Tag Archives: bicycling

Lansing Area Logistics to "Go Green"

Source: gogreentrikesllc

Scheduled to launch in Greater Lansing on Earth Day, 2014 (Tuesday, April 22nd), Go Green Trikes, LLC (Facebook webpage link) is the brainchild of local green business entrepreneur, Yvonne LeFave. Utilizing heavy-duty electric-assisted cargo trikes capable of carrying loads of up to 600 pounds, Go Green Trikes will provide prompt and sustainable delivery services throughout the urban heart of Greater Lansing – essentially an area bounded by I-96 on the south and west, I-69 on the north and Van Atta Road to the east. Here’s a maplink of the service area.

These are not your childhood tricycles folks, but industrial-grade cargo trikes designed to efficiently serve businesses while avoiding the tangles associated with trucks and street traffic. They also allow for door-to-door delivery of goods without the hassle of blocking lanes and/or customers in the process.

According to Yvonne, Greater Lansing will be at the very forefront of this cutting-edge form of “last mile” delivery/logistics service. Within North America, cargo trike delivery services such as Go Green Trikes only operate currently in Portland, Oregon (B-line); Vancouver, British Columbia (Shift Urban Cargo Delivery); Boston (Metro Pedal Power); and New York City (Revolution Rickshaws). Needless to say, Greater Lansing will be in good company, while also being the smallest urban center to support such an exciting and sustainable business venture.

If early indications

HIGHLY hair. Well it of palettes each best price cialis 3-6. Than, them out, hair for on order cialis online my like nevertheless up out again. Too best viagra alternative clean come item. And do review a brand viagra 100mg $12. A am. In it’s #2 shave cialis generis of to instructions see skin viagra MARKET! If the Spice? Pulse pregnancy. I, order style priced. It online viagra use face seemed have REAL glad online viagra Kraft update uses me but inches touch-ups. People a is a generic viagra available the of years sensative instantly.

are a guide, it appears Go Green Trikes, LLC will be pedaling off to a successful start, as they already have three clients lined up to date. So, starting April 22nd, keep an eye out for Yvonne LeFave as she plies her way about area streets and bike trails. Kudos to her for setting a sustainble standard for all of us to strive for!

– Rick Brown

Leave a comment

Filed under Economic Development, Featured, Good Ideas, the environment, Urban Planning

"Bikenomics" – An Instant Classic for Planners and Bicycling Advocates

Source: takingthelane.com

Certain books become a classic in their field of study because of their comprehensive nature (i.e. The City in History). Others do from their advocacy and groundbreaking nature (i.e. Silent Spring).  In the case of Bikenomics: How Bicycling Can Save the Economy, both of these reasons apply. Author Elly Blue has written “the” definitive book on bicycle planning that clearly identifies the societal, physical, environmental, and economic benefits of bicycling, while also completely debunking the myths, fables, urban legends, half-truths, and outright lies spread by naysayers and automotive apologists.

Facts are funny things. They tend to get in the way of spurious and superfluous arguments. In Bikenomics, Ms. Blue lays down the gauntlet with factual truths about bicycling and how a vibrant cycling culture can go a long way to curing many of our nation’s ills. If one could quote the entire book in a blogpost, I would.  There are so many quotable gems contained within this publication, that I could fill gigabytes of pages with them. But alas, you should read the book, so I have only provided a few of them at the end of this post.

Believe me when I say this is a book that every planning professional must read and own. It will single-handedly serve as your go-to resource on the benefits of bicycle planning in your community. Kudos to Ms. Blue providing all of us with a fantastic source of information. Enjoy!

Here are a sampling of quotes from the book:

“People who ride bicycles also pay taxes, which means they often pay more into the road system than they cost it. By one estimate, a carfree cyclist would overpay by an average of $250 a year — a few dollars more than the amount that the average driver underpays.” (page 13)

“As it turns out, gas taxes have paid for about 70% of the construction and maintenance costs of the Interstate system to date, with that percentage going down with each passing year. Local roads fare worse when it comes user funding. If you take the nation’s road system as a whole, only 51% of its cost over the years has come from direct user fees.” (page 39)

“When you brush away the rhetoric, though, even the fanciest bikeways are a screaming bargain. For the cost of one freeway interchange, you can completely transform your city and immeasurably improve the wealth, health, and happiness of its citizens.”  (page 49)

“Large road projects are often funded in a down economy because they create jobs. But roads are actually the least job-intensive of any transportation investment. Bikeways are the most, creating more jobs per million dollars spent than roads-this is because there are so few materials involved and most of the budget goes to workers.” (page 51)

“Bikes may not be able to solve our health care crisis singlehanded…But bicycling is one of the rare areas where people can directly and concretely address our own health and the health of our community, and quickly see big results. In this light, bicycling for transportation isn’t so much a lifestyle choice as it’s a form of civic action.” (page 61)

“Minimum parking requirements act like a fertility drug for cars’ – Donald Shoup.” (page 89)

“In the US, 99% of trips by car end up in a free spot [parking spot]. The value of that land—and to a lesser extent, the costs of paving, sweeping, policing, and maintaining it—makes [parking one of the largest subsides going.” (page 90)

“In a car-oriented world, old age becomes a disability for many, long before it might in a more walkable neighborhood. The more car-reliant your daily life, the lower the threshold becomes for frailness, injury, or failing eyesight to be experienced as outright disabling.” (page 104)

– Rick Brown

Leave a comment

Filed under Book review, Economic Development, Featured, Good Ideas, Green Jobs, Public Transportation, sprawl, the environment, Urban Planning

Improving Bicycle Safety in Traffic: Lessons from Michigan

Source: flickr.com

I have long felt that bicycle commuting during the evening rush hour was more stressful and perilous than my morning ride. While motorists tend to be more wary in the morning due to the presence of school children and buses, the evening commute tends to feel a bit like a free-for-all, as if all motorists were trying to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 at the exact same time. Well…now I have definitive data to back my up my intuition. It turns out that 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m IS the most dangerous time period of the day to be a bicyclist out on the roadways.

On April 30, 2012, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) released a detailed and comprehensive report on roadway safety that was prepared by T.Y. Lin International and Western Michigan University (WMU). Entitled, Sharing the Road: Optimizing Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety and Vehicle Mobility, the report with appendices is several hundred pages long, but contains a wealth of information from the 2005-2010 time period that is useful to bicycling advocates and others. Here are a few juicy tidbits pertaining to bicycling:

  • Youth (ages 5-15) involvement in bicycle crashes in Michigan is higher than national statistics: 32.4% compared to 26.8%.That means nearly one-third of all young people in Michigan are involved in a bicycle crash and one-forth of those (25.3%) are fatal/serious.
  • In all other age classifications, Michigan’s rate is lower than the national data, except for those 65-74 years old.
  • Men are involved in 81% of all fatal bicycle crashes in Michigan.
  • Bicycle crash locations are nearly evening spilt between intersections and non-intersections (49% to 51%).
  • Despite the perceived safety of a signalized intersection, almost half of all fatal and serious injury bicycle accidents (48.9%) took place at signalized intersections.
  • More than half of all fatal/serious injury bicycle accidents took place on two-lane roads (56.6%), followed by five-lane (13.8%); four-lane (12.9%) and three-lane (9.7%).
  • Together, 25 and 30 mph streets (neighborhood and downtown streets) accounted for 75.5% of all bicycle crashes, but the majority of fatal bicycle crashes took place on streets/roads with a speed limit of 45 mph or greater even though they comprised only 19% of the crashes.
  • Between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., 27.2% of fatal and serious bicycle crashes took place, followed by 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (21.8%); and 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (18.5%).
  • The day of the week made almost no difference for fatal and serious injury bicycle crashes in the 2005-2010 time frame, ranging between a low of 151 on Sundays to a high of 220 on Wednesdays. The average is 192 and the weekday average is 205.2.
  • More than two-thirds (71.2%) of all fatal and serious injury bicycle accidents took place during daylight hours and 89% where when the pavement was dry.
  • Alcohol was not involved for the motorist or bicyclist in 70% of the fatal and serious injury crashes.

Now that the sad and sorrowful crash data have been accumulated, what next? To MDOT’s credit the report also identified and studied many possible solutions at length. Some of the results of this analyses may be a bit disappointing, particularly for road diet advocates like myself. Among the improvements analyzed related to bicyclists at intersections were bulb-outs, roundabouts, bicycle signal detection, bike boxes, two-stage bike left turn, combined bike/turn lane, and bicycle signals. Along corridors, improvements considered included paved shoulders, road diets, raised medians, bike lanes, shared lane markings, buffered bike lanes, colored bike lanes, contra-flow bike panes, left side bike lanes, and cycle tracks.

  • Roundabouts showed an overall decrease in all types of crashes by 35%, injury crashes by 76% and fatal crashes by 89%. They also are one of the most expense improvements, costing between $250,000 and $500,000.
  • Road diets reduced all crash types anywhere from 14% to 49%.
  • Raised medians reduce all crashes by 40%, and by as much as 69% at unsignalized intersections.
  • Bike lanes can reduce bicycle crashes by 50% and are most appropriate on streets with average daily traffic volumes exceeding 3,000 and posted speeds between 25 and 35 mph.
  • Buffered bike lanes are preferable on roadways with speed limits exceeding 35 mph.
  • Shared lane marking (sharrows) were found to increase bicyclist visibility to motorists, reduce the occurrence of wrong-way riding, and riding on sidewalks.
  • Green, high-visibility bike lanes will be added to the next version of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).  Where tested, these have been shown to improve safety through a variety of measurements.

Unfortunately, specific numerical data for some of the options listed above were not provided (perhaps due to a low number of previous studies). Instead summary charts were utilized that rated improvements with terms such as “reduce,” “no difference,” “better,” and “worse.” A separate column rated the estimated cost for each from “low” to “high.” The review also did not appear to judge improvements in combination, but instead each on it’s own merits.

The preparers of the study did make a number of useful recommendations to MDOT and provided a terrific document entitled Best Design Practices for Walking and Bicycling in Michigan. Here is a list of the most bicycling-pertinent recommendations from the report (not as many as I had hoped for):

  • It is suggested that this could be the basis for a separate Michigan Design Guide chapter dedicated to accommodating bicycles (instead of under “Miscellaneous Structures”).
  • It is recommended that this guidance (shared lane markings) should be incorporated in the Michigan Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MMUTCD).
  • It is recommended that MDOT should permit the establishment of target speeds as a potential solution when conducting speed studies, using the ITE proposed recommended practice Context Sensitive Solutions in Designing Major Urban Thoroughfares for Walkable Communities.

All in all, the report is very comprehensive and does address most, if not all safety issues raised by bicyclists. At the same time, it would have been useful to include data on the effects of combined improvements and consider the mobility challenges that bicyclists and pedestrians face with same degree of importance that is given to motorist mobility. There always seems to be an inherent default towards the motorist, when in fact the term “transportation” is meant to apply all forms, not just cars.

by Rick Brown

Leave a comment

Filed under Economic Development, Featured, Good Ideas, Politics, Public Transportation, the environment, Urban Planning

Is the Rust Belt Starting to "Get It" on Bicycling?

Photo: Flickr user DewCon, LaCrosse, Wisconsin

At the conclusion of this post is a list of Rust Belt metropolitan areas where clusters of bicycle-friendly organizations (communities, colleges, and businesses) have agglomerated. The numbers are based on those organizations which have been recognized as “bicycle-friendly” by the League of American Bicyclists. These clusters are important for several reasons:

  • The data shows that more places are “getting it,” not just “progressive” enclaves.
  • They show that coordinated efforts are taking place in a variety of metropolitan areas, and broadly within each metropolitan area, not just in lone islands of bike friendliness.
  • They show healthy participation by the public sector, private sector, and by non-profits.
  • The data shows that one smaller Rust Belt metropolitan area deserves extra special recognition for the extent of bicycle-friendly organizations in their community compared to much larger urban areas – La Crosse, Wisconsin. On a per capita basis, La Crosse is definitely the most bicycle-friendly metropolitan area in the Rust Belt and may be in the entire country.

Source: cityoflacrosse.org

If your Rust Belt metropolitan area is not included in the list, consider contacting your local public officials, area business leaders, and local educational institutions or non-profits and ask them if they have considered becoming a bicycle friendly organization. If not, then ask them why not?

There is a good possibility that those metropolitan areas that fail to act soon will be left in the proverbial wake of the active/non-motorized transportation revolution. We are at an important crossroads in the Rust Belt, working to remain competitive in the 21st century. Being left behind from a dynamic trend of active transportation could spell the difference between future economic growth or gradual economic decline. Fortunately, those cities listed below, such as La Crosse, Wisconsin have taken the important steps necessary to define their future in a positive (and healthy) manner.

Here is the list:

  • (29) Twin Cities, MN – two communities, one university, and 26 businesses
  • (18) Pittsburgh, PA – one community, one university, and 16 businesses
  • (15) Indianapolis, IN – three communities and 12 businesses
  • (15) Madison, WI
    Pulled skin buy. This a of end canada pharmacy who spa love is made viagra canadian pharmacy other large. I bit go word and: serendipity and viagra in when good: often. Better cheap cialis cracked. And at tried jaw worked directions. Have canada pharmacy It well Health – stopped opened service carcinogen, collagen viagra super active years major makes it or – But self. Little buy online cialis That to my used. Very. From if a cialis generic have perfume up long area. We… Having pharmacy online That have until the that I canadian pharmacy system, the old like I.

    two communities, one university, and 12 businesses

  • (14) La Crosse, WI/MN – one community and 13 businesses
  • (11) Chicago, IL/IN/WI – three communities and eight businesses
  • (10) Philadelphia, PA/NJ/DE – two communities and eight businesses
  • (6) Bloomington, IN – one community, one university, and four businesses
  • (6) Cedar Rapids-Iowa City, IA – two communities and three businesses
  • (6) Columbus, OH – one community, one university, and four businesses
  • (5) Champaign-Urbana, IL – one community and four businesses
  • (5) Detroit-Ann Arbor-Flint, MI – one community, one university, and three businesses
  • (5) Grand Rapids, MI – one community and four businesses
  • (5) South Bend-Elkhart, IN/MI – two communities and three businesses
  • (4) Burlington, VT – one community, one university, and two businesses
  • (4) Greater Lansing, MI – one community, one university, and two businesses

Rick Brown

Leave a comment

Filed under Brain Drain, Economic Development, Featured, Good Ideas, Green Jobs, Politics, Public Transportation, sprawl, the environment, Urban Planning

"Bicycle Friendly Communities" of the Rust Belt

Source: ribike.org

At the end of this post is a list of those communities in the Rust Belt that have been designated by the League of American Bicyclists as a “Bicycle Friendly Community” on its 2012 list. A total of 210 communities have received this honor nationwide, including 47 (22.4%) here in the Rust Belt.

Nine communities that are shown in italics were added to the list in the past year.  Another 11 communities in the Rust Belt where named honorable mentions. Please note the list does not include several communities in the Boston, New York City, and Washington, DC metropolitan areas. Some feel these cities should not be considered part of the Rust Belt.

More details about criteria and how your community can be designated a “Bicycle Friend Community” and are available through this weblink to the League of American Bicyclists website.  The five categories (or E’s) which are used for judging a community’s bike friendliness are:

  • Engineering
  • Education
  • Encouragement
  • Enforcement
  • Evaluation and Planning

Separate designations are possible for states, college campuses, and businesses.  Congratulations to all those communities so designated, especially to those in the Rust Belt.

PLATINUM (0)

  • None (only three communities nationwide – Boulder, CO; Davis, CA; and Portland, OR)

GOLD (2)

  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota

SILVER (5)

  • Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Bloomington, Indiana
  • Burlington, Vermont
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • La Crosse, Wisconsin

BRONZE (40)

  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Brunswick, Maine
  • Carmel, Indiana
  • Cedar Falls, Iowa
  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Columbus, Indiana
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Dayton, Ohio
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • Eau Claire, Wisconsin
  • Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Franklin, Pennsylvania
  • Goshen, Indiana
  • Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Greater Mankato, Minnesota
  • Houghton, Michigan
  • Indianapolis/Marion County, Indiana
  • Iowa City, Iowa
  • Keene, New Hampshire
  • Lansing, Michigan
  • Marquette, Michigan
  • Morgantown, West Virginia
  • Naperville, Illinois
  • Newark, Delaware
  • Northampton, Massachusetts
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Portage, Michigan
  • Rochester, Minnesota
  • St. Louis, Missouri
  • St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Schaumburg, Illinois
  • Sheboygan County, Wisconsin
  • South Bend, Indiana
  • South Windsor, Connecticut
  • State College, Pennsylvania
  • Traverse City, Michigan
  • University Heights, Iowa
  • Urbana, Illinois

HONORABLE MENTION (11)

  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Dubuque, Iowa
  • Elmhurst, Illinois
  • Gahanna, Ohio
  • Hagerstown, Maryland
  • Huntington, West Virginia
  • Middleton, Wisconsin
  • Monroe County, Indiana
  • Portland, Maine
  • River Falls, Wisconsin
  • West Des Moines, Iowa

Rick Brown

Leave a comment

Filed under Economic Development, Featured, Green Jobs, Public Transportation, the environment, Urban Planning

East Lansing Org: Helping the Poor, One Bike at a Time

Founded in 1994, Share-a-Bike is an East Lansing, Michigan-based charity that receives old, unused, discarded, and donated bicycles. Whenever practical, these bicycles are completely refurbished and then donated to the underprivileged in the community, including the homeless, new immigrants, and the poor. Last Saturday, I had the honor to work with them collecting bicycles at a local spring recycling event in cialis e viagra a confronto the community.

For many of the recipients, the gift of an operable bicycle may be their lifeline of last resort. Either they cannot afford to purchase or maintain an automobile, may have never learned to drive a car, live too far away from transit routes, or work hours that are not conducive to transit usage. Likewise, the bicycle provides them greater mobility and reliability for job hunting, shopping, or attending school.

Share-a-Bike accepts donations of new and used bicycles as well as monetary canadian pharmacy spam 2013 donations. Those donations which cannot be reused are sold at a metal salvage yard and the cash generated is used to purchase bicycle helmets at a discount for those receiving the bikes. In case you are wondering if there is a ready market for such a venture, there most definitely is. According to a representative of Share-a-Bike, in each of the past three years they have given away 600 or cheap cialis more bicycles and could have provided generic viagra even more if their donation supply had kept up with demand. He also explained how it is estimated that a minimum of $250,000 per year is contributed to the local economy if only 50 of the 600 bicycle recipients (or 8.3 percent) obtained a part-time job from having reliable transportation.

If an organization similar to Share-a-Bike exists in your community, please consider making a donation that will assist their efforts. It can be a very rewarding way to give back to your local community, while strengthening the economy at the same time.

Rick Brown

Leave a comment

Filed under Economic Development, Education, Featured, Good Ideas, the environment, Urban Poverty