Search results for " bike lanes"

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AN Video> Esplanade Walk-Through with Amanda Burden
On Thursday, the East River Waterfront Esplanade officially opened to the public. Last week, while the paint on the new bike lanes was still drying, City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden took AN on a walk through of the first section.  The commissioner barely contained her excitement while showing off design details by landscape architect Ken Smith and SHoP Architects. Follow the commissioner as she takes us through the dog run and points out clever details like the "Get-Downs,"  the riverside bar stools,  and "seat walls."
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Quick Clicks> Bike, Walk, Play, but Watch for the River
Bikes First. To protect its cycling tradition and its bikers’ safety, Copenhagen continues to enhance its metropolitan bicycle system.  StreetsBlog reports that 37 percent of the city's urban population bikes to and from work and school on the city’s extensive network of bicycle-only lanes, park paths, and renovated railway tracks. The public transportation system also supports bicycle-travel, while the city has slowly reduced the number of car lanes on streets and auto-routes. Pedestrians, Too. Chicago moves forward this week on its highly anticipated Pedestrian Plan – an attempt to remedy high levels of hit-and-run fatalities and create a safer walking environment. After the tragic death of Martha Gonzalez at the South Halsted Street intersection, the municipal government realized that further safety measures must be taken.  According to the Tribune, the city will host eight public meetings throughout the summer to gather constituent input, the foundation of the Chicago Department of Transportation’s action plan. Construction Sand-Box. While excavating the foundation of his new home in Colorado, Ed Mumm was inspired to develop the Dig This project–a construction equipment playground for adolescents and adults. PSFK reveals that Munn’s second Dig This location recently launched in Las Vegas, where guests can operate a Caterpillar bulldozer or excavator after attending a 30-minute safety briefing. River Craft. BldgBlog brings news that the Dutch art group Observatorium finished Waiting for the River, a 125-foot-long habitable bridge, in 2010. The project is installed on the Emscher River wetlands, a sewer canal contained by dikes that will flood completely within 10 years. Observatorium invites people to wait for the river in the reclaimed-timber cabins; furnished with beds and plumbing.
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New Chicago DOT Commissioner Could Rival Sadik-Khan
Progressive transportation commissioners have become heroes in planning circles. There's a lot of excitement surrounding Chicago Mayor Emanuel's appointment of Gabe Klein as DOT commissioner. Poached from Washington D.C., where Emanuel saw his work first-hand, Klein has extensive experience instituting new transportation ideas, including the nation's largest bike sharing program and a new streetcar system.  The Chicago Tribune has a good roundup of Klein's thoughts so far, which include focusing on improving the CTA rather than building a new High Speed Rail Line to O'Hare, increasing traffic calming measures and pedestrian upgrades, expanding bike lanes and bus rapid transit. Overall he wants to dramatically increase biking, walking, and transit use and diminish the presence of cars, especially in the central city. Before transitioning into government, Klein worked in the transportation field as an executive at a bicycle company and at Zipcar. More broadly, the appointment signals an openness on the part of the Emanuel Administration to bringing in new people and new ideas into Chicago's government agencies, a welcome shift from the patronage system of the Daley regime. Janette Sadik-Khan in New York and Jan Gehl of Denmark may have a new rival for the title of progressive transportation star.
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TEN Arquitectos' Hot Plan For Tabasco, Mexico
If opponents of New York's bike lanes think bikers get the upper hand, then they'd be stunned to see what TEN Arquitectos has planned for the main drag of Villahermosa, the capital of Tabasco, Mexico. Of course, accommodating bikes is only a small part of what is intended to overhaul the city's spine including an eye catching pedestrian bridge anchoring the project. The perforated, metal-clad boomerang of a bridge links two lakeside parks, the Tomas Garrido Park and Lake of Illusions. At street level the illusion takes hold as the bridge morphs into the shape of a giant alligator.  A large amphitheater sits at its base with the park serving as backdrop. The project is set for dedication next week.
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Quick Clicks> AOL's New Offices, Philly Makeover, NYC vs. LA, & Brownwashing Republicans
AOL's New Offices Are Snazzy: Fast Company has a slideshow of interior shots of AOL's new offices in Palo Alto. The space was designed to be bright and collaborative. "This being a tech company, naturally, it’s got a game room, too," writes Suzanne LaBarre. The interiors are the work of Studio O+A, which has designed offices for other Internet companies like Yelp, Facebook and PayPal. Philly Set For a Makeover: Sometimes it seems like Philly is the East Coast city people love to hate on for its small size, poor public transit and high crime rates. That may change soon with a new comprehensive plan for the city that could include: "more open space, bike lanes and preservation efforts, as well as specific goals including an extension of the Broad Street subway to the Navy Yard, an east Market Street that can really be Philly's 'Main Street', a waterfront lined with parks." NYC's Lesson for LA: New York Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan blogs on how Los Angeles can learn from New York City's Plaza program. It's the quintessential showdown of cities: New York, a dense metropolis where most native-born teens don't even have their driver's licenses, and LA, a sprawling auto-centric city. There's even a book called "New York and Los Angeles" that says so. Sadik-Khan's piece is part of Streetsblog's new series on how the best transportation practices in other cities can be adapted for LA. Brownwashing Republicans: Grist has a list of 10 Republican politicians who are backtracking on pro-environment statements they've made in the past. The #1 offender is presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who called for climate action in a 2008 ad for Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection. Earlier this year, he said, ""I would not adopt massively expensive plans over a theory."
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Quick Clicks> Lahood Rides, High Line Booms, Detroit Blooms, Weiner Wilts

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.”
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QUICK CLICKS> Flyways, Pitstops, Bikes and the City
Heavenly highways. No, this isn't a preview of the Rapture (whose marketing graphics leave much to be desired)--it's a series of time lapse photographs of the quotidian take-offs and landings of airplanes, courtesy of Lost At E Minor. Out of Gas. Sunday Zipcar drivers take note: when the current lease runs out, the Gaseteria-turned-BP at the corner of Lafayette and Houston Streets in Manhattan will become the site of a new "super-secret five- to seven-story commercial loft development with luxury retail" reports The Observer. Pro "Roberta Moses." In her article "Anatomy of a Take Down," Karrie Jacobs of Metropolis deftly deconstructs the critical pile-on around DOT Commissioner Janet Sadik-Khan and her transformation of New York City's streets. If Jacobs were mayor, she says, she'd throw Sadik-Khan a ticker-tape parade. Two-wheeled Commute. Happy National Bike to Work Day! Dissuaded by inclement weather in the northeast? For inspiration, check out Street Films' video--after the jump--of Lucette Gilbert, in her "very late 70s," who has been getting around New York by bike since the transit strike of 1980.
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Quick Clicks> Archi-Photos, Julius Shulman, Birds, and Solar Trash
Don't Shoot! The New Republic's Sarah Goldhagen takes on architectural photography. Her piece doesn't exactly add much new material to a debate that's as old as photography itself. Much of the piece reads like sage advice from the art history professor who tells students to get their butts down to The Met because the slides don't come close to the real thing. Still, she's no-holds-barred on much maligned medium: "They lie" and  "photographs and the photographers who take them unwittingly and willfully misrepresent", etc. Shoot! Once you get through Goldhagen's piece, then segue on to Architect for advice from PR maven Elizabeth Kubany on how to hire an architectural photographer. Mixed in with standard practice procedures (have a preproduction meeting) Kubany dips into current trends, which she refers to as "point of view" photography, i.e.-"chilly modernist perfection" is out "less tidy perspective" is in. Even Goldhagen will love it. Shulman! Enough talking about architectural photography, it's time to take a look at some classics. AN's own Sam Lubell just published a book with Douglas Woods, Julius Shulman Los Angeles: Birth of a Modern Metropolis. (If you're in New York this evening, stop by the Rizzoli Bookstore -- 31 W 57th St. -- at 5:30 for a book signing with Sam!) Architizer has a preview. Killer buildings. LEED certification may have to go the way of the birds. At least that's the way some conservation groups see it. With millions of migrating birds crashing into tall buildings, The Chicago Tribune reports that an extra layer of netting may help LEED buildings stay sensitive to their environmental mission. Solar Heap. The ever morphing PlaNYC has realized yet another initiative. Mayor Bloomberg announced the latest version today (the law requires the plan be updated every four years) and old city landfills get slated for new use. Not another park, not new bike lanes---we're talking solar panel fields. DNA's got the details.
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Path to Success
The 'low-line' is the centerpiece of the new Lake View sustainable masterplan.
Courtesy Moss Design

 

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.

   
Left to right: The plan calls for sustainable agriculture on Vacant lots.; Additional Street furniture; Living walls on Blank Facades.
[+ Click to enlarge.]
 

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.”

   
Clockwise from top: A vacant lot repurposed for local food; More pedestrian friendly intersections; new bike lanes and plantings; a new garden passageway under the l tracks.
[+ Click to enlarge.]
 

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.

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Quick Clicks> Libeskind Collapse, Rahm′s DOT Pick, Gaudi Attacked, and Bamboo in Wyoming
Watch for Falling Libeskinds. The breaking news of the day from Building Design: Daniel Libeskind's $555 million Westside retail center in Bern, Switzerland has collapsed for a second time in three years. An elevated swimming pool fell into the building injuring two people. An investigation is pending. In 2008, shortly after the building was completed, the roof of a fast food restaurant inside the center collapsed, injuring two children. Transporting Chicago. Transportation Nation reports today that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has tapped Gabe Klein to head up the city's DOT. Widely viewed as a pro-bike kind of guy in his former role as head of Washington D.C.'s DOT, Klein helped launch a bike-share program, expand bike lanes, and install electric car charging stations across the city. Could more alternative transportation be in store for the Windy City? Gaudi Burns. An arsonist set fire to Antoni Gaudí's Segrada Familia in Barcelona said the Guardian. The cathedral's sacristy was destroyed and the crypt heavily damaged during the attack. Some 1,500 tourists were evacuated and four treated for smoke inhalation. Wisconsin Bamboo. Sarah F. Cox talks with NYC-based architecture firm Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis for Curbed about a recently completed student center at the University of Wyoming which includes a stunningly intricate bamboo-lattice screen.
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7 Cities Consider Removing Major Urban Highways
In a shift from America’s traditional 20th century landscape, more and more cities are now considering removing major highways in favor of housing, parks and economic development. The chief motivation seems to be money, according to a recent NPR report highlighting the growing movement and the removal of Cleveland’s West Shoreway. As highways age, keeping them around doesn’t justify the high cost of maintenance. But tearing these highways down also means new opportunities for developing valuable real estate and rehabilitating blighted land. The federal government awarded $16 million to replace a New Haven highway with pedestrian boulevards last fall, and other TIGER II funds to explore highway removal in the Bronx and New Orleans have also been issued. New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. remarked, "We think this is a big f---ing deal." Decades after urban renewal programs first put up highways, most city planners now realize that highways drain vitality from healthy neighborhoods and lower property values. San Francisco’s Embarcadero Freeway and Central Freeway are two poster children for how highway removal can rejuvenate neighborhoods. The collapse of the Miller Highway in New York also made way for what’s now West Street and Hudson River Park.
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Aaron Paley Reinvents LA Streets
Robert Pacheco

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.


A video of CicLAvia from 2010.
Courtesy StreetFilms
 
 

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.

CicLAvia route map 2011

Map of CicLAvia's 2011 route.
Courtesy CicLAvia [Click to enlarge.]
 

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.