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Old 12-29-2013, 09:43 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,681,041 times
Reputation: 26671

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I've got a roundabout way to introduce this topic.

I am an accidental cyclist. I was pondering getting a bike to tool around town for a while. But to be honest I am not a hipster or racer and those were the most common cyclists I see around. I don't do messenger bags or backpacks so my dreams were dashed. I like bikes but I don't like looking like a cyclist.

And around a year ago I saw this fun book: cycle chic. I thought it was awesome, the pics were so fun. People biking in normal clothing with umbrellas and suitcases and all kinds of stuff. I started to notice more and more bike lanes around town. (In fact the number of miles have increased by over 30% in town! The number of bike parking spots is up by 25% in the past 18 months). I noticed they were striping the lane on my street on the block below my place.

I have long noticed bike parking is available in most commercial areas in town.

And anyway as luck would have it, I ended up winning a cool bike in a raffle last month. It was one that was my speed: stylish and designed for riding in normal clothing. So I decided to investigate ways to cart my normal stuff around. No way I am giving up my purses. (I added front and back racks with baskets and a supply of bungee cords and cargo nets)

FYI: I bike in a dress

So over the past couple weeks I have been biking around town. Handily enough most trips are only a couple minutes longer, some are even shorter via bike when factoring in parking. With the holidays I haven't done a huge grocery trip, but I have used my bike for my grocery and drugstore errands.

Then I started thinking more about active transport. I have several friends who are car-free and license free (who are over 30). We always talk about how obesity is perhaps caused by engineering activity out of ipour lives. Have you noticed more people substituting car trips for active transit? If your city making aims to promote it too?

My city actually has a policy, that when an public or outdoor event is above a certain size, they must provide bike valet service to encourage fewer car trips.

How is your town encouraging more walking and biking? (Is there other active transit I am forgetting?)

Last edited by jade408; 12-29-2013 at 09:57 PM..
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Old 12-29-2013, 11:37 PM
 
Location: Monmouth County, NJ & Staten Island, NY
407 posts, read 407,778 times
Reputation: 661
NYC has made a huge push for biking in the last few years. While I'm generally okay with this, I don't like the shortsighted way they set up a lot of the lanes/infrastructure for bikes, in such a way that practically encourages drivers and bike riders to either not use them properly or cause some other stupid sh*t and generally be inconvenient for both drivers and cyclists. I just generally chalk that up to the NYC DOT being one of the most incompetent government agencies in the city.

Like this pathetic excuse of a bike lane on a major arterial road, yet no sidewalks have been built. This location is less than half a mile from 2 high schools and a junior high school, and someone jogging in the street over here was hit and killed by a car a few years ago.

But instead we'll get pathetic "shared bike lanes" like this on SFH residential streets that connect no bike infrastructure to no other bike infrastructure and have been arbitrarily placed to make it look like they're being "sustainable".

Occasionally I do like to break out the bike and go for a ride for leisure, though rarely on the streets...usually to park roads like this or in our actual big parks we have. With rare exceptions on those really nice days, I have no desire to actually get around places by bike (or walking/transit for that matter) and will use my car for just about every trip I do. I prefer it that way, because its quick and gives me a much bigger radius of travel in a short amount of time over a bike, comfort and shelter from the elements and I can bring/get a lot of stuff, plus I just love to drive. It also helps that I live in a less urban part of the city with little traffic and ample free parking everywhere I need to go (and wouldn't want to live anywhere more urban).
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Old 12-30-2013, 12:03 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,681,041 times
Reputation: 26671
Quote:
Originally Posted by KeepRightPassLeft View Post
NYC has made a huge push for biking in the last few years. While I'm generally okay with this, I don't like the shortsighted way they set up a lot of the lanes/infrastructure for bikes, in such a way that practically encourages drivers and bike riders to either not use them properly or cause some other stupid sh*t and generally be inconvenient for both drivers and cyclists. I just generally chalk that up to the NYC DOT being one of the most incompetent government agencies in the city.

Like this pathetic excuse of a bike lane on a major arterial road, yet no sidewalks have been built. This location is less than half a mile from 2 high schools and a junior high school, and someone jogging in the street over here was hit and killed by a car a few years ago.

But instead we'll get pathetic "shared bike lanes" like this on SFH residential streets that connect no bike infrastructure to no other bike infrastructure and have been arbitrarily placed to make it look like they're being "sustainable".
Most of Oakland is not a grid, but I live in a section close to the grid and is more grid like. To bike downtown or to 2 of the 3 nearest commercial districts there are striped bike lanes or designated bicycle boulevards. Those quiet streets with traffic calming that are parallel to the main arteries. With the exception of the last two blocks home. One street is too busy so I just walk for a bit and hop on the quiet parallel street for a block. The last nearby district has a big hill on either route home so I haven't tried. What I have found most amazing, that going to nearby berkeley is actually faster by bike. Since the freeways are in the west side of town, the only route to the east is via congested city streets. The freeway is annoying due to congestion most times of day, and you still have 2-3 mikes on surface streets to cross town. Many commercial areas have little parking, where you pray for a spot in side streets or hope for a metered spot. The time is nearly the same to just bike over. And parking is way easier as there is a multitude of racks.

Although I have a car, my choice to drive is very pragmatic based on parking availability or hassle so I walk or take transit to places that are a short drive if parking sucks.
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Old 12-30-2013, 05:12 PM
 
1,714 posts, read 3,138,918 times
Reputation: 1137
Glad you've found biking to be fun and fascinating.

Be careful out there--always ride on the side of the road and always wear a helmet.

Around here, we have pretty bike-friendly roads and considerate drivers, but I've had many close calls.

A light rail station is being built here and will be operating soon, and there are two large colleges with lots students riding bikes, so I think Class III and maybe Class II bike lanes are in the future, since we do have roads wide enough to accommodate them.
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Old 12-30-2013, 07:07 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,681,041 times
Reputation: 26671
Quote:
Originally Posted by genjy View Post
Glad you've found biking to be fun and fascinating.

Be careful out there--always ride on the side of the road and always wear a helmet.

Around here, we have pretty bike-friendly roads and considerate drivers, but I've had many close calls.

A light rail station is being built here and will be operating soon, and there are two large colleges with lots students riding bikes, so I think Class III and maybe Class II bike lanes are in the future, since we do have roads wide enough to accommodate them.
Biking is pretty popular in my corner of the Bay Area. Especially my part of town. The combo of hipsters, former hippies, environmentalists and amateur racers adds critical mass. I see lots and lots of parents with trailers and car seats right on their bike. There are at least a dozen bike shops within about 2-3 miles of my place! When I think we are at saturation, I hear about new ones open. At least 2 in the past 12 months.

I think that although students are pretty likely to bike. "Normal" middle class families still see bikes as an option for people who are too poor for a car, and should be only used for a jaunt in the park. Compared to walking and transit, bikes are at least considered fun, but choosing active transportation in many circles seems like crazy talk.
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Old 01-01-2014, 10:26 AM
 
Location: Paris
8,133 posts, read 6,683,995 times
Reputation: 3371
In Paris, the situation has somewhat improved in the last 15 years, thanks to a pro-cycling mayor. There are about 400 miles of them in the central city, mostly along frequented avenues:
https://maps.google.com/maps?q=paris...282.79,,0,1.48

There are plans to allow cyclists to turn right turn at right lights. Also, now, all one-way streets have these signs:
https://maps.google.com/maps?q=paris...335.82,,0,8.64


In the "suburbs", it's more hit or miss. I have to cycle for over a mile to reach the nearest bike path. I wouldn't call my neighbordhood as bike firendly at all and try to stick to side roads where the traffic is light. It doesn't help commuters to switch to bike, as long journeys are impractical.
http://imageshack.com/a/img826/2897/767c.jpg

Some outer suburbs look better equipped than the inner ring, mostly because they are newer:
https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Saint...21.61,,0,-0.66

The launch of a bicycle sharing system in 2007 has been praised and has since proven successful. It has since been extended to some inner suburbs (which aren't suburban at all):
https://maps.google.com/maps?q=60+av...,56.69,,0,8.56
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Old 01-03-2014, 11:58 AM
 
2,553 posts, read 2,005,842 times
Reputation: 1348
When I was in San Diego, I saw the city proper was making a big push to make areas and corridors more cyclist-friendly. At the same time, while it's technically possible to bike throughout the county, it's not necessarily easy or pleasant.

Meanwhile, San Jose has done a rather poor job of developing corridors for pedestrians, bikes, or PT. But, it should be noted that it has plans to develop "urban villages" which may include increased active transport infrastructure.
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