Urban Velo

No More Bike Paths Ever!

LW0727_bikerulesOk, this is an interesting case of which the ramifications are probably no need for concern. Still..

This Salon article details the case of Marvin Brandt Revocable Trust vs. United States, in which the courts ruled in favor of the family who opposed a bike path being laid through part of their land. Here’s the amusing hypocrisy. They are descendants of the owner of a sawmill that built railroad ties, and they stated,

“They want to bring a train through here, that’s fine. We never expected and we never agreed to a bicycle trail.”

To the family, it isn’t that the government is using their abandoned land through right-of-way privileges, but that it’s a bicycle path and not a TRAIN. Umm…OK.

The larger ramifications of this case are more concerning, in the decision undermines the legality of already established bike paths obtained through right of way privileges. But yeah, good luck fighting the established benefits of Rails-To-Trails programs and tearing up all that asphalt.

Read the full article on Salon.com

Protected Bike Lanes Mean Business

PBL_report_coverFrom the Alliance for Biking & Walking:

In a new report from PeopleForBikes and the Alliance for Biking & Walking, 15 entrepreneurs and business leaders from major U.S. cities explain how protected bike lanes — on-street lanes that are physically separated from automobile traffic by curbs, planters, parked cars or posts — has meant big benefits for their companies.

The report combines this original reporting with an overview of the latest academic and technical research to find changes associated with four mega-trends.

Check it out.

Los Angeles Bicycle Commuter Festival & Summit


The first of its kind, the Los Angeles Bicycle Commuter Festival and Summit is a coordinated effort between an array of local advocacy organization, not least of which is AIDS Lifecycle and the Bicycle Culture Institute. The day-long festival will include workshops, vendors and food throughout the day, party to follow, all at the Village at Ed Gould Plaza in Hollywood. Workshops covering everything from commuting, locking up and navigating transit to choosing the right bike, legal issues for cyclists, and more will be hosted by experienced cyclists and advocates from the L.A. Bike Coalition, L.A. Bike Trains, CicLAvia, CICLE, SoCalCross, Wolfpack Hustle and several of L.A.’s bike collectives. Tickets for the festival are $10/individual or $15/family (two plus kids), available here.


Amsterdam Children Fighting Car Culture in 1972

Bicycle Dutch posted a great piece on this 1972 documentary and the beginnings of Amsterdam’s transformation into the bicycle and pedestrian friendly place it is today. Nothing is perfect and there are still plenty of motor vehicles in the Netherlands, and the traffic deaths that come with them, but it’s been quite the transformation over the past 40 years. All residential streets in Amsterdam today have a speed limit of 18 mph, just as the Dutch traffic expert in this film pointed out as a potential to bring back neighborhood and save children’s lives. Check out the English-subtitled video above, read the entire article at bicycledutch.wordpress.com and get inspired to fight the good fight in your town.

Power2 Live Green – Plaza Midwood Bike Corral

Plaza Midwood is a diverse urban neighborhood on Charlotte NC’s east side. The community benefits from engaged citizens who collaborate to improve the community through arts, environment, education, entertainment, safety and public service. With a growing cyclist community, Plaza Midwood Neighborhood Association received a Power2 Live Green grant to promote alternative transportation including custom designed bike racks, Charlotte’s 1st bike repair stand and an upcycled garden-style bike corral.

“Dial S for Sharrow”: The Lady & the Shared-Use Lanes

From the Edmonton office of Transportation Planning.

People For Bikes: Selling Biking


A former employer shared the wise words of “perception is reality” whenever faced with a situation where the customer was taking our plan in a different direction than expected. It’s an important lesson in bicycle advocacy too — we’re not just speaking to life long cyclists with advocacy efforts, but to the legions of sometimes-riders who may not understand the finer points of traffic markings and control, and may not care. Perception is reality. People For Bikes posted the results of an online scientifically controlled survey on positive/negative perception of various city cycling images from people who own bikes but don’t necessarily ride them daily.

A scientific online poll of Portlanders and San Franciscans who own bikes but don’t ride frequently — in other words, about half the voting population — asked respondents to rate the following photos on a scale of 1 to 4 based on how each “impacts your feelings.”

There’s a common thread to the popular photos, said Mary Lauran Hall, communications manager for the Alliance for Biking and Walking: order.

“The images that are most appealing are the ones where everybody seems to be in the right place,” she said. “There’s a very clear delineation … this is where the bikes belong, and this is where the cars belong.”

It is worth checking out the whole series of images for advocates, daily and casual riders alike. As someone heavily involved in local bicycle advocacy, I found the images pretty enlightening as to how people would really like their commute to look. See the entire piece at www.peopleforbikes.org

World Bicycle Relief Mobilize Me

“Mobilize me and I will…” Help the World Bicycle Relief continue to mobilize people to a better life. They’re at 800,000+ people and counting. www.worldbicyclerelief.org/mobilizeme

The Future of Transportation in America, with Ray LaHood

Mobility Lab recently held an event at George Mason University’s Arlington, Virginia campus with former Department of Transportation secretary Ray LaHood on the future of transportation in America. He predicts that in the next 25 years we will see a huge expansion of nationwide passenger rail, wide adoption of driverless cars, and continued gains in biking and walking infrastructure.

“Transportation is always about the future,” LaHood said. “There are no Republican roads or Democratic bridges,” he added.

About his prediction that America’s future transportation needs would be met more by passenger rail than automobile, LaHood referenced a “pent-up demand for passenger rail,” and said, “The people almost always get it right.”

LaHood told the audience that if Eisenhower had signed a “Passenger Rail Bill” rather than the Federal Highway Act, then America would look much different than it does today. LaHood envisioned a future America that looks, transportation-wise, more like Europe. Smart-growth advocates in the audience undoubtedly were pleased, as the Federal Highway Act is widely considered to have played a significant role in urban sprawl.

When asked by an audience member how a major infrastructure project like the rail LaHood envisions would be funded, LaHood was unequivocal in his response. He called for an increase to the national gasoline tax ”not raised since ’93″ of 10 cents, tied to the inflation rate. He also referenced the Highway Trust Fund as a good starting source of funds, but said it should be supplemented by a vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) tax, tolling, and public-private partnerships operating to cover the shortfall.

LaHood’s final pronouncement was that while America is no longer number one in transportation, it can be. The countries that are surpassing us, such as China, are investing heavily in rail. If America does that as well, it will create jobs in the short term and ensure our competitiveness in the long term.

Check out the video above and read more at www.mobilitylab.org

Ghost Bikes of L.A. at Red#5 Yellow#7



Ghost Bikes of L.A. will open this weekend, and the show will be the first gallery display of the memorials, which have served as a unique and positive response to bicyclist fatalities on city streets.

This year marks the 10th anniversary the first Ghost Bikes erected in St. Louis, Missouri. Quickly adopted in other communities as a way to memorialize fallen cyclists, ghost bikes have established an important place in bicycle culture as an icon of community and solidarity among cyclists, and a powerful public awareness tool that communicates value for human life and safety to all street users. Often, ghost bikes are installed through the collaboration of community bicycle advocates and the family and friends of fallen cyclists.

Year-to-date, more than 70 cyclists have been killed on roads in Southern California alone, making this a particularly sensitive subject in Los Angeles and surrounding areas. The Red#5Yellow#7 gallery is partnering with families and the Los Angeles bike community to recognize and reflect on the international movement and how it has contributed to the way cyclists respond to and engage with the communities they ride in.

Several public discussions and events will take place as part of the show:

Sunday, Oct. 27: noon – 4pm family members speak + How to make a Ghost Bike
Saturday, Nov. 2: Ride to Hollywood Forever’s Day of the Dead
Thursday, Nov. 14: 7pm LA Memorial Ride on Anthony’s Candle Light Vigil
Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013: 4-8pm Closing Reception

To learn more about ghost bikes and their role in the Los Angeles cycling community, listen to an interview with Jesse Ramon of GhostBikesLA.

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