Thursday, October 25, 2007

Chicagoland Bicycle Federation 50% Communicates

The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation unveiled their 20 year vision for bicycling in the area, highlighted by a vision that 50% of something would be done in some way.

Lots of confusion about 50%.

Brian, for example, wrote: "I support the vision they are selling and am strongly behind the goals they've set out to achieve: full access to public transit for bikes, 50% of trips by walking or biking, fewer crashes, etc. All very nice."

Except that I didn't think that was what they said. I heard two different things at various points in th meeting.

So, I checked the vision. In terms of what "50%" means, it's much more modest. "We envision a region where 50% of the population IS EASILY ABLE TO CHOOSE walking, bicycling, and utilizing mass transit." (emphasis added).

Some questions:

1. No baseline is provided. What's it now?

2. I personally would argue that about 99% of the population is currently ABLE to choose walking, bicycling, and utilizing mass transit. In fact, in the course of a year I would guess that over 50% of the population currently MAKES at least one trip by one of these methods.

3. So what does this 50% actually mean? CBF may have an explicit baseline and definition somewhere else. This might be a good thing to clarify in future communications.

The CBF vision.

Update: Rob Sadowsky, CBF executive director, replied: "We indeed mean that the actual mode share is 50% not just the choice. Sorry for the confusion."

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Paris Velib bike rental program takes off. Chicago next?

Notable is this: " installed around the city by J. C. Decaux, an outdoor
advertising company". Chicago is awash in bus shelters controlled by
Decaux. Mayor Daley is impressed with the program and has indicated interest
in exploring it here. Would this take newspaper writers attention off the
gigantic tax increases being proposed in Chicago and Cook County currently?
The desire to have front page stories on something else other than these
huge tax increases might be one of the main reasons this program gets off
the ground in Chicago.

Also notable is this view by the skeptics: "I asked an American friend
living in Paris about the bareheaded cyclists. "Just wait," he said, "until
the first reports of accidents come out. In the fall when it's cold and
slippery and business traffic really picks up, it's going to be a disaster.
It will be the Waterloo of the VĂ©libs." "

Yes, winter will be a good testing ground for this social experiment. I
wouldn't phrase it in terms of helmet use, but rather bike use. Will the
bikes get heavy use in the Parisian winter?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Odd Bikes

Jeff Napier has a web site devoted to odd bikes. It's worth a look.

He doesn't have the Hula Bike (from bicycle forest) up there yet, though.

That bike has no crank or chain. The rear wheel is eccentric, and the rider propels forward by bouncing up and down. They've got instructions up on the website.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Chicago Marathon Cancelled

Today's Chicago Marathon was cancelled halfway through due to the heat. One runner died.

This decision can be second-guessed, but in the heat of the moment (literally) the marathon organizers did do something reasonable in hopes of saving lives.

What isn't excusable is they were out of water!!! As I commented on Eric Zorn's blog:

"Not enough WATER? This is an embarrassment to the city. It's stupid to even think about the Olympics if we can't get enough water on a marathon route -- with hot temperatures forecast for days, and with the marathon having been run for years.

This is even worse than the stupidity at the finish line (where the winner slipped and fell on the slick finish mat). Is this event being run by competent people?"

Zorn replied:

"If the International Olympic Committee comprises thinking people they'll know that the organizers and sponsors of the marathon are NOT the people who are doing the Olympics; that an Olympic marathon race has, what?, 100 entrants maybe as opposed to 40,000."

Zorn's right as far as he goes. Still if Chicagoans -- after years of practice and variable midwestern weather -- can't stock rest stops with water, we have no business trying anything as complicated as hosting the Olympics.