These are the posts about “getting around” I found interesting today. Blogs and the links to the referenced articles are in bold.
“Nowhere does transportation happen for transportation’s sake.” – Professor DiJohn, UIC.
Have you ever noticed from an elevated train or an airplane the dirt paths and small trails through parks and vacant lots? Like water and electricity, people travel the path of least resistance, with or without a dedicated facility. (Is that why flooding’s so difficult to control?) In the most recent “Google Earth Travelogue,” Discovering Urbanism points out the innumerable walking paths in the quarter mile park or mall between two highways and building corridors in Brasilia, the master planned capital of Brasil. Selected quotes:
- “The paths are trodden out of convenience…”
- “Lewis MumfordÂ recognized this universal tendency back in 1961, just as Brasilia was under construction.”
I added this comment about how planners can use this “route choice theory” (path of least resistance) to determine where to install paths for bicyclists: “Where should cities build bikeways? Where people want them.Â And how might we figure where people go, aside from a stated answer survey, we could tag 1,000 random bicyclists with GPS and track where they go. It would probably give us an image like the second one in your post: with yellow lines criss-crossing the city’s street network.”
Jennifer Dill’s study of Portland, Oregon, bicyclists did just that! She asked, “How does the built environment influence bicycling behavior; and what routes did they take?” The project wasn’t used to determine where routes should be built, but how existing routes affect trips. I think the same data the project collected could also be used to answer my question, “Where should cities build bikeways?”
The City of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is in the midst of a major transportation upgrade in downtown. They’re converting one-way streets to two way streets with bike lanes and off-peak parking. What a way to “unlock downtown,” says Human Transit.
And they tripled bus capacity on new transit malls with two regular travel lanes in one direction, and two bus-only lanes in the opposite direction. The malls also mixing in staggered bus stops, or groups of stops targeted at a specific area of the city, making “service more legible.” Selected quotes:
- “…every bus was as slow as the slowest bus.”
- “Doubling the width triples the capacity.”
I visited Minneapolis in September to explore the Midtown Greenway and Hiawatha light rail. I also rode my rental bike through downtown to get a feel for how another Midwestern city’s downtown lives.
The Transport Politic
Dubai seems to grab way more headlines than its Persian Gulf neighbor, Qatar. But Qatar, with the fastest growing economy on Earth, has decided rail (both passenger and freight) infrastructure is a “crucial element to economic viability.” Some might say the Dubai Metro heavy rail transit line is too late to battle congestion (Reuters). Can Qatar avoid the same fate?
The plan the Qatari government signed with Germany’s Deutsche Bahn is ambitious: “The project will incorporate 180 miles of local light and metro rail for Doha city center, rapidly expanding public transportation offerings for what is now a car-centric place.” Selected quotes:
- “Deutsche Bahn is laying its reputation â€” and its money â€” on the line for this project, which will be its largest-ever foreign investment.”
- “If a country is defined by the spending it commits to its future, the U.S. is falling behind rapidly.”
I don’t think the United States will start comparing itself it to any Middle Eastern country anytime soon – many in this country still think Iraq was involved in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.