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    Most people do most of their driving during their commutes, so if they’re transit commuters that just run errands by auto, they already drive far less than the average American. And once you’re in a suburb designed for easy parking, keeping an additional cheap car around is pretty low cost in money & effort.

    Even in ‘walkable’ suburbs, adults don’t do all that much walking without trying to. But they don’t drive huge distances, and their kids can walk to school & friends’ houses & stuff. And walkable suburbs are generally pretty bikeable, too, even if biking isn’t common there yet. That’s something I can see becoming a lot more significant as the millenial generation ages into needing family-sized spaces, which are usually more affordable in the suburbs. Even since I left 8 years ago, a lot more people have started biking in my parents’ streetcar suburb, and they apparently just laid down green lanes and bike boxes on a local main drag:

    Most of ‘urban’ Portland has a pretty similar layout to other 1900-1940 era streetcar suburbs, and was pretty easily retrofit to a nontrivial bike/transit modeshare. It’s not full-bore traditional walkable urbanism, but it’s a lot less car dependent than the postwar norm, and can densify to have urbanized nodes if the zoning permits.


    Andy B from Jersey

    You’re totally missing my point. I’m not saying that LAB has to ONLY represent the needs of the 2%, just the contrary! They NEED to represent the needs of the 2% AND all the other potential and/or transportation cyclists out there! In my opinion the are failing miserably at representing the needs of the enthusiast who are their membership base. And without a membership base, you don’t have an organization!

    They claim to represent 57 million Americans who ride bicycles but they only have 25,000 paying members (a pathetically low number). They also claim to have 300,000 affiliated cyclists.* These are people who are members of various LAB sanctioned cycling clubs from all across the nation, almost all of whom would be considered enthusiasts. What have they done for the 300,000 lately? Not much in my opion but leach off their membership dues as they go off on their still well meaning and admirable “political correctness” campaign!

    Again, I do not disapprove of the LAB’s campaign of making cycling more accessible to all Americans. They just need to remember who their membership base is again.

    * – Source: American Bicyclists Sep. – Oct. 2014



    Which makes you wonder, what does everyone else know that this driver doesn’t? Massive earthquake in 3…2…



    Andy B – the problem with your approach is the the number of ‘super commuters’ or people who have high end bicycles represents a very small fraction of the population. Yes, they are passionate about bicycling, but it means *nothing* if you are trying to influence the political process to make significant safety changes on streets or promote bicycle access. If only 2% of the constituents of a councilor, supervisor, or legislator are in that demographic then they aren’t going to do anything to help, even if the only thing you want are laws to preserve access to the streets by vehicular cyclists.

    Read the comments below – when you have people like the Latino councilor refusing to endorse removal of a car lane to slow down traffic that’s not a failure of enthusiasm, it’s a failure of advocacy, because that person doesn’t see any reason to help people who ride bikes. They are simply not part of his constituency. Building broad based support for bicycle improvements helps everyone, though – even those that ride the high end bicycles, because the more people you have out riding, the safer it will be, and the broader support there will be for changes that will make cycling safer for *everyone*.




    Kenny Easwaran

    No one is actually color blind in the relevant sense you mention. We all form implicit associations around people based on all sorts of visual characteristics, including race. Just as a driver will pass you closer if you’re wearing a helmet than not (even without realizing it), we’ll all interact differently with people if they look like they fit into a different social class. Pretending to be color blind means that you completely ignore these differences.


    Kevin Love

    Since you mentioned Mr. Hembrow…

    Here is his look at immigrant communities cycling. See:

    Note that almost all immigrant communities have double-digit cycling mode share. A close miss is the Turkish community with “only” 9% cycling mode share.

    This is probably due to Islam discouraging women from cycling. Here is a quite disturbing article about the Islamic Republic of Iran’s efforts to discourage women cycling:


    Kevin Love

    You are looking at whether or not neighborhoods have infra. Which is indeed a class/racial issue.

    The article talked about what kind of infra to use. That is most emphatically not.

    For example, putting a bike lane in the door zone of adjacent parked cars makes that bike lane the most dangerous place on the entire road in which to ride a bicycle. It makes no difference if the cyclist is black or white or blue or pink.


    Ali Atif

    Perfectly written piece of information. Managed Parking Gatwick aslo makes the airport more attractive and nice.
    meet and greet parking



    So what are bike advocates doing to exclude non-whites?



    Ironically, these pictures are very romantic.



    In computer terms, you’re correct. In practical human terms, being noninclusive does equal exclusive, especially when history is excluded.



    That sounds good, but it certainly doesn’t hold true for Los Angeles over the last three and a half years.

    The LADOT has been putting in bike lanes wherever they could find the room to put them–regardless of whats on the bike plan or what neighborhood it is.

    Bike paths are put in railroad right-of-ways and next to waterways. If you live close to the LA river, then your much more likely to have a bike path built near you–since having a path along the entire LA river is a major goal of the city.

    The highest population density areas of the city are getting little of that, regardless if they are rich or poor. That’s simply due to these areas being fully built out and no waterways or railroad right-of-ways space available for bike paths. The roads in these areas are also congested with motor vehicles, so that eliminates bike lanes in most cases.


    GS Rider

    Totally – this one’s for free – what? You can’t buy me engagement photo man!

    So many things to throw on the ground like this, and this, and that.

    My dad’s not a phone!

    Happy birthday to the asphalt ridden, impervious, narcissistic GROUND!




    Apparently even traffic safety and biking are now social justice warrior issues. All these “X is too white” SJWs should finally be happy once whites are a minority by 2050.



    What is terrifying is that many politicians have the same windshield-view opinions as O’Toole does and truly take him to be an expert (his lack of a professional education, claims to be a “free market” thinker, and CATO’s direct ties to multiple oil and asphalt executives should throw his credibility out the window instantly. But you know…pesky facts).

    Driverless cars may be able to replace local bus lines in lower density areas, but they will never reach the capacity in terms of overall use of space of a rail, BRT, or metro line. What O’Toole fails to account for is congestion pricing. Congestion will not magically disappear with driverless cars; it may be relieved for a few decades and increase slower, but it won’t just go away. Cities will likely establish some form of congestion pricing system for the roads in order to recover more of their costs, making even autonomous driving less attractive than high-capacity transit, cycling, or walking. However, I think that’s why he claims that the driving infrastructure should be kept “dumb,” so it can’t do that.

    What’s even more infuriating is that O’Toole suggests that we should “do away with traffic lights, stop signs, and speed limits.” In essence, force people into autonomous cars because it will be physically impossible to walk or bike anywhere.



    There’s no such thing as a good suburb here (this site). In fact the chicago section of streetsblog has shown disapproval of urban single family homes.


    Green Grass

    I summarize this whole dialogue as a failure to distinguish between older pre-WWII suburbs and today’s exurbs.



    special, interesting, and iconic places either are or are not regardless of the general area’s designation.



    Or the more likely thing that I misunderstood/misread your point. In context I thought you were responding with the opposite of what I was offering as an example, not just a photo preference. Hence it seemed to me that those former suburbs now had rail yards and graffiti walls. Sometimes it is the simple explaination.



    Anecdotally: My sister and brother-in-law moved from Hoboken to Maplewood shortly after their daughter was born a couple of years ago. They would’ve stayed in Hoboken because they liked the lifestyle there, but child care was too expensive and in Maplewood my parents can help out. They both commute into the city by train, but basically everything else seems to be done by car (they bought a compact SUV recently, planning to sell my sister’s old Civic, but now are thinking it makes sense to keep both). And this by people who preferred the walkable lifestyle when possible. I’m not sure there really ARE many “walkable” suburbs, and those that strike me as being the most walkable (Bronxville and Montclair, to name a couple) are really expensive, either in housing prices or taxes or both.


    Steve LA

    I think what’s really interesting is that no longer seems to be the “only” or even the most desired life path anymore. My girlfriend and I live with our two roommates (all of us are between 26-29) in the city, and it’s pretty amazing. None of us can imagine a scenario where we’d need to change the set-up, and it’s great to have “family” of friends to hang out with, pool resources, have fun, etc… Coupled with the rising number of young people saying they have no interest in marriage, I think you’ll find lots of millennials staying in the city in their friend-families, and if they have kids, just adding them to the mix. We no for sure that none of us want to leave the city ever. It’s just too convenient to be able to ride, uber, metro, etc… out and about everywhere!



    Usually I get satire. But I don’t get the point here. This versus what? Are engagement photos now expected to have that hard, edgy urban feel? And if they don’t? Ok go find yourself a graffiti wall or a crumbly building and look like a rockstar. Seems rather juvenile to me.



    You’ve never seen the car commercials aimed at the soccer mom demographic?


    Sean Posey

    Yep, taking photos to memorialize a lifelong commitment sure is narcissistic. Give me a break.


    Writing & Research

    Thank you for pointing out that burbs can be beautiful and can have urban attributes like access to transit.

    I enjoy these nouveau urbanists who think that all suburbs are created equally and, accordingly, are all evil.


    Andy B from Jersey

    Erica, my whole point is that LAB was established originally for the enthusiast, NOT the occasional urban commuter! Most people who ride high-end bikes have a real passion for making cycling safer for not just themselves but for all. Most want to share the joy of cycling with as many as possible. Many also commute by bike, some travel distances everyday that would blow your mind! (I knew one shop owner who rode 30 miles to work ONE-WAY! And did so all year round!) That LAB now all but ignores those who most passionate about cycling as well as their needs is a BIG mistake in my opinion.

    BTW, I’m a member of LAB and would let my membership lapse for all the reasons I state above if I weren’t also an LCI.

    I joke around that they should rename themselves “The League of Americans Who Occasionally Ride Bicycles.”



    Bicycling is a very small minority as a type of transportation. Most of my time advocating has been working to try and get it more mainstream.

    Removing a motor vehicle lane to install bike lanes on North Figueroa St in northeast Los Angeles was turned down by the Latino council member because he sees bicycling as a tiny minority and going against the majority viewpoint–which is drivers.

    There are three zip code areas of Los Angeles that have by far the highest percent of bicycling commuting, according to Census Bureau household survey results.

    The highest bicycling share of commuters by zip code in Los Angeles is just above USC. Why of course, that’s mostly white students from upper income families, right?

    The second highest bicycle commuting mode share by zip code is in the Venice beach area. Exactly! More white, well to do people.

    Venice Beach is closely followed by a Canoga Park zip code for the third highest bicycle commuting in LA. Why of course, more well to do white people who live in suburbia, right? No, these are mostly working poor Latino who use a bicycle to get from A to B. The bicycle commuting rate in this Canoga Park zip code (4.1%) is equal to the highest bicycling rate zip code in the city of Santa Monica–which has by far the highest bicycling rate of any city in the county.

    By small Census population tracts, it becomes obvious where most of the bicycling is coming from in Canoga Park. Its mainly in two population tracts that are side by side between Canoga Ave and De soto Ave.

    Just coincidently, there was an extension of the Orange Line bike path made along Canoga Ave in 2012. Do I think there should have been extensive community outreach to see what the wants and needs of the residents were? Hell no! Just put the dang thing in, so bicycling can be more useful for the people who live nearby. I’m happy as hell that a bike path was built next to the highest concentration of bicycling in the San Fernando Valley. If someone would have asked me beforehand where the priority would be for a bike path in the SFV, I would have said at this location in Canoga Park if I had the information about its cycling rate beforehand.

    The design of the path at intersections along Canoga Ave was designed for pedestrians, instead of cyclists, which is a major flaw, but its consistent with how all the other Orange Line bike path intersections were built–which is strictly by the book. A traffic engineering manual that is used states that if your in the street, then your a vehicle, if your not in the street then your a pedestrian–a person on a bicycle doesn’t really fit in with either the pedestrians or motorists

    The first protected bike lane or cycle track (besides a tunnel) to be built in Los Angeles is going to be on south Figueroa St next to USC. If I had been asked where the priority for the first cycle track in Los Angeles should be, I would have said a street in close proximity to USC where the greatest concentration of people bicycling exists in the city. This will show that installing a cycle track in a densely populated can succeed in Los Angeles because of the instant supply of thousands of USC students. If it was done on another street with a high volume of traffic, then it could be seen as a flop with bicycle traffic building up slowly.

    One of greatest concentrations of bicycle lanes installed in any area of the country has recently been made in the city of Los Angeles port community of Wilmington.

    This is a community that is 86% latino with an average income for the city of Los Angeles and a less than average use of transit.

    Should there have been endless meetings to get the input of the community about this? Hell no! The LADOT and council member saw an opportunity to do both traffic calming for safety and to install lots of bike lanes. Meetings would just slow the whole process down and given the opportunity for the dominant drivers to reject some of it.

    I’m tired of seeing drivers given the opportunity to reject safety improvements for bicycling. What other types of transportation is the public given ample time and place to shoot down safety improvements? And what other form of transportation are people forced to move in a single file, other than bicycling?

    This creates a rare opportunity to see what happens when a tightly knit concentration of bike lanes is installed in an area in a short amount of time without outside influences such as bicycling organizations to promote the use of it. How quickly will more people start bicycling as a result of having installed bike infrastructure that is conveniently nearby and that is a continuous network of bikeways. Also, this can serve as a model of what will likely occur as the bike plan proceeds. This level of concentration of bikeways is something that may never have been done anywhere else in North America.

    Here’s another example: the recently opened bike path along San Fernando Rd in the SFV. Do I think that the community should have been asked beforehand what the money should have been used for? Hell no! Driving dominates there. This project would have been rejected as a waste of taxpayer money as there isn’t very many bicycle riders in the area (or pedestrians for that matter) to justify the cost of building this separated bikeway. This street functions as a 35 mph speedway that has no on-street parking and its very difficult to either walk or ride a bicycle on the sidewalk on the other side of the street that is full of obstacles to transverse.

    I want communities to explain what the transportation problems are to the government agencies and the traffic engineers should ride a bicycle in the areas that they intend to work on, so that they can see how it functions from the standpoint of the user. This is sadly rarely done in the U.S. When the Dutch delegation to the LA Thinkbike workshop were here three years ago, the lead Dutch engineer insisted that everyone bicycle around the area to be worked on in the workshop. I asked her if that is normally the case in the Netherlands and her response was that she insists that every engineer under her ride in the area that they will work on to see it from the cyclists point of view.


    R.A. Stewart

    That is the heart of this issue, in my opinion. Thanks for stating it so succinctly so I can stop trying to come up with a good way of saying it, and get back to work. :-)


    Jump Drive

    OMG, look at all of that awesome green space!


    Dustin Akers

    That is Union Station. It is currently home to the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority and will be preserved/enhanced as part of the MAPS 3 Central Park development.


    C Monroe

    what is that surviving building at the bottom of the picture? Train station?


    Jonathan R

    The only group who can install bike infrastructure is the authorities. Ordinary people and advocates for people on bicycles can’t install bike infrastructure.

    The issue I have with this is that it diminishes the contributions of ordinary people on bikes to bicycle advocacy. A focus on providing infrastructure relieves bicycle advocates of any need to actually talk to other people. The David Hembrow blog is heavy on discussions of paint and concrete, light on discussions with people of what actually gets them in the saddle.

    As someone who enjoys bicycling, I appreciate the opportunity to use my enthusiasm to support other people who bike. Reading this report inspired me and made me feel better about being an advocate for bicycling and a role model in my community.



    That’s not necessarily true. Where you have a history of disinvestment in both the socio-economic and physical infrastructure of a community, the physical environment, in particular, often requires much more adjustment to make it feel welcoming to people (take Boyle Heights, one of the communities I cover, where red-lining and other discriminatory policies isolated and carved up the community with freeways, including one which was built through the lake in their park). That disinvestment has also often resulted in a situation where you have contested public space (thanks to gang or crime issues and/or harassment of people of color by law enforcement) and cars are not the only safety concern keeping spaces from being accessible. Investments in people and programming around infrastructure can be important in making residents feel it is safe for them to be in the streets. Access to co-ops or affordable bikes and repairs can also be key. For some of the poor, even minor repairs can really set them back.

    I find it so surprising that people (generally speaking) have an issue with this report — either its existence or its conclusions. I know these issues are generally overlooked by advocates, so they are not addressed in a meaningful way in mainstream advocacy circles. But it doesn’t mean that they don’t exist or that they don’t have important implications for the way that planning and engagement needs to happen in different communities if those efforts are to be successful. We all have the same goal of making communities safer, healthier, and more livable. It shouldn’t be controversial to address the fact that past (and present) policies and practices mean that different communities have different hurdles that must be overcome for that to happen.



    I would describe this photo as “probably a perfectly decent place to live.” BUT, I wouldn’t take my engagement photos there, because it is nice enough but not special/interesting/iconic in the way city places can be. That’s the point.



    $10,000 bikes are mostly used for racing and/or long recreational rides. So I wouldn’t expect the people who have them to be particularly interested in issues of urban commuter cycling, no matter how much outreach LAB does (unless they happen to also be urban riders.)

    Not trying to put down racing at all, it’s just a different beast.



    Yeah dude. Take them, and throw them on the ground. Don’t be a part of The System.



    yes, and as people make more money and their student loans get paid off or become a smaller part of their budget expect people to buy other things or move out of cities. especially as millenials age, get married, pool salaries and have children where their priorities go from partying to kids

    it has all happened before in the late 20′s and early 30′s when people first moved out of manhattan. and in the 50′s as people moved out to the burbs

    VMT will continue to drop or stay flat because you don’t need to go to a store for every little thing anymore but i’m fairly sure in another 5 years or so we will see another migration out of cities.



    Yep. Used Wikipedia there pretty regularly.

    Turns out it’s sometimes nicer to read a nice article with footnotes pointing to the US Census Bureau sources, as opposed to digging through Census PDFs yourself.


    Nathaniel Hood!

    Travis – Good idea. This is in my ideas folders for projects I’d like to eventually work on. A car commercial that is true to reality.


    Nathaniel Hood!

    You’re right. We took a lot more photos, but I had to scale these ones down to load to the net and brought down the quality a great deal. Original size was something like 11mb per photo. So, there’s a reduction in quality. Plus, we did not edit.


    Nathaniel Hood!

    Thanks Clarence. Appreciated.


    Nathaniel Hood!

    That’s amazing. I love it.


    Nathaniel Hood!

    I think you might want to relax and take this for what it is: quick, fun, satire. Don’t look too much into it.


    Jenny Kessler

    you’d be surprised at the number of (suuuuuuper white) couples and high school seniors galavanting around the abandoned buildings in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine, stopping to pause in front of this Section 8 “just distressed enough” wall – or in front of my door – to capture the perfect shot. It was obnoxious, but I bet the pictures were beautiful.



    This is the best argument ive heard to worry about the “whiteness” of cycling advocates.



    Doesnt include != excludes



    Why even bother linking to a Randall O’Toole rant? That entire thing about driverless cars is just a series of unsupported assertions from the fevered mind of a delusional, authoritarian ideologue.



    This isn’t journalism. Streetsblog continues to preach to the choir and not offer any real insight. Engagement photos are moronic in any locale and just act to serve the narcissistic, relentless self promoters on Facebook.



    Calm down son. This is about broadening a movement that excludes people of color. Don’t worry – your whiteness won’t suffer too much from it.