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    Huge contributor to individual driving reduction: The technology change was over a decade ago; now we’re seeing the resulting behavioral change.


    R.A. Stewart

    I don’t know if we should even be talking about our “peer nations” any more, at least with reference to Canada, western Europe, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia. Many years ago, long enough that I can’t find it online, William Raspberry wrote that the United States might end up being the first country in history to voluntarily migrate from the First World to the Third. Soviet-era terminology aside, I’m more and more inclined to think he was right.



    Are they ignoring them? A fair number seem to be *fighting* them at any cost (to others).



    This means transit saves money on at least two fronts: (1) it’s cheaper to subsidize transit than car trips and (2) it most likely can cut healthcare costs, public and private.



    Sad it takes so long for people to reach this rather obvious conclusion. I reached this conclusion in the 90s when I traveled around Europe.

    >body fat = healthier


    Stephen Fesler

    Where did you nab the Seattle map?


    R.A. Stewart

    I thought of this discussion of education funding and, as Brandon put it below, hyper-local government, this morning when I saw a workman cleaning off a sidewalk with a leaf blower.

    Sometimes I think I’m the only person left in the U.S. who still rakes and bags leaves. These leaf-blowers, ubiquitous come fall, could stand as a metaphor for what has become the American approach to everything: make a lot of noise, squander fossil fuel on a task well within the scope of your own renewable animal energy, and move your problem into somebody else’s yard.



    That was literally the second paragraph of the article. Next time you think an article missed an important point, maybe read it first?



    “When controlling for factors like income, level of activity at work, and age”


    Scott Sanderson

    Leaving my 35-mile car commute behind and moving to where I can take the subway or bike was one of the best quality of life decisions I have ever made.



    Reminds me of all the articles that say “Warning! Math Ahead!” as if we are all *supposed* to be terrified of arithmetic.


    Paul C

    In my adulthood, I have had long periods of both transit commuting and car commuting, and I typically weigh 10 pounds less when I use transit.



    Thanks for discovering this report for the rest of us Tony! And I like the title. DOTs that fail to update their forecasting do so largely out of inertia. They know the old methods were acceptable and uncontroversial, while deviating from them means going out on a ledge. This NHCRP builds a bridge by giving forward-looking DOT officials a document endorsed by the transportation establishment which they can cite in arguing for reforms.


    Jack Jackson

    the last few weeks in Missouri should be an eye opener on the socio economic impact of regentrifying the cities has on suburbs


    Jack Jackson

    would be good to know the other factors it adjusted for. age. children. income. transit proximity to job



    I don’t think Vancouver is an appropriate example, it is the most expensive real estate market in Canada and the 3rd most expensive in North America. Those amenities are all neat and nice, but those neighborhoods are just not affordable for anything but those on the top 20% income bracket.

    I don’t think that model is scalable


    tooter turtle

    I think the trip to work is not the whole story here. Someone who walks or bikes at least part of the way to work does so because they have learned that it’s not difficult. Probably, they do many errands under their own power, too, because it’s faster or easier or more pleasant than driving. Meanwhile, those acclimated to driving everywhere do all their little errands in the car…and get fat.



    I recently told an aunt that since moving to a neighborhood with LOTS of transit access and giving up my car, my gym is the city. I walk more, take more stairs, etc. I love it!



    1) The “recession” is not over for regular people. Costs are up wages are flat to down. If I remember the charts correctly, full time employment is down while the population has increased. Total jobs are flat over the long term, not even compensating for increased population.

    2) Driving has intentionally been made more difficult and expensive through politics.

    3) the current trends point to a declining ‘main street’ economy and driving being made even more expensive, difficult, and miserable.

    As costs mount, due to everything from monetary inflation to obamacare regular people will have to cut back on things, many things they largely drive to. They will also seek to avoid the taxes, checkpoints, and other costs and hassles of driving.

    However, since the bulk of revenue going to state DOTs comes from taxing drivers, and what this article really is, is a demand by transit users for taxes paid by drivers, there’s a problem. Transit is going after a declining resource. To tax it further will only increase the rate of decline. Of course that’s a desired result, but the problem is, as driving collapses along with the ‘main street’ economy so does the funding for transit.

    So, as driving and the overall economy declines, how will transit be funded? Even when transit runs full it is not self-supporting (per a streetsblog article, etc)


    Jamison Wieser

    I agree it’s consistent, I still agree with my friend Brian that it’s backwards.

    I’m attaching a few examples photos of San Francisco’s newest cycletrack and bike lanes because Broadway really does look backwards from my perspective.

    Seattle is using solid green in its function to tell motorists they are not allowed to stop here this is a bike lane.

    SF is uses green stripes to indicate mixing zones and solid to indicate cycletracks (even if they’re too narrow for a car to physically fit through). Towards consistency SF now has stripes as the standard for all types of mixing/crossing zones:

    bikes (green), children (yellow near schools) pedestrians, (white now that SF is using ladder striped crosswalks as the default standard for all crosswalks), and transit (last year the SF began adding red transit lanes) with the same meaning: cars are never to stop hear only to be cross through when clear and the other user always has the right of way.



    Right? Someone has to contribute to Social Security when we, childless couples, retire. Ideally those kids will be educated, academically and culturally, so they can contribute to a prosperous society. I’m glad to contribute financially to the (while singing)… the children are our future…


    R.A. Stewart

    So true. I am, sadly, one of those with little time and less self-discipline for exercise, but I kept my weight down and stayed at a decent baseline of fitness for over 20 years when my “fitness program” was mainly my transit-and-walking commute. Now that I’m driving to work every day (transit isn’t an option anywhere near my workplace) … well, let’s just say things are different, and not in a good way.



    I see groups of young teenagers a lot, walking on Clement St., especially in the after-school hours.



    Since I got a Jawbone Up (like a Fitbit), it’s been interesting to quantify this for myself. I don’t have a car and I walk or take transit everywhere. I’d say my commute is mixed- transit/walk most days, though if I have time and it’s very nice I’ll walk the whole way. Transit adds some nice metabolic boosts in the stairs present in many subway stops and also running to catch a bus :)

    My average for steps (11,000) is double the US average from studies (which is pretty inflated IMHO) and mileage is close to recorded data for hunter-gatherers. I definitely am in better shape than I was as a car-dependent teenager in the burbs.



    There’s maybe 200 yrds +/- in Ventura that you have to ride on the road but other then that it’s a dedicated trail. It does cross the roads in a few areas but that’s only in a handful of places.


    Michael Andersen

    Not yet, at least as far as I know. So many of the American PBLs, especially the new ones, are bidirectional on one-way streets, in part to save space/money and in part because we have so many freaking one-way streets. Falbo’s concept assumes the full one-lane-on-each-side treatment, though some of his principles might be adaptable to a bidirectional intersection.



    Does it run continuously from Ventura to Ojai as a dedicated trail, or does it go on-road in sections?



    Cool, great info! I wasn’t aware of those, will definitely look forward to further coverage.

    I wonder if any city’s seriously looking into the protected intersection design à la Nick Falbo’s vid.



    “DOTs Now Have No Excuse for Ignoring Changing Transportation Trends”

    “As report titles go, you could hardly get less sexy than …. But buried within this wonky new document … are ideas that can … upend the way local, state, and federal officials plan for future transportation needs.”

    Looks like 5 ‘excuses’ given in that first paragraph:

    1. Unsexy title = No attention paid.
    2. Buried within.
    3. Wonky.
    4. Ideas than “can”–implies need to interpret
    5. upend [government] officials–yes, govt officials like revolutions.

    Hope that the editor, and not the author, wrote the hed.


    Leslie Nope

    its because you are soooo interesting and fascinating. A sexist pig like you must have dozens of followers with your irreverent and witty retorts.


    Michael Andersen

    Jamison, on the green markings: the way I think about it is that in both intersections and driveways, people *can* drive over the green when they’re in cars but should be yielding to bike traffic whenever they do so. And by the same measure, people *can* claim the right of way over the green when they’re on bikes but need to keep an eye out for cars whenever they do so.

    Isn’t that consistent?


    Michael Andersen

    Totally agreed.

    There are a couple intersections of protected lanes in Chicago. I haven’t actually seen them in action myself. The first intersection of two bidirectional PBLs is actually likely to be in Atlanta. Stay tuned for coverage of that.



    That’s what I was thinking, too. While individual stretches of cycletracks are great, it’s really about the cumulative effect of a backbone network of them that intersect at key points.

    It’s still incredibly rare for US cities to have intersecting cycletracks–it’ll truly be a milestone when that happens. And I hope when it happens, they take into account physical protection so they look more like this:

    And less like this:



    Great sketch-up! The mixed-signals thing is insightful on your friend’s part.

    I guess a third scenario is one where the cycletrack is striped continuously bold green throughout its entirety…both midblock (while physically protected) and at openings (ie driveways and intersections).

    I really like these setups when the cycletrack is raised at driveways/intersections because it’s a strong cue to drivers they need to yield. In addition, YIELD TO BIKES signs can further reinforce this notion. This is what Cambridge, MA did:



    Like highways duplicity in handling trucks and passenger cars and airports handling of freight and passengers so to should railroad tracks be put in the public control. Public transportation is critical and a certain type of industry should not be in control of such. We as a citizenry should exert our political will for such.


    Michael Andersen

    Fair questions, Andy, but I want to know a little more about the problems you’re seeing and hearing about.

    Are you mostly talking about passing speed? I agree that that’s a sacrifice, especially if 5-foot-wide lanes like those above are ever crowded enough that back and forth traffic is common. At the moment, it isn’t.

    But experience/confidence isn’t the same as speed. Biking has been my own main transportation mode for five years, which seems like plenty of experience. In Portland where I live, I don’t think twice about riding in downtown traffic (where the stoplights keep
    everybody at 13 mph), and I’m OK with taking the lane on other
    arterials though I don’t exactly look forward to it. But I’ve never felt
    a problem riding in protected lanes here or elsewhere — just the
    opposite, I slightly prefer them because I like to sit up straight,
    ride side by side, pedal slow without anyone complaining, etc.

    The drivers-pulling-out thing is a separate problem, but seems like that’s more a design sacrifice being made to preserve parking spaces on a street that already has lots of driveways.


    Andy B from Jersey

    So I’m going to ask the $100,000 question (and I’m shooting this straight at you Michael). Are we now building bike facilities for people who can’t otherwise ride a bike in traffic and that these facilities are becoming near useless to those that can?

    I’m not asking this because I’m some angry vehicular cyclist but I’m really concerned that this trend in the profession over the past several years particularly with all the protected bike lanes / cycletracks being built lately might cause problems in the future. I know already when I talk to experienced cyclists they are downright pissed off about much of the new protected stuff being built. Broadway could have been built using more conventional bike lanes that
    would not hinder the speed of the more traffic tolerant cyclist but it
    wouldn’t have been good for those that aren’t (like kids). They lament that all that space, wasted to their needs, could have been used to build conventional bike lanes. I would prefer protected facilities that service both skill levels equally well but that is not what I’m finding with 90% of cycletrack projects.

    I’m just not comfortable with the way the profession has been going lately and I can really see a schism forming in the bike community if all those traffic tolerant club cyclists start to organize and ask for facilities that service their needs.


    Upright Biker

    We used to joke that upon seeing the first sonogram, the father would exclaim “It’s a Boy! We’ve got to move to Marin tomorrow!”

    Actually, SF middle and high schools are overflowing, and pretty highly rated even in competition with other schools around the country, burb or urb.


    Latverian Diplomat

    You seem to think i’m arguing against using the per capita statistic at all, and replacing it with something else. I’m not.

    Our point of disagreement seems to be that you think there must be some single most accurate statistic that completely summarizes the problem. I am saying that we can look at the data in multiple ways and learn more about the problem that way. Additional ways of looking at the data could provide even more illumination, e.g., rural vs. urban, long trip vs. short trip, pedestrian vs. cyclist vs. car passenger.

    Looking at more data and in different ways doesn’t have to distract from the problem, and it absolutely enriches the discussion of causes and solutions.



    The whole thing is still very much a work in progress. Our bikeshare program is going to open up in the next month or 2 with stations all over the bike path. Once the streetcar starts working (also by end of year) then the path will end up being much more useful. Where I live and work in Fremont-Ballard there are so many cyclists you almost feel like you’re in a european city. The city is headed in the right direction, just everything needs to connect.


    Jeffrey Baker

    I see loads of tiny tots, but the ‘rents always seem to high-tail for Marin as soon as they turn 5. Which seems weird to me, because little ones really get a lot out of the outdoors, whereas school-aged children get a lot out of the city.


    Andy B from Jersey

    Yeah Fish you likely know more about this than I but what I found interesting was that north of the cycletrack and the construction of the lightrail station, cyclists were much more common.


    Mobility Lab

    And Mobility Lab writes here about how pathetic our bike infrastructure is throughout the country.



    Ha, as someone who lived on the East Coast for 20 years, I have a fairly different take on Seattle drivers. It’s not that they aren’t rule abiding (they are much more so than in other cities), it’s that they all drive like oblivious senior citizens. I’m still waiting for the day that I see someone actually drive over the speed limit on the highway. There just needs to be more enforcement–besides patrolling South Seattle I rarely ever see the SPD anywhere…



    The real issue is connectivity to the rest of the city. As someone who does not live in that neighborhood but goes there all the time, it is very difficult to bike there. You need to cut through downtown and like everything in Seattle there are a lot of hills. More than anything, it is cutting through downtown that is a challenge. The Bike Master Plan will be adding protected bike lanes downtown and then on a street that will connect it to Broadway (probably Pike or Pine). Until then, it’s really a bike lane that is just good for people that live on Capitol Hill.



    The problem with employing the ‘per mile’ denominator is that you lose any effective way to compare or address bicycle and pedestrian fatalities. It makes driving look safer by comparison and also makes it look like we have a fabulous safety record as VMT has increased; while in truth travel has become more dangerous. If you compute it per capita, per trip, or per hour of travel, it is much more accurate to compare risk ratios across mode, across geography, and across time.



    Stop funding education, primarily at the local level.



    Looks like I now have a groupie.

    Now, that is entertaining – following me like a puppy and posting unrelated comments.

    Shucks, I’m honored.



    Hyper local government is a problem. A store needs workers and shoppers. they have to live somewhere; commercial property can’t exist without residential properties. But under the current system its possible to have a cities with only commercial and foist the cost of the residential onto someone else. no city wants low income residents who pay little taxes, but how would those commercial properties exist without a supply of cheap labor?



    Is having well educated children (who become the well educated adults) important to the nation, or are children not a benefit to anybody but their parents?

    If we agree that children are just there for their parents benefit then, we should make parents pay the full tax burden for raising a child. But If we realize that children are human beings who deserve an equal chance in life regardless of circumstances of birth and that well educated children are vital for the nations future, then we should not expect only the taxes of parents to pay for services for children. (some children are necessary, but a high birthrate would also a huge problem)

    Its ridiculous that we have education paid for primarily by local property taxes, so that cities with no kids can avoid paying for children, even though that city wants to attract the parents to work there, and in the future they depend on these kids to grow up and move there. All the benefits of a great education system without the cost. its equally unfair for wealthy suburbs to avoid paying taxes to help less well off children in the cities. There are some public goods like education which all citizens should contribute to.