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Posts from the "Boulder" Category

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Colorado Authorities Cite Driver for Cyclist Harassment

Despite the number of two-wheeled cop patrols around some cities, police aren’t always the most bike-minded bunch. When there’s a conflict between motorists and cyclists, they’re often inclined to take the motorist’s side. As Streetsblog has reported, police in New York City care more about drunk pedestrians than unsafe drivers, despite the fact that most fatalities are caused by motorists violating traffic laws. And then there’s the bizarre example of Los Altos, California, where police say cyclists are the ones causing crashes by speeding or even failing to yield automobile right-of-way. Huh?

Well, maybe you have to be within spitting distance of a platinum bike-friendly community to get police to care about cyclists’ safety. Last week, police in Longmont, Colorado, near Boulder, raised the bar for police work by actually pursuing charges against a driver who harassed cyclists.

Cyclist Dirk Friel took this harrowing video of the harassment he and a teammate faced last Sunday when they were out for a ride. Seventy-five-year-old James Ernst allegedly followed them for several minutes in his Ford SUV, honking constantly. He had plenty of room to pass, as they were riding to the right of the white line.

Also troubling is that a resident, quoted in Longmont Times-Call write-up of the incident, said the solution was to widen the road to four lanes. Granted, it was a Sunday, but the video hardly shows any other cars on the road. The only thing holding up traffic was Ernst’s massive SUV. Maybe we can hold off on the road expansion for now?

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Portland Back on Top in Bicycling Magazine’s City Rankings

Minneapolis versus Portland: This is shaping up to be quite a rivalry.

Portland rules in Bicycling Magazine's 2012 bike-friendly city rankings. Photo: Bike Portland

Today, Pacific coast sustainability standard bearer Portland topped Midwestern standout Minneapolis in Bicycling Magazine’s bike-friendly city rankings, bi-annual source of bragging rights or shame, depending on your locale.

The top-two results were a reversal of the 2010 rankings. Bicycling Magazine did not explain what boosted Portland but did mention the city’s stature as the only large city to receive the League of American Bicyclists’ “Platinum-Level” Bike Friendly City Award, as well as its tendency to be the earliest of early adopters when it comes to innovations like bike boxes (Portland had the nation’s first).

Meanwhile, Minneapolis recently snagged national bragging rights with its Bike Score — the new bikeability scoring system that the creators of Walk Score unveiled last week.

Overall, big cities enjoy a growing prominence in Bicycling’s top ten, reflecting a trend in bike-friendly political leadership in America’s major metropolises.

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NRDC Names 15 Smarter Cities

How long do you have to wait for a bus in your city? How much does it cost? Does every family on your block have two cars? And tell us about your bikeshare program…

Mayor Thomas Menino: “The car is no longer the king in Boston.” Photo courtesy of the City of Boston

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has been asking questions like these to determine their list of 15 Smarter Cities – places with shorter, cheaper, and more efficient commutes.

They split the list into big, medium and small cities. Have a look:

Eight percent of Chicago is green space and they're planning 500 miles of bike paths. Photo: Chicago Tourism Bureau

2011 Smarter Cities for Transportation

Large (population > 1 million)

Boston, MA/NH
Chicago, IL
New York, NY
Portland, OR
Philadelphia, PA/NJ
San Francisco, CA
Washington, DC/MD/VA/WV

Medium (pop. between 250,000 – 1 million)

Boulder-Longmont, CO
Honolulu, HI
Jersey City, NJ
New Haven, CT

Small (pop. < 250,000)

Bremerton, WA
Champaign-Urbana, IL
Lincoln, NE
Yolo, CA

Philly got bonus points for its transit initiative to connect people to fresh food. Boulder scored high for its brand-new Transportation Master Plan, which incorporated the public in the planning process and indicates “a serious commitment to responsible travel within the county.” And Yolo, California boasts a higher degree of transit access – 91 percent of households – than any other similarly sized metro region.

It’s innovations like these that are going to light the way to a future of cleaner air, financially stable households, and healthier cities.