TagMoving Design

Policy insights for Moving Design

I’ve collected into a single website all seven of the policy insights I gave at Moving Design in July and August 2011 about bicycling and planning.

Policy Insights

If I had an actual photo of me giving a policy insight to 40+ designers, the facilitators, and Rick Valicenti, I would post it here. Instead, here’s what Rey Colón looks like talking about policy and planning and our Bike/Walk35 presentation, and me listening. 

Policy thought of the day, August 8, 2011

Chicago’s bronze-level bicycle friendly community sign is posted inside the Chicago Department of Transportation’s office at 30 N LaSalle Street. 

West Town Bikes
Alex Wilson was telling me that he can reach more people if he had the same money that now goes to infrastructure. He added, “There should be an education component alongside any infrastructure change.”

—-
Chicago, IL got Silver in 2005.
Boulder, Davis, Portland have Platinum.
Naperville, Schaumburg, Urbana bronze
Full list of communities: http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlyamerica/communities/pdfs/bfc_master_list_spring_2011_revised5.pdf

Bicycle friendliness
What makes a hood or biz bike friendly?

Measures of effectiveness
Last time I talked about data collection that you would use to evaluate projects.

LAB uses the 5 Es to measure the bike friendliness of universities, cities, and states.
“Education, enforcement, engineering, evaluation, encouragement”

Communities:
http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlyamerica/communities/bfc_five-Es.php

Schools:
http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlyamerica/bicyclefriendlyuniversity/bfu_five_e_s.php

Madison, WI application

Cache of 5 Es webpage: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:UhGg_iiDcJkJ:www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlyamerica/communities/bfc_five-Es.php+league+of+american+bicyclists+enforcement&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=safari&source=www.google.com

What is a bike friendly community?
-bike parking – enough
-marked bike lanes and signs
-laws and enforcement
-community events that surround cycling
-people that bike
-bike shops
-old ladies biking
-children biking
-people who aren’t afraid to bike
-low mortality rate
-weather

When you are making projects, think of how they can fit into these categories. Form a descriptive narrative around these categories. When you communicate to politicians and planners, this will help form your common understanding of the project, its intent, and the impact it will have the community.

Read more policy insights from Steven Vance. 

Policy insight for Wednesday, August 3, 2011

WORD CHOICE

Biker versus bicyclist?
Person riding bike or bicyclist?
“Avid cyclist” or “bicycling enthusiast”? Are you really enthused about bicycling? How avid does one need to be so that others will consider him or her an “avid cyclist”?

Bicycling on Milwaukee Avenue

What about driver versus motorist? Motorist can imply that it’s a person who enjoys motoring.
Or, car versus motorist?
Did the car hit you, or did a person driving a car hit you?

“The car stopped and talked to the guy. The car left-hooked my friend.” Do cars talk? Do cars operate by themselves?

Crash versus accident? (don’t have time to talk about this)

When you describe a bicycling riding, and you say they had to “SWERVE out of the way,” do you think that some people may interpret that as the bicyclist doing something they shouldn’t be doing? Maybe they were just swerving to avoid a pothole and crashed, or they swerved to avoid getting hit by someone driving a car when the cyclist disobeyed a red signal. A more objective phrase would be, “the bicyclist maneuvered to avoid hitting the pothole.” In that sense, I’ve made it seem like the bicyclist was riding assertively and in their best interest. Notice earlier how I said “disobeyed a red signal” instead of “blew a red light”?

POINT
When we open our dialogue in order to understand others and to be understand ourselves, language and word choice matters. Be specific, but more importantly be descriptive so that you’re not misunderstood.

Some have called Mayor Rahm Emanuel an “avid cyclist.” Does this photo of him make you think of yourself as someone who bicycles, or your peers?

Cross posted to Moving DesignRead more policy insights from Steven Vance. 

Policy insight for Monday, August 1, 2011

This isn’t refined. These are just my notes that I speak from. I may not have spoke about everything written here and I may not have written here everything I spoke about. This is for Moving Design

There was report of cyclist crashing on the Tuff Curb at the on-street bike parking facility in Wicker Park.

Installing the Tuff Curb

experimental projects need reviews. I don’t mean projects that are considered experiments, I mean projects that are new to the people who designed it, and new to the people who will be using it.

we need good data collection.

Did the Kinzie bike lane cause congestion? So what if it did?
We would need data points that were collected using well-known methods, and probably at different times of the day and week. And we’d have to be sure to count cyclists, too.
Then 3, 6, or 12 months later, we’d have to do it again.

What was the change?
Is that a change that meets our goals?

Back to the cyclist crashing on tuff curb, what is the city’s plan to monitor the use (or disuse) of the facility? How will the city collect data on something like this?

Census – not gonna happen in 2020
American Community Survey – 5-year estimates (with data gathered annually) will replace decennial Census.

“Here are a few Streetsblog posts about Census and NYC DOT’s bike counts, and the problems with each. The first post has some stuff about what could be done to improve on them:” (Ben Fried, Editor in Chief, Streetsblog NYC)

http://www.streetsblog.org/2010/04/27/how-many-new-yorkers-bike-each-day/
http://www.streetsblog.org/2010/10/01/did-nyc-bike-commuting-decrease-in-2009-thats-what-the-census-says/
http://www.streetsblog.org/2011/04/13/actually-if-you-build-it-they-will-bike/

Read more policy insights from Steven Vance. 

Lawyer Jim’s bike light recommendation

At Monday’s Moving Design meeting, Lawyer Jim Freeman spoke about bicycling, bike crashes, and the law.

“Be conspicuous” is half his motto. (I forgot the other half.)

During Q&A, I asked Jim, “If I had $20 to buy a bike light, which one should I buy?”

Jim had no trouble answering that bicyclists should have something at least as capable as the Planet Bike Beamer 3. I agree. It has three LEDs, comes with batteries, has a flashing mode, is easy to mount on your handlebars, and really costs just $20. Ride legally at night in the State of Illinois with it!

I’m a huge fan of Planet Bike products, as you’ll see on my bicycle product reviews page.

More information

Be specific. Be, be specific.

Update September 5, 2011: I gave a short speech to Moving Design participants about language and word choice, a kind of follow up to this article, as a “policy insight of the day.”

When speaking or presenting, be as specific as possible. The following are examples specific to the course of transportation discussions.

“Car traffic banned from this road.” Are you also banning trucks and SUVs?

“Vehicles will be rerouted.” Does this include those riding bicycles? Here’s an example of a current detour that only mentions cars, buses, and trucks. Which route should someone riding a bicycle take? Sometimes state and local laws will classify a bicycle as a vehicle, but then exclude it in specific passages – it’s weird. Better just call out specific vehicles, be they of the motorized or human-powered variety.

“Cars are aggressive to bikes.” Cars and bikes don’t operate themselves.

“We plan to narrow the road to calm traffic.” Are you going to narrow the road, or narrow certain lanes and reassign portions of the road to different uses, like a protected bike lane, or wider sidewalk? Then give the measurement of lanes, the sidewalk, and the curb face-to-curb face width. Consider that “street” is not a synonym for “road.” Road often represents what’s between the curbs, and the pavement, while street includes the road as well as the sidewalk. Street is a bit more abstract as well, sometimes meaning the activity that occurs on or around roads (like “street life”).

“Ignorant drivers…” Or do they lack specific education and relevant information?

This bikeway in Bremen, Germany, uses both color and pavement design to delineate space for people bicycling (like me) and people walking.

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