May 19, 2010

Comm Ave bike lane and bike box
New left-side bike lane and bike box on Commonwealth Ave, Back Bay
(Photo courtesy Joe Ranft's Blog)

Highlights

  • Boston, the new Portland (Newton Streets and Sidewalks, Boston Biker: 1, 2, Universal Hub)
    In the course of a week, whole sections of first-class biking facilities have popped up in the parts of Boston I travel through. Kenmore Square now has bicycle accommodations inbound and outbound on Beacon St. and Commonwealth Ave. And, not just whatever-we-could-squeeze-in bike accommodations. East of Kenmore Square, Beacon Street westbound has been reduced by a lane to create space for a nice wide bike lane. The same is true of Comm. Ave. eastbound and Beacon St. eastbound approaching the Brookline line, below. And, what has happened on Comm. Ave. from Charlesgate East, under Mass. Ave., and down to the Public Garden is nothing short of miraculous.
  • Somerville launches SomerStreets, an open streets initiative (Somerville Journal)
    Mayor Joe Curtatone announces the city is launching a new community Open Streets initiative, “SomerStreets,” beginning with an event Saturday, May 22, along Shore Drive. Open Streets, an initiative that has gained popularity across the country and around the world, encourages community involvement and active living by closing a section of road within the city, offering programming along the route for residents of all ages. SomerStreets will act as an extension of Shape Up Somerville, promoting active living with programs for bicyclists, walkers and pedestrians. Similar programs will be held each month throughout the summer in different Somerville neighborhoods.
  • Boston Crosswalk Buttons Don't Do Anything! Except When They Do (WBUR)
    By Adam Ragusea -- When you’re waiting to cross the street, do you press that little button to request a walk sign? I do, but I’ve always been suspicious of it, especially in Boston. The buttons around here (you know, the spherical metal knobs) always feel broken to me; not very springy and always a little out of alignment in the socket. And of course, they don’t beep or light up or do anything else to visibly register your input. Sure, I eventually get a walk sign, but I feel like I usually do even when I don’t hit the button. So, does the button do anything or not? I asked John DeBenedictis, director of engineering at the Boston Transportation Department, and the answer is surprisingly complicated. It all depends on when and where you hit that button.
  • Fixing public transit in L.A. requires both a carrot and a stick (Los Angeles Times)
    How to get Southern Californians out of our cars? Give us convenient, timely and reasonably priced transit lines, and fund them with higher gas taxes, parking fees and car-registration fees.
    By David Lazarus -- The tough economy has taken its toll on Altadena resident Efrain Rojas. The freelance graphic artist has put his car in storage to save money and now takes public transportation everywhere. Well, almost everywhere. [...] Yes, Southern California has a public-transit network. But is it anywhere close to what a region of nearly 22 million people requires to move workers, shoppers, visitors and others around an area of more than 45,000 square miles? No way.
  • From 'The Voice of Transportation,' A Call For More of the Same (Mobilizing the Region)
    By Ya-Ting Liu -- The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) recently launched a new series of reports and accompanying website that aim to make “The Case for Capacity” and explain why wider highways are needed across the country.  The message from the trade group of state DOTs, which bills itself as “The Voice of Transportation,” is essentially a defense of the funding status quo. In the foreword to the first report, AASHTO Executive Director John Horsely writes that expanding highways “will be a principal part of what will be required” to meet future mobility needs.
  • VIDEO: Vancouver Adds Cycletrack to Burrard Bridge (Streetfilms)
    By Frank Lopez -- It's been 15 years since Vancouver residents started petitioning for a bike lane on one of the bridges that connects to downtown. In the summer of 2009, the city implemented a test lane on the historic Burrard Bridge and almost immediately cycling was up 30%. Cycling advocates and wheeled commuters explain the advantages to having a protected bicycle path.  Recent reports seem to show most are happy with the implementation and residents favor continuing the trial by a margin of 2 to 1.

"Streets"

Walking

  • Boston Crosswalk Buttons Don't Do Anything! Except When They Do (WBUR)
  • Disabled in Boston hit bump in the road (Boston Herald)
  • E-Mails Show Pressure For Fast Patriots Footbridge (WBZ)
  • Promoting Walking to School and Work (Westwood Blog)
  • Terms, mind-sets must be changed to encourage and enable more walking in cities (Washington Post)

Bicycling

Transit

Cars/Parking

Transportation financing/Government

  • Failures raise questions about quality of big projects (Boston Globe)

Parks

  • Allston-Brighton residents discuss what's next at Chestnut Hill Reservoir (Allston-Brighton TAB)
  • Newton goes high-tech vs. parking violators (Boston Globe)
  • Cambridge clears way for state bike path plan (Cambridge Chronicle)
  • Fells Reservations planning --
    • Proposal for more Fell's bike trails sounds alarm (Boston Globe)
  • Brookline targets out-of-state parking ticket scofflaws (Brookline TAB)
  • Let's repeat a 20-year transportation success in Somerville (Somerville News)

Development projects

Land Use/Planning

Out-of-state

  • Hudson River Walkway, an Improbable Treat (New York Times)
  • What happened to New York's storied street games? (New York Post)
  • San Francisco Gets Its First Green Bike Lanes on Market Street (Streetsblog SF)
  • VIDEO: Biking around town with Randy "The Ethicist" Cohen (Streetfilms)
  • VIDEO: San Francisco Celebrates Bike to Work Day 2010 (Streetfilms)
  • Commission Seeks to Revoke Licenses of 633 Cabbies (New York Times)
  • Metro plan for third tier in peak fares may be battleground (Washington Post)
  • VIDEO: People, Parklets, and Pavement to Parks (plus Mojo Bicycle Cafe) (Streetfilms)
  • Fixing public transit in L.A. requires both a carrot and a stick (Los Angeles Times)
  • KATU investigates 'Bike Path to Nowhere' (BikePortland)
  • New Parking App Maps Garages and Meters in San Francisco (Streetsblog SF)

National trends

  • New Study Shows Public Transit Needs Additional $3.9 Billion Annually by 2030 to Serve Mobility Needs of Older Americans (APTA)
  • CDC Transportation-Health Recommendations: Safe Access to Parks (City Parks Blog)
  • Drivers, bicyclists clash on road sharing (CNN)
  • City planners track cyclists, pedestrians to measure trail needs (USA Today)
  • First Lady's Childhood Obesity Task Force Calls For Transportation Reform (Streetsblog DC)
  • VIDEO: TODAY Show: Ditch the car for a healthy commute (NBC)
  • From 'The Voice of Transportation,' A Call For More of the Same (Mobilizing the Region)
  • No Accident! Traffic and Pedestrians in the Modern City (World Streets)
  • Cyclists And Drivers Can Keep Each Other Safe (NPR)
  • Here Comes The Neighborhood (The Atlantic)
  • The Future of the City [multi-part series] (The Atlantic)

International news

  • Paris Plans to Kick Cars Off Its Riverbanks (TIME)
  • Cycle Rush Hour in Spring in Utrecht (A view from the cycle path)
  • Hazy Future for Transit City as Toronto Gets Up for Mayoral Election (Transport Politic)
  • Bicycle Infrastructure Creativity and Details (Copenhagenize.com)
  • VIDEO: Vancouver Adds Cycletrack to Burrard Bridge (Streetfilms)
  • London Underground's Privatization Experiment Dead as Remaining PPP is Bought Out (Transport Politic)
  • China is pulling ahead in worldwide race for high-speed rail (Washington Post)
  • Painting the town blue: Boris Johnson hails London 'cycle superhighways' (Guardian)
  • China Expands Its Investment in Rapid Transit, Paving Way for Future Urban Growth (Transport Politic)
  • Zipcar service makes inroads in Scotland (Boston Globe)