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Archive for December, 2011

Christmas Day Ciclovía

December 27, 2011 By: Peter Smith Category: Advocacy

Just an idea I thought of when walking about on Christmas Day. The streets were eerily empty of motorized traffic, and some people were actually walking around, seemingly just for the enjoyment of it — spending some time with family, etc. It was almost like you could see people thinking to themselves in an approving fashion, “Huh. So this is what walking around feels like. Kinda cool.”

And it was so quiet (little to no motor traffic).

The lack motor traffic made me think it might be pretty easy to pull off a Christmas Day Ciclovia. Of course, most businesses/schools/organizations are closed on Christmas Day.

Lots of people get new bikes/skateboards/basketballs/sneakers/etc. on Christmas Day, and during the holidays generally, so they’d like to get outside and try their new gear.

It seems Bogota has a type of holiday night time ciclovia, Ciclovia Nocturna (English) — the bike path is so crowded, it’s more of a walkavia — theirs was held on Wednesday, December 8.

The Bogota office of the Secretary of Culture has more info (English).

If San Jose was bikeable, I’d like to go see a bunch of the cool light displays (more here).

Side commentary:

  • Don’t try to bury highways a la Boston/Big Dig (they’re too expensive and just leave in place the cancer pump that is every highway); instead, just tear them down, a la SF/Embarcadero Freeway.
  • The road-building lobby gets another $12.5 Million from Caterpillar. The road-building lobby also wants you to think this is a picture of sustainability.
  • Our local (San Jose) transit authority has some historic streetcars (like San Francisco’s), and they’re running a holiday route — the program is called The Candyland Express. Public transit should not just be about making poor people suffer — it should be about allowing people to move about freely, conveniently, with dignity intact — and it should strive to be…<gulp>…pleasant. The old streetcars have style, and they have windows all the way around so one can actually see what is going on on the streets as you travel them, and some of the old streetcars are at least partially open-air and have windows that could be opened so you could get some fresh air in case of an on-board stench or if the heat is up too high. We need to try to introduce a little humanity into public transportation — public bike sharing is making that happen at least a little bit — these old streetcars can help, too.
  • End of the day, it doesn’t matter whether you prevent people from biking by building LRT or BRT — you’re still preventing biking — especially when you build this motorized infrastructure in the outside travel lanes, where bicycles would typically be.  And when you prevent biking, that is not ‘sustainability’, unless you’re talking about the sustainability of the auto industry.
  • Another backwoods town wants to ban walking and biking. It highlights the fact that freedom of movement is a human right — and that this right inherently includes the right to travel under one’s own power (by walk, bike, etc.). International human rights conventions already, in theory at least, protect us from unjustified violence and threats of violence, etc. I’m looking at you, outlaw drivers.
  • Most US transit agencies can’t keep their inside escalators working. Will Colombia be able to keep its outside escalators working? They’ll start by operating only 3 hours a day.

Bicycle-based real estate company uses Google Bike Directions

December 07, 2011 By: Peter Smith Category: Advocacy

The Google LatLong blog just profiled a real estate business in Boulder, Colorado, Pedal to Properties, that uses Google Maps Bike Directions to figure out how to get to and from various properties that they are showing to prospective home buyers:

Why is it important to tour your new potential neighborhood by bike?

Q. Why is the Pedal to Properties option better than the standard way of viewing homes?
A. As a home buyer, you want to know that the neighborhood you may potentially live in is safe, practical for your needs, and fits your lifestyle. Touring neighborhoods on bicycles gives you an up-close and personal look at each street you travel. You will truly experience a neighborhood by riding up and down its streets, rather than zooming by in a car, giving you a feel for what it might be like if you lived there someday.

Bike-based realtors have been around for years now — it’s nice to see they’re taking advantage of the good work Google has done to integrate biking directions into Google Maps.