We hope you’ve stretched your hamstrings—there have been a lot of developments in U.S. bike sharing programs lately, and we’re taking another whirl through them now. Although not without hang-ups, New York’s Citi Bike has at least not killed anyone yet. People love to joke about clueless tourists riding on the sidewalk, or on heavy-traffic avenues, or “salmoning” the wrong way down one-way streets — that’s true in Chicago as well as New York — but the fact that no bikeshare has so far produced little to no traffic carnage should come as no surprise, writes Charles Komanoff for Streetsblog. Crunching the numbers, Komanoff points out “for each day in 2012, all NYC cyclists racked up 16 times as many miles as have Citi Bikers on each day to date.” So while Citi Bike ridership has exceeded expectations, it’s still only a small bump in the city’s total bike ridership. The bikes themselves could be a contributing factor, too — they aren’t racing bikes, and crowds of bikers further leaden their slow pace. The naturally lower car speeds in popular Citi Bike areas of Manhattan and Brooklyn may also play a role. Meanwhile in Los Angeles, a proposed bikeshare system was stymied by existing restrictions on street furniture advertising. Smaller systems may move forward in some of L.A.’s municipal fiefdoms — Long Beach and Fullerton are apparently moving ahead, while West Hollywood and Santa Monica are conducting reviews. For now, though, what was once proposed as the nation's second biggest bike sharing program seems to have hit the brakes. Instead Chicago’s Divvy bike share is poised to become the largest such program in North America after announcing the addition of another 75 stations. Divvy already has 300 stations, with plans to add 100 more in 2014 (the additional 75 brings it to a total of 475). Federal funding enabled the $3 million expansion. CDOT also announced that it has applied for $3 million in state money to fund another 75 stations, which would bring the grand total to 550 stations. “As Divvy expands into more neighborhoods, and we build a 650-mile bikeway network throughout our communities, Chicago is quickly becoming the best biking city in North America,” said Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein in a press release. It will be one of Klein’s last as Chicago’s transportation commissioner — he announced his resignation effective at the end of the month. Klein oversaw Divvy’s development and implementation, and was known for riding his bike to work. Sustainable transportation advocates told Streetsblog Klein’s successor will have big shoes to fill.
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Now that Citi Bikes are taking over the streets of New York City, the NYC Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) is getting ready to pave the way for a new bike path. The Daily News reported that the NYCDOT plans on creating a new dedicated bike lane on the Pulaski Bridge, the connection between Greenpoint and Long Island City, by 2014. Currently pedestrians and cyclists share a crowded path, but soon a single traffic lane will be turned into a bike path. An engineering study of the bridge will include this addition and be unveiled to the Community Boards in Queens and Brooklyn in the next few months. (Photo: Courtesy Newyorkshitty)
The condo couple could pull up stakes and move, but they might want to avoid Milwaukee. Bikers, if you really want to ruffle some stuck-up feathers, head to Wisconsin for brew city’s first naked bike ride. Milwaukee joins chafing masses from the likes of Chicago, Boston, New York, and Houston on July 12 next year, so get your birthday suit ready.
That old saw about how you can't take public space with you is bound for the trash heap. Landscape architect John Bela, co-founder of San Francisco–based Rebar, and artist Tim Wolfer of N55 have developed Parkcycle Swarm, a green space initiative that puts people and green space together—on wheels. The basic Parkcycle module is a mobile green space made of an aluminum frame, plywood, standard bicycle parts, and astroturf. Each one measures 2.6 feet tall, 4 feet wide, and 7.4 feet long. Parkcycles offer instant open space to neighborhoods. All users have to do is park the Parkcycle and sprawl out on the turf to enjoy a bottle of beaujolais or play some hackie sack. Four of the small mobile parks are currently making the rounds at the Participate public arts festival in Baku, Azerbaijan. Rebar initially experimented with the Parkcycle concept for one of its famous Park(ing) Days in San Francisco. The company's website explains the concept as a “human-powered open space distribution system designed for agile movement within the existing auto-centric urban infrastructure.” Copenhagen-based public art group N55 sees Parkcycle as an alternative to top down urban development with each Parkcycle forming an individual component within a larger system. As more and more people construct their own Parkcycles, they can come together to form swarms, taking over their local urban environments. Each bicycle-park can be modified and designed to follow local bicycle standards. Additionally, N55 proposes that the Parkcycles could be equipped with small pavilions, trees, solar panels, and even portable grills and mobile kitchens. The original Parkcycle was built in collaboration with California-based kinetic sculptor Reuben Margolin and debuted in 2007. Photos courtesy Tim Wolfer / N55 and Yarat.
Portland, Oregon to Portland Place, London: Job Done! Architects Complete Cycling Tour Across America
[ 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 had a fantastic welcome in London on Saturday, a fitting and rewarding end to our great adventure. There were over a hundred riders who set off with us from Savill Gardens in Windsor Great Park. The weather was fair and The Crown Estate kindly provided coffees and bacon butties for everyone, served from the elegant gridshell of the Savill Building designed by Glenn Howells. I had selected this as our starting point for the ride into London because, not only did it provide a good meeting point at a reasonable distance from Portland Place, but back in 2005 I organised the design competition for the building—and was pleased to see it maturing so beautifully, the green oak sourced from the Royal Park now sporting a rich grey patina with the warping slats adding to its rustic air. Riding with such a big group into London is a major logistical and herding exercise—the riders were of a wide variety of skills and the peloton spread out at times to several hundred metres. Luckily we were able to call on the skills of Nick Hanmer, the Chief Executive of Cycle to Cannes (C2C). He and his four motor cycle outriders skillfully brought the riders into The Mall in one bunch, a phenomenal achievement. I was especially pleased because I started C2C nearly ten years ago and Nick has brought great professionalism to its organisation and safety as well as expanding the number of rides the team organises and supports. Riding up The Mall—lined with clapping tourists and union flags—was very special; we rounded Trafalgar Square and pedalled into Waterloo Place where we met up with more riders including Lord Richard Rogers (on a Brompton), Sir Terry Farrell, RIBA President Angela Brady, Rab Bennetts, Robin Nicholson, and Sunand Prasad. Then on up Regent Street to our final destination: Portland Place and the RIBA building! There was an unexpectedly large group of friends and relatives outside the RIBA. Angela Brady opened a couple of bottles of champagne and welcomed us to the Institute. But we weren’t able to hold our final arrival in the RIBA building because it had been hired out for a wedding and a bunch of sweaty cyclists would not have been welcome guests. So we moved on to the New London Architecture Centre (NLA) on Store Street where we were able to party in the newly pedestrianised crescent space. Now we could relax, chat to the riders who joined us for the day as well as discuss our achievements together. We had met up with Angela in Ireland—she joined us when we arrived in Shannon from New York—and proved a wonderful host to the Emerald Isle. Then ex-RIBA President and now Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson, met us at the Severn Bridge and rode with us under the Clifton Suspension Bridge and into the city where AHMM put on a party for us in the Architecture Centre. It was a great end to a great adventure. I was particularly pleased that my four children were able to ride in with me—Sophie, William and Alice on bikes, and Rupert, who is making a documentary of the ride,on the back of a motor bike with camera. Everybody asks—how do I feel now that it's over? I feel relief and satisfaction that we got everyone home in one piece and we had no serious accidents; I feel enriched by the places I have seen and the people I’ve met; I feel strong and fit and pleased at my physical performance; and I look forward to using the huge amount of information we have amassed about cycling in cities to promote better cycling conditions generally. Finally I am very grateful for all those that have supported the ride—our main sponsors and the many, many contributors. Once we have done the sums I will let you know the total amount we have raised. What next? I’m cycling in the RideLondon event on August 4—a 100 miles sportif from the Olympic Park to the Surrey Hills and back—so I will be keeping in shape for that—and I will get myself a shave! I need to get back into the swing of things at the NLA where the fantastic staff have been covering for me over the last two and a half months. I am very grateful to them too. We’re holding the NLA London Cycling Summit on July 31, for more details and registration go to www.newlondonarchitecture.org/events
[ 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.
Get on your bikes and ride — Chicago’s long-delayed Divvy bike share program launched Friday, kicking on 65 solar-powered docking stations and unleashing 700 “Chicago” (read: powder) blue bikes. But some West and South Side residents may have to wait for the program's full benefits, if they get them at all. Optimized for short trips in high-density areas, the Divvy system requires a credit or debit card and few of the initial stations serve the far West and South sides. The Department of Transportation plans to rollout a total of 400 stations and about 4,000 three-speed bicycles in all. Chicago’s Department of Transportation unveiled its bike share plans in April, tapping Portland, OR–based Alta Bicycle Share, which also runs DC’s bike-share program. The rollout follows a similar program, Citibike, which launched in New York in late May. If you’re riding Divvy today, watch out for stragglers from the Blackhawks Stanley Cup parade.
It’s summer time! And you know what that means, bikes! Many (very) enthusiastic cyclists followed up National Bike Month by (very) carefully covering their bike seats and stripping down for the World Naked Bike Ride! (NSFW) Yes, on June 8 cyclists all around the country rode completely or partially naked through the streets of their respective metropolises. In San Francisco they braved a recent ban on public nudity. In Los Angeles they cruised through the hipster zones of Silver Lake and Echo Park, and in Portland they even had a naked marching band to cheer them on. If that’s not an argument for bike friendly streets, we don’t know what is.
[ 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.
Chicago’s bike-for-rent made its test premiere during the annual “Bike the Drive” event on the Windy City’s Lake Shore thoroughfare Sunday, and Wednesday opened the new service for membership sign-ups. Chicago’s Department of Transportation unveiled its bike share plans in April, tapping Portland, OR–based Alta Bicycle Share, which also runs New York and DC’s bike-share programs, to roll out 400 stations and about 4,000 three-speed “Chicago Blue” bicycles across the city. “Divvy,” as the Chicago program is called, recently released a map of planned stations, 75 of which the city said will be online by the end of June. But Chicago's four-wheeled share service also saw big news this week, when car rental giant Enterprise bought local nonprofit I-GO, a car-share program launched 10 years ago by the Center for Neighborhood Technology. Meanwhile Memorial Day marked the official debut of New York City’s bike-share, with more than 6,000 trips logged in a matter of hours.
Are you a @citibikenyc Annual Member? Check out the video on how it works: vimeo.com/67075897 #bikenyc — NYC DOT (@NYC_DOT) May 28, 2013This video from StreetFilms captured the media frenzy, as well as testimonials from the likes of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (who mounted but did not ride a bike) and musician David Byrne:
It's finally here! Well, in a few more excruciating days, New Yorkers will be able to hop on a bright blue City Bike and cruise through the city (or at least those 12,000 or so founding members, the rest of us will have to wait one more week). While some locals haven't taken to the alien bike docking stations popping up on city streets quite yet, it appears that the vast majority of the city is ready to roll. With the docking stations in place, crews are now distributing bikes. According to a tweet from the NYC DOT this afternoon, some 850 bikes have already been docked around the city, and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and a few of the bike share team took the opportunity to pose on some of the bikes today. The official opening day is May 27.
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.