Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

Updates from Portland, New York and Detroit

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Portland: Attracting or Converting

There was an interesting article in Boston.com that discusses Portland, the apparently self-annointed Bike City USA.

One question: “Is [Portland] just filling a niche and attracting bicyclists from elsewhere, instead of changing the habits of residents?

According to Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder, “We’re not draining the world of people who like to ride bikes. It’s facilities that make people switch over, not philosophy.’’

But perhaps the best quotes are from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in response to George Will.

Even if they could be replicated, however, the city’s policies have also made it a lightning rod for criticism from conservatives, who have derided the administration’s embrace of the city. Newsweek columnist George Will referred to Portland as “the P word’’ in a column in the spring and accused officials of pursuing “behavior modification’’ to coerce people out of cars.

In an interview with the Globe, LaHood said that such critics were “living in the past’’ and that continuing to build more highways was also coercive. “We’ve created a system that requires people to get in their cars if they want to get anywhere,’’ he said.

Cyclists and pedestrians have lived through over 80 years of coercion. It took a while, but the pendulum is swinging back a little.

Portland: How much for a used bike?

One side effect of more Portlanders taking up cycling is their used bike prices have increased.

Thankfully we haven’t heard of a similar price rise in Detroit. Such an increase could keep many Detroiters from jumping into the sport.

New York: Biking on the rise

WCBS TV has quoted  City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan saying biking is New York City’s “fastest growing mode of transportation.”

And article continues with:

The number of cyclists has jumped by 80 percent in the past decade — to 185,000 among the more than 8 million city denizens.

City officials say they’ve worked to make the city more biker friendly. They note the hundreds of miles of marked bike paths created in recent years, safety awareness campaigns and handouts of free helmets to unprotected cyclists.

Over that time, bicycle accidents have fallen more than 40 percent.

Unfortunately we do not know the number of cyclists on the road. The only information we have is from the Census Bureau. They keep track of the percent of people who bike to work. The percentage is low enough to not be very useful. In addition it does not include those cycling for transportation outside of work or for recreation. Children and seniors are also not included in the Census numbers.

Given the economy and proposed bus cuts in Detroit, the fastest growing mode of transportion in the city might be biking or walking.

Detroit is Lonely

Brian Kennedy is a former Detroiter now living in Chicago. And he’s a cyclist.

He recently visited Detroit and wrote this interesting ride report.

There are some updates to his story:

  • Comerica Park has or will soon install two bike racks near the stadium
  • Secondhand sources say that DDOT buses will have three-bike racks by Spring 2010. There had been some debate between the two- and three-bike racks, which are from different manufacturers.
  • Through my job with MTGA, I have been in contact with Brian and the Active Transportation Alliance about getting roll-on service for Amtrak trains running between Chicago, Ann Arbor, and Detroit. (“Roll-on” means you can roll your bike onto the train without having to disassemble or box it.) With the great cycling environment in all three cities, this seems like it could become very popular.

Brian also plans on returning for the Tour-de-Troit next month — and he plans on riding the Dequindre Cut and visiting the Honey Bee Super Mercado, too.

How many bike to work in Detroit?

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008
www.pedbikeimages.org / Dan Burden

www.pedbikeimages.org / Dan Burden

Ever wonder how many people are biking or walking to work in Metro Detroit?  How do we compare with the bike friendly cities of Chicago and Portland?

Fortunately the U.S. Census publishes statistics on how people get to work. The below numbers are from 2007, which is before gasoline hit $4 a gallon and encouraged increased bike commuting.  We look forward to seeing the 2008 numbers.

Note that the Metro Detroit error margins are generally +/- 0.1%. For cities, the error margins are much larger which makes comparing these numbers somewhat precarious.

One conclusion that can be drawn is women don’t bike to work as frequently as men, but especially in some areas such as Wayne County, Southfield, and Grand Rapids.  Even in more bike friendly cities like Ann Arbor, Chicago, and Portland, women workers are much less likely to bike to work.  There is no corresponding gender difference among those walking to work in many of these regions (the City of Detroit is an exception).  In Metro Detroit, women  walk to work more often than men (1.6% vs. 1.4%).

Another conclusion: Detroit has much room for improvement compared to places like Ann Arbor, Chicago, and Portland.

City/Region Total Workers
(age 16 & over)
Walk
to work
Bike to work
Overall Male Female
Michigan 4,400,918 2.3% 0.4% 0.5% 0.2%
Metro Detroit 1,925,690 1.5% 0.2% 0.3% 0.1%
Wayne County 758,034 1.9% 0.3% 0.5% 0.0%
Oakland County 577,367 1.6% 0.2% 0.3% 0.2%
Macomb County 383,058 0.9% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1%
Genesee County 170,312 1.0% 0.1% 0.2% 0.0%
Detroit 249,970 2.7% 0.3% 0.7% 0.0%
Southfield 33,936 2.2% 0.4% 0.7% 0.0%
Troy 42,211 0.5% 0.3% 0.2% 0.3%
Ann Arbor 55,336 13.8% 2.6% 3.4% 1.8%
Lansing 52,690 2.5% 0.4% 0.5% 0.3%
Grand Rapids 90,481 3.6% 1.1% 2.0% 0.1%
Traverse City region 66,557 2.8% 0.5% 0.7% 0.4%
Flint 31,579 0.8% 0.4% 0.6% 0.2%
Chicago, IL 1,230,933 5.4% 1.1% 1.4% 0.7%
Portland, OR 280,933 4.4% 3.9% 4.9% 2.8%

One question we have is how does the Census Bureau count workers that use bus bike racks?  Are they counted as public transit commuters, as bicyclists or both?

Ferndale’s Barwin still pushing bikes

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

Ferndale\'s crow\'s nest on Woodward AvenueFerndale’s bike network was largely initiated with strong support from former City Manager Tom Barwin. The network’s bike lanes were some of the first properly designed lanes in the motor city.

That given, it should be of little surprise that he’s receiving kudos on a Chicago bike blog. Tom is now the Village Manager for Oak Park, Illinois:

The Village of Oak Park, which has already earned recognition for such environmental accomplishments as building the state’s first green public works facility, has added bicycles to its fleet of more than100 vehicles powered by alternative fuels. Two bikes have been refurbished, equipped with panniers and locks, and have been made available for use by employees in the Department of Public Works. Owen Read, the Oak Park Pedestrian and Bicycle Ambassador, yesterday visited the Oak Park DPW for an hour-long information session touching on reasons to ride, bicycle safety, and rules of the road. A number of Public Works employees, from experienced cycle commuters to eager novices, showed up to ask questions and share their own experiences.

Proposed Chicago ordinance would protect cyclists

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

Chicago continues to lead the charge and set the biking standards for other cities to follow. This latest news comes from the Chicago Bicycle Federation:

Today Mayor Daley introduced the 2008 Bicycle Safety Ordinance to the Chicago City Council. The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, which provided input as the Chicago Department of Transportation’s Bicycle Program developed the ordinance, was happy to hear about the ordinance’s introduction. It could mean a big step in protecting bicyclists in Chicago.

This ordinance is in accordance with Chicago’s Bike 2015 Plan by increasing fines for traffic violations that endanger bicyclists, making Chicago’s rules consistent with Illinois laws and clarifying instances where motorists are required to yield the right-of-way to bicyclists.

Specific provisions of the ordinance define three feet as the minimum safe distance to pass a bicyclist, prohibit opening a vehicle door into moving traffic, increase the fines for parking in bike lanes or marked shared lanes, clarify that left-turning motorists yield to oncoming bicyclists and prohibit motorists from turning right in front of a bicyclist.

Violation of the proposed rules will result in a minimum fine of $150 and no less than $500 when the violation results in a bicycle crash. The proposed ordinance will make it easier for police to issue tickets, and for prosecutors to bring charges when motorists hit bicyclists.

The proposed ordinance was assigned to the Committee for Traffic and Safety Control.

Chicago eyes Paris self-service bike scheme – Yahoo! News

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

Chicago eyes Paris self-service bike scheme – Yahoo! News:

“The United States’ third largest city, Chicago, may soon adopt a rent-a-bike scheme similar to the one launched this summer in Paris, mayor Richard M. Daley said during a trip to the French capital Tuesday.

“The Democrat mayor, himself a cyclist, said he was ‘greatly impressed’ with the Paris network of self-service bicycles, which has clocked up more than 3.7 million rides since its launch in mid-July.

“Riders can pick up a bike at any time of day or night, after lodging a 150-euro safety deposit. The first half hour is free, with prices rising to one euro (1.4 dollars) for every extra half hour.”