Connecting the City

Sorry I didn’t post yesterday. The WiFi at my lunch place was down. Remember back when I wouldn’t post for months at a time? Anyway.

My observant mother-in-law was in San Francisco the other day and spotted this:

From Heidi Van Woerkom.

From Heidi Van Woerkom.

Curious, she found her way to Connecting the City, an organization working creating a series of such protected/buffered bike lanes across San Francisco. These kind of bike lanes are extremely important, because they alleviate the four main issues with common bike lanes:

  1. Separating the rider from vehicular traffic moving at higher speeds
  2. Removing conflicts between cyclists and parking vehicles
  3. Removing conflicts between cyclists and the doors of parked vehicles
  4. Preventing delivery personnel from using the bike lane as a parking lane

What I find particularly interesting about this organization is that, while they are currently focusing on a few exemplary projects, their goal is to create a true network of bike facilities. It is feasible that a person could ride a bike on slow, local traffic lanes and get to one of these improved bike facilities, and take it safely all the way across town. This is very important for getting the less-aggressive or -experienced cyclists onto the road, while they may not currently feel safe enough biking or that there isn’t enough bike infrastructure to get them where they are going. I applaud the efforts of Connecting the City in San Francisco and hope to see similar improvements in other cities across the country.


Montreal: Lessons from great Canadian urbanism | PlaceMakers

Rue St. Paul. From

For a city I’ve never been to, Montreal has gotten quite a bit of love from me recently. Partially this is because, as Hazel Borys describes in this post from a little while back, it is an excellent city. Americans will visit Montreal and comment on its European feel, due to it’s strong bike and pedestrian culture, quality public space, and strong connection to its history and historic structures. This doesn’t happen by chance in Montreal though; nothing about being Canadian gives it a default tie to it’s European heritage, as sprawling cities like Calgary can attest to. Montreal, despite some hiccups such as the 1976 Olympics, has simply made good urbanism a part of what it does, ranging from platting streets from its early days to have terminated vistas to creating a bike share program and a system of bikeways. Montreal is a great example of North American urbanism, that I promise, one day, I will actually visit.

NACTO Beats the Clock With Quick Update of Bike Guide | Streetsblog Capitol Hill

As reported by Tanya Snyder, the National Association of City Transportation Officials has released an update of it’s 18-month old Urban Bikeways Design Guide. Why does this matter? Well, the quick turnover of NACTO’s guide is in stark contrast to more widely used guides, such as that by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials, which was just updated for the first time in 13 years. NACTO’s guide incorporates the most up-to-date knowledge in the field, including incorporating new guidelines for bike boulevards, as pictured in the above video. AASHTO, meanwhile, is still apprehensive about including such proven techniques as protected bike lanes. NACTO is gaining market share against AASHTO and other older guides, and hopefully it will prove to have a positive effect for cyclists and pedestrians across the country.

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