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How Giving Bike Share Prime Real Estate Attracts More Riders

One of the more successful stations in MInneapolis' Nice Ride system is parked right in front of the Birchwood Cafe. Photo: Bill Lindeke

One of the more successful stations in Minneapolis’s Nice Ride system is parked right in front of the Birchwood Cafe. Photo: Bill Lindeke/

We’ve written before about how bike-share “station density” — how closely together stations are placed — is a key variable in how successful systems are in attracting riders.

Here’s a new theory on how station locations can have an impact on bike-share use. Bill Lindeke at says it matters where stations are placed within commercial sites and public areas. The more prominent the better, he says, citing the example of a cafe in Minneapolis:

It was outside the Birchwood where I first noticed the odd psychological effect of bike share stations. I was sitting sipping a coffee in the sunshine, watching people ride and walk up and down the street, and the new kiosk made quite an impression before the front door. As couples walked past, they would stop and gaze at it for a few key seconds.

“Hm, maybe someday I’ll try that out,” I heard someone say.

“How do they work,” couples would murmur to each other

The key thing for me was that these were people, so I thought, that would never bike around South Minneapolis on their own. Even if you never use it, the Nice Ride station breaks down a psychological barrier between us and them, the bicycle people and the rest of us. It offers a gateway into an intimidating world, an exciting potential that is really helpful for forwarding conversations about urban bicycling past a divisive impasse.

Read more…

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What Other Cities Say about Cleveland’s Unusual Bike Lane Buffer

Cleveland’s seemingly backwards buffered bike lane on W. 25th Street. Photo: Satinder Puri.

pfb logo 100x22Michael Andersen blogs for The Green Lane Project, a PeopleForBikes program that helps U.S. cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets.

For all their benefits, protected bike lanes can be complicated. Between maintaining barriers, keeping them clear of snow and preserving intersection visibility, it’s understandable that cities opt not to include them on every street project.

Buffered bike lanes, though, are pretty simple: if you’ve got at least two feet of roadway to spare, you lay down some hash marks between car and bike lanes and double the comfort of biking on a street.

Except in Cleveland, apparently.

When the above image started circulating online this summer, many people assumed some sort of miscommunication was afoot in Cleveland. The main point of a buffered bike lane, as made clear by everyone from AASHTO to NACTO, is to separate bikes from moving cars and/or the doors of parked cars, not to protect bikes from curbs.

But as more information emerged and it began to seem as if Cleveland was not only doing this intentionally but might be planning to repeat the design elsewhere in town, we wondered whether this might be a new trend in street design.

So we emailed cities around the country and asked their bikeway designers to say whether they’d ever want to use this setup. Here’s what they said.

Read more…


Today’s Headlines

  • More on San Francisco’s First Raised Bike Lane on Market Street (CityLabExamSFBC, Kron4)
  • SF City Report Recommends Automated Cameras to Enforce Speed Limits (SF Gate)
  • CEQA Lawsuit Against Private Employer Buses Begins Today (Exam)
  • MuniMobile Smartphone Payment App Now Available (Akit, SFist)
  • Status of Current San Francisco Subway Projects (Muniverse)
  • Caltrain Replaces Tilton Avenue Bridge in San Mateo, First of Four Bridge Replacements (SM Daily)
  • Driver Kills Elderly Pedestrian in Walnut Creek Crosswalk (SF GateSFBay)
  • Amtrak Train Kills Person Walking on Tracks in Richmond (Kron4, SFBay)
  • Vision Zero Community Meeting for Deadly South San Jose Streets (Merc)
  • Menlo Park Extends Free Downtown Parking Time Limits in Six-Month Trial (Almanac)
  • Driver Damages Caltrain Crossing Gate at Mary Avenue in Sunnyvale (CBS)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA
Get state headlines at Streetsblog CA

Via Streetsblog California
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WalkSF to Commemorate Road Victims this Sunday


WalkSF Executive Director Nicole Ferrara Stands at the corner of 6th and Market, one of the deadliest intersections in SF. Photo: Roger Rudick

On November 4, a car slammed into two young boys on their way to school. They were in a crosswalk at the intersection of Bay Street and Buchanan. The boys were hit with so much force that they were reportedly flung to the opposite side of the street. Both were taken to the hospital with severe injuries. The driver was arrested for DUI.

In response to the carnage, Walk San Francisco and the Vision Zero Coalition are holding the city’s first World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims this Sunday, November 15.

“It’s a way to bring a voice to those who have lost loved ones and bring awareness to the public that traffic deaths are more of an epidemic than people realize,” explained Nicole Ferrara, Executive Director of WalkSF.

That crash was just the latest in a disheartening spate of life-altering collisions in San Francisco. Less than a week before, a driver had plowed through a Laurel Heights crosswalk and hit a toddler, who remains in critical care. A few days before that, a speeding car at Hyde and Post in the Tenderloin slammed into a jogger. “These are not ‘accidents,’” said Ferrara. “We have the tools to prevent them from happening, but we haven’t made it a priority.”

In San Francisco, some three pedestrians are hit by cars every day, totaling about 800 every year. In 2013, 21 of them were killed. Lowering speeds through better law enforcement and street design can significantly reduce the carnage, explained Ferrara. Someone hit by a car traveling at 40 mph has only a ten percent chance of surviving. Cut the speed to 20 mph, and the pedestrian has a ninety percent chance of surviving a crash.

Working with the Vision Zero Coalition, Ferrara plans to continue pushing for street designs that prioritize safety over speed, as well as better and more consistent law enforcement–with the goal of reducing road deaths to as close to zero as possible.

The first World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Victims will be held this Sunday, November 15 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., starting at the United Nations Plaza. The group will walk along Market Street to Montgomery Street to the site of the vigil and memorial to hear from family members.


Today’s Headlines

  • ABC Gives San Francisco Drivers Tips on How to Avoid Speeding Tickets
  • SFMTA Seeks Input on Regulating Parking Along Guerrero and Dolores Medians (Mission Local)
  • Muni Overhead Wires Near Justin Herman Plaza to Be Taken Down for Super Bowl (SF Exam)
  • Three Blocks of Van Ness to Be Closed Fri-Sun for CPMC Pedestrian Tunnel Construction (SF Gate)
  • Rincon Hill Gas Station at First and Harrison to Be Razed for 180 Apartments (Socketsite)
  • Caltrain Seeks New Member for Bicycle Advisory Committee (The Daily Journal)
  • Contra Costa to Celebrate Two eBART Stations for Pittsburgh and Antioch, Planned for 2018 (KQED)
  • Pleasant Hill and Concord BART Stations Most Targeted for Bike Theft (NBC)
  • People Behaving Badly Catches Redwood Drivers Ignoring No Left Turn Sign Into Gym Parking Lot
  • San Jose Allows Ride Hailing Companies to Operate at Airport Under New Regulations (SF Bay)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

Via Streetsblog California
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California Cap-and-Trade Is “Officially a Success”

The California Air Resources Board says that the cap-and-trade program is a success. Next year's report will include the transportation and fuels sector. Image: Oil fields near Bakersfield. Melanie Curry.

The California Air Resources Board says that the cap-and-trade program is a success. Next year’s report will include the transportation and fuels sector. Image: Oil fields near Bakersfield/by Melanie Curry.

Last week, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) officially dubbed the state’s cap-and-trade system “a success.”

Cap-and-trade, which began in January 2013, places a cap on emissions from industries in California, and then auctions off emission “credits” to companies that pollute, thus creating billions of dollars that can be invested in further greenhouse gases reductions. The data showing that cap-and-trade has cut climate pollution come from the state’s Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, which requires the largest polluters to report their emissions every year.

Jonathan Camuzeaux and Tim O’Connor of the Environmental Defense Fund report that total climate pollution in the first compliance period—2013 and 2014—decreased over three percent. This puts California’s emissions levels well under its 2014 cap, and puts the state well on its way to achieving the 2020 emissions levels target set by AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

At the same time, California’s economy has prospered and employment has increased. Camuzeaux and O’Connor write:

California also experienced remarkable job growth during the same period. In 2013, California saw total employment increase by 2.1 percent, beating the national average. In 2014, job growth in the state reached an impressive 3.2 percent. As a comparison, the rest of the United States experienced only an average 2.2 percent growth in jobs that year.

The cap-and-trade system is a totally new idea, and whether it is workable or not is a question closely watched by the rest of the world. This early report shows that companies subject to the cap are figuring out how to comply with the rules, and incorporating them into their business practices.

But plenty of questions remain, including how truthful companies are in their reporting—a question not easily dismissed in view of the recent VW scandal. Another question is whether measuring, comparing, and reporting emissions on a per capita basis–something CARB and the legislature have chosen to do for a variety of good reasons—will let us off the hook in terms of the total emission reductions the state really needs.

But it’s a really good start.

CARB’s data [PDF] do not include all of the transportation sector, which came under the cap-and-trade system in January of 2015. Since transportation produces such a large portion of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions– almost forty percent—and fuel companies have resisted legislative efforts to control their emissions, next year’s report should be interesting indeed.

For more information, see the EDF blog here.

Streetsblog USA
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More Evidence That Helmet Laws Don’t Work

There was a correlation between living in an area with high cycling rates and low levels of hospitalization. Graph: University of British Columbia

Living in an area with high cycling rates is linked to lower levels of hospitalization for bicyclists. There is no similar link for helmet laws. Graph: University of British Columbia

If you want to increase cycling safety in your city, drop the helmet law and focus on getting more people– particularly women — on bikes, with street designs that offer separation from vehicle traffic.

That’s the finding of a new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia [PDF] evaluating safety outcomes for cyclists across Canadian provinces and territories.

Lead author Kay Teschke and a team of researchers looked at cyclist injuries requiring hospitalization in 10 Canadian provinces and three territories between 2006 and 2012. They checked to see if hospitalization rates were linked in any way to helmet laws and cycling rates, and they checked for variations in hospitalization rates by sex and age.

Helmet laws were found to have no relationship to hospitalization rates. That was true even though self-reported helmet use is higher in areas of Canada that mandate it (67 percent) than in areas that don’t (39 percent).

But having a higher rate of cycling in one’s community does seem to have an impact on safety. Using Canadian government data on cycling activity, researchers found that men and woman were both less likely to be injured while biking in communities where more people bike.

Read more…


Today’s Headlines

  • SF’s First Raised Bike Lane Built on Market Street Between Gough and 12th (ABC)
  • Marina Drunk Driver Who Injured Two Boys Pleads Not Guilty (Exam, SF Bay, KRON4, CBS)
  • Truck Driver Crashes Into Potrero Hill Utility Pole, 11,000 Lose Electricity (SF Bay, Exam, SFist)
  • San Francisco Bike Coalition Members to Elect New Board of Directors (SFBC)
  • East Bay BART Stations Have the Most Bike Thefts (NBC)
  • Marin-Sonoma SMART Tracks Smoothed for Passenger Service in Late 2016 (Marin IJ)
  • SUV Driver Destroys San Leandro Home, Injures Self, Sleeping Woman (Gate, InsideKRON4, ABC, NBC)
  • San Mateo Forced to Cancel Tickets Issued to Red Light Running Drivers (NBC)
  • SUV Driver Kills Young Motorcyclist on Saratoga Avenue in Santa Clara (NBC, KRON4, Merc)
  • Housing or Office Planned for West Oakland BART Station Parking Lots (SF Business)
  • Housing and Retail Planned for San Jose Tamien Caltrain Station Parking Lots (GC)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA
Get state headlines at Streetsblog CA
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Inspiration for Turning Decrepit Public Staircases Into Beautiful Places

In cities with steep hills, public staircases can be an important piece of the walking network. Like any type of infrastructure, however, sometimes cities let their staircases fall apart.

This staircase in Seoul, South Korea, hosts a mural that helps make it more visually appealing and inviting. Photo: Randy Simes

Murals like this one in Seoul can change how people perceive public staircases. Photo: Randy Simes

Randy Simes at Urban Cincy says that’s happening to many of Cincinnati’s public stairs right now. To turn around that situation, he points to Seoul, South Korea, for inspiration:

Many of [Cincinnati’s] public staircases, which long served as a critical component of the sidewalk network, have fallen into disrepair. In many cases, due to either lack of maintenance or neighborhood distrust, public staircases have been closed off altogether.

This should not be the case.

One potential way to address this would be to focus an ArtWorks program on the city’s public staircases. Artists could be engaged to come up with creative mural designs for the stairs themselves, or perhaps suggest other installations. These could then be complemented by lighting installations that would not only add an artistic touch after dusk, but also make the corridors safer for their users and the neighborhoods around them.

Seoul’s Ihwa neighborhood has done exactly this.

Read more…


Today’s Headlines

  • Page Street to Receive New Bike Lanes, First Public Hearing Takes Place Nov. 13 (SF Bike)
  • Powell St. BART Station Improvements to Include New Ceiling, Lighting and Stairway (SF Chron)
  • Parking at Transit-Rich SoMa Development 5M Reduced by 132 Spaces (Hoodline, SF Chron, SF Exam)
  • Speeding and Poor Road Design Cause of Three Recent SF Car Crashes Injuring Peds (SF Exam)
  • Mountain View to Review Option for Caltrain Road Crossing Through Downtown by Mid-2016 (GC)
  • Bay Area Metering Lights Could be Extended for Mornings and Afternoons (Merc News)
  • Palo Alto City Council Requests Hybrid Version of Midtown Bike Project (Palo Alto Online)
  • BART Parking Fees to Rise in Four Stations for Six Months Beginning December 17th (TDJ, SF Bay)
  • Walnut Creek Driver Runs Through Red Light and Strikes and Kills 56-Year-Old Woman (SF Gate)
  • Concord Driver Strikes Two-Year-Old While Backing Out of Parking Spot (CBS)
  • 300 San Jose Taxi Drivers on Strike at Airport, Want Same Regulations for Ride-Hailing Drivers (CBS)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA