Search results for " bike lanes"

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Susan Morris Picks the Winners at the 2013 Architecture & Design Film Festival
2013 Architecture & Design Film Festival Tribeca Cinemas 54 Varick Street New York 212 941-2001 “Erecting a building is like making a movie….both processes involve blending light and movement into space and time. A model is like a script: at best it’s a promise and at worst it’s a safeguard. And, as with a script, a moment comes when you have to test your model against reality. You must start shooting the film, start erecting the building." —The Interior Passage We can see these starts when the two art forms come together in the 4th annual Architecture & Design Film Festival at the Tribeca Cinemas where 25 films will be screened through October 20. This year, the trend is toward process films that chronicle movements and initiatives (planning, education, preservation), portraits of buildings more than individuals, and Modernism referenced even when it’s not the direct subject. The festival kicks off with The Human Scale (which also opens at the IFC Center on October 18). The film asks, “What is the scale for measuring happiness in a city?” and uses Danish architect and urban design theorist Jahn Gehl’s work concentrating on the pedestrian and cyclist to pose answers. Referencing Corbusier, Gehl said, “If anybody at any time wanted to pay professionals to make a city planning idea which would kill city life It could not have been done better than what the Modernists did.” The film focuses on Copenhagen, New York, Dhaka (the fastest-growing city in the world with 1,000 new residents per day), Christchurch, NZ, Melbourne, and Chonqing, China. “You Measure What You Care About” shows how data sets of people’s behavior led to pedestrianizing central Copenhagen. Similarly, Jeanette Sadik-Khan, NYC Commissioner of Transportation, looked at how 90 percent of Times Square real estate was allotted to cars, which only accounted for ten percent of use. This statistic was flipped to give over 90 percent to people in plazas, bike lanes, and Bikeshare stations. Another side of the Bloomberg administration’s legacy can be seen in My Brooklyn, which could almost be an ad for Bill deBlasio’s “Tale of Two Cities” New York. Examining gentrification vs. diversification, the film zones in on downtown Brooklyn and the redevelopment of the Fulton Street Mall which was the third-most-profitable shopping area in the five boroughs (behind Fifth and Madison avenues). With rezoning, this vibrant retail area that catered to African-American and Caribbean populations, has been transformed into a luxury, high-rise residential area despite the promises of local developers. The real estate feeding frenzy and deal making is examined in the vein of another recent film, Gut Renovation, also from the personal point of view of a displaced white female Brooklyn resident. Frustration with the corporate world and abundant idealism led two architects, Emily Pilloton and Matt Miller, to start Studio H: a design/build high school curriculum with the mantra “Design, Build, Transform” heard in If You Build It. Their approach is a practicum in design thinking, and they were invited to teach a class in rural North Carolina by a forward-thinking superintendent who was soon dismissed. (They agreed to stay on without salary.) The students learn basic tools to visualize their ideas—drawing, model-making—which were turned into inventive, practical projects like chicken coops and a farmer’s market structure for their economically depressed town. A formative influence was Miller's Cranbrook thesis project, a house he constructed in Detroit that would be deeded to a family contingent on their payment of utilities for two years but went unmet and was abandoned. He concluded that the end user has to have a stake in the process. Optimism was also a motivator of the “pilgrims and émigrés” of Cape Cod in Built On Narrow Land. This spit of land at the tip of the peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean and Cape Cod Bay became a haven for freethinkers, artists, and the modernist architects who gave a physical form to their lifestyle. The Bohemian Brahmans who owned large swaths of land that enabled this development was embodied by Jack Phillips (of the Phillips Exeter Academy family), an amateur architect who briefly studied with Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer at Harvard, and became the Pied Piper for mid-century modernism here. His instructors followed him, as did Serge Chermayeff (father of Ivan and Peter), Georgy Kepes, Paul Weidlinger, Charlie Zehnder, and other modernists and Bauhaus alumni that taught in Boston at MIT and Harvard. Gropius’s daughter Ati, and Ruth Hatch who commissioned the stunning Jack Hall–designed Hatch House are among the witnesses who lead us through this summertime oasis amidst the more conventional New England Cape Cod gabled cottages. Modernist architecture in Moscow, which was borne from a similar forward-thinking spirit that embodied the Russian Revolution, has a more problematic fate today. The title of the film, Away from All Suns!, is taken from Nietzsche who wrote: “The advent of modernity had swept away all foundations. Modernity is liberation and total destruction...What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Where is it moving?... Away from all suns?” This unmooring is threatened by commercialism, illegal destruction, and new building as we are shown life behind the walls of three buildings: Ogoniok Printing Plant and Zhurgaz Apartment House (1930-35), the only surviving El Lissitzky building currently under threat; Communal Student House of the Textile Institute (1929) by I.S. Nikolaev, built to house 2,000 students and now under “restoration”; and Narkomfin Communal Apartment House (1928-30) by Moisei Ginzburg and Ignaty Milinus, considered the model for Corbusier’s Unité d'Habitation and currently on UNESCO and World Monuments Fund watch lists, is now a ruin occupied by guerrilla artists before it is turned into a hotel. We also get a brief glimpse of Tatlin’s Tower being paraded through the streets. Modernism is more cherished in a few building portraits: The Oyler House: Richard Neutra’s Desert Retreat, is a much-loved house in Lone Pine, California between Death Valley and Sequoia National Park. Commissioned by the unassuming Richard Oyler, who boldly wrote to the famous architect, charming Neutra and causing him to fall in love with the site. Neutra created an un-ornamented, post-and-beam structure with expansive glass that fit organically into the site (they even dug a swimming pool out of giant rocks in a mini-quarry). The realtor, Crosby Doe, who specializes in mid-century modern houses, said the experience of seeing the Oyler House for the first time was on par with Macchu Picchu. The house is now owned by actress Kelly Lynch and screenwriter Mitch Glazer (she is interviewed), who also own John Lautner’s Harvey House in Los Angeles. Another adored building is Fagus—Walter Gropius and the Factory for Modernity. Built in 1911 in a small town near Hannover, it was the architect’s first major building that he chronicled extensively in photographs. Light, elegant, and beautifully proportioned, it is still used as a factory for making shoe laces, run by the original commissioning family. A palace for work, Bauhaus archivist Annemarie Jaeggi said it “defies gravity.” The Interior Passage portrays a more contemporary building, Sanaa’s Rolex Learning Center at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, the prestigious institute of technology. It follows the selection process from 12 invited firms including OMA, Zaha Hadid, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro through the difficult engineering tasks solved by bridge builders to make this low-slung, flowing building stand up (the large central shell was cast in one pour over two days and nights, a mammoth logistical feat involving 20 simultaneous mixing trucks). A fascinating mingling of Swiss precision and Japanese minimalism, this film doggedly stays with the process until students fill the single expansive, unbroken fluid space of undulating floors and ceilings punctuated by glass-walled and domed bubbles. It takes the library as a building type one step beyond OMA’s Seattle Public Library. Perhaps the person who is able to best put architecture into a wider context is the Pritzker Prize winner in Tadao Ando—From Emptiness to Infinity. He thinks “we have to intensively deal with the present,” and encourages a young employee to communicate more with people, rather than just his computer because “this impacts on architecture and our society. Because communication, life, and architecture belong together.”
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Altamanu
Sauganash Elementary, Chicago.
Courtesy Altamanu

Josephine Bellalta started her landscape architecture and urban design firm Altamanu nearly ten years ago out of her home in Chicago’s Uptown. Now, co-led by her partner John Mac Manus, Altamanu has developed a knack for creating and restoring public spaces that integrate pedestrians, bike, and public transit. Both principals had experience with transportation design, and knew plans for parks inevitably had to incorporate additional infrastructure after the fact.

“Transportation gets the funding, not parks,” said Mac Manus in the firm’s North Center studio. “We became interested in how we could control that, rather than being asked to put lipstick on the gorilla.”

Now Altamanu is involved with the rehabilitation of Lake Shore Drive’s northern branch, from Ohio Street to Hollywood Avenue. A slew of recently completed streetscape and urban design projects gives a sense of their work.


 
 

Mills Park

Oak Park, IL

Mills Park was once a private estate with buildings designed by Prairie School progenitor George Washington Maher. His 1897 John Farson House remains on site and serves as the focal point of the park’s “historic” segment. To improve access to the once-private property, Altamanu needed new entrances, but could not discard the historic fencing. The firm moved pieces of the fence into the park as historical exhibits in some places, and bent it inward elsewhere, preserving the fence itself but not the barrier it once formed. Benches recall the fence’s zigzag pattern.


 

Scoville Park

Oak Park, IL

Originally designed by Jens Jensen, Scoville Park in Oak Park is on the site of the area’s first European settlement. It sits on a glacial ridge that bends through two other nearby parks—Mills and Taylor parks. Altamanu’s redesign includes wending walkways, whose curves are echoed in a series of benches, and improved sightlines to the historic buildings that surround the park. The architects also improved access to a Frank Lloyd Wright memorial to a large War Memorial, which was originally the focal point of the park. Altamanu also used root aeration matting to preserve an ancient oak tree.


 

Lawrence Avenue

Chicago

Altamanu’s plan to reconfigure Lawrence Avenue between Western Avenue and Clark Street makes the thoroughfare more pedestrian and bike friendly. The design thins the avenue’s three- and sometimes four-lane cross section into one lane of traffic each way and a continuous turn lane. Pedestrian refuge plazas allow people crossing the street to ford one river of traffic at a time. Bike lanes exist to the project area’s east and west, so when completed the Lawrence Avenue rehab will link six miles of continuous bike lanes on the city’s north side.


 

 

River Street

Batavia, IL

To help revive Batavia’s historic River Street downtown area, Altamanu borrowed the Dutch concept of a woonerf: a “living street” where cars share the road on equal footing with pedestrians and bicyclists. Laying brickwork where an aging two-lane street and sporadic stretch of sidewalk once stood, the firm remedied handicap accessibility problems and gave the historic downtown what its residents said they wanted most—something different. Farmers markets and café seating fill the street now, while outdoor concerts make use of an entryway Altamanu designed that references the town’s history of millwork.


 
 

Sauganash Elementary

Chicago

Sauganash Elementary hired Altamanu to redesign its grounds with an eye toward flood control. The defining feature of the landscape is a bioswale that, rather than being relegated to the corner of the property out of sight, is crisscrossed with bridges meant to bring the students and their parents into closer contact with nature. Originally Altamanu wanted the bioswale bridges to be free of railings. Since they only sit a few feet off the ground, the firm figured the bridges posed little risk. The school thought otherwise, however, and railings were added for safety.

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Life Span
Tom Paiva Photography

When the Loma Prieta earthquake collapsed a section of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge 24 years ago—a portion of the upper deck buckled, killing one person—California officials deemed the eastern span of the 1936 steel-cantilevered truss bridge seismically unsound. The route is sandwiched between the Hayward Fault to the east and the San Andreas Fault to the west. A new bridge connecting San Francisco and the East Bay was necessary. After 11 years of construction and several major traffic closures, the new ten-lane eastern stretch of the bridge opened on Labor Day.

In 1998, state officials put together a panel to vote on the best design option to replace the 2.2 mile damaged eastern portion of Interstate 80 running from Yerba Buena Island to Oakland. Forgoing a basic solution, the majority voted in favor of a self-anchored suspension bridge, designed by San Franciscobased Donald MacDonald Architects and New York engineering firm Weidlinger Associates. The winning concept prominently features a single 525-foot-tall tower—the design element in which architect Donald MacDonald takes most pride.

 
 

"We slightly tapered the shafts of the tower so as to appear parallel to one another in the approach, and to keep a rhythm and lightness," said MacDonald. A pentagon theme was woven throughout, in the legs of the towers and the piers below, he said.

"The bridge is white, inspired by Oakland's container cranes", explained MacDonald, adding, "cities and bridges can brand themselves through color." The Golden Gate Bridge, cloaked in orange, comes to mind.

The new eastern span is actually comprised of two structural systems: a 1.2 mile concrete skyway and the suspension bridge, with its single loop cable system and tower. The side-by-side decks each contain five lanes flanked by shoulders. There is a temporary pedestrian and bike path on the right side of the eastbound roadway.

 

Engineering firms T.Y. Lin International Group and Moffatt & Nichol Engineers were hired to make MacDonald’s and Weidlinger’s vision a reality. To make the design seismically safe, the bridge would have to ride an earthquake like a wave. The design of the tower required four steel shafts bound together with shear-link beams capable of absorbing the energy of an earthquake. Hinge-pipe beams allow sections of the bridge to expand and contort. The skyway is supported by 160 concrete-battered piles, replacing the timbered piles of the original eastern span.

Light poles installed with more than 48,000 LEDs line the bridge, requiring about 50 percent less energy than the original section. The LEDs have a longer lifespan of 10 to 15 years, and are angled to prevent glare and minimize light pollution.

 

The project was not without its challenges. Originally estimated to take four years to build at a cost of $1.6 billion, the bridge became one of the most expensive projects in the state as the price of steel and concrete rapidly rose, mostly due to the building boom in China. In the end, the bridge has come in at $6.4 billion, with cost overruns funded by a 2007 $1 toll increase and state gas tax dollars.

The bridge may be open, but the work is not finished yet. Broken anchor bolts in the seismic stabilizers that were temporarily repaired with concrete saddles will get a final repair by this December. It will take nine months to remove most of the original eastern span and up to three years to completely demolish the outdated structure. Some portions will be kept, others will be recycled or sold for scrap.

After the original eastern span is removed, construction crews will permanently install a bike and pedestrian path, extending it to Yerba Buena Island. They will also replace a temporary ramp connecting the island to the eastern span. Both projects will be completed in 2015.

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After Weiner Jokes, Questions Remain
Anthony Weiner checks out a Citi Bike.
Courtesy NY1

Newly minted mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner is at the top of an uninspiring pack according to some polls. Prior to his self-destructive sex scandal, Weiner had served with some distinction as a liberal firebrand in the US House of Representatives, but, according to some accounts, he had always dreamed of Gracie Mansion.

New York is a famously live-and-let-live city. We enjoy scrutinizing our political scandals, but we also give second chances. Weiner’s personal proclivities are not of much interest to those of us who care about the physical city and hope the new mayor takes up the commitment to improve public space and foster urban sustainability pursued by the Bloomberg Administration. Still, Weiner’s actions raise questions about his judgment.

New York is also a famously hotheaded town. Prior to his underwear debacle, Weiner seemed hell-bent on differentiating himself from Bloomberg by taking on a great menace to the city—at least to the headline and editorial writers of Murdoch’s rags—bike lanes! At a dinner for the New York Congressional delegation, Weiner erupted at Bloomberg, saying, “When I become mayor, you know what I’m going to spend my first year doing? I’m going to have a bunch of ribbon-cuttings tearing out your (expletive) bike lanes.”

Weiner now claims he was joking and has recently been photographed cruising around town on a Citi Bike. But I’m not so sure we should take him at his word. Senator Charles Schumer—Weiner’s former boss and congressional delegation colleague—and his wife Iris Weinshall, a former Department of Transportation Commissioner under Giuliani, have been on a weird crusade against the Prospect Park West bike lane, a bike lane Weiner objects to for how it looks: “I’m not crazy about the aesthetics of the Prospect Park West bike lane,” he told Capital New York. “You know, that beautiful open boulevard is now more congested.”

Weiner also counts on tremendous financial and political support from the Orthodox Jewish community, support he rewards with extremely hawkish, pro-Israeli statements. Let us not forget that prominent members of the Hasidic and Orthodox communities have opposed bike lanes in their communities, arguably for threatening the insularity of their neighborhoods. Weiner’s position on bike lanes may reflect narrow-minded political commitments over broad-based urbanistic thinking.

Weiner’s comments do not reflect well about his thinking on transportation policy or urban planning. Frankly, they sound dumb. His 64-point “Keys to the City” plan offers one item about bicycling: an anodyne recommendation for businesses to incentivize commuting by bike.

The advocacy group Transportation Alternatives has issued a survey to the mayoral candidates to clarify their views on issues of importance to pedestrians and cyclists. The results are due at the end of July. Let’s hope Weiner, and the other candidates worthy of serious consideration, respond with ideas that are more sophisticated than a headline in the Post.

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Groups Call for People-Friendly Lake Shore Drive Overhaul in Chicago
Lake Shore Drive could look a lot different if a local design alliance gets its way. The "Our Lakefront" plan, commissioned by 15 different organizations including the Active Transportation Alliance, the Alliance for the Great Lakes, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, and the Chicago Architecture Foundation, would reduce the speed limit on the north branch of Lake Shore Drive from 40 to 35 miles per hour; carve out lanes for bicycles and either bus rapid transit or rail; and replace parking spaces with greenery. Connectivity is a hallmark of the concept. The plan calls for increased lakefront access for both vehicles and pedestrians, perhaps through programmed parks and plazas “serving as access points across Lake Shore Drive and as iconic gateways between the city and the lakefront.” Unlike the southern segment of Lake Shore Drive, which was rebuilt about 10 years ago, this seven-mile stretch of highway is between of 60 and 80 years old. The “Our Lakefront” team says as long as Illinois Department of Transportation officials are considering restoring infrastructure along the road, including several ailing bridges, they may as well as look at restoring the iconic Drive’s original design. “Redefine the Drive,” as they put it. From the Sun-Times:

Lake Shore Drive was originally designed as “a boulevard. It was a pleasure drive early on,’’ said Lee Crandell of the Active Transportation Alliance, among the 15 groups that helped to write the “Our Lakefront” plan.

“It’s slowly turned into a freeway,’’ Crandell said. “We want it to feel like a boulevard.’’

Read the full conceptual plan here. Three public hearings are scheduled this week:
  • Aug. 6, 6 - 8 p.m., Gill Park, 825 W. Sheridan Road, 3rd Floor
  • Aug. 7, 6 - 8 p.m., Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson Avenue, Atrium
  • Aug. 8, 6 - 8 p.m., Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Drive, South Gallery
After the meetings, a formal design team will convene to hash out details. If anything is built, it won’t be for years. Daniel Burnham’s vision for Chicago is often evoked here to lend credibility for urban planning proposals. Amid both shrinking budgets and an urban reawakening, landscape and infrastructure projects have become increasingly common and closely watched. UPDATE Aug. 7: This story originally said the plan considered high-speed rail. That was not accurate. From Lee Crandell, director of campaigns for Active Transportation Alliance:

The platform calls for separating transit from car traffic with bus-only lanes and other public transit enhancements, such as Bus Rapid Transit. BRT vehicles are often designed to look similar to light rail vehicles (this is why BRT is sometimes referred to as light rail with rubber wheels), and the drawing does intentionally leave it open to interpretation whether LSD could include something like BRT or light rail.

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Cycling into Times Square: An Update from Architects & Urbanists Riding Across the Country
[ Editor's Note: Peter Murray, of the New London Architecture center, together with a dozen architects and planners, is biking from Portland, Oregon to Portland Place in London, studying how cities are responding to the demand for better cycling infrastructure. He reports from the start of his ride. The Architect’s Newspaper is USA media sponsor of the trip and will post periodic updates of these architects on bicycles. ] At the beginning of last week we finished the first major leg of the tour - we arrived in New York. After nearly 4,000 miles of riding the group took the Hoboken Ferry to 39th Street, cycled a short way up the West Hudson Greenway and then crosstown into Times Square. The Greenway is one of the best bits of cycling infrastructure in the city and forms part of the Hudson River Park, a series of landscaping and regeneration projects on the site of the old docks and a fantastic new public amenity. The pedestrianisation of Times Square and the cycle route along Broadway are the most visible of the improvements to the public realm engineered over the last decade by the Bloomberg administration, led by the charismatic Department of Transport (DoT) Commissioner Janette Sadik Khan. So popular is the area with pedestrians and tourists that we found it hard to cycle through the crush when we arrived there; but the huge digital screens that cover every building in the Square provided a photogenic backdrop. We were directed by our local film crew to Jimmy’s Corner - a dive bar with a boxing theme which seemed to have the appropriate ambience and we downed a few beers before making our way to our hotel. Everyone seemed in a pensive rather than celebratory mood. The approach to New York through New Jersey had been testing - the cycling conditions some of the worst we had experienced all trip - the temperatures were in the 90s, it had started to rain and the scale of our achievement was taking a bit of time to sink in. The next morning we had an audience with Janette Sadik Khan who when she took over as Commissioner in 2007 set out to ‘green up’ the DoT. This she has done with amazing effect, installing over 300 miles of bike lanes and creating pocket parks and new public spaces where once there were traffic junctions. Even the big bridges of the East Hudson like Brooklyn and Williamsburg have separated cycle paths. Janette recorded a welcome for the P2P riders and signed the baton (made by Christian at A models) which we have carried across the USA and bears the signature of key cycling and transport representatives from each of the major cities we passed through. The toughest riding of the tour was in the Appalachians - although not as high as the Rockies the gradients are steeper (up to 12 per cent). The ridges and valleys sweep up diagonally towards New York and most roads sensibly follow the contours, but in order to stop off in Philadelphia we had to cycle across the grain and climbed ridge after ridge in sweltering heat. In the approaches to the Appalachians lies Falling Water by Frank Lloyd Wright. The building is a National Historic Landmark and very popular with visitors. One of the benefits of visiting such places in hilly country by bicycle is that the exertion required to get there seems to heighten the senses and increase one’s level of appreciation. We were all much taken with Falling Water - the cantilevered decks, the interiors and the relationship with the landscape, reinforcing our appreciation of Wright following on from our visit to Taliesin East and Johnson Wax. We had planned to have a photo taken outside the Guggenheim the day we arrived in New York but everyone was too tired. My own Wrightian odyssey was completed the next day by going to see the spectacular James Turrell installation there. Turrell’s elliptical forms rising through the space paid the sort of respect to its context that is key to F L-W’s own work, yet is distinct and of its own. I only started to really feel we had properly arrived in New York on Tuesday evening when the New York office of Grimshaw held a party for us. Grimshaw staffers were there in force, Bill Pedersen of Kohn Pedersen Fox was there, as was David Gordon formerly Secretary of the Royal Academy and director of the Milwaukee Art Museum, and Jonathan Wimpenny Chair of the New york Chapter of the RIBA. We auctioned the spare bike we had used when we had breakdowns and Grimshaw generously purchased it for $2000. Next week we are riding across Ireland, Wales and England and arriving into London from Windsor on Saturday July 13.  Come and ride with us from Windsor - or if that’s too far, meet us in Waterloo Place at mid-day and cycle the last mile up Regent Street to Portland Place and then on for drinks at the NLA at 26 Store Street, WC1E 7BT. For details, click Get involved. As we go we are studying the impact of cycling on cities in the US as well as raising money for Article 25, ABS and Architecture for Humanity.
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Discovering Cities: An Update from Architects & Planners Biking Across the Country
[ Editor's Note: Peter Murray, of the New London Architecture Center, together with a dozen architects and planners, is biking from Portland, Oregon to Portland Place in London, studying how cities are responding to the demand for better cycling infrastructure. He reports from the start of his ride. The Architect’s Newspaper is USA media sponsor of the trip and will post periodic updates of these architects on bicycles. As the P2P team gears up for its triumphant arrival in Manhattan on Sunday (June 30th) having completed the U.S. leg of the trip, Peter Murray looks back at some of the highlights of the last week’s riding. ] One of the delights of cycling across the States has been to experience cities whose names were familiar to me but whose contemporary characteristics and qualities were a void. I am ashamed to admit that when first researching our route through Pittsburgh my main ideas of the city were influenced by scenes of Pennsylvania’s shrinking steel industry from Michael Cimino’s 1978 film The Deerhunter. Instead, I found that Pittsburgh is "the regeneration capital of the U.S.," eds and meds have replaced steel and it has a fast-improving bicycle infrastructure. Much of the credit for this last piece of progress must go to the energy of Scott Bricker and Lou Fineberg who founded Bike Pittsburgh just over a decade ago. The city still has a long way to go but it has bike lanes and riverside trails and it is highly probable that the next Mayor will be the Democrat Bill Peduto, who is a strong supporter of better biking. Of buildings in the city, we much enjoyed H. H. Richardson’s powerful Allegheny Courthouse and Jail with its rough stone masonry and Romanesque detailing. Columbus, Ohio was another city I knew little about and often confused for Columbus, Indiana. We managed to find Peter Eisenman’s seminal decon Wexner Centre with its crashing grids, iconic plan, and instantly recognizable "chess piece" turrets. Passing Eisenman’s new convention center in the city, one gets the impression that he is more comfortable working at the smaller scale of the art gallery rather than the multiblock behemoth of the convention center. I left the ride for a few days to fulfill a speaking engagement in London and planned to rejoin the cyclists in Cincinnati and flew to Indianapolis confident that I could take the train to Cincinnati. However it turned out that they only run three times a week! The consequences of—to a European eye—the States' appalling underinvestment in rail transport can be seen in the striking Cincinnati Union Terminal. A giant juke box of a building designed by Alfred Fellheimer and completed in 1933. It has largely been taken over, perhaps appropriately, by an exhibition about dinosaurs, with one small side platform allocated to the trains. Zaha Hadid’s Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati is (for her) a restrained building which sits happily in the city block, although internally rather too much has been squeezed into too small a space. Michael Graves’s Engineering Center over at the University of Cincinnati was very grand, and I was surprised to hear later that Bernard Tschumi had designed one of the sports building which I had passed by without realising it had such a pedigree. We cycled round the Over-the-Rhine district, scene of the 2001 riots and now an area of major regeneration which reminded us of similar areas in London like Shoreditch and Spitalfields. Indianapolis has also gone through major regeneration in recent years, it has a vibrant downtown area, new convention center and the massive Lucas Oil Stadium designed by HKS with a brick facade that dominates the city. The architects used bricks to relate to the historic core but there was little they could do about the size of the building. The piece of design that most attracted us as cyclists was the the landscaping and bicycle paths. These have been designed to reflect their relationship with the city rather than selected from the stabdard traffic engineer’s catalogue. I struggle in each of these cities with the number of car parking sites which leave huge gaps in the urban fabric and destroy any feeling of place. In Cincinnati this has been ameliorated by a program of murals on blank walls, but maybe as more people take to bicycles and demand for car parking space reductions they will be developed to form a coherent part of the city.
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Minneapolis, Cycling City: An Update From Architects & Urbanists Biking Across the Country
[ Editor's Note: Peter Murray, of the New London Architecture center, together with a dozen architects and planners, is biking from Portland, Oregon to Portland Place in London, studying how cities are responding to the demand for better cycling infrastructure. He reports from the start of his ride. The Architect’s Newspaper is USA media sponsor of the trip and will post periodic updates of these architects on bicycles. ] We liked Minneapolis—it ended our sojourn in the wilderness of South Dakota, we saw some nice things, met a lot of cool people and the biking there is great! On our journey plan we had highlighted the fact that the city was host to a bevy of starchitects—Herzog and de Meuron with the 2005 Walker Art Gallery extension, Jean Nouvel with the Guthrie Theater of 2006, and Frank Gehry at the Weisman Museum which opened in 2011. H&deM’s gallery is their signature decorated rhomboidal shed with aluminum-mesh cladding panels stamped with a pattern of creases, while Nouvel’s is definitely a duck, its cylindrical forms reflecting the concrete silos on adjoining sites and its industrial detailing referencing the mills that once lined the Mississippi River at this point and created the wealth of the 19th century city. A gymnastic cantilever projecting out over the river provides spectacular views to St. Anthony Falls. As he did in London at One New Change and Reina Sofia in Madrid, Nouvel has delivered a popular new public space that enhances the visitor’s experience of the city. However, our local guides were keener to point out the picturesque ruins of the largest flour mill in the world, destroyed by a flour dust explosion and into which local architects Meyer Scherer and Rockcastle have sensitively inserted a contemporary office building. But the highlight of our tour was the Christ Church Lutheran designed by Eliel Saarinen in 1948 with an extension by Eero twenty or so years later. The interior is beautifully crafted in brick with a simple curved screen at the altar end flooded with south light. We had come to Minneapolis to study its cycling infrastructure—and we were impressed. Our group of 13 riders pedalled along the Midtown Greenway, a traffic-free cycle route which runs on a defunct railway line right through the heart of the city, then on to bicycle boulevards—lower-volume, slow speed streets with safe crossings which felt very comfortable to ride in. Bike lanes in the city are comprehensive in the central area and we found it easy to get around. Last year Bicycling Magazine named Minneapolis America’s “No 1 Bike City,” beating Portland, Oregon, despite the fact that the city experiences ferocious winters and riders have to fit studded tires in icy periods. Nearly four percent of Minneapolis residents bike to work according to Census data—an increase of 33 percent since 2007, and 500 percent since 1980. Two particularly interesting points, emerged from our conversations—that, like the High Line, the Midtown Greenway is a major generator of new residential development, and, like New York, most of the cycling infrastructure had been put in within the last decade—much quicker than most European cycling cities. These are just two lessons among the many we will be taking back to London to promote more and better cycling infrastructure in the UK capital.
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Where Are Chicago's Most Bikeable Neighborhoods?
Steven Vance, editor of StreetsBlog Chicago and frequent contributor to AN, dug through Walk Score's breakdown of the most bikeable neighborhoods in Chicago. The rankings are based on several factors, including the prevalence of bike lanes, connectivity, commuting mode share and hills. It also considers the number of neighborhood destinations and, as Vance points out, may consider a shared lane marking as a bike lane. That led to the Illinois Medical District’s surprising fourth place ranking, tailing East Ukrainian Village, Ukrainian Village and Wicker Park. See the national list of WalkScore.com’s most bikeable neighborhoods here, and read StreetsBlog’s post here.
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Seattle, San Francisco, Hoboken Reveal New Bike Share Details
With summer just around the corner, bicyclists are getting excited to try out the new bike-share systems being installed in many cities across the nation. After initial delays, New York City's bike-share program is set to open by the end of the month, and San Francisco, Seattle, and Hoboken have similar plans of their own on the horizon. San Francisco: SPUR reports that the Bay Area Air Quality Management District signed a contract with Alta Bike Share to spin the wheels on a bike-sharing program for San Francisco. Alta Bike Share runs similar bike programs in Washington, D.C. and Boston and will be the operator of new programs in New York and Chicago this year. San Francisco plans a two-year pilot program consisting of 700 bikes in 70 locations that will launch this summer throughout the San Jose to San Francisco region. Last year the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition set a goal of 20 percent of trips in the city on bike by 2020 and now, after several delays, the plan will be the first regional program in the country. Seattle: Considering Seattle’s distinctive challenges of hills and mandatory helmets, Alta Bicycle Share has devised a plan for the city’s bike-share program that includes seven-speed bikes rather than the standard three-speed ones, reported BikePortland.  The Portland-based Alta, adding to their bike share empire across the country, will also employ an integrated helmet vending system to accommodate the city’s mandatory helmet law. The city’s bike-share program will consist of 500 bikes distributed throughout 50 stations. The program will launch by the start of 2014 and continue to develop throughout the Puget Sound region. Hoboken: The City of Hoboken, in partner with E3Think, Bike And Roll, and Social Bicycles, across the Hudson from Manhattan, is also getting into the bike share game with a system radically different from most other cities: the “hybrid” bike-share plan. The six-month pilot program employs traditional bike rentals, but users reserve bikes online and, unlike the majority of existing bike-share systems that depend on “Smart-Dock” bike racks for storage, Hoboken's program utilizes a “Smart-Lock” method. The city hopes this approach will be more affordable and permit further development of the system. Bicycle repair stations, more bike lanes, and additional bike racks have bolstered the city’s campaign to become more bike-friendly.
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Main Street USA: An Update From Architects & Urbanists Biking Across the Country
psp_update_01 [ Editor's Note: Peter Murray, of the New London Architecture center, together with a dozen architects and planners, is biking from Portland, Oregon to Portland Place in London, studying how cities are responding to the demand for better cycling infrastructure. He reports from the start of his ride. The Architect’s Newspaper is USA media sponsor of the trip and will post periodic updates of these architects on bicycles. ] Cycling through the small towns of Idaho and Montana provides useful lessons for the English visitor about the growth of settlements in the US and allows interesting comparisons with the development of urban structure in Britain. While we in the UK have high streets, they are a very different sort of place to main streets. English settlements often developed around market squares, their structure defined by the relationship between the church and the ‘big house’ occupied by the feudal landlord as well as topographical features and land ownership. The main streets of places we have cycled through in the last couple of weeks clearly grew up initially to service the needs of the traveller and retained their preeminence in the urban fabric because of the ubiquitous grid plan—a form promoted by Penn because he beleived it would prevent the outbreaks of fire and disease that bedevilled European cities in the 16th and 17th centuries. So as we followed the Lewis and Clark trail we came to towns like Kamiah, once the winter home of the Native-American tribe Nez Perce and now a tourist center with a main street remodelled along Western/Victorian theme. The wide main street is the heart of the place lined with two-story buildings with cut-out profiles that, to the tourist look as though they should be fronted with a board walk and somewhere to hitch your horse. We visited Bozeman, Montana. A look at the map confirms Main Street’s preeminence among city’s streets. We had been told of Bozeman’s hippy/liberal tendencies, largely on the basis that it is a university town. However the impression from Main Street was that this was a well-to-do town with its buildings in good repair, its shops and restaurants prosperous and an almost European intensity of street use with cyclists, pedestrians and cafe tables on the sidewalk. One American architect in the party—now working in London—described the look of Bozeman as "art directed" with its neat brickwork, refurbished buildings and tasteful color palette. The following day we cycled up Main Street in Reed Point—the home of the Great Montana Sheep Drive, past a tumble down bar that boasted "Indians and mountain men welcome here" and were accosted by a local who believed all cyclists to be dangerous lefties. Being British was even worse: “Why don’t you commies go to Iraq or Iran instead of coming here?” When it was suggested that the United Kingdom was not a communist state, the riposte was “No guns - no freedom!” Nothing of the sort, of course, happened when we went through Missoula. Described by the locals as a "spot of blue in a sea of red," it certainly had more of a hippy feel to it than Bozeman, less art directed, with buskers on the streets and offers of grass outside bars in the evening. Most importantly for us it is the headquarters of the Adventure Cycling Association who provide excellent information for long distance riders, particularly those going across the continent. The cycling provision in the center of town was fair enough, with bike lanes and a path along the Clark Fork River. However, in the outer areas the infrastructure for cyclists was non-existent with some of the most dangerous conditions we have yet encountered.
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Apple Makes Adjustments To Silicon Valley Campus Proposal
Apple's spaceship-like campus plans, designed by Foster and Partners, have been criticized for—among other other things— a lack of pedestrian friendly design. It appears the company has listened. New documents presented to the city of Cupertino show extended bike paths, winding walkways and private roads both circling the grounds and running through the center of the campus.  The bike lanes would have buffer lanes to protect them from cars, pedestrian walkways would have increased lighting, a transit center would be the focal point for buses, and the plans also make room for public art projects. Not all the changes are eco/pedestrian friendly. The new design calls for an increase in parking spaces from 10,500 to 10,980. Slated for completion in 2016, the campus has also been in the news for budget overruns and delays, with Bloomberg Businessweek reporting its cost ballooning from $3 billion to $5 billion. The first phase of the campus is scheduled to be complete by 2016.The original date was 2015. apple_update_01 apple_update_02 apple_update_03 apple_update_04 apple_update_07 apple_update_08 apple_update_09 apple_update_06