Tag Archives: infrastructure

Little Green Bike (Brompton rocks a hilly Italian commute + doing better here)

As Anne mentioned recently, we’ve been loving the Bromptons and the role they’ve helped play in letting us live car-light. Beyond the expanded Zipcar range, or the fact that a gorilla-sized dad and his 9-year-old daughter can ride the same bike, we’re in love with how easy they mix with transit. This is especially clear when bussing across the bike-hating 520 bridge (which normally requires us to ride a special—non Xtracyclebike, and then hope that the bus bike racks are clear).

Altogether the Broms allow for some nifty, who-the-hell-needs-a-car-at least-when-it-isn’t-raining-three-inches-a-day options.

But if we lived in a real city, with real density and real transit solutions, well, the mind boggles at the imagined practicality of our little yellow folders.

Well, thanks to this fine video from the 2010 edition of the Toward Carfree Cities Conference, in which the Little Green Brompton OWNS a freakishly hilly, dense-city commute in Genova (Genoa), Italy I’m boggled no more.

(hat-tip to video creator Massimiliano Amirfeiz from the Brompton Talk list)

After watching this commute (for the 3rd time or so) I’m also struck by how little* Seattle has done to flatten our fair city for the non-driving folks.  How about a Trampe up Queen Anne and Capitol hills, for example?

These motorized bike-lifts can flatten out the steepest sections of a city. Check out the video, but save yourself by muting the sound. If I was slapping them down around town, I’d also like another placed to ferry riders over Phinney Ridge.

I’m sure you’ve got some locations to nominate—0bviously West Seattle, downtown, and Beacon Hill seem like naturals—so let’s hear ’em.

Of course I know this idea is fantasy. A mere mention of the option in San Francisco brought out the haters, who failed to see that this was an option to get non cyclists out of their cars and onto bikes, not a way to pamper already-riding hipsters who don’t want to “walk up the damn hill.”

I can’t imagine the spew and outcry such a plan would generate around here.

Sigh…  at least the Brompton video was cool 😉

Tim

* Don’t get me started on the SDOT propensity to route bike lanes up and down hills when they don’t have to. Instead of forcing riders to sweat their way up the Dexter hill for a Fremont-to-Downtown bike route, why don’t we just bite the bullet and build better infrastructure a mostly flat and under-traveled Westlake Ave?

Hills like Dexter may be fine for the neon-clad Cascade fitness riders, but casual commuters you know, the people who don’t call themselves cyclists, but still need to start riding if we want cycling to move out of the transportation fringeare never going to do it.

Promoting Walk – Bike – Ride, in the Seattle Style

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn unveiled a multi-year Walk, Bike, Ride campaign yesterday at the Beacon Hill light rail station. Initial reaction locally was mostly lukewarm, with many observers pointing to the plan’s lack of funding as a major obstacle to success.

Paul Andrews of Bike Intelligencer summed up the announcement and the campaign eloquently with his post Walk, Bike, Ride, yes. Spend? Um, err….”

Where’s the money, Lebowski?

The opening line from “The Big Lebowski” kept rolling through my mind as Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, King County Council member Larry Phillips and a supporting cast of street activists rolled out a new “Walk Bike Ride” campaign at the Beacon Hill light rail station this afternoon.

Andrews is a seasoned newspaperman and professional writer. And it shows. In contrast to many bloggers (yes, bike bloggers, too. This one included), Andrews can really write. In a, concise post, he covers both the good of the plan (The mayor, who biked to the press conference, wants to encourage a city-wide shift away from driving), as well as the bad (uh, how are we going to fund said shift)?

It’s worth popping over to Bike Intelligencer and getting the full poop.  But while you are here, you might as well know that The Car Free Days’ take on  the plan is a qualified  “Bravo.”

Sure, presenting the plan in tandem with a big-ass bucket of money would have been nice, but we’re reasonably happy with the overall message.  If we can instill the city’s collective mind with the idea that “bicycling is a normal option for normal people,” we’re on our way to change. Continue reading