Some shots of local Amsterdam street life from a selection I captured over a 15 minute period in one location!
When it comes to liveable cities, Amsterdam has it down to a fine art. What’s more, the city and it citizens, have made a conscious effort to make space for everyone - pedestrians, cyclists, cars, trams and buses.
The comprehensive network of fixed infrastructure for cycling (both in terms of provision of cycle lanes/paths on busy roads and on-street cycle parking) and public transport, coupled with reasonable speed limits on roads, are a visible commitment to creating a credible, comfortable and convenient alternative to car use.
It can be like this in every city. Declaring war on the motorist, cyclist or public transport user is unhelpful and unnecessary. Amsterdam’s approach demonstrates that a city with narrow streets and constrained by historical patterns of development (not dissimilar to London), can successfully accommodate many modes of transport. What is more important is the result that arises from the modal shift made possible by such commitment - a city that is humane, happy, economically robust, socially inclusive, accessible, equal, balanced, quieter, cleaner, safer, healthier…
I was interested to read the comments made by jahnnasbrain on this post, who has firsthand experience of cycling in Omaha as a former resident of the city! However, despite the signs arising out of laziness, they are visible form of cycling endorsement by the city and offer a clear reminder to drivers that they should expect cyclists to take the lane when required.
MAY USE FULL LANE: These signs are laced all along designated bike routes in Omaha, Nebraska (among other cities). A simple, effective reminder to motorists that cyclists have the right to safety via full visibility.
Great idea! Springwise report that the city hall in Murcia, Spain has offered to give citizens of the city lifetime passes to its new tram system if they ditch their cars!
I love this campaign as it raises the profile of public transport developments in the city and openly and visibly challenges car dominance! Go Murcia!
Murcia’s initiative is part of a three-pronged campaign to reduce driving in the city. The first part of that effort was a program whereby citizens could register by the end of June to get a lifelong ticket for city travel on the tram in exchange for their car, which simply had to be debt-free and in working order. Since that part of the campaign ended, the next phase has involved the city displaying all the cars that were exchanged and gradually disassembling them so as to make them “disappear.” Specifically, for every comment submitted via Facebook or Twitter, Murcia’s mechanics have been removing one piece of the cars in the city’s new collection, even broadcasting the effort via webcam for all to see. The third and final piece of Murcia’s effort, meanwhile, was a humorous initiative in late June to demonstrate the difficulty of parking in the city. To do that, Murcia set up a series of cars parked in impossible places around town, such as atop other cars… It’s one thing for a city to advertise public transport and try to encourage its use, but Murcia’s effort is remarkable for the way it puts the city’s money where its proverbial mouth is and gives citizens a concrete alternative to driving. The drama and humor in its broadcast disassembly effort and parking displays, meanwhile, are icing on the cake. Other cities around the globe: be inspired!
A great short read for a Monday afternoon lunchbreak! Its got great facts and stats on safety, numbers cycling etc!
People are safer and feel safer in traffic
There has been a marked increase in the perceived safety from 51 % in 2008 to 67 % in 2010, thereby reversing an otherwise clear downward trend in cyclists’ sense of safety since 1996. Today only 5 % of city cyclists respond that they feel very unsafe. At the same time the level of cyclist safety is historically high: 92 seriously injured cyclists in 2010 as against 252 in 1996. This positive trend is due to an organized effort to improve safety and security in traffic. Advanced stop lines and more and wider cycle tracks have made cycling in traffic safer and more secure. However, a continued, intensified effort is necessary if we are to achieve our goal that 80 % of city cyclists shall feel safe in traffic by 2015.
Almost everybody cycles
84 % of Copenhagen residents have access to a bicycle and 68 % cycle at least once a week. Even among those who cite the car or public transport as their primary transport mode, 15 % cycle at least once a week.
As many as 50 % of Copenhagen residents who work or study in Copenhagen cycle to their workplace or educational institution.
All of this recent press coverage for cycling in London is amazing! London is an amazing city to cycle through! Its got a diverse built environment and everything is so close together! If we could improve infrastructure and make cycling an attractive option for everyone, we could achieve a substantial modal shift and make London a more liveable, more environmentally friendly city! Yay!
In the mêlée of London traffic it’s easy to miss the big trends. But at a set of lights last week I realised that not only was I one of eight cyclists bunched at the front of the traffic on Battersea’s Queenstown Road, but five of them were women…
There are more of us, even in poor weather; more riders in ordinary work clothes and fewer in Lycra - and my anecdotal evidence is backed up by hard figures. According to Transport for London, in 2010/2011 the number of trips in London made by bicycle shot up by 15 per cent. That figure is up 150 per cent since 2000….
Even more striking, TfL’s counts of vehicles crossing key Thames bridges show that in some places bikes now outnumber cars during rush hour…
Last year, cyclists made up 35.5 per cent of northbound traffic over Blackfriars Bridge, but cars and taxis just 31.9 per cent….
Across all eight bridges in Zone 1, from Vauxhall to the Tower, bicycles made up 27.7 per cent of the almost 35,000 vehicles crossing northbound between 7am and 10am compared with 28.2 per cent for private cars. Yet back in 2006, with similar overall levels of traffic, bikes were just 19 per cent of the total, outnumbered two to one by cars….
This is completely amazing! It is heartening to see this volume of cyclists! Government officials, planners, transport planners take note! It didn’t cause more accidents or extreme congestion or stacking! Just happy cyclists in a modern urban environment! Risk assessors also take note - how many people are wearing helmets?
The Atlantic reports on a great idea for promoting public transport from a guy called Balaji Prabhakar, professor at Stanford University!
His big idea is to create “frequent commuter programs” in which people who travel on public transit would be rewarded for patronizing the system varying amounts depending on when and how far they travel. Prabhakar thinks the system could help create greater public transit usage and simultaneously decrease congestion. And he’s deploying behavioral economics to transform the small monetary rewards a city could offer into something more.
Having just returned from Copenhagen, I know this to be true! It was heartening to see how far the city goes to give its cyclists priority!
- All kerbs had little ramps to ease the transition from road to cycle path
- Where there were road works or building construction works, new temporary cycle paths were either incorporated into the works (as they are in front of Copenhagen City Hall, where the new metroline infrastructure is going in) or rerouted around the works! At no stage did a route disappear and leave you stranded!
- Cars park outside cycle routes offering protection to the cyclist, not on them as they do here!
Amongst other things, the report recommended the reintroduction of the Road User Hierarchy, which was abolished about three years ago by the current (conservative majority) administration. The conservatives commented that;
Roads should be thoroughfares which enable all users, whether they are cyclists, motorists, pedestrians, bus passengers, van drivers, taxi passengers or motorcyclists to get from A to B as swiftly and as safely as possible. Neither the Mayor nor the Government should impose an artificial road user hierarchy as this inevitably has the effect of deliberately slowing down some users. Further to this, the Mayor should encourage cycling by emphasising that it is cheap, healthy and quick, not by worsening conditions for other road users.
I have no problems with the first sentence, but i believe the negative slant on the second sentence is flawed and uniformed.
To make it simple for our friends at TfL and City Hall - I shall compare road users to eggs.
Side by side a hard boiled egg (car) and an uncooked egg (bicycle) look identical (they are both modes of transport). But drop both and see the difference! The hard boiled will stay relatively solid…perhaps its shell might crack. Drop the uncooked egg and the damage will be far more severe…even if you were to wrap the uncooked egg in tissue paper (a helmet) and then drop it, the uncooked egg is far more vulnerable…
Another brilliant infographic illustrating the amount of street space required by bicycles, cars and buses to transport the same number of people. (Photo credit: Press office, City of Münster, Germany)
Another of Cyclehoop’s products (see previous post) and my favourite! It converts a normal car space into a bicycle parking bay for 10 bicycles. Its car shape acts as a barrier, protecting the parked bicycles from cars! In my opinion it also makes a clear statement about the efficiency of cycling in cities and makes a bold and fun reclaim of space for other modes of transport! Fingers crossed for a wide roll out!
When a negative event leads to a positive outcome!
A disenchanted architect called Anthony Lau invented Cyclehoop after his bike was nicked in London! I think they are amazing! A quick, easy and cheap way to retrofit London with bicycle spaces! Many London and other county boroughs are now installing them (I spotted one around the corner from me)!
Cool! Come on UK…we could so do this! A tax break/ income supplement for cycling!
Reuters reports -
Getting paid for going to work may sound too good to be true, but it’s part of an increasingly popular scheme for commuters across Europe.
Employers in Belgium, the Netherlands and other European countries are rewarding staff if they come to work on a bicycle, paying them for every kilometer they cycle, all in an effort to promote environmentalism, not to mention a healthier lifestyle.