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Saturday, December 03 2016 @ 07:39 PM UTC
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How one city went from scrubbing bike lanes to building an entire network in weeks

Biking ElsewhereBY TOM BABIN, Shifter

That’s an understatement. Not only had Edmonton sat idly by while cities all over the continent built accommodations for bikes, it was getting worse. Painted lanes were being scrubbed, and the best bike route across the river was worsened by bridge modifications. If the mayor sounded like he was throwing up his hands, what hope did anybody else have?

So how it is that, just a few weeks later, this sprawling northern city, famous for long winters and hockey, is on pace to build a forward-thinking and ambitious network of separated downtown bike lanes? Credit the power of frustration, and some creative thinking.

It also has lessons for other cities struggling to get the bike-lane ball rolling. Nobert credits the idea to creative thinking outside of the usual confines of city hall. “We created a situation that seemed impossible or difficult to say no to,” he said. “I credit (a group of city councillors) with showing the leadership and take the political risk, but I believe that the creativity came from without.”

There’s something else unique about the project. Rather than a long public consultation process, in which a litany of public meetings allow people to air their theoretical grievances ahead of time, this project is being built as a pilot project that will be tweaked once in place. The idea is to get the lanes installed in the real world, and then adjust them based on public feedback, rather than the other way around.

For Nobert, however, perhaps the most important thing that he learned from the experience is the power of people.

“Citizens need to get engaged,” he said. “Trust that centrally-located residents want to bike and walk places (they do), and use that fact to your advantage. Guerilla is great. Use injury collision data as leverage. Build social media networks, build real relationships. Meet with everyone.

“Citizen groups can make change.”

[B' Spokes: My take away is let your elected representatives know that you bike and expect more than just platitudes. I would also like to give a shout out to BikeMore, they are doing a wonderful job, the more we support them the better job they can do. And I also want to point out Bike HoCo - Bicycling Advocates of Howard County, they too are doing a exceptional job.

Bike HoCo:

(If you can donate some money or time but above all keep on riding.)]
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Biking Elsewhereby Caron Whitaker, LAB

The Surveys
The League did two surveys. One was of League members and advocates. Over 4000 advocates representing all 50 states responded to this survey. The other survey was done in conjunction with the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP). This survey went out to APBP members, including planners, engineers and professional advocates, as well as to Executive Directors and Policy Directors at League organization members. 195 people from 38 states responded. This second survey included detailed questions about specific funding sources and policies.

Here are the lessons learned from the APBP/League Leaders survey.

Practitioners are positive bunch. Overall they report more positive change in their communities than advocates, and are more adamant about it (i.e., more likely to see “a lot” of progress vs. some progress experienced by advocates.)

* Progress on infrastructure is strongest. Close to 90 percent of respondents saw progress on basic infrastructure: sidewalks, trails and on street bike infrastructure; and 80 percent saw progress on connecting bike networks and bike share.
* Progress is slower on driving related issues. Survey respondents gave their lowest ratings to issues of reducing speed limits and in stopping distracted driving. These issues were top concerns for both advocates and practitioners.

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Reality check: Distracted walking isn’t a big problem. (Distracted driving is.)

Biking ElsewhereBy Patrick Cain, Global News

In Toronto, pedestrian collisions where the pedestrian was coded as inattentive have fallen since 2005, figures released by the city to Global News show. A report by the city’s medical officer of health showed that only 13 per cent of pedestrians hit in the city were inattentive for any reason.

“The difficulty is, with cars, what they represent, based on their speed, their size, their weight,” Brown says. “If you are handing a weapon, you handle it with care. You can’t have distractions, you can’t have multitasking — you’ve got to have one hundred per cent of your cognitive ability.”
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Bikers already 'pay their fair share' for safer streets

Biking ElsewhereBy RANDY LOBASSO, Metro

A lot can go wrong during that process. Especially during the community feedback portion. Oftentimes, those in favor of bike lanes get backlash over wanting something we allegedly don’t pay for. Therefore, the thinking goes, if cyclists want new lanes, they should be taxed and forced to submit to a city licensing program before we even think about installing safety precautions on city streets...

American taxpayers as a whole paid $1 trillion more to sustain the road network than people who drive paid in gasoline taxes, tolls and other user fees.” And in 2012, $69 billion in highway spending came from Americans’ general tax revenue.
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Car Accidents the Leading Cause of Teen Deaths

Biking in BaltimoreBy Amanda Johncola, NBC Philadelphia

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, car accidents are the leading cause of death among 15 to 20 year-olds, killing 1,678 16 to 20 year-olds in 2014.
In 2015, 54% of teen deaths were due to not wearing a seatbelt, in 26% there was alcohol in the driver's system, and 36% of teen deaths were due to speeding.
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#DirectDOT: New Complete Streets Policy for Baltimore

Biking in BaltimoreVia BikeMore

What are we advocating for?

We're advocating that the new legislation be specific and measurable. Here are a few of the requirements in the proposed new legislation (none of which were in the original legislation):

Mandate a “modal hierarchy” of pedestrians first, followed by transit riders, bicyclists, automobiles, and parking. Simply put, the bill will require design to prioritize people who walk, bike, or take transit over people in private automobiles.

Mandate use of the latest urban design standards over the dated manuals currently in use.

Remove the “Motor Vehicle Level of Service” standard, and apply “Multi-Modal Level of Service” methodology, if a level of service standard is used at all. This means adding bike lanes, reducing travel lanes, and making other pedestrian, transit, and bicycle improvements won’t be thrown out of consideration due to potential delays for individuals in personal vehicles.

Mandate travel lane widths at a maximum of 10 feet, except on mapped transit and truck routes, where lane widths may be 11 feet. Many roads in Baltimore have lane widths wider than the standard for highways, which encourages people to drive at higher speeds on these roads. Narrowing the travel lanes will calm traffic and add space for bicycle and walking improvements over time.

Mandate a default design vehicle similar in size to a UPS delivery truck — meaning design streets (that aren't truck or public transit routes) to be optimal for a large delivery van rather than an 18-wheeler. When streets are designed or changed, the city uses a "design vehicle" as the typical road user. Baltimore currently uses a 18-Wheel tractor trailer as the default design vehicle, even on streets where trucks are not permitted. This results in wide travel lanes, soft curbs, and far distances for pedestrian crossings to facilitate truck turns that will never happen on those streets.

Mandate street design that limits visual clutter and remains sensitive to Baltimore's historic character.

While the Complete Streets Bill from 2010 was a step in the right direction, it wasn't specific enough to implement and wasn't made a priority by the administration. This new bill will be a huge step forward for Baltimore, and allow us to catch up to neighboring cities and begin to address the inequity of our roadway planning.
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Going deep with regional leaders on using performance measurement

Biking ElsewhereVia Transportation for America

“Transportation works as a network and fails as a network,” she said. “So why do people think we can fix the network project by project by project? I’m most interested in what is the best suite of projects.” She went on to describe why data matters, but only if you measure the right things. “You should be asking people what matters to them and measure that. If you don’t, you are telling your customers that what matters to them is unimportant. …Data is only useful if it helps you tell a story or make better decisions.”
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Why Self-Driving Cars Don’t Solve the Capacity Problem

Biking ElsewhereBy Emil Seidel, Edgy Labs

“The problem with this approach to self-driving cars is that it repeats the same mistake of the 20th century: seeing the problem of passenger transportation and the problem of car traffic as the same thing, and failing to recognize that older modes can do things that newer modes can’t.”
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Rethinking Traffic Safety

Biking ElsewhereBy Todd Litman, Planetizen

A recent CDC report, "Vital Signs: Motor Vehicle Injury Prevention — United States and 19 Comparison Countries," and Economist Magazine analysis, "America’s Road-safety Record is the Worst in the Rich World," indicate that, despite huge investments in traffic safety programs and safety engineering, the United States has, by far, the highest per capita traffic fatality rate among peer countries.
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Why 12-Foot Traffic Lanes Are Disastrous for Safety and Must Be Replaced Now

Biking ElsewhereBy JEFF SPECK, City Lab

"What's the number one most important thing that we have to fight for?" I said. "You mean, besides corporations being people and money being speech?"

"Besides that."

"Well that's easy: 10-foot lanes instead of 12-foot lanes."

The classic American residential street has a 12-foot lane that handles traffic in two directions. And many busy streets in my hometown of Washington, D.C., have eight-foot lanes that function wonderfully. These are as safe and efficient as they are illegal in most of the United States, and we New Urbanists have written about them plenty before, and built more than a few.

States and counties believe that wider lanes are safer. And in this belief, they are dead wrong.

Here, the takeaway is clear: AASHTO says that 10-foot lanes are just fine—for what it's worth.
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