Originally Posted by JordanL
Yeah, biking is an improvement of about 5 minutes over the bus, but is way more refreshing.
Unfortunately we have something like 220 rainy days a year...
See that's the problem. Everyone uses rain as an excuse, which really isn't the best one. The one I would accept is... that there isn't enough (or any at all) biking infrastructure.
If someone can throw me a few bike stats in Portland, that would be nice =P
Vancouver has the same climate as Portland, yet Vancouver has at least 5% of all trips made within the city made by bikers. This number significantly drops to 1-2% within the Metro Vancouver however. And the main reason for that is the lack of biking infrastructure.
There are many European cities that are just as rainy as Portland and Vancouver, yet they achieve a substantial number of bikers:
1) Netherlands - 27% of all trips made by bike
2) Denmark - 18% of all trips made by bike
3) Finland - 11% of all trips made by bike
(These statistics are based on a powerpoint presentation by John Pucher, a professor of urban design and development)
Mind you, these stastics are a few years old, so these numbers have increased significantly by today.
And why were they able to achieve such high numbers? It's because they made so many new biking developments. Back in 1970s, European cities were exactly like North American cities today. There were many lanes on a road just for cars. Because of the congestion, they decided to take a smarter approach. They began creating bike-only lanes and continued from there.
Now, I can tell you that bikers have priorities over cars. Many intersections have bike boxes, similar to the ones in Portland, just triple the size. Then there are bike signals, that give the green light to the bikers before cars. And the most impressive thing is that they have sensors that calculate the speed of the bikes giving bikers a "green wave" to bikes.
I believe Denmark has taken a bigger step: there is a smartcar equipped with sensors that detect potential pot holes
Now, of course I'm not saying we need all of that and we shouldn't expect bikes to be roaming our cities overnight. But why shouldn't we start today? Portland has already introduced bike boxes and has a few bike lanes running around the city.
First, we need more bike lanes of course. But then that's also not enough. Often, bike lanes on the road still deter many from biking: it's still not very safe. Alright then, how about raised bike lanes?
Here's one that is being constructed in Vancouver right now. We only have one, but in Europe: holy cow. Many.
We want to make biking easy for everyone, not just for extreme bikers. Raised bike lanes are a crucial step. Just think of it this way: bike lanes should be an extension of the sidewalk, not an expansion of a road.
The other way is making side streets great for bikers, which is actually Vancouver's approach. We don't usually see bike lanes on arterial streets, but instead, made bike priorities on side streets near arterials. Traffic calming measures such as traffic circles, "false dead ends", and narrower streets help.
Example of a "false dead end":
Edit: I couldn't find a good example of one. But basically the road "ends" at an intersection but bikes can continue through.
Example of a Narrower Street:
Notice only one vehicle can get through the street without entering other lanes? But bikers don't have this problem.
Well hmm, alright we got our bike lanes but where are we going to park them? Simple. Have bike lockers or bike racks. You can even take away one parking space and be able to fit 10 bikes.
Originally Posted by JordanL
I seem to be missing something that other people know though. How does getting rid of freeways/purposely making it less convenient to own a motorized vehicle make it any less trouble to use alternate transit options? I think the freeway's are ugly, noisy and intrusive, but I don't see the alternatives people are referring to.
I'm only naming a few solutions. But if you don't outline basic infrastruture for biking, how can you make it an attractive option? It's the same formula for public transportation, if you don't have the infrastructure for public transportation, there is no way you can would achieve high commuting numbers.
It's a little harder in the Unities States because people are just so used to their cars. This is why we need to try even more to get people out of their cars, and get them into buses, trains, and bikes.
Originally Posted by MarkDaMan
I think Portland should really be pushing TODs. Create community centers along the line so the billions invested in creating MAX create the density needed to fully utilize the system.
Yes, yes, and yes! Hong Kong's MTR is incredibly sucessful because of this. The MTRC really played in the real estate, and they would sell land or build apartments and offices right on top of the MTR station or areas around it.
TransLink (Vancouver) is finally doing such a thing. They realized they own a lot of land that can be sold for developers.
Please note: I'm still learning about all of this, and I haven't been in enough places so I can only use Vancouver as an example. But I know Vancouver too has a lot to learn. If you ever got a chance, go look at John Pucher's presentations: http://policy.rutgers.edu/faculty/pucher/
. I learned a lot when I attended his presentation and the Vancouver regional bike strategy plan.