Tag Archives: density

Change your World, a night with Alex Steffen

Unlocking at Town HallA few weeks ago Tim and I attended a highly inspiring talk by Alex Steffen at Town Hall.

We had hoped to go with  Julian of Totcycle (family bike folks represent!), but that fell through. For Julian and others who couldn’t make it, check out  a few of these to get a flavor. Alex is also the keynote speaker at three of the major events during the Copenhagen summit, so if you are in the neighborhood…

The entire evening was magical: introduction by mayor-elect Mike McGinn in his first post-election appearance,  the inspiring and motivating talk by Alex, yummy beer in eco keg cups from Fremont Brewing, followed by hop-lubricated conversation with like-minded Seattleites interested in changing the city. Plus all of this bookended with rides to and from downtown with my favorite cycling buddy. Town Hall Seattle

We left Town Hall filled with hope for positive changes in Seattle. We all have a lot of work ahead of us if we want to grow Seattle into a dense sustainable city designed with people in mind.

How are we going to do this? Continue reading

Micro-Mobility for Micro-Distance Transport Needs

Kickboard scooter at Pasta&VinegarIn my work life I need to keep up with whole lot of online community, user experience, and assorted other tech blogs. My bike blog reading (and posting) has taken a real hit. So maybe you can understand why I get pretty excited when I find tech folks turning their brain juice on issues I care about—in this case, car-free transportation.

It seems everyone these days is talking about microformats and microfinance (unfortunately, microbrews don’t get the attention they used to), but here’s a buzz term I can really get behind: Micro-mobility. It’s the idea that a car (careful, this might blow your mind) isn’t the appropriate vehicle for many transportation tasks, especially when you are talking about micro-distances.

From Pasta&Vinegar:

“When it comes to mobility, people are in general mesmerized by Velib or Zipcar lately but there are there sorts of devices that I find very intriguing: aluminium scooters or K-2 Kickboard Scooter. Some people would argue that this for start-up pricks (because real value is in pure P&P skateboarding gear) or that it is childish and useless but I don’t think so. I don’t have any scooters but what I find interesting here is the notion of “micro-mobility” and the balance of cost…”

I can relate. Even the Xtracycle can be too much transportation tool. For example, if I want to run somewhere close to my office in the middle of the day, I think hard about whether the bike is worth the effort (getting it from the parking garage, unlocking, riding, looking for a bike rack, locking, the errand itself, unlocking and back again), or if I should just suck it up and make do with a long walk. A little micro transport device, kept in my unused file drawer could be just the ticket.

I don’t expect many of my peers to be jumping on the kick-board wagon any time soon. They think I’m a freak for riding my bike, for crying out loud. But what about the generation of kids who grew up with razor scooters and skateboards as a normal thing? I can imagine a world, partially assisted by $300/barrel oil, dense urban planning, and a less car-dependent infrastructure, where micro-mobility devices aren’t merely a gimmick, but instead are a serious transportation option.