One of the controversies about this is that the lanes were possibly removed at the request of the Hasidic community living in the area and who may have taken issue with the (type or lack of) garments being worn by (female) cyclists. It doesn’t help that the same NYPost article says “[a] source close to Mayor Bloomberg said removing the lanes was an effort to appease the Hasidic community just before last month’s election.”
Really? This is what our safety is weighed against?
I was talking to a friend of mine on Wednesday afternoon about the lack of space for bikers. This is the third death that I know of on that stretch of Montague Road since 1988.
[…] 15 years ago I felt safe, but now that every one is going 50 in 35 while texting and sipping their coffee, its no longer a good place for bikes, no matter how much the laws say bike have just as much right to be on the roads along side of cars and trucks. […]
I wanted to come up with a metric for the transportation energy use associated with buildings that was parallel to the metric used to measure the energy intensity of a building–for heating, cooling, lighting, computers and other uses. This is commonly reported in thousands of British Thermal Units, or Btus, of energy per square foot per year (kBtu/sf-yr). The U.S. Department of Energy reports that the average energy intensity of office buildings in the U.S. is 93 kBtu/sf-yr. If I could calculate the average energy consumption for commuting using this same metric, I’d be able to show how the commuting energy use compared with the direct building energy use. I called this value “transportation energy intensity.”
How Americans Get to Work
The results were really interesting. Using these admittedly crude assumptions, I found that office building energy use for commuting averages 121 kBtu/sf-yr. That’s 30% more energy than an average office building uses itself. So it takes more energy to get to and from our office buildings than those buildings use directly!
So, buildings are supposed to be more efficient, but we spend off so much energy getting to these buildings that even the most noble attempt to “green” a living or office space may be countermanded by our transportation expenditures. This is definitely something to consider for improved sustainability.
Alex concluded brilliantly:
For me, even though I live in a rural area, seven miles from my office, this understanding of transportation energy intensity inspires me to get on my bike and enjoy that invigorating (and sometimes mentally productive) ride to work.
Here, here! Riding a bike to/from home/work is an excellent move towards improving one’s own energy intensity – and you’ll develop some fantastic leg muscles in the process.
I have some sad stories to share, but I think they are relevant with the current bike-car-pedestrian unfriendliness currently abuzz in the Boston area.
The first is a TreeHugger article which spreads the story of an alleged hit-and-run driver who killed a cyclist, then tried to trade his car in as part of the Cash for Clunkers program as an attempt to get rid of the evidence. An astute dealer didn’t buy Timothy Kissida’s tale that he had hit a javalina (a medium sized, pig-looking animal) and decided to follow up with a call to the police. The make, model, color, and area of damage to the car was all consistent with the hit-and-run the night before.
Next are a fewarticlesabout a Marshfield man who was struck and killed yesterday. Another boston.com article also mentions a cyclist hit in Lowell. I have not been able to find any information on the current state of the Lowell-area, I hope he does not succumb and he makes a complete recovery.
My condolences to the families of 52-year-old Charles Waldrop and 69-year-old Charles L. Campbell; my thoughts go out to the 41-year-old man struck in Lowell.
You, my few readers, may recall the recent Boston.com article on Boston’s unruly riders, or the op-ed that left a particular vomit-taste in any cyclist’s mouth. Finally we may have something sane to consider and discuss: roads are designed to kill (which is another op-ed.) Excerpt:
I took a photograph of the scene where I had found the runner. When I showed this picture to friends from Sweden they asked, “This is where you live? This is your neighborhood? Your streets are designed to kill people.’’ They said that the thin painted white lines at the intersection could not be seen at dawn, nor was there a raised bump to or a narrowing of the road to demarcate the intersection and slow down traffic. They said the speed limit should be 30 kilometers per hour (about 18.6 miles per hour) or less if we wanted pedestrians to have much of a chance of surviving. They also said traffic lights increased the number of deaths because people often speed up when the light turns yellow.
When Sweden removed red lights from intersections and replaced them with traffic circles or rotaries, death rates at these intersections fell by 80 to 90 percent.
This is the closest article I’ve yet seen that seems in line with Liveable Streets: the engineering is directly related to the use of the system. The usual discussion page is also available.
By all means, let us build better roads, which lead people into safer behavior by design. But each of us can help make everyone safer now, today, by more often following the rules of the road whether driving, bicycling, or walking.
An article today on Boston.com, Boston’s unruly riders, challenges red light runners, sidewalk riders, and wrong-way infringers. Here’s the summary:
Boston has launched a high-profile campaign to become a friendlier city for cyclists. Now the question is whether bicyclists will become friendlier to Boston.
There is the usual “discussion” page which seems surprisingly tame in the initial posts (I’m only up to page 2.) Anyone recognize themself in the video? Also, I had thought Nicole made it well known she didn’t like being called a ‘czar’. Why does everyone still call her that, then?
There’s an article today on Boston.com introducing a bike sharing proposal. (There’s also a sweet video with Nicole Freedman performing a small track stand in rainy conditions while waiting in traffic.)
From the article:
Over the next few weeks, officials expect to name the company with which they would negotiate a contract on how to run the system. They hope the program will lead to tens of thousands of people saddling up in Boston daily.
Bike sharing is the next step. The city envisions making available between 1,000 and 3,000 bikes at stations 300 or 400 yards apart, located at subway and bus stops, main squares, tourist sites, and across city neighborhoods.
This makes me wonder, would I ride my bike around as much if there were publicly accessible ones available? I guess we’ll have to wait and see, either way I’ll be very happy that a program like this will be made available.
Now, I realize this is the Commissioner’s idea where the bike share program is the city’s, but come on – this doesn’t look like a consistent message!
You’re going to need more bike units, not less, to help keep our community safe from the raging vehicularists. The best way to know the issues is to submerse yourself in them, keep the bike cops! How are you going to know what we cyclists deal with in our city travels if all of your officers are riding around in (costly) steel-reinforced cars or SUVs? And how is that saving money, again?