US National

Cleveland Cavaliers Want the Public to Go 50-50 on Arena Renovations

Planetizen - 1 hour 54 min ago
The deal is not yet done, but the home team of the LeBronaissance, the most ostensible sign of Cleveland's resurgence, have reportedly asked Cuyahoga County officials to split the cost of an arena renovation.
Categories: US National

What would bike-friendly auto parking reform look like? Seven ideas

BikePortland - 2 hours 27 min ago
Squeezed on Northeast Alberta Street.(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

As the City of Portland continues public meetings with its two massive parking reform committees, most attention has been on parking prices: how much permits and meters should cost and how the money should be spent.

But another issue has, so far, mostly escaped notice: The many ways that parking spaces can conflict with biking improvements.

“We need to make it easier to repurpose parking lanes for safer bicycle facilities,” Bicycle Transportation Alliance Advocacy Director Gerik Kransky, who sits on the city’s “centers and corridors” parking task force, shared with us on Wednesday. “That’s why I’m there.”

But like many biking supporters on the committees — and there are quite a few — Kransky says he’s not quite sure how that would happen or exactly what biking advocates should ask for.

“We need to make it easier to repurpose parking lanes for safer bicycle facilities, but the mechanisms by which we get there, I don’t know.”— Gerik Kransky, BTA

“It is very provocative and I don’t think it’s been done,” said Owen Ronchelli of Go Lloyd, a group with a mission to “create a thriving environment for business” in the Lloyd District in part by improving non-car transportation options.

Though Portland has often removed travel lanes in order to add bike lanes, it’s never removed a parking lane from a commercial corridor for the sake of bike facilities — something that’s happened in Austin, Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco, among other places.

Mauricio LeClerc, the city’s lead staffer on its downtown parking task force, said he wasn’t aware of any existing tools that could help engineers and planners weigh the citywide interest in bike facilities against a commercial district’s interest in auto parking.

So we contacted various people inside and outside of Portland to come up with a possible list of ideas for an auto parking policy that would, in addition to letting neighborhoods set a fair price for parking, allow for the city to improve biking, too.

City staffers would get guidance on how to compare the value of parking spots to the value of bike lanes 122nd Avenue’s parking lanes are almost completelyunused, but the city recently rejected a proposal toadd buffers or bollards to the 4.5-foot bike lane.(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

This concept comes from LeClerc, who noted that just as some parking spaces are more valuable than others, some bike lanes are more valuable than others. The city currently has no formal way to assess that.

“The city clearly needs some guidance on how to prioritize parking in relation to the ‘green transportation hierarchy,’” said Ted Labbe of Depave, a neighborhood task force member. “Is parking for the various transportation modes part of this hierarchy or is it something separate?”

Brock Howell, policy affairs manager for the Cascade Bicycle Club in Seattle, suggested applying a principle from water law: “use it or lose it.” If a parking space is full less than some percentage of the time, it might be eligible for removal.

Jay Crossley, a researcher at Houston Tomorrow, said his “dream scenario” would be for this to be part of a “multimodal level of service” calculation. (Portland has been quietly working on an MMLOS policy for two years, delaying it more than once.)

“If businesses rely heavily on street parking, they should have to subsidize it,” said Steve Bozzone, who represents the Community Alliance of Tenants on the downtown parking task force. “Streets should be primarily about mobility.”

The city would enforce rules preserving lines of sight near street corners

This concept comes from Mary Kyle McCurdy, policy director for 1000 Friends of Oregon, and sustainability consultant Rex Burkholder. Burkholder called out truck loading zones near corners as a specific issue for improvement and suggested removing parking within 20 feet of every corner. McCurdy suggested maximum height limits.

The city would preserve more curbside spaces for loading and unloading so trucks don’t park in bike lanes North Interstate Avenue.(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

When we interviewed business owners on 28th Avenue about the possibility of removing parking from their street, several were more concerned about the loss of temporary truck parking than of customer auto parking.

“Commercial loading and unloading, especially in our neighborhood business districts is super important and something I haven’t seen the city put as a priority as it should be,” said Kathryn Doherty-Chapman, a parking task force member who worked on San Francisco’s recent variable-price parking reform.

McCurdy, of 1000 Friends, suggested designating non-bikeway side streets as de facto loading areas in order to reduce double-parking on primary corridors.

Houses wouldn’t need full garages and driveways if they have an on-site bike shed (Photo: BikePortland reader Kari)

As we wrote this month, every single-family home in Portland is required to have room for two on-site auto parking spaces — this in a city where hundreds of homeowners build structures to store their bikes.

That’s an idea from Bozzone; so is the next.

The city would add bike corrals when bike parking runs out

Ever since Portland invented the on-street bike corral, 100 percent of them have been requested by nearby businesses. Bozzone said it might be time for this to change.

“The city should not need a business owner’s permission to install bike racks/corrals if there is clear demand for it,” he wrote. “Right now a biz can say no and maintain the status quo, even if 100 of us request a rack.”

Door-zone warning markings would be a standard feature of curbside parking spaces on busy streets (Photo: John Greenfield)

When door-zone bike lanes don’t have marked buffers, more than 90 percent of people bike in the door zone. With buffers, this falls to 60 percent.

Though door-zone bike lanes are sometimes referred to as “bike-lane protected parking,” Portland continues to create them, and it obviously has many streets with no bike lanes where bike users feel pressured to ride in the door zone so cars can pass them. With or without a bike lane, there’s no reason that the city’s standard paint requirements for every on-street parking space couldn’t include a marked door zone.

The city would put the same burden on creating new parking spaces as it does on removing them A 2013 redesign on NE Glisan added 19 street parkingspots next to a Fred Meyer parking lot.(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Last year, less than six months after retreating from a bruising attempt to persuade local businesses and landlords to support auto parking removal on one side of NE 28th Avenue in order to make a crucial northbound biking connection comfortable, the city created dozens of newly permanent street parking spaces on East Burnside, right around the corner in the very same district.

The city’s Bike Plan for 2030 calls for both Burnside and 28th to have “separated in-roadway” bike facilities. According to Metro’s Active Transportation Plan, an all-ages bikeway on Burnside would have the highest return on investment of any bike project on Portland’s east side.

Transit consultant Jarrett Walker once wrote that each of Europe’s human-friendly streets, cleared of auto parking and travel lanes amid huge political battles over the last 40 years, could be seen as a “battlefield memorial recording a triumph that involved major pain and suffering.” A bike-friendly parking policy would at least prevent Portland from creating future battlefields for itself.

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Categories: US National

Durham, NC Moving ahead with High-Profile Projects

Planetizen - 2 hours 54 min ago
Durham City Council members may be ready to take on new debt to fund a list of big-ticket parks and transportation projects which would help keep pace with growth and enhance the community.
Categories: US National

Biking would win big under Oregon Climate carbon tax plan

BikePortland - 3 hours 27 min ago

A new advocacy group is angling for Oregon to use its moment as one of the only fully Democratic-controlled state governments in the country and pass the country’s first statewide carbon tax.

The group, called Oregon Climate, is pushing a concept called “tax and dividend”: instead of sending the proceeds into government coffers, all of the tax’s revenue would be pooled and divided evenly among Oregonians in the form of checks worth an estimated $500 to $1500 per year.

“This is the most climate-friendly progressive legislature that we’ve had, and maybe the most climate-friendly in the country right now,” Oregon Climate Executive Director Camila Thorndike said in an interview Tuesday. “States across the country have their eyes on Oregon, and we cannot let this opportunity pass by.”

“Rather than bundles of piecemeal decision-making, you’d have an economywide transition to walkable, bikeable, livable cities.”— Camila Thorndike, Oregon Climate

Prices would rise in Oregon for concrete, gasoline, electricity and other fossil-fuel-intensive products. Dan Golden, Oregon Climate’s volunteer policy director, said Tuesday that their proposed tax of $30 per ton of carbon (increasing by $10 each year) would translate into about 27 cents per gallon of gasoline, increasing another 9 cents each year.

However, those additional costs would be offset by the checks Oregonians would receive. Oregonians with smaller-than-average carbon footprints would come out ahead, while those with larger-than-average emissions would lose — giving everyone continued incentives to cut their energy consumption.

“I’m not a transportation expert but I think if I were, I’d be really stoked about carbon pricing,” Thorndike said. “Rather than bundles of piecemeal decision-making, you’d have an economywide transition to walkable, bikeable, livable cities. … We’d have so many incentives backed financially to really build our lives and our economy around alternatives to cheap gas.”

Carbon tax could lead to gas tax flexibility, too Unlike many states, Oregon can’t use gas taxes or car-tab fees to finance off-street paths like the Springwater Corridor. But a carbon tax would require changing this rule.(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

In addition to that benefit to people who get around Portland by bicycle, Oregon Climate’s proposal might also open another door in the transportation world. Because a tax on greenhouse gas emissions would count as a tax on gasoline, Oregon Climate’s proposal would only work if the state votes to amend or repeal its 35-year ban on using gas taxes or auto fees for anything except roads.

That ban, in Article IX, Section 3a of Oregon’s constitution, has been a thorn in transportation advocates’ side since the day it was passed. Among other things, it’s one of the big reasons the Portland area has so few off-street biking paths.

But the ban has many friends, too — so many that it’s long been seen as politically untouchable.

One of its enemies is longtime local transportation advocate Jim Howell, who in a separate effort is trying to get support for a bill, SJR 16, that would let vehicle taxes and fees be spent on “infrastructure that reduces traffic burden of, or pollution from, motor vehicles on public roads.”

Howell argues that 2016, a presidential election year, will give Oregon an electorate as friendly as it’s ever been to repealing that ban.

The year 2016 is also in the sights of Oregon Climate, though Golden conceded that the group is working toward a possible constitutional amendment “whether or not it’s politically realistic now.”

“We want to be the terrier that sinks their teeth into this thing and won’t let go,” he said. “We’re trying to let everyone know that we’re not going to go away if it doesn’t happen right now or it won’t happen in 2016. … There are a lot of voices out there motivated by the politically realistic thing. We’re motivated by the scientifically realistic thing. And that is that we need an effective price on carbon.”

Cap-and-dividend system, a second option, wouldn’t need a popular vote A cap-and-dividend system would raise energy prices but wouldn’t count as a tax.

Putting a price on carbon might not require a tax. Another option would be for the state legislature to approve a “cap and dividend” system that would let the state sell or auction off the rights to emit certain amounts of greenhouse gas.

The proceeds from those sales would be evenly divided among Oregon residents each year, much like those from a tax.

“A tax is better,” Golden said. “It has a smaller regulatory burden; you’re not creating a whole market for selling permits. … I know what the price of carbon is going to be in 10 years or 30 years.”

But a tax might be harder to pass, because it’d require ballot approval by voters statewide as well as 60 percent approval from both House and Senate. So Oregon Climate is simultaneously pushing for the “cap and dividend” system, which it says doesn’t count as a tax, and would therefore require just 50 percent approval from both houses, plus Gov. Kate Brown’s signature.

The cap-and-dividend option would leave the constitution’s restriction on gas taxes untouched.

Golden said Oregon Climate is focused only on one goal: pricing carbon and redistributing the proceeds evenly among Oregonians.

“There’s no better time than right now,” he said. “Except for years ago.”

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Categories: US National

Metrolink Crash Would Have Been Much Worse If Not for New Rail Cars

Planetizen - 3 hours 54 min ago
While all four passenger cars derailed in Tuesday morning's crash with a pickup truck, three on their sides, experts indicate that the new cars likely prevented far greater damage. Also covered is the locomotive push-pull issue and grade separations.
Categories: US National

Downtown Seattle's Workforce Abandoning Solo Car Commutes

Planetizen - 4 hours 54 min ago
Downtown Seattle is doing something right to get drivers out of cars: a recent survey reveals that fewer and fewer commuters are driving alone, and the fastest growing modes for commuters are of the non-motorized variety.
Categories: US National

Op-Ed: Put Ecosystems Before Agriculture in California's Water Crisis

Planetizen - 5 hours 54 min ago
It's been another dry season in California, and the concerns of the state's many water users are not going away. An editorial by one of the state's largest newspapers favors ecosystem protection over the agriculture industry for the year ahead.
Categories: US National

A Planner's look at Public Exercise and Fitness Infrastructure

Planetizen - 6 hours 54 min ago
Los Angeles offers many free or affordable alternatives to private gyms for exercise. Clement Lau, a Los Angeles County parks and recreation planner, goes on to review these resources in Los Angeles' public fitness infrastructure.
Categories: US National

Codes and Roads: Why We’re Still Building Sprawl

Streetblog Top Picks - 7 hours 51 min ago
At CityLab, Alana Samuels posed a great question: Why are developers still building sprawl? Even as surveys show many people they want walkable communities, the builders keep producing car-oriented sprawl, she writes. Samuels looked at Los Vegas and Atlanta, two of America’s most sprawling cities, and so her samples may not represent all of America. Yet […]
Categories: US National

A Rust Belt Revival

Planetizen - 7 hours 54 min ago
The cities of the Rust Belt don't get much good news these days as they suffer the effects of de-industrialization. But things may be turning around in Cincinnati, where a major investment by General Electric may herald a downtown revival.
Categories: US National

Naked is Better! On the Many Benefits of Shared Streets

Planetizen - 8 hours 54 min ago
Experiments with shared (also called "naked") streets in Auckland, New Zealand show that mixing motorized and non-motorized modes can be safe, friendly, and economically successful.
Categories: US National

Q&A: New Orleans Planning is 'Visionary within the Envelope of Feasibility'

Planetizen - 9 hours 54 min ago
The following interview, as published in the 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs, features Jason Neville, senior planner for the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority.
Categories: US National

Join us for Blazer Bike Night on Wednesday, April 8th

BikePortland - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 4:25pm
This could be you! We’ll be flying the Trail Blazers flag once again on April 8th.

If you missed our last Blazer Bike Night back in November, you have a chance to redeem yourself next month.

These custom stickers have been a huge hit with Blazer Bikers.

We’re excited to announce our spring Blazer Bike Night on Wednesday, April 8th when our Trail Blazers go up against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Yes, we realize the T’wolves aren’t exactly a top-tier, but we picked this game for two main reasons. We know a lot of Portlanders have Minnesota roots, so we figured it’d be fun to acknowledge that midwest pride. Also, the T’wolves have an amazing player in Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins was the #1 pick in the 2014 draft and the experts are freaking out on his potential. He’ll be wonderful to watch.

Speaking of new players, did you notice how the newest Blazer, Aaron Afflalo, is a big biking fan? He wrote that he was so excited to come to Portland that he wanted to ride out here from Denver. And on Monday, Afflalo told Trail Blazers Courtside hosts Mike Barrett and Antonio Harvey that he was doing some bike shopping (at the 15:00 mark).

Blazer Bike Night is about more than just a basketball game! We’ll meet up before the game at Salmon Street Fountain in Waterfront Park. Then we’ll ride en masse across the river, down the new Jerome Kersey Bike Lane on NE Multnomah Blvd, then onto the Moda Center campus.

Everyone who buys a ticket through our special discount portal page will be given a custom reflective Trail Blazers logo sticker (they’re awesome!) and will be eligible to win a very cool helmet signed by none other than Damian Lillard. 300-level tickets are available for $22 and we’ll all sit together if you purchase them at this website.

The deadline to get tickets as part of our Blazers Bike Night group is March 9th. Check out the event page for updates and more information.

Hope to see a lot of you there. Go Blazers!

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Categories: US National

The Decline of Carpooling—Can App-Based Carpooling Reverse the Trend?

Planetizen - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 4:00pm
Contrary to the prevailing narrative about decreasing vehicle miles traveled runs a constant decline in the number of carpools. Very little is known about why Americans are carpooling so much less, so can mobile apps hope to reverse the the trend?
Categories: US National

Coming Soon to Philadelphia's Center City: 3D Digital Advertisements

Planetizen - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 3:00pm
A Philadelphia City Council committee approved a controversial proposal to allow "Urban Experiential Displays" (i.e., large, 3D digital advertisements) in Center City.
Categories: US National

Developer in Cleveland Can Tax Patrons Directly

Planetizen - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 2:00pm
Lines between public and private blur as Flats East Bank takes on the mantle of a special tax district. If the measure goes through to completion, revenue will be used to fund public improvements.
Categories: US National

Skyline Tavern set for rebirth as legit bike riders’ hang-out

BikePortland - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 1:11pm
Things are looking up for the old and worn-down Skyline Tavern.(Photo: Google Maps)

If you’ve never heard of Skyline Tavern, it’s not your fault: The wood-sided “saloon” facade is tucked among trees set back behind a parking lot and the food and vibe has always been a bit sleepy and disappointing. I stopped in a few months ago to escape a cold and rainy night and — while the folks inside were nice — I felt like I walked into someone’s living room. There wasn’t much there there.

Even though it’s located along one of the most well-traveled bicycle routes in the Portland region, few people ever stop in. But now that might change since a new owner has bought the place and intends to remodel it.

As reported Monday by, the Skyline Tavern has a “new lease on life” (emphases mine):

“When it went on the market in December, complete with 2.2 acres, everyone feared the worst: All that promise would be torn down to make way for a McMansion. Well, Portland, we dodged a bullet. Environmental filmmaker Scott Ray Becker, whose own mother used to hit the tavern after sneaking away from Miss Catlin’s School (as Catlin Gabel was once known), has purchased the nearly 100-year-old tavern and the only thing he wants to do is, well, make everything better.

…Since taking over in January, he’s been power washing away years of mold and moss, and getting rid of the bad canned chili and “shit ass Merlot.” In their place, he has Terminal Gravity and Ecliptic beers on tap (he used to brew beer with John Harris at Full Sail), and a selection of wine from importer Casa Bruno.

…And as part of that experiment, he’s planning to add a turntable and records, turn part of the sprawling grounds into an outdoor amphitheater to show films, let kids and dogs run free, and promote the tavern as a destination for trail runners, hikers and cyclists.”

The tavern is located at 8031 NW Skyline Blvd, just south of the intersection with Germantown Road. It’s easily accessible from downtown Portland via the well-worn bike routes on NW Lovejoy-Cornell-Thompson and/or via Leif Erikson, Saltzman, and other dirt roads in Forest Park. Many of our favorite, close-in loop rides go right by it.

We’ll try to get in touch with new owner and report back about any bike-centric plans he’s got. No matter what happens, we can’t wait to check it out this summer!

UPDATE, 11:44 am: As a reader below points out, there’s a grand opening party set for March 7th. Check their Facebook page for more.

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Categories: US National

The End of the Keystone XL Pipeline Saga?

Planetizen - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 1:00pm
Within hours of receiving the bipartisan bill on Tuesday to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama made good on his promise to veto it. The legislation would have short-circuited the approval process, which upset the president.
Categories: US National

Six reasons London is going big for biking, and how Portland could follow

BikePortland - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 12:00pm
Future plans for W Burnside? Nope. This streetscape is coming to London. They’re about to embark on one of the biggest municipal bicycling investments in the history of the world.(Image: Transport for London)

London is making it happen.

“It dwarfs any equivalent program, certainly in the UK, probably anywhere in Western Europe.”— Ben Plowden on London’s new $1.4 billion biking program

The last time he visited Portland, in 2003, Ben Plowden was several years into a job as the first full-time director of Living Streets, a small walking advocacy group. The city he worked in, London, had recently created a new regional government.

When Plowden returned to Portland last week, it was as the London regional government’s top surface transportation official – and he was here to explain how and why the region has just approved a $1.4 billion investment in biking over the next decade.

If spent as planned, Plowden said it’ll be one of the biggest municipal investments in cycling in the history of the world.

“It dwarfs any equivalent program, certainly in the UK, probably anywhere in Western Europe,” Plowden said of the $130 million annual budget, which will be divided among 1/3 education and enforcement programs and 2/3 infrastructure.

So something is working in London. But what? Last week we visited two events by Plowden, whose trip to Portland was sponsored by the public transport nonprofit Transit Center, to find out. Here’s what we learned London has.

1) An anti-congestion charge. Space-efficient bikes and buses enter free. Cars don’t.(Photo: Mark Ames)

Since 2003, driving a car into central London between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. has cost $18 per day. The proceeds go into the regional transportation budget.

How was this approved? The key, Plowden explained, was support from freight customers.

“The reason that the congestion charge went in in 2002-2003 was that business knew how much congestion was causing them,” Plowden said. “It took a whole lot of discretionary car use off the network overnight.”

Here in Portland, there’s deep awareness among businesses of the job-killing costs of auto congestion. The problem, as we reported last month, is that the Port of Portland and some other freight customers believe that increasing auto capacity is the only viable way to reduce congestion; in a region where toll roads are almost unheard-of, they see an anti-congestion charge like London’s as impossible.

I asked Plowden whether toll roads were common in London before its anti-congestion charge began. They weren’t, he said.

2) A politician who rides. Boris, on a bike.(Photo: Transport for London)

The most important person behind London’s biking improvement is the one at the top: London’s center-right Mayor Boris Johnson.

“It’s difficult to exaggerate how important Boris being a commuter cyclist is,” said Plowden. “He carries his stuff in a rucksack on his back. and he’s done it basically his entire working life. … Like the mayors of Copenhagen in the 1970s, that’s a really important part of of making cycling what it is.”

After two terms, Johnson is returning to Parliament next year with his eye on becoming prime minister. Plowden said his departure will be “a sad day indeed” but called it “unlikely” that the next mayor will do anything worse for biking investments than to slow them down somewhat.

“This is actually quite an important part of the political landscape of London now,” he said.

(What about Portland? Well, as we shared last spring, no member of our current City Council spends much time on a bicycle.)

3) A very strong regional mayor system. Portland voters rejected a strong mayor system at the ballot in 2007, instead keeping a system that gives great autonomy to its five city council members (shown here at a recent work session).(M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Johnson’s commute habits wouldn’t matter much if he, like his predecessor Ken Livingstone, weren’t in control of almost every lever of power in the region.

“Ken Livingstone said if I’m elected, we’re going to have a congestion charge, and within two years we had one,” Plowden said. “Boris Johnson said if I’m elected, we’re going to become the world’s greatest cycling city. And we’re now spending a billion pounds on that objective.”

The “lesson of the London story,” Transit Center Executive Director David Bragdon said Friday, is “unity.”

“These are the results of really good governance structures and clear accountability for who’s doing what,” said Bragdon, a former president of Portland’s Metro regional government. “Americans, we’re very much in these jurisdictional boxes. These structures, they constrict us.”

Bragdon argued that the problems of concentrating power among a few people are outweighed by the advantages of the public knowing who to blame for its problems.

4) An organization built to see the big picture. An agency that only ran public transit might ask only for more of the same. Transport for London weighed the cost-benefit of new tunnels against better biking, and chose bikes.

One effect of London’s integrated governments is that it put the same agency in charge of both arterial roadways and public transit.

In Portland, the Oregon Department of Transportation wouldn’t save much money if people driving on Powell switched to buses, or if people riding buses switched to bikes. But because Transport for London runs the whole transportation system, it saves money when the whole system gets more efficient.

Transit and bikes are efficient. Transport for London noticed – and started investing heavily in making them better.

In terms of vehicle road space, Plowden said, “buses are way way way more efffieient than anything else. Cycling is second. … If we have a finite amount of space and amount of money and people are going to be moving around the city, what’s the most efficient way of doing that? You have to start making the hard economic arguments.”

But if Transport for London hadn’t been able to see the whole picture, those arguments might have fallen on deaf ears.

5) Urgency. A November 2013 “die-in” of 1,000 biking supporters outside Transport for London headquarters(Photo: Nicolas Chinardet)

For all that, Plowden said, London might have accomplished little if not for two coincidences that created a sense that the city had no time to spare.

Starting in 2004, the year it won a bid to host the 2012 Olympics, London was on a deadline. If it didn’t have a massively functional system for car-free transport by that summer, it would be swamped by traffic.

“We set an objective that nobody except an elite athlete would arrive at any Olympic event with a car,” Plowden said.

In the run-up to 2012, London launched a bike share system, improved three rail lines, started running a new high-speed rail and built a cable car across the Thames.

Then, in late 2013, a series of six biking fatalities over two weeks seized the public’s attention around the need for biking improvements. Plowden called this a key catalyst for London’s massive investment to come.

6) Great ideas from other cities. Bike use in Seville soared from 6,000 riders a day to 60,000 after it rapidly built an 80-mile network of protected bike lanes in the late 2000s.(Photo: Bike Texas)

Plowden didn’t mention this at all last week. But one of the most important things about London’s accomplishments is that every single one of them had already worked elsewhere.

Amsterdam, just across the English Channel, has billions of dollars worth of the world’s best bike infrastructure. Modern bike sharing came from Paris; the anti-congestion charge, from Singapore. Seville, Spain, had seen biking soar from 0.5 percent in 2007 to 7 percent biking in 2012 by rapidly building a connected 80-mile network of protected bike lanes; biking advocates across Europe are now looking to it a model.

One of the best things happening in the world right now is that it keeps getting easier for ideas to spread from one country to another. London’s huge victory in the last few years stems from Londoners like Plowden who decided to start stealing neat ideas from Paris, Amsterdam and (yes) Portland, Oregon.

How do good ideas spread? One way is when smart people carry them across the ocean to talk about them.

See you again in 2027, Ben. Meanwhile, we’ve got some work to do.

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Categories: US National

Has the Urban Planning Profession Made You Boring?

Planetizen - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 12:00pm
Urban planning can be an exciting and rewarding profession. It can also be extremely political and sometimes downright boring.
Categories: US National