vendredi 22 juillet 2011

Mia Birk blog

Mia birks presentation was encouraging and simple for people to understand and follow. She gives two arguments for biking and explains them in an understandable way. It was interesting that she uses a semi-biographical story to captivate the audience, then tells them the facts about obesity and Portland's progression to becoming the bike-friendly city it is today. Her first point was health impacts and a $160 billion bill in healthcare costs due to nationwide obesity. She went on to explain her second point how all 300 miles of bikeways in Portland Oregon was $60 million which is the same cost of building a new freeway lane. These two major cost factors lead her to talk about how we could use those healthcare savings and use it to promote and plan for pedestrians and bicycling. Her presentation had valid statements but the method of presenting it such as a semi-biographical story doesn't make it sound as if Portland's progression is reproducible elsewhere.

Portland has been doing a neighborhood greenways program that constructs side parks, curb extensions, in order to but in a bike boulevard. Currently there are 19 different projects. There is also the 4.5 mile north-south 50's bikeway project. This will help create an interconnecting netowork of 341 miles where 90% of portlanders are within a ½ mile of a bikeway. Portland will get closer to the Netherlands as they put in more bike signals and by painting the bike paths to alienate the travel lane and the bike lane. This is used extensively in the Netherlands.

Example of difference in asphalt color and bike signals in Delft, NL. Note the microwave detector above the signal head in the middle for the right-turn bike lane.

Throughout the places I have traveled, transportation methods have varied considerably. BRT lines in Sao Paulo and France. Tram lines in Zurich, Lyon, Paris, Amsterdam, San Francisco and many more cities. High speed rail ines throughout Europe. For example on my 16th birthday I planned out a train ride around France in 1 day solely because they have a network of high speed rail lines across the country. In rural Westland area of the Netherlands they provide a partially sheltered bike parking at the stops at most bus stops.
Sheltered bike parking at the intersection of N223 and Zijtwende in the Netherlands

Cities like Moscow have subways that arrive every 90 seconds everyday of the year. In France, tram lines are entering operations almost twice a year. My first airplane ride was to Zurich, Switzerland when was 6 months old. I have been in transportation a large part of my life. Every city or village is different and poses its unique challenges. I intend to combine good urban planning with a good, efficient integrated transportation system in order to promote alternative modes of transportation. 

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