Tuesday, November 30, 2010

DC Leading Pedestrian Interval

Very hard to make out in these pictures, but I stumbled upon a Leading Pedestrian Interval in DC at this intersection near Dupont Circle. it looks like the Walk is provided a 4 second advance based on my single cycle observation and delays the green from coming up in both directions to allow pedestrians to establish their presence in the intersection. DC uses a 100-second cycle length and this is a two-phase intersection, so it is an easy location to make this happen within the constraints of the intersection (which didn't seem that busy).

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DC Bike Share has evolved

I posted awhile back about DC's first efforts with Bike Sharing.
I don't recall where I stood on the issue exactly, but I don't think I was very positive because it seemed to be putting people that might not be very comfortable on a bike in difficult positions (riding in traffic without good information on routes, aka unfamiliar territory).  The bikes originally seemed a bit clunky and the system seemed to be bailing wire and duct tape.

I had a chance to check out version 2.0 this week and with the upgraded pay stations, the real-time communication to the sensors that tell you where bike stations are and how many of the spots are full, the system is fully functional and as convenient as you can make it, where stations are provided.

I encountered this station outside of the USDOT headquarters building which is adjacent to the Navy Yard station of Metro. The station had a lot of bikes, enough to make rental bike retail locations out of business for all but the all day trips (the costs of rental at Capital Bike Share is expensive for trips longer than 2 hours).

Riding the bike around, I found the 3-speeds adequate for DC's flat terrain. The bikes aren't light but they are very comfortable and have all of the chain guards and other features that you would experience on a European bike.

For the casual rider, it is a great system to get you from A to B. In fact, they don't charge if you use the bike less than 30 minutes. There is a $5 24-hour charge for membership and that increases to $25 for a month and $75 for an annual pass. Very reasonable considering that you can take a bike to a station every 30 minutes and not pay a cent for rental. You have to be willing to check in the bikes.

I am very interested in the cost per trip and the comparison with transit, although that suggests that you could take away transit, which isn't practical.

As far as urban design elements, this isn't the nicest looking station. The bollards are there for the USDOT building and I am guessing are not actually tied to the bikesharing (I haven't confirmed that).

So, what can I say... I have changed my tune on bike sharing and believe it is something that should be more seriously considered then I otherwise believed. I can admit that I am a believer, pending the cost data.

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Portland = Amsterdam?

I had to chuckle a bit when the article form Yes! Magazine mentioned Portland becoming a little like Amsterdam.
Having been there this past year, I would argue we're a long ways away from streets like this. Maybe on Sunday Parkways, we achieve this sort of environment, but that's only 5 days of the year.
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Cycle City, USA: Portland's Secrets for Becoming a World-Class Biking City

Cycle City, USA: Portland's Secrets for Becoming a World-Class Biking City

I had the pleasure of meeting with Jay when he was in Portland for the Bikes Belong Cycling Tour of Portland's facilities. We had a good time with him and the participants from Chicago, Houston, Seattle, elsewhere.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

FHWA IntelliDrive Mobility & Environment Working Group

Next week will take me back to the spiral of national transportation research. I am headingout on Sunday to attend the FHWA's IntelliDrive Mobility & Environment Workshop as a member of the Federal Transit Administration's IntelliDrive Steering Group. There are some great Day One applications coming out of the IntelliDrive program that can improve safety and efficienty for transit. When the Vehicle Infrastructure Integration program was initiated back in 2006, I was working a lot with transit agencies on signal priority and thought why not public agency vehicles for Day One installation as opposed to the challenges of working with the auto manufacturers. It seemed like a reach to get installation and privacy concerns addressed in the near-term five year roll out of that program. It may be less of an issue as technology evolves, but working with a transit agency investing in technology that might reduce government costs speaks to me as something with a payback.

I am combining the trip with a day visit to New York City to discuss their experience with bike signals, pedestrian innovation, and how they're using their traffic signals for sustainability. It's a huge spectrum of questions, but with what we're trying to achieve in Portland, it will be nice to find if there are peers that I can work with in the future.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Janette Sadik-Khan NYC Article

"I don't hate cars," says the commissioner, "It's a matter of balance. Until a few years ago, our streets looked the same as they did fifty years ago. That's not good business, to not update something in fifty years! We're updating our streets to reflect the way people live now. And we're designing a city for people, not a city for vehicles." Read more: http://www.esquire.com/features/brightest-2010/janette-sadik-khan-1210#ixzz16Ag76An8

"She's preparing us for a future that will have fewer cars," says Schwartz. This is something that is tough to swallow for many. But Sadik-Khan is using her method to make biking look cooler. If it's such a pain in the ass to drive in the city, then owning a car won't be a luxury. It will be a Members Only jacket. So roads that had four lanes now have three, and three lanes are thinning to two.Read more: http://www.esquire.com/features/brightest-2010/janette-sadik-khan-1210#ixzz16AikqQ33

What she's doing in New York is trickling across the nation. Parklets are popping up in San Francisco. Portland, Oregon, the outdoor hipster capital of the country, was inspired by New York City, of all places, to have protected bike lanes — an idea Sadik-Khan lifted from Copenhagen, where the bike lanes are protected from traffic by a single-file line of parked cars.
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Understanding a Bike Box, Training Cyclists

I was on a ride this morning and went through SE 39th & Clinton, where there is a bike box in the eastbound direction. The trouble we had was a female cyclist with a brand new bike was hanging out right behind a vehicle that was waiting at the signal. The driver was sitting in the lane after the green and they were very concerned about moving with the cyclist there, they were trying to avoid a right hook crash.

When I rolled up, I said "I think they are waiting for you" and she seemed to nod in agreement.... but wasn't quite ready to go ahead and pass the vehicle, so in this case I passed by and kept going with her side by side since it was a 6' bike lane.

The encounter made me think about how we educate the cyclists and it made me think we should have a document that could be handed out with new bike purchases.

Bike Signal 2.0

NE Broadway/Victoria will be the Bike Signal version 2.0.
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Streetcar Intersection

One the west side of the Broadway Bridge at NW Broadway/NW Lovejoy intersection, we have a challenging situation with a bike signal, streetcar that crosses in front of vehicles, and fairly heavy traffic. It's not as difficult as the intersection at the Rose Quarter, but we'll spend some time making this work well, serving all customers. More information to come.
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Saturday, November 13, 2010

City of Portland meets with USDOT RITA Adminstrator Peter Appel

Transportation Policy Director Catherine Ciarlo welcomed Peter Appel, the Administrator of the U.S. Department of Transportation Research and Innovative Technology Administration at the Portland Building on Friday for a briefing on the activities the City is taking to work closely with researchers at the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium on advanced technology. The focus of the conversation was on recent bicycle innovations implemented by the City and transit signal priority applications that have made Portland a leader nationally in applying technology to move people more sustainably.

The City has been working closely with members of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on the IntelliDrive Steering Committee. IntelliDriveSM is a vision of real-time, wireless communication among vehicles and infrastructure to promote safer and more efficient travel. There are several elements of the IntelliDrive program that will shape the way cities use transportation data in the future. As part of the City’s efforts, engineers are working in the AERIS program, a new multimodal USDOT initiative that seeks to promote more environmentally friendly travel choices through the use of real-time transportation system data.

The City of Portland plans to work with the Oregon Department of Transportation, Metro, Portland State University and its regional partners to further the efforts of IntelliDrive, applying for a future FHWA grant to implement the vision of a safer City.
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