripon College in Ripon, Wis., is offering freshmen free mountain bikes, helmets and locks in exchange for a promise not to bring a car to campus. The $300-per-student cost is funded by private donations.

The college's president, David Joyce, says the project was meant to avoid building a parking garage, but its side effects are beneficial: less pollution, more exercise and savings on gas.

The timing was right, Joyce says: "We were either extremely brilliant or extremely lucky."

About 60% of the school's 300 incoming students have signed up.

"Today's teenagers deserve a lot of credit. They're socially aware, they're environmentally conscious," says Mike Martin, executive director of the National Association of Pupil Transportation. "When the price of gasoline takes effect, they're smart."

On other campuses: ...

"We have over 100 million bikes that are sitting around in garages and basements and back porches," Blumenauer says. "When people start to use them, it can be transformational."
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My hurry matters more than your hurry

Biking Elsewhere[An article about hostile motorist/cyclists interactions]

By JAN HOFFMAN - New York Times
“We’ve had a car culture for so long and suddenly the roads become saturated with bicyclists trying to save gas,” Mr. Cooley said 10 days after the attack, still feeling scrambled, in pain and traumatized. “No one knows how to share the road.” He doesn’t plan to bike to work again this season.

Every year, the war of the wheels breaks out in the sweet summer months, as four-wheelers react with aggravation and anger to the two-wheelers competing for the same limited real estate.
Like Mr. Cooley, the newbies are lured by improved bike lanes as well as the benefits of exercise, a smaller carbon footprint and gas savings. But talk about a vicious cycle! With more bikes on the road, the driver-cyclist, Hatfield-McCoy hostility seems to be ratcheting up. Cycling: good for the environment, bad for mental health?
Psychologists and traffic experts say the tension rises from many factors, including summer road rage and the “my hurry matters more than your hurry” syndrome, exacerbated when drivers feel captive to slower-moving cyclists.

And then there’s old-fashioned turf warfare.
The ability of drivers and cyclists to trash talk and then disappear into the anonymity of traffic further poisons the atmosphere. Dave Schlabowske, the bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for Milwaukee, recalled a car pulling alongside as he pedaled to a meeting: passenger, a child of about 6, rolls down window. No seat belt.

Driver, male, fixes Mr. Schlabowske with a glare, and then gives instruction to small child. Obediently, child complies: he flips Mr. Schlabowske an obscene gesture, shouts complementary epithet. Looking triumphant, driver peels off.

To some extent, the hostility is a byproduct not only of the abdication of common sense, but of widespread ignorance of state and local laws. In every state, cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles. But in the particulars, state vehicle codes and municipal ordinances vary. Consider the frustrated driver who shouts to a cyclist, “Get on the sidewalk!”
The anticyclist hostility even follows riders into court. Just ask a bike lawyer. For as surely as night follows day, with more riders on the road, there is a small but growing peloton of lawyers specializing in bike law, usually representing injured cyclists.

Gary Brustin, a cyclist and California bike lawyer, said anticyclist fervor makes jury selection daunting. “They are white-hot about us,” Mr. Brustin said. “They are seething.” In California, bicycle plaintiffs lose two out of three cases that go to trial.

The anger has not gone unnoticed by officials around the country. A dozen states now mandate at least a three-foot passing gap. In June, South Carolina passed an antiharassment law to protect cyclists. ... Complete Streets bills seek to require that roads be designed for all users.
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Poor behaviour on the road is a barrier to cycling

Biking Elsewhere[Excerpts from Getting Australia Moving]

“We…have created an environment that makes it very convenient for people to be inactive, and subsequently develop unhealthy behaviours. The only way to combat this is to make it equally convenient for people to become active, and moreover, easier for them to inherit a better quality of life”.
Libby Darlison, Chair, Premiers Council on Active Living, NSW.

  • The more cyclists there are, the safer it becomes.
  • Motorists behaviour largely controls the likelihood of collisions with people walking and cycling.
  • Comparison of pedestrian and cyclist collision frequencies between communities and over time periods need to reflect the amount of walking and bicycling.
  • Efforts to enhance pedestrian and cyclist safety, including traffic engineering and legal policies, need to be examined for their ability to modify motorist behavior.
  • Policies that increase walking and cycling appear to be an effective route to improving road safety.

A Victorian Parliamentary inquiry into violence associated with motor vehicle use received a large number of submissions from the cycling community reporting instances of road violence. Several submissions suggested that the presence of cyclists on the road was a trigger for road violence against cyclists (Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee, 2005). Driver knowledge of the road rules as they relate to people on bicycles has been found to be generally poor. Only one in five (19%) of drivers knew that it was legal for cyclists to ride two abreast, 44% that cyclists were allowed to ride along a clearway, and 63% that cyclists were allowed to occupy a whole lane (Rissel et al, 2002). Importantly, this lack of knowledge regarding vital aspects of the road rules has been found to be associated with a negative attitude amongst motorists towards people on bicycles (Rissel et al, 2002). The hostile reception reported by bicyclists from motorists is a consistent theme when surveying people who ride bicycles. Daley et al (2007) found that many occasional and regular riders perceived the average Sydney driver as impatient and intolerant. Some thought drivers were more likely to respect cyclist’s safety and rights if bicycles were more frequently encountered on the roads and this is supported by Robinson (2005) who found that the more cyclists there are, the safer it becomes. Riders described altercations where motorists took out frustrations on them, often triggered by the motorist’s view that their journey was delayed by the rider. Riders felt there was a skewed driver perception that a cyclist held up traffic, rather than seeing them as a legitimate part of the traffic system. It is this lack of acknowledgement towards people on bicycles that has been found by Greig (2001) to be a significant deterrent towards regular cycling.
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Bike Commuting By the Numbers

Biking ElsewhereCompared to Americans, Europeans are way out in front
By Adam Voiland

Transportation planners in the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark have invested heavily in bicycle paths and lanes, discouraged the use of cars, and gone to great efforts to protect the legal rights and safety of cyclists. A few stats:

1 percent of trips in the United States are made on a bicycle. That's 10 percent in Germany, 18 percent in Denmark, and 27 percent in the Netherlands. In Portland, Ore., 3.5 percent of trips to work are made by bike, the highest share among the 50 largest American cities. The lowest: Kansas City, Mo., at a paltry 0.02 percent.

37 percent of short trips (under 2.5 kilometers, or 1.5 miles) are made on a bicycle in the Netherlands, compared with 2 percent in the United States. 1.1 cyclists are killed per 100 million km cycled there; in the United States, 5.8 cyclists are killed per 100 million km.

Motorists are legally responsible for collisions with children and elderly cyclists in the Netherlands and Germany even when cyclists are disobeying traffic rules. (Not generally true here.) However, bicyclists who disobey the rules of the road there are more likely to be ticketed.

Alcohol use, by driver or cyclist, was reported in more than one third of U.S. crashes that resulted in cyclist fatalities in 2006.
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Easing way for foot traffic - City sidewalk repair blitz begins

Biking in BaltimoreBy John Fritze | Sun reporter

Mayor Sheila Dixon kicks off Baltimore's new sidewalk improvement campaign, called "Sidewalk Sam." The mayor stands on sidewalk poured yesterday as she uses a hand float to smooth freshly poured cement in the 1200 block of S. Clinton St. (Sun photo by Kim Hairston / July 31, 2008)

Hoping to clear a waiting list for sidewalk repairs that stretches back four years, Baltimore officials said today they will focus more attention - and an additional $2 million - on smoothing the way for foot traffic.

City transportation contractors will increase by two-thirds the number of sidewalk repairs completed in the city in this year, resurfacing nearly 650,000 square feet of cracked, washed out and uneven walkways.

"We get a lot of service calls for our sidewalks and our streets," Mayor Sheila Dixon said yesterday. "Some people think that we only drive cars in this city. But more and more people are walking."

Dixon's push on the sidewalks comes a year after the city Department of Transportation increased its budget for road improvements by about 70 percent - an effort paid for largely with bonds - and added more than 20 miles of bike lanes.

Baltimore plans to resurface 200 lane-miles of streets this year, a slight increase over last year and more than double what was paved in 2006, Dixon has said.

City Councilman James B. Kraft, who represents Southeast Baltimore, said fixing up sidewalks is a small thing the city can do to improve quality of life and make neighborhoods more attractive to pedestrians.

Dixon pointed to a recent ranking by a Seattle-based Web site called Walk Score that deemed Baltimore the 12th-most-walkable city in the country. The site noted Federal Hill, Fells Point and the Inner Harbor as particularly walkable.

"People look in neighborhoods. They see how they are, they see how they feel," Kraft said. "When they're clean and green, people want to stay there. They want to move there."

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Maryland should adopt the Idaho stop law.

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