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Jaywalking and the Motor Age

Mikael Colville-Andersen, Copenhagenize
I’ve posted about the brilliant book “Fighting Traffic – The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City” by Peter D. Norton before but I just can’t get enough of it. Previous posts are The Anti-Automobile Age and what we can learn from it and Fighting Traffic.

The Canadian writer, Chris Turner, wrote today about how there are no jaywalkers on sustainable streets over at Mother Earth Network. Here’s some back-up for that brilliant article.

The very term “Motor Age” was invented by the automobile industry as a promotional term aimed at turning public opinion away from the massive societal protest at the appearance of cars on city streets.

The term “…carried a built-in justification for overturning established custom. It combined rhetorical closure and problem redefinition, just as similar phrases have been used in more recent years to justify workplace smoking bans, cleaner fuels and tightened security at airports.”…

(10 February 2012)
More great images at original

In China, Cars Lose A Little Luster

A.K. Streeter, Treehugger
China has been one of the main engines of growth for car companies in the last few years. That phenomenal momentum in China’s thirst for more autos may be coming to an end, however. Last month sales of cars and light vehicles dropped 23.8% year-over-year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Annual sales of cars in 2011 were still up 5% from 2010, though this is a softening of previous growth, according to
24/7 Wall Street. Inflation pressures and a slight economic slow-down may be to blame for the change in consumption patterns.

Then again, perhaps bicycles are re-emerging as a smarter choice economically. In Shanghai, government staff are now required to leave staff cars at home one day per week, and are encouraged to walk for commutes of one kilometer or less and bike for commutes of three kilometers or less.
(13 February 2012)

Integration of Bicycling and Walking Facilities into the Infrastructure of Urban Communities

Mineta Transportation Institute
Several manuals, handbooks and web resources exist to provide varied guidance on planning for and designing bicycle and pedestrian facilities, yet there are no specific indications about which of the varied treatments in these guides work well for users. This project highlights best practices and identifies program characteristics associated with high levels of non-motorized travel, with an emphasis on bicyclists and pedestrians. It highlights practices in the California communities of Davis, Palo Alto and San Luis Obispo. The case studies are used to illustrate how urban communities have integrated non-motorized transportation modes into the physical infrastructure and worked to educate community residents and employees. The most salient themes that emerged from this study are linked to the following user preference: (a) distance to desired land uses and activities; (b) route directness; (c) route connectivity; (d) the separation of motorized and non-motorized transportation modes; (e) safety; (f) convenience; and (g) education and outreach. The aforementioned themes are integrated into key guiding principles that correspond to the trip-making cycle, from the decision to engage in an activity through the choice of route to arrival at the destination.
(9 February 2012)
Link to full report

A Bay Area Experiment in Electric Bike Sharing

Josie Garthwaite, New York Times
…The Federal Highway Administration’s Value Pricing Pilot Program awarded $1.5 million for the initiative through the San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Agency, the project’s fiscal sponsor. Ultimately the money will go to the local nonprofit City CarShare, which plans to integrate the e-bikes and trailers with its existing car sharing service, and to the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at University of California, Berkeley, which is responsible for assessing the impact and lessons learned from the project.

In essence, the goal is to find out how many car-share trips will be replaced with electric bicycle trips, and what factors influence the switch. City CarShare will receive $760,000 of the grant money, covering some 40 percent of the costs over three years for 90 e-bikes at about 25 locations.

The organization plans to roll out 45 bikes in the second half of this year and 45 more by the end of 2013, mostly in San Francisco but in Berkeley as well.
(6 February 2012)