Category Archives: Business and Bikes

Road Diets and Safety Measures

We love our American streets but there are many planning and design devices to make them even better.  The Pedestrian Bicycle and Information Center is offering a free 12 part seminar series for improving walking safety.  Street designs for walking as a primary and dignified travel mode set the foundation for building a culturally rich and lively community environment.

Here’s a brief announcement highlighting the 12 part seminar series:
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pedbikeinfo pedestrian safety 12 part series Fall 2015

This series will provide participants with an in-depth exploration of some of the countermeasures and design strategies that can be implemented to improve pedestrian safety. Each of the 12 sessions will feature detailed information about countermeasures and design strategies, supporting research and guidance, as well as case studies highlighting examples of implementation from around the country.

  • Crossing Islands and Raised Medians
  • Road Diets
  • Marked Crosswalks
  • Curb Extensions, Bulb-Outs and Neckdowns
  • Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons
  • Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon
  • Leading Pedestrian Intervals
  • Pedestrian Safety at Interchanges
  • Lighting Strategies
  • Traffic Calming
  • Pedestrian Safety at Roundabouts
  • Transit Stop Improvements

Led by national experts in pedestrian safety countermeasures and design, this series of webinars will be highly valuable for engineers and public works staff who are involved in roadway design. Each presentation will be followed by a discussion period involving a question and answer session with the presenters.  Those who attend the live sessions will be provided with a certificate of attendance for 1.5 hours of instruction. The webinars will also be submitted to the American Planning Association to be considered for 1.5 CM credits.
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Changing the culture around driving, walking and street use occurs simultaneously with upgrading road designs.  Making cultural adjustments can be one of the more challenging aspects of any street redesign project.  A basic part of the approach is providing facts to the public, elected officials, and transportation staff to address fears or misperceptions.

When a community meeting was held in Los Angeles to discuss traffic flow on a street with a new configuration, an 11 year old boy stood up to deliver comments that stunned the crowd.  He said, “I don’t understand why driving a car makes you think you’re more important than someone else.”  And he called out the behavior of adults for their horrifying words and violent actions harassing, intimidating and bullying fellow citizens on the road.  This young person expressed the incredible power of clear human wisdom, empathy and an egalitarian mindset.

Doing proactive community engagement, outreach and education helps people experience the power and excitement a good walking and biking network unleashes, and helps us open to the possibilities for improving health, social connectedness and economic growth.  We want to live in a world that recognizes, values and activates our inherent powers.  We want environments designed for health and mobility freedom.  Walking and biking are basic elements of human living, as important as clean air and water.  They are part of the basic constitution of human rights, required for people to survive and thrive and live together.  It makes sense that our everyday culture and environment is designed to support these beneficial activities.  Walking and biking are essential elements of the good life sustaining the American dream.

Resources:
Federal Highway Administration road diet guide:
http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/road_diets/info_guide/index.cfm
Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide
http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/publications/separated_bikelane_pdg/page00.cfm
Bicycle Safety Guide and Counter Measure Selection System
http://pedbikesafe.org/
Here’s the link again to the upcoming 12 part series on pedestrian safety by pedbikeinfo.org
http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/training/webinars_PSAP_countermeasurestrategies.cfm
The comments from the 11 year old person are here.  It is one of the most articulate statements I’ve heard on the frankness necessary to call out and eliminate barbaric behavior on roads.  I found this story from Steve Clark, from the Bicycle Friendly Community program.

Oregon Embracing People with Bike Travel Initiative

“More Americans bicycle than golf, ski and play tennis combined.” –Travel Oregon’s bike friendly business program

When I was driving truck all across America the two States that stood out as most beautiful were New Mexico and Oregon.  Although I loved driving the 18-wheeler I longed to climb out of the cab and get out on my own to explore more.  So I’m excited to see Oregon has launched an initiative to encourage people to get to know the landscape via bicycle travel.  Travel Oregon has created the 7 bikes for 7 wonders campaign to place people in Oregon’s incredible landscapes on top of sweet bikes.   Each of the 7 bikes was fashioned to match one of the 7 wonderful places in scenic Oregon.  The builder for the Painted Hills Bike says “if you rode around here you would just drop your jaw…it is just beautiful here.  Worth the ride.”

Oregon is the first State in the Nation to build a scenic bikeways program.  Bicycling is the perfect match for people so restless to explore, touch and experience.  “Pioneer your own vacation…every road is an invitation to adventure” says Ride Oregon.  They have a nice catalogue of rides.  Here is one that shows how a group mixes in bike travel with other experiences such as camping, hiking and rock climbing.  And of course good food.

It is so nice to see people extended permission to reacquaint ourselves with the country through the powerful sense of freedom and joy that bicycling brings us.  It is truly a perfect way for people to explore and rejuvenate.  The upside is enormous and there is no downside.  Bicycling gets people moving forward.  Tomorrow on August 8th the Crater Lake bike finding adventure is on.  So if you want to go explore Oregon you might find a bike too.  The Crater Lake bike was made for that special place.  “Where else can you go ride around a volcano” says the bike maker.  There is another place.  In Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico you can bicycle in a supervolcano through huge meadows with old growth trees while viewing the State’s largest elk herd.  You can find hot springs.  Peace and solitude.  What better way to sense and preserve the natural ambiance than to explore New Mexico and Valles Caldera on foot and by bicycle.   I’d better keep working on my Southwest Bike Initiative.

“Riding around and seeing the world, that is where I find my happiness.” –Christopher Igleheart, Igleheart Custom Frames and Forks.  Maker of the Painted Hills Bike commissioned by Travel Oregon

Business Monday: The Versatile Bike

It’s Monday morning.  Time for a bike ride!  How many people think of that?  But if you ride your bike to work, you have that to look forward to.  Kickstart your work week by combining exercise with transportation and you have just solved complex problems by making a personal decision that combines human ingenuity with a simple, no-frills technology.  It’s life enriching.

Bikes meet basic human needs while providing ample benefits.  One of the fantastic unintended consequences of bike commuting to work is you get fit.  Say you take one day off per week from your bike commute.  You are still getting eight rides (4 commute to, 4 commute from) in each week without even having to think about it.  You are just going to work or school or conducting routine business.  Necessary destinations are perfect motivators for sustainable exercise.

Bike commuting programs emphasize the tangible benefits businesses will see: increased employee productivity from an energized workforce, more efficient use of parking spaces, lowered health care costs, stronger employee network, positive community orientation promoting the general public welfare.  The practical side of bicycling is quantitatively significant and the beneficial gains, like statistical improvements in health, and efficiency gains in travel, are off the charts.  Bicycling is like eating well.  Or having beauty and the human touch and tenderness in our lives.  These things are so basic we often overlook them.  But they are central.

Ikebana Japanese fusion

The Aspen Institute’s Business and Society program works to help businesses put “values at the heart of practice”, and they help executives and emerging business leaders “explore new routes to business sustainability and values-based leadership.”  Facilitating employee bicycle commuting is a sure way to align practices with human needs while also increasing progress toward company goals.  It’s a good way to exemplify responsible leadership in the community.

For an employee the returns are palpable as well.  Instead of spending $30 for gas and having stress in traffic and worrying about parking, you can sail in on the greenway breathing fresh air while you’re priming your body for a successful day.  Most people I meet tell me they bike for wellbeing, to get outdoors, and for the social connections.  It is because the human values returned through bicycling are so meaningful that bicycling programs are so successful.

We’ve heard of Einstein getting ideas while riding his bicycle and Beethoven hearing music while out walking.  In this qualitative way bicycling is beneficial too.  It lifts us out of the doldrums.  We start to notice things while bicycling.  It also helps us notice each other.  David Boies and Ted Olson, the two lawyers who famously argued the opposite sides of the Bush vs. Gore case, spent a lot of time taking bike rides as they bonded  to work out their strategy to make arguments in support of gay marriage.  They were on the same team in that case.  The bicycle is an amazing method for breaking down barriers and bringing people closer while we spin away from our differences going down the same road.  Steve Jobs was famous for walking meetings to catch up with friends while sorting through difficulties, solving problems and having a good time.

Ikebana July Indpendence

Since we gather inspiration and energy from biking we may even say it is essential part of work.  For these reasons I don’t see any distinction between biking for transportation, recreation, work and leisure.  Whenever we are riding a bike we are doing all these things at once.  It is an integrated activity, just like business.  When we combine the two it helps us realize all the different facets and dimensions that make both business and bicycling fabulously rich together.

Resources and References:
The League of American Bicyclists has a Bicycle Friendly Business program that provides a road map and tools that businesses may use to incentivize and support bike commuting.

Bikes Make Life Better is an enterprising consulting service that works with businesses to set up the structure that fosters and encourages more employee bicycle commuting.  They’ve worked with Mozilla Firefox in Silicon Valley, and Stanford University, to create bicycle programs.

The Aspen Institutes Business and Society Program  “respects the power of business to shape the long-term health of society and works to align business decisions with the public good.”

David Boies and Ted Olson mention their affinity for sharing bike rides on Charlie Rose.

Epilogue: Who knew instead of ‘rush hour’ the morning commute could be a relaxing bicycle pleasure.  Who would imagine flowers could look like Sansai’s arrangements.  Make something new, just by rearranging things. Thank you Sansai Ikebana Studio for the flowers.