Search results for " bike lanes"
Lahood Bikes to Work: The Transportation Secretary biked to work with other DOT commuters yesterday morning, as seen in this video. He wrote, "The route was safe and well-marked; we enjoyed some exercise; and we didn’t burn a drop of gas–which saved us some money." Since taking office in 2009, the former Republican congressman has prioritized light rail development and overseen $600 million in TIGER II grants to projects that promote livability. John Norquist, president of the Congress for New Urbanism, tells us Lahood is the best Transportation Secretary this country has seen since Secretary Coleman under President Ford.The High Line: "Economic Dynamo." The New York Times reports "preserving the High Line as a public park revitalized a swath of the city and generated $2 billion in private investment surrounding the park." The development of the High Line (the second section of which opens tomorrow) has spurred the construction of hundreds of deluxe apartments, art galleries, restaurants and boutiques nearby and the addition of 12,000 jobs, which more than make up for the $115 million the city spent on the park. Can Detroit Come Back? With a dwindling population, low literacy rates and vacant housing, Detroit is one of America's biggest underdogs. But the city's woes also make it the perfect laboratory for experiments like Hantz Farms plan to create the world's largest urban farm. OnEarth takes a look at the different ideas percolating in Detroit. Anthony Weiner on Bike Lanes: Anthony Weiner's getting some serious flack, but let's not forget: he also hates bike lanes, says Transportation Nation. At a Gracie Mansion dinner for New York’s Congressional Delegation last June, Weiner told Mayor Bloomberg: “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.”
Residents and shoppers in Chicago’s Lake View neighborhood may some day be able to walk under the Brown Line L tracks along a planted path connecting the area’s two commercial corridors. This proposed “Low-line” is one of the highlights of the Lake View master plan by Moss Design and Place Consulting, commissioned by the neighborhood’s chamber of commerce.
The Low-line would connect Paulina and Southport and create a new green space for the area. The designers envision a heavily planted and well-lit path that will draw walkers to the area and offer an unusually pleasant vantage point to view the underside of the elevated tracks. Connecting the two commercial corridors will encourage pedestrian activity and benefit area businesses. And just south of the Paulina L stop, the plan calls for a community garden on a vacant lot.
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Sidewalk extensions, bike lanes and racks, a permanent farmers market, a community-based composting center, and a renewable energy facility are also in the plan that calls as well for murals and planted walls to enliven blank facades.
The plan also calls for the creation of a separate non-profit entity to solicit grants and additional public funding for sustainability and economic development measures in the area.
The plan grew out of a lengthy and varied public process, which included everything from community meetings and business surveys to house-party charrettes and scavenger hunts. The chamber’s emphasis on public space and sustainability might not at first seem related to the work of a Business Improvement District, but, according to the designers, it is part of a place-making strategy that will benefit residents and businesses and will help make the neighborhood more of a destination and a place to linger.
“We live and work in the neighborhood, so it’s great to be able to work here,” said Matt Nardella, a principal at Moss Design. Nardella said that the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce approached them following a "Park-ing Day" event. The firm had created a temporary park for bicyclists and pedestrians in a public parking space. “Some might see that as a nuisance, but the Lakeview Chamber is pretty progressive.”
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The masterplan was unanimously approved on March 16. Nardella said the firm has since been in touch with the CTA about implementing the Low-line plan. "They seem open to it," Nardella wrote in an email. "It's all happening very fast." Phasing and implementation for strategies for other portions of the plan are also in the works.
The Lake View chamber is one of the dozens of special service districts throughout the city, so their green masterplan could serve as a model for generating place-specific, sustainable infrastructure citywide.
BALTIMORE: Demolition of Baltimore’s infamous "Highway to Nowhere," a one mile stretch that ends in a grassy slope, began last fall. In 1974, construction sliced through a vibrant working class area of west Baltimore, demolishing 700 homes and displacing 2,000 residents, mostly African American. The area is now characterized by vacant homes and high poverty rates. President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act awarded $2.8 million for the highway’s removal, which will make room for transit-oriented development.
CLEVELAND: The only way to get from downtown Cleveland to the waterfront is through poorly lit tunnels underneath the West Shoreway freeway. NPR recently highlighted the city's plan to convert the highway into an urban boulevard, in line with efforts to develop the waterfront, but opposition from suburban commuters forced the city to scale back the project. The original proposal would have added crosswalks to the road, parks, offices and housing, while the actual project will just focus on rebuilding the pedestrian tunnels.
NEW ORLEANS: Decades before Hurricane Katrina and getting its own HBO series, Treme was one of the wealthiest African American communities in New Orleans, and Claiborne Avenue was its teeming commercial center. The construction of the Claiborne Expressway in the 1950s changed all that, displacing families and over 100 businesses. City planners are currently debating removing the highway as part of post-Katrina rebuilding. The plan would reclaim 35-40 city blocks from urban blight and 20-25 blocks of open space.
SEATTLE: A battle is raging in Seattle over the demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The highway's coming down after sustaining damage in a 2001 earthquake, but the $4.2 billion tunnel slated to replace it by 2016 remains a political hot potato. The project is entangled in lawsuits, with critics seeking to vote on the project. Mayor McGinn came out against the Seattle’s political establishment in support of a street level replacement. He’s also pushing for removal of the Viaduct next year, citing the damage it would cause in an earthquake.
NEW HAVEN: The city recently received a $16 million TIGER II grant to convert part of Route 34 into an urban boulevard. Residents envision a re-do with narrow car lanes, wide sidewalks and a bike lane. The plan will add 960 permanent jobs and reclaim 11 acres of land that can be developed and taxed. It will finally unite the city's central business district with the rest of New Haven, ending the highway's stifling effect on economic development. Built in 1959, the highway displaced 600 families and 65 businesses and was never completed.
BUFFALO: After several multi-million dollar projects failed to slow Buffalo's decline, planners set their sights on removing two of the city's major highways. The Skyway and Route 5 make commutes more difficult, cost millions in annual maintenance and block waterfront development. The state Department of Transportation decided to keep the elevated roadways in 2008, even though local officials and residents wanted a street level boulevard. A coalition of citizens and civic organizations appealed the decision in 2008, and continue to advocate demolition.
LOUISVILLE: In the opening scenes of Elizabethtown, Kirsten Dunst maps out Interstate 64 in Louisville for Orlando Bloom because "the roads around there are hopelessly and gloriously confusing." He gets lost anyway, banging his hands against his steering wheel and yelling "60B!" The Ohio River Bridges Project, a $4.2 billion plan to expand the highway to 23 lanes of traffic at its widest point, would make things even more challenging. In 2005, two Louisville businessmen launched a grassroots campaign to remove the highway and develop the waterfront with a pedestrian-friendly boulevard. But it looks like the project's continuing with wider elevated lanes of traffic with some cost cut adjustments made in recent days.
Los Angeles embraced its first “CicLAvia” last October when an estimated 100,000 bicyclists, walkers, skateboarders and roller-bladers took over a 7.5 mile no-auto route from East Hollywood to Boyle Heights. The concept of closing city streets to car traffic for a non-racing event on Sundays was adopted from Bogotá, Colombia where the event is called Ciclovia, Spanish for "bike lane." I'ts Los Angeles success was good news for Aaron Paley, the event’s producer and one of its founders.
The president of the organization Community Arts Resources, Paley is now preparing the expansion of CicLAvia to three Sundays in 2011, starting with this Sunday, April 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and then July 10 and Oct. 9. It is an expensive and complicated affair, involving money and cooperation from the city bureaucracy, local businesses, charitable corporations and foundations. Paley, 53 and a Los Feliz area resident, says he hopes to schedule the event six times in 2012 and monthly by 2013. At his office in the art deco landmark Pellissier Building on Wilshire Boulevard, Paley recently discussed CicLAvia with writer L. J. Gordon.
The Architect's Newspaper: Do you think Los Angeles is more or less receptive to something like this than more pedestrian-oriented cities like San Francisco or New York?
Aaron Paley: More receptive. And the reason I say more receptive is because it’s different. I mean we don’t have parades on Fifth Avenue every weekend. We don’t have these regular things that move throughout our streets and engage people in this way. I think LA is actually hungry for this.
Why not make this every Sunday? Or are there too many obstacles to that?
There are huge obstacles. Once a month is already daunting. I believe it’s definitely doable, but this project is only sustainable if it’s a public-private partnership, something along the lines of the Olympics in 1984. There also are some cultural issues with liability, which are very different than in South America. There, if your driveway is blocked, you can call a volunteer from the organizing company (to guide the vehicle out of the event). It is no big deal. But that is absolutely taboo here. We cannot have vehicles in the road once we declare it open for CicLAvia. And doing it every week here is too much to ask of the people along the route, that every Sunday they would have the same inconvenience.
I see the route is the same for April 10 as it was last year. What about extending it?
We are hoping by October that we will be able to add an additional spur. Either we will be able to go south to the Exposition Park area or further into Boyle Heights. And we are looking to go through Chinatown to the LA River.
Are you doing anything different this time?
One of the major things is to get the message across that it is more than just a bike event. So we are encouraging people to come out on foot, in wheelchairs, on skateboards, and roller skates or just to hang out and realize you don’t have to be on a bike.
Another different thing is that we are looking at how we can encourage more opportunities for businesses along the way. In Little Tokyo, we are hoping to have a bike valet and coupon program. So you park your bike, and it would be free to park if you go to a local restaurant or store and get validated, and you could get a coupon that also will give you a discount.
And we are asking the community to bring their creativity out and do things on the route. Last time we had yoga classes, dodge ball games, and a marching band. About 50 things were happening. That’s what I want to expand. I want the creativity of the city to be on display. This is kind of like the Burning Man idea. Come out and do it yourself.
Last year seemed overwhelmingly dominated by bikes and seemed almost dangerous for walkers. Have you considered separate lanes for pedestrians?
We don’t want to do that. In these other cities, it works (without separate lanes). And we’re just starting here. We came out with our first event and the bike community really got the message to come, bless their souls. We want them to come again. We also want everyone else to come. And what we need to get across to everyone on bike is to respect the pedestrian as well. It could be better. We are working on the rules of the road and trying to get that message out.
How do you want people to interact with the city?
We look at this as molding and shaping public space through this temporary intervention. We’re hoping this is the kind of thing that reshapes the way people perceive their city, which will change the way they use their city and change their expectations for the city. We think this can have as big an impact as building a park. We are adding this whole element of new public space, which can be done efficiently and sustainably and cheaply without actually building something.
And what about people just observing or going into areas where they’ve never been before?
The thing that people said to us was: "Oh my God, I didn’t realize how small LA is. I didn’t realize I could get from here to Boyle Heights in ten minutes." The feeling was that LA is much more intimate, and who knew how beautiful it is? That is the right to be able to look at your city and own your city when people are not in their cars.
Was there an area on the route that was most surprising or attractive to you last year?
Of course, being able to ride over the Fourth Street bridge is spectacular. But actually I think the New Hampshire Avenue part between Melrose and Third Street was an eye-opener for me and a lot of other people. It was so beautiful in that neighborhood. The urban fabric is intact, with the pattern of the buildings, the setbacks for the duplexes and triplex, and all the palm trees. It is so stately and graceful.
In February Vice President Biden announced an additional $53 billion federal investment in National High Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail funding in the next six years, helping bring the total amount of funds for California’s High Speed Rail project up to well over $3 billion, with possibly more coming as a result of the $2 billion rejected by states like Florida, Wisconsin, and Ohio. Money may be pouring in, but little else about the project is well known.
First, some overall numbers: There will be 800 miles of track and up to 24 stations, running from San Diego to San Francisco and Sacramento. According to the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA), a trip from Los Angeles to San Diego will take one hour and 18 minutes, and a trip to San Francisco will take an astonishing two hours and 38 minutes.
Consultants, led by major engineering firms like Parsons-Brinkerhoff, Arup, and HNTB, are moving the projects toward construction with preliminary studies, with the scope of their work divided into nine sections across the state, and proceeding independently. A total of nine regional contracts were awarded in 2007, most of them lasting five years.
The first 120-mile segment of the project is scheduled to begin construction in 2012, linking Fresno to Bakersfield, a strategic decision allowing the Authority to build the 220 mile per hour high-speed section first and then move both northward and southward simultaneously.
The move from planning into design began with the February 8th publication of an RFEI (Request for Expressions of Interest) in the Design and Construction of the Fresno to Bakersfield section, and the future “design, construction, funding, operations, and maintenance” of any part of High Speed Rail’s Phase 1 program, planned for completion by 2020. Due March 16, this is not a formal Request for Proposals but, according to the Authority, a way for it to refine what it’s looking for, and an opportunity for the professional community to provide input.
“Anything we can gain from the RFEI is important to us,” CHSRA CEO, Roelof van Ark told an industry group in early March in LA. The formal Request for Proposals will be released by the end of this year, he said, and the first construction contracts should be awarded in the second half of 2012.
The authority has suggested that it will pursue design/build project delivery, which, considering the scale of the project, suggests the use of the same multi-national engineering firms currently working on alignment and environmental studies. Still, van Ark has affirmed that the CHSRA is making a special effort to include small businesses and will encourage its large contractors to do the same. “We want to deal fairly with our small business partners,” said van Ark.
In general, station design, according to recently drafted authority guidelines, will support local development standards and goals, privileging transit-oriented development, sustainable infill, and some additional amenities (parks, bike lanes, etc.) around station sites. The first two stations to be unveiled—HOK’s glassy Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center and Pelli Clarke Pelli’s swooping Transbay Transit Center—have been designed as intermodal centers supporting both local and regional rail.
In early March, the authority announced the development of Visual Design Guidelines, in partnership with the City of San Jose, for the San Jose-Merced project section, governing both “functional and iconic design” in the city. In addition, “Citizen Working Groups” will be part of the Visual Design Guideline process, signaling a transparent methodology for the CHSRA in urban areas.
Meanwhile on March 3 the authority moved forward with an “alternatives analysis,” further studying station designs, track alignments, and community concerns. So far the CHSRA has conducted over 800 community meetings.
With nearly $10 billion committed so far by the State of California and at least $3.3 billion coming from the federal government, the CHSRA continues to advocate for private sector funding as well. How that will fall into place is still unknown, but the RFEI is meant to help the authority figure that out. In the meantime, preparations for construction continue, in the hope that funding will be in place as it is needed.