John Greenfield. “Ghost Parcels Show How Urban Highways Squandered Valuable Land“, StreetsBlog Chicago. Captivating images and interesting discussion about the ghost parcels that remain after the motorways wiped away neighbourhoods.
Alissa Walker. “How a Former Video Game Designer Created the Best Intersection For Bikes“, GIZMODO. Nice story about how quickly innovation in street design is being applied around the world.
The US’s first “protected intersection” opened this month on a busy corner in Salt Lake City. With only a few modifications to the traditional car-centered intersection, it keeps cyclists completely separated from vehicular traffic, makes them easier to see, and even gives them a head start at the light.
Andreas Lindinger. “Transforming a street: Before-After images of Vienna’s Mariahilferstrasse” Vienncouver. Neat before an after swiping images from Vienna.
Pippa Coomb. “Free our streets for bikes! Taking inspiration from London’s FreeCycle” CycleActionAuckland.
Of course it made me wonder when we are going to have Auckland’s first genuine FreeCycle-style event with the roads made available just for people on bikes. We’ve had Playing in the Streets in 2012, Ciclovia in 2014 and Open Streets Auckland earlier this year, which were lots of fun and opened streets for people to enjoy … but just didn’t cater for riding en masse on a dedicated route. Besides FreeCycle, there are lots of other successful examples from around the world – NYC has the Tour de Brooklyn, the Tour de Bronx, and the epic 5 Boro Ride. So why not Auckland?
Rachel Bachman. “Do Bike Helmet Laws Do More Harm Than Good?“, Wall Street Journal.
Some cyclists and academics say helmet laws discourage a convenient form of exercise in an era of inactivity. Sedentary lifestyles can have quieter but wider long-term effects than bike crashes, such as billions of dollars in health-care costs for chronic conditions, they say.
Piet de Jong, a professor in the department of applied finance and actuarial studies at Sydney’s Macquarie University, actually calculated the trade-off of mandatory helmet laws. In a 2012 paper in the journal Risk Analysis, he weighed the reduction of head injuries against increased morbidity due to foregone exercise from reduced cycling.
Dr. de Jong concluded that mandatory bike-helmet laws “have a net negative health impact.” That is in part because many people cycle to work or for errands, experts say. People tend to replace that type of cycling not with another physical activity such as a trip to the gym, but with a ride in a car.
David Levinson, “No New Roads: A Strategy for the Future of Transport“, Strongtowns. An excerpt from the new book The End of Traffic and the Future of Transport by David Levinson and Kevin J. Krizek.
Eyeing technological advances with current trends, we envision scenarios that are in stark contrast to the conventional planning done by most governments and industry trade groups. In short, we conclude that the US should largely stop building new roads and widening existing ones. Instead communities ought to gracefully abandon excess lanes on underutilized or redundant roads. All of this points to shrinking the size of remaining roads, managing those roads better with location-specific, time-of-day pricing, and reducing the share of the surface of those roads devoted to the car.
Kate Abbey-Lambertz. “How The Decline Of Cars Is Changing Cities For The Better“, HuffPost Business.
Since those days, Schwartz has been joined by many experts who realize cities and their residents suffer when cars are the top transportation priority. At the same time, Americans have been driving less, with the annual number of vehicle miles traveled, or VMT, declining since 2004. The trend is so surprising that it took awhile for experts to believe it would be sustained.
“There was a revolution that nobody noticed,” Schwartz told The Huffington Post. “Everybody kept predicting they would go up. …. In 100 years, there has never been such a rapid change in transportation since the advent of the streetcar and the automobile.”
Schwartz said much of the VMT drop is due to millennials, who are driving less than their predecessors and relying more on bicycling and public transit. More millennials want to live in walkable communities with public transit than do older generations — though the majority of millennials still live in suburbs.
Schwartz often warns mayors that to keep young residents from moving away, they need to build dense downtowns, public transit and walkable streets. Those features attract 20-somethings — and also have economic, health and environmental benefits.
Lois Cairns. “Christchurch’s 50kmh speed limit too high, expert claims“, Stuff. NZ must be one of the last OECD countries to get the memo that slower speeds make safer streets. Here’s a nice article on research and advocacy of Dr Glen Koorey on the subject in Christchurch.
Dr Glen Koorey, a senior lecturer in transport engineering at the University of Canterbury, believes the city’s roads would be safer if the slower speed zones that apply outside many schools were applied in other parts of Christchurch too.
Research shows that crashes at speeds of more than 40kmh have a much higher risk of killing or injuring someone.