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Posts from the "Bay Area Bicycle Coalition" Category

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Get Ready to Celebrate Bike to Work Day in the Bay Area

3533938388_7756f45991.jpgSmiling bicyclists enjoy Bike to Work Day 2009. Photo: Bryan Goebel
Some bicycle advocates have called 2010 the year of the bike. Across the country, cities are seeing growing numbers of people biking, and in the Bay Area tomorrow, that pedal power will be on vivid display for Bike to Work Day

Last year in San Francisco, the SFMTA counted a record 200,000 cyclists for Bike to Work Day and considering the exciting changes that have been happening on the city's main thoroughfare, Market Street, in the last few weeks, those numbers are likely to dramatically shoot up Wednesday. The SFBC is planning 27 energizer stations across the city. Mayor Gavin Newsom and nearly every member of the Board of Supervisors plans to take part in VIP rides.

“Scores of people will be experiencing the comfort of bicycling in the newly separated and now green Market Street bike lane for the first time on Bike to Work Day,” said Renee Rivera, acting Executive Director of the SF Bicycle Coalition. “We are thrilled to have Mayor Newsom leading these exciting biking innovations on Market Street, the city's busiest biking street. This is a great first step towards a separated bikeway the full length of lower Market Street.”

Energizer stations are also being set up all over the Bay Area. You can find your nearest energizer station here. The Bay Area Bicycle Coalition has been working on helping to organize Bike to Work Day events in the Bay Area's nine counties.

“Bicycling is growing in popularity all over the Bay Area and we’re expecting hundreds of thousands of people to choose to bike to work this year,” said Andrew Casteel, regional coordinator for Bike to Work Day in the Bay Area. “Biking to work is a fun and easy way to get in shape, save money and help the environment. Bike to Work Day is the perfect time to start riding your bike for everyday transportation."

The Streetsblog crew will be out tomorrow documenting Bike to Work Day but we encourage you to send your photos to our Flickr pool. John Hamilton, our Bay Area Streetfilms producer, will be using some of the photos for a Streetfilm on Bike to Work Day that you'll see on Streetsblog tomorrow evening. So send in your photos as soon as you can and have a great Bike to Work Day! 

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A Progress Report on State-Level Oil Dependence

states460.gifNRDC’s depiction of how hard states are hit by gas costs, ranked by percentage of income spent.

America’s oil addiction is readily acknowledged, even by its biggest enablers. But what is the nation actually doing to kick the habit and embrace a safer, healthier, more realistic energy future? 

An attempt to answer that question was released today [PDF]
by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which has ranked the
"oil vulnerability" of the 50 states for three years running.

On
its face, the list is unsurprising: Mississippi remains in first place,
with the average driver spending more than 9 percent of annual income
on gas, while Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut were rated the
least oil-dependent states. Yet NRDC’s analysis also offers some
instructive tidbits:

  • New York is the overwhelming
    leader in transit — but not much else. The state dedicated 41 percent
    of its federal transportation money to transit as opposed to roads in
    2007, making it the benchmark by which NRDC measured all others. Yet
    that was only enough to hit No. 6 on the overall scale of sustainable
    energy use, thanks to the state’s lack of a low-carbon or renewable
    fuel standard, action on smart growth, and incentives for hybrid
    vehicles.
  • New Jersey’s transit spending
    may not be getting through to some of its drivers. The state ranked
    second behind New York with 30 percent of transport cash used on
    transit, but the state’s average driver spent $2,286 on gas last year
    compared with $1,654 in New York. It’s not due to a high state gas tax;
    New Jersey’s is one of the lowest in the nation. 
  • Capitol
    Hill can set the pace for reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT). Only
    six states have set targets for shrinking their VMT, a goal that
    Transportation Secretary LaHood has called essential to fighting climate change. Without congressional passage of legislation
    making VMT reduction a national priority, it’s difficult to see a
    majority of states taking action individually in the near term.
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Advocates Say MTC Proposal Short-Changes Regional Bike Network

Bicycle advocates are upset that the first draft of a spending plan to come out of the Metropolitan Transportation Agency’s (MTC) 25-year Change in Motion regional transportation blueprint falls far short on proposed funding for the regional bicycle network. They say the MTC is failing to demonstrate a commitment to bicycles.

According to Change in Motion, the regional bicycle network will get $700 million over 25 years in 2007 dollars ($1 billion when escalated by 2035), or $28 million each year. The draft proposal circulating at the MTC only funds the regional bicycle network with $42 million over six years, or $126 million short of what advocates say was pledged in the regional plan [PDF].

"Our main concern in the bicycle community is that the regional bike programming is funded in a very consistent way so that we're not waiting to the end of the 25 year cycle for the promised funding," said Andrew Casteel, Executive Director of the Bay Area Bicycle Coalition. "The more places that you can access with good bike lanes, the more people who feel safe commuting, the more people will choose that option. That's an investment that shows returns in the long run."

MTC spokesperson Randy Rentschler said it was a mistake to equate Change In Motion with a funding proposal. "It's a common thing for folks to see this regional transportation plan and see it as a programming plan. And it should be linked, but not [identical]."

He also countered the claim that bicycles infrastructure is a good investment from an economic perspective, saying that it scores poorly on the MTC's cost benefit analysis, especially compared to adjustments to the flow of cars on freeways.

"The fact is that upfront investment in bicycling does not bring bang for the buck," said Rentschler. "Most people drive everyday; driving for the work trip is 90% of the market share in the Bay Area, in some areas it's 95% of the market share."

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