Category Archives: design

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:

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.

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.

Federal Highway Administration road diet guide:
Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide
Bicycle Safety Guide and Counter Measure Selection System
Here’s the link again to the upcoming 12 part series on pedestrian safety by
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.

The Mystery of Albuquerque’s Development

“Nobody would teach me anything!”
–Edward Van Halen on the impetus for developing his original guitar playing style

I saw some press in the Daily Lobo and ABQ Journal on the rapid transit project this morning.  This discussion is a leap for Albuquerque.  Though we can cite other city’s projects, we truly are learning how to do great transit in Albuquerque as we go along.  The Daily Lobo article shared this photo (below) of a rendering of a transit station.  And mentioned that the Federal funds would provide 80% of the project costs.  ABQ’s investment of 20 million could return about 2-3 billion in private investment along the Central Ave. corridor.  Private investors come to where the public sector is building a strong foundation for long term community improvement.

ABQ Rapit Transit station rendering 2015.9.18

It looks like a comfortable and relaxing streetscape.  I’ve heard different arguments based on fears about the shift in modes this change offers.  Because transit, walking and biking are many times more efficient than private motor coaches, the overall capacity for helping people enjoy Central Avenue will be enhanced with improved rapid transit service.  That’s why all world class cities have invested in superb transit.  A transportation CEO would see this is as easy executive decision to make.  It’s more efficient, safer and creates better options for everyone.  Rapid transit service spans the economic continuum and includes people that can’t afford spending $10,000/year on auto travel, or who want to invest their funds in education, family travel, or other enterprises.  It helps people save money, improves the environment, and it may come in handy for all of us to let a professional do the driving from time to time.

Competitive transit creates paradigm shifts in the transportation system.  With quicker, more user friendly and reliable transit service, it becomes possible for residents off of Coors on the West Mesa, and Tramway on the East, to ride bikes, walk, or take transit to the express line and commute in to their jobs, school, or for cultural activities throughout central Albuquerque using multi mode travel.   Since this type of project planning is new to Albuquerque I think it is natural there is a learning curve, and it is a process and investment to build up the public trust.  The framework should continually be refined and strengthened by public and private partnerships working together.  The re-creation of the heart of Albuquerque is an ongoing development.  Transportation is a powerful tool to align and structure cities and attract people.

This transit is a good opportunity for spreading the goodness of Nob Hill’s stimulating and vibrant action with new iterations driven by the local themes in diverse neighborhoods.  Same great service throughout the corridor, with variations in flavor and style.  This is the core ingredient for urban vitality.  Albuquerque has it.  If anything the new rapid transit proposal is not ambitious enough, but extending service or doing light rail is considerably more expensive.  And the transit authority is already talking about the next steps in expanding service and connectivity in the system along the airport hub and Paseo del Norte corridor, which is good.

Albuquerque Rapid Tranist represents a renewal of our whole city.  A big part of our identity and how we see things stems from how we move.  Being able to sit back and relax, talk to neighbors, and make travel time productive time whether for work, reading, or resting makes a huge difference in our capacity to enjoy the amenities living in this great city offers.  We don’t have to worry about being able to enjoy our driving.  We’ll always be able to do that.  Expanding mobility freedoms and welcoming diversity in America has been key to our success.  I would dare to say that leading edge transit is an integral aspect of the new American dream.


Vancouver’s Greenest City Plan is forward thinking, inclusive and smart.  We still have more sun.  And we have genuine, great, diverse people who deserve improvements.

The Daily Lobo’s article Central Rapid Transit Improves Commuter Flow

The Albuquerque Journal also had an article this morning that searches for a cohesive narrative on modern transit and how it supports economic and social mobility, and makes our transportation system more robust, flexible and accessible.

Reflecting Emerging Values in the Built Environment

“Non-partisan public works projects…begin the physical transformation required to attract future residents and jobs, but also catalyze a cultural shift in thinking about what kinds of policies and infrastructure we should be investing in.  This cultural shift will mean far more for global sustainability than any physical project ever could.”  Ryan Gravel, for CNN

“City is looking forward, not backward.”  –Steven Lit on Cleveland’s Euclid Avenue transformation organized around transit, walking and biking instigated by bus rapid transit service, which catalyzed billions in investment for highly livable development.

Albuquerque Rapid Transit, or ART

One thing that stands out when you visit Albuquerque is the variety you see along mainstreet, Central Avenue, which spans the entire city lengthwise on an east west axis.  It’s kind of a mixed bag with strong incongruities.  The Albuquerque Rapid Transit project could be a gamechanger in the way we approach this historic public space known for its vital connectivity.

Rapid Transit has been transformational in places such as Euclid Avenue in Cleveland.  It can provide a spine to tie together all the walkable, livable and thriving places on Central including downtown, the University of New Mexico, the community college, the Innovation District, Nobb Hill, health care facilities, Sandia Labs, Kirtland Air Force Base, as well as serving as a lifeline feeding emerging development.  When people have low cost and low stress transportation choices, behaviors change, and money and energy is freed up to invest in building up the economy and quality living.   Most of all it regenerates the quality of life along Central Avenue by enabling more mixed use development and human scale activities.  Quality of life is our economy, and we need to expand the quality so it flows up and down Central Ave.

Green development of the built environment along Central makes for a perfect analogue to the linear park the Rio Grande makes in its north south flow across the city.  Rapid transit helps us maintain our diverse neighborhoods and community centers but links the arts, science, culture and food that Albuquerque is so famous for together in a new way.  When we are traveling we’ll enjoy where we are at and give more attention to the people that matter to us.  We’ll have better access to outdoor amenities and adventure.  You could get on the transit to take a trip to Tingley Park and the river, or bring your bike along and go to either end of the line, and ride out into the wild open spaces of the West Mesa or foothills.  Excellent public spaces are there for us all to enjoy.  High tech businesses and small entrepreneurial endeavors can more easily intermingle.  Everyone will have better access to education and schools.  Government hubs and transportation centers such as Alvarado and the Airport can be more closely tied in.

We’ve got a lot of issues along Central right now, and how we deal with those determines our future.  Transit is a strong idea to put forward and see how it can compete with the other contenders to bring proactive solutions.  Cities are complex systems, at the intersection of health, environment, transportation, social and economic development.  It’s easy to envision rapid transit on Central providing a platform and network for positive change in Albuquerque.

Research shows rapid transit is not a speculative endeavor, but a proven generator of efficiency, creativity, and connectivity, and an attractor for private investment and talented people.  It’s a transportation fundamental that galvanizes business investment & lifts quality of life.  The chief determinant of success is leadership and people’s willingness to go for a new ride together.

References and notes:

Albuquerque’s polling results for “Where do you think the city should focus most of its future transportation investments” yielded high favorability for biking infrastructure, smart traffic management systems, and pedestrian-focused environments.  The bus rapid transit system includes a new traffic management system which can be programmed for higher performance. (page 14)
“The vehicles run on a diesel-electric hybrid motor system that produce 90% less emissions than regular buses.”

Turning Urban Sprawl into Sustainable Cities by Ryan Gravel, CNN
“This kind of change [the conversion of urban infrastructure] is critical to the region’s economic success — to any region struggling to reinvent itself so that it can thrive in the global marketplace.  Because while these new perspectives contrast sharply with previous generations who built our sprawling roadway network, they mirror national shifts in preferences about the built environment driven largely by a general disenchantment with car-dependent lifestyles and an increasing desire for cultural authenticity in the places we live and work.”

Euclid Corridor Project Helps Drive 4 Billion in Cleveland Development by Steven Lit
“Developers gravitate toward places where they see investment happening.  There’s no question it’s [the bus rapid transit investment] a catalyst.”  — Lillian Kuri, Cleveland Foundation quoted in Steven Lit’s article

Innovate ABQ + Innovation Corridor by Tim Trujillo
I can see the innovation corridor that Tim describes extending to a third community activity center, Hiland Community, and a fourth node to Sandia Labs, Four Hills and Tramway.  Extending mixed use development and livable communities harbored on Central’s rapid transit helps everyone, and increases access to the colleges and downtown employment centers for residents of the Southeast Heights including the International District.

Right along Central now we have hidden gems such as Environmental Dynamics, Inc., which are poised to contribute to the making of the new sustainable, human scale and ecologically oriented built environment.  EDI-arch has many design and building projects pulling in the culture and heritage of New Mexico around their theme of regenerative design.

One of the things we might consider when envisioning the future is adding an anchor building to balance the Central Avenue corridor, expanding the breadth of the cultural shed lengthwise across the city, much like the Whitney Museum’s placement on the Highline did for NY City.  Or we can add two new buildings, one on either side of the river.

Bringing Bicycling into the Mainstream: US DOT

“US DOT (Department of Transportation) hopes that public agencies, professional associations, advocacy groups, and others adopt this approach as a way of committing themselves to integrating bicycling and walking into the transportation mainstream.”  –from the USDOT guidance on Accommodating Bicycling and Pedestrian Travel

As has happened many times before in American history, the US Government is taking its cues from the people.  Lately people are walking and bicycling more.  US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx’s leadership has set the tone for viewing walking and bicycling as indicators of livability in healthy communities, and is helping to craft policies based on meeting the increasing demand for active transportation modes across the country.  The USDOT’s guidance calls for “intensive re-tooling and re-education of transportation planners and engineers” (p7) to accomplish the goal of “fully integrating bicyclists and pedestrians into the transportation system” (2).  For the visionary leadership and fine resources and high standards they are developing, the US DOT is my Bike Org of the Month for May, 2015.

The public transportation system threads together the fabric of our Nation.  Federal leadership serves as guidance for the State planning:   Public comments are being accepted by NM DOT through June 26.  Articulate your support for walking and bicycling.  Every voice counts.  Help New Mexico absorb the USDOT guidance.

Our actions speak the loudest.  During the recent initiative by the Albuquerque Parks and Recreation department to weed out the pesky ‘goathead’ plants and reseed with native grasses, two young people that just moved here from Texas volunteered to help with the task (pictures below).  What a way to get started making this your home.  People care about active transportation and want to get involved helping our walking and bicycling systems thrive.

Trail crew

Bosque trail better now

trail crew works

“You cannot build enough trails.”  –Greg Ballard, Mayor of Indianapolis, IN
“Helping children fall in love with nature should be…a top national and even international priority, right there alongside addressing climate change and preserving wilderness.” –John Hickenlooper, Governor of Colorado

We can gradually realize a positive transformation of the transportation system because of the integrity of the planning and coordination, and through our unwavering focus and commitment.  Citizens are leading the way with their involvement, grass roots organizing, and by walking and biking more and asking for competitive transit.  Governors understand that connecting people with places is essential for respecting cultures and environment.  Mayors realize providing a healthy living environment builds economic prosperity and brings out the best in people.  And regional planning agencies, counties, and cities are all reorganizing around the principle of synchronizing land use and transportation polices to achieve walkable and bicycling friendly communities.  On Sunday I bicycled out to “South 14” (pictures below) and it reminded me of how much existing excellence we already have to build on.  Paved shoulders on rural roads make it safer for everyone and open up a good option for cycling and walking to foster closer connections between people, and between people and the places where we live.  There were so many people cycling South 14 (aka NM 337) on Sunday!

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S14 Sunday Bikes Going Past 2015.6.14
climbing purple S14

“To know who you are, you have to have a place to come from.”  –Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, quoted in Wisdom Sits in Places by Keith H. Basso

Indian Paintbrush up in Northern New Mexico.  At a public meeting a citizen expressed the importance of better roads north of Santa Fe

Indian Paintbrush up in Northern New Mexico. At the June 4 NM DOT public meeting a citizen expressed the importance of improving roads north of Santa Fe


Further reading and sources:
KRQE did a story on the program to remove goatheads and restore the trails system land health with native grasses:

Another organization that was present to volunteer for trail work was the

Gred Ballard and other Mayors voice their support for bicycling’s transformative powers here.

John Hickenlooper quoted from this Denver Post article.

This US DOT document tells an interesting story about where we are coming from, includes a vision of where we are going, and how we can get there step by step.  Thank you US DOT, for developing these resources for America.  This is leadership on freedom.

Active Transportation For All Generations

“It’s really a massive shift that many of us haven’t thought of, but is inevitable.”  –Ai-jen Poo, author of The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America

Whenever I’m leafing through a publication and see an advertisement for a senior community, there always seems to be an integration of “active living” in there somewhere.   This seems natural.  Exercise is a positive factor in any lifestyle.   From the beginning to the end throughout all the changes we experience in our lifetimes, the need for exercise is a constant.

Ai-jen Poo discusses how we need to shift our value system and extend more care for the aging population on the Tavis Smiley show.  As the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age we are going to experience a doubling of the population over the age of 65.  Part of the preparation we can make for this change is to create healthy choices in our everyday mobility environments so people can easily integrate healthy activity into normal routines.

We know we need to exercise when we are young to develop strength and coordination.  And when we are older exercise helps us maintain and rekindle youthful energy flows.  In the middle years we often take our health for granted, but if we exercise, we get feedback on our status and are reminded how lucky we are to be able to be strong and in charge of our own mobility.  Active transportation is a unifier across generations.  It is critical to adapt our everyday transportation networks to encourage, facilitate and support healthy mobility choices.

The planning and implementation we do now to improve the walking and bicycling networks pays off for everyone.  It is the best proactive investment people can make.  The benefits are immediate and also show long term returns in all respects including social, economic and cultural.  Exercise is uplifting for overall human well being.  People bicycle and walk because it is healthy, makes us stronger, and is a whole lot of fun.  It also helps improves the places that we live in.  It is something we can share together.  There are unexpected results too, such as increased innovation because of more face to face interactions and impromptu meetings while we are out and about.  The jobs created for designing, building and improving the active transportation network are good ones, plus the product is one we can enjoy now and pass on to future generations as a positive legacy and inheritance.

Health is a primary consideration for planning out our normal everyday lifestyle and a primary driver for how we organize to support community success.  If you have a chance I would highly recommend checking out Ai-jen’s interview, book, or other public engagements because she is a global leader with a rare combination.  She is activist, organizer, and has break through  communication skills.   She uses the spotlight on the demographic changes we are experiencing to show that we are all in this together and tells us more about how we can work to prepare and make our lives better based on what we know is coming.

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Sansei Studio’s Spring 2015 Ikebana


River Access: It’s for the Birds

Friday evening we watched the cranes and geese fly out from their feeding grounds at Los Poblanos in the heart of Albuquerque down by the Rio Grande.  The Cranes come from Alaska, Canada and Siberia to spend a milder winter here in the Southwestern desert.  Open Space and fields of Sorghum and cut corn are quite inviting to these feasting birds.

you can walk up close to the Sandhill Crane.  The mixed use lands are balanced between farming, housing, and open space

you can walk close to the Sandhill Cranes. The mixed use lands are balanced between farming, housing, and open space

It was a cloudy evening but looking east from the fields the Sandias alighted momentarily at dusk

It was a cloudy evening but looking east from the fields the Sandias alighted momentarily at dusk

Cranes blend right in with the fields and Sandias

Cranes blend right in with the fields and Sandias.  The river is just west and these fields are irrigated from acequias

Rush hour traffic was thick on Montaño with long lines and stop and go.  There are few roads that cross the river to the West Mesa and this is a central one.  The stress and uncertain travel times heavy traffic creates are quality of life issues. No one deserves to start their weekend in bad traffic.  Let’s change it.

birds and people seek out places like these

birds and people seek out places like this.  Lots of folks were walking with their friends & dogs soaking up the ambience

When we are careful to pay attention to aesthetics when tending places we can produce impressive results

When we are careful to pay attention to aesthetics when tending places we can craft impressive and fertile results

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redevelopment may mean increasing local agriculture for humans. We can grow more fresh and delicious food locally and lighten our carbon footprint by reducing shipping of foods that come from outside States and countries



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There is some development surrounding Los Poblanos such as these houses and accompanying power lines that make you realize the urban area is encroaching on the open space.  But much of the development is done with good taste and seeks to blend in personal gratitude with the patchwork of land.  One of the legacies we’ll leave is how we put together lifeways that coincide with and conserve the natural abundance inherited.

Volcanoes to the West glow furnace like

Volcanoes to the West glow furnace like

the birds fly out of the fields at dusk and fly in to the river for the night.  We'll take a look at the fly in soon!

the birds fly out of the fields at dusk and fly in to the river for the night. We’ll take a look at the fly in soon!

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Bicycle Expressways

The most direct way to incentive bicycling is to make it easier and more convenient by building in advantages to encourage folks to ride.  Just as the freeway revolutionized how we live based on extending the advantages of using cars, an expressway designed for bicycles would optimize the power of the human powered vehicle and naturally create a stronger rationale for people to make active transportation choices.  Most of America’s cities are big enough to benefit from some form of bicycle expressway to get people where they want to go more smoothly, safer and faster.

Albuquerque is certainly large enough to merit looking into the impact a bicycle expressway system could have on how we live.  The current east-west and north-south bike routes are convoluted, indirect, and incomplete, so much so the New Mexico Touring Society has a detailed webpage devoted to “Crossing Albuquerque, or how to traverse ABQ w/out getting lost” here.  It is not easy to get across Albuquerque on a bicycle.  Mayor Berry’s excellent 50-mile activity loop plan does a lot to encourage fitness and active tourism and recreation but does not provide much relief for laying out more direct routes across town.  The best thing we can do is build on the immensely successful examples of the Diversion Channel and Bosque Trails which have designed out the most dangerous part of bicycle travel, at grade intersections with motorized traffic, increasing safety, efficiency, and the pleasure of the bicycling experience by providing a more continuous flow of bicycle traffic, just like the freeway does for cars.

A Bicycle Expressway may look different from the excellent Diversion and Bosque Trails by being engineered for higher speeds and designed to better accommodate group bicycle travel.  The common ground is all are free of motorized traffic.  An expressway for bikes would be wider with better sight lines and visibility, in a fashion similar to the way interstates are modified from regular roads.  Racing wheelchairs, inline skaters, hand cycles and other non-motorized wheeled travel might have more room to maneuver on the bike express.  Can you imagine if you lived above Tramway in the Northeast Heights or in Four Hills, and entering a bicycle expressway and latched onto the UNM bound morning peloton (group of bicyclists) to glide into town?  With the drafting benefits of working together bicyclists can increase speed while decreasing energy expenditures, not to mention group rides are tremendously effective activities for community interaction and mixing.  I’ve forged so many strong friendships with people I’ve met through mixing in with a diverse group riding bicycles together.  With bike express, commuting could double as a community building exercise, not to mention an awesome workout built into an otherwise very functional and practical task, getting from point a to point b.  That’s smart.

We need to do more to make bicycling more attractive and safer.  Why not be known as the best and catapult our quality of life forward, increase our national rankings for bike friendliness, and create a legacy of healthy living generations to come can enjoy?   If we get serious about treating bicycling as a first class transportation device by incentivizing this mode with facility designs that unleash bikes from stoplight gridlock and jampacked and sometimes crazy streets , we’ll increase ridership many times over, and make the riders we have very happy.  The accident data indicates major streets like Central Avenue that offer the highest efficiency for bicycles and most direct route across town are also the most dangerous.  We owe it to bicyclists to design better facilities to help them get to where they need to go, just like everybody else.  In the process, we may find ourselves minting many new bicyclists, and increasing access to freedom of movement for everybody.  If we want to experience the full charge of everyone’s enthusiasm for active transportation including bicycling we must be brave and act as visionary leaders in our planning efforts to embrace the whole breadth and scope of possibilities the bicycle offers as a transportation device.

Paseo de la Mesa

Music for this ride is Cocomo’s

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Sunday afternoon Mai and I took a spin on the West Mesa’s Paseo de la Mesa multi use trail.  The open space edges against new housing developments and the Petroglyph National Monument.  This land use mix creates sharp contrasts.

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We plan whole vacations around visiting places that mysteriously make us feel good.  Yosemite, Sequoia, Grand Canyon, Arches inspires us with awe and wonder.  With the bicycle and walking we can be awash in attractive places right here at home and soak up the intangible nourishment that open space, clear sunlight, and a relaxed ambiance resonate back to us.  Being in open space illuminates our sense of the oneness of the world.

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We explore on our bikes and feet to connect with the diversity of landscapes that come together in Albuquerque.  To feel the slanted sunlight brushing up against our skin and throwing shadows from us and the lava rocks and wispy vegetation.  We learn about the prickly dimensions of the desert plants through sensations on our skin when we sit down on the rocks in the brush to take a break and drink water and eat some oranges.  I’ve never seen anything like this place anywhere else in the world.  Albuquerque is underrated!

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Our senses spring out toward the silence to listen more closely.  When we walk and bike we get an honest assessment of how we are feeling that day.  I’m feeling better when I take a ride.

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The chorus of unconfined life out on the open West Mesa is quiet but if you listen it is there. Energizing.  Paseo de la Mesa is a wild trail.  Get out and check it out!

sunset on Sunday night

sunset on Sunday night

Green Infused Classic Cars

One of the hazards of being a 15-20 hour per week cyclist is high exposure to traffic exhaust fumes.  The emissions coming from “classic” cars–and pre-particulate filter diesels–are amongst the worst.  We are about as advanced in our public attitudes with car exhaust today as we were with cigarette smoke fifty years ago.   We just have not made the connection that this car exhaust is killing people, and dramatically reducing the quality of life for everybody.  There is no amount that is good for you.  The classic cars are putting out a disproportionate share and making Southwest cities like Phoenix, Albuquerque and Las Vegas reputed for their health benefits and lifestyles failures in meeting clean air quality standards for metrics such as ozone.

That’s why I was excited to hear rock star Neil Young telling about his 1959 Lincoln which he converted to battery and ethanol power and went from 9 miles per gallon to 80.  This a great statement in the classic car area.  Cars are an important part of our heritage and Young has ingeniously transformed a beloved vehicle and made it less toxic to the atmosphere and the human lung.  Reconciling my love with motor vehicles, human health and environment has all of a sudden become less challenging.  Better choices with better outcomes for applying ingenuity.  If we could incorporate some job creation in this nascent custom car building and refurbishing industry by say implementing a classic car green conversion program at our local community colleges, such as Santa Fe’s Sustainable Technologies Center, that would be a great pathway to harness the creative talents of young people by coupling them with an extant passion infused with a new techno twist that’s better for everyone.   Infusing the car industry with sustainability focused tech shops could also do things like retrofit dirty diesels with particulate filters. Funds might be well applied here in creating industry that’s good for the environment and rolls right along with our classic traditions, giving this country a sweet lift.

Thank you for bicycling today

musical accompaniment: That’s the Spirit by Tommy Emmanuel
In Corrales, New Mexico a roadside sign reads “Thank you for bicycling in Corrales”.  The Village of Corrales has taken careful consideration to arrange human activities on the land to work in congruence with the invisible forces of natural splendor.  The living that goes on here is intricately woven into the landscape.  The long rectangular bands of agrarian parcels stretching away from the Rio Grande contain a diverse mix of open fields adorned with stately horses and manicured crops including grapes, raspberries, and corn.  Elegant vine covered work sheds and adobe houses blend into the khaki colored landscape.  Silent and moving fluidly over the earth like water with such agility even smaller life forms such as caterpillars on the road can be respected, bicycles easily blend into this timeless scene.  A place like Corrales helps people discover a new kind of bicycling experience through the confluence of human life and landscape.  To take a bike ride in Corrales early in the morning and see the sunrise burst over the Sandia Mountains, chasing away the shadows and illuminating the long hill and fields, the animals slowly awakening, and people moving about tending to matters at hand and underfoot is to feel a physical grace and freedom of movement, a stronger connection to place through a higher awareness of being.  Bicyclists in Corrales know well “that the world surrounding us affects every aspect of our being, that far from being spectators of the world we are participants in it,” as geographer JB Jackson wrote.  Human life is anchored in biodiversity.  In Corrales this integration of human life in the terrascape is apparent and well acknowledged.  We depend on growing food and not just consuming it.  We depend on having places to live in that enliven the full extent of the human spirit in relation to all else that is.  The Village of Corrales provides a platform for human living without overtaking the greater landscape.  Therein lays the key for creating places that are productive in the broadest sense of opening opportunities to meet the whole spectrum of human needs.  This is a landscape, through its arrangement of smells, sights, sounds and rhythms, that grounds the individual while suggesting we are part of something greater than ourselves.  Bicycling in this delicious landscape evokes experiences that tell us more about what it means to be human moving through and enfolded in this beautiful world.  Bicycling in Corrales bestows us with knowledge while adding integrity to place.  It’s wonderful, try it!