Monday, February 22, 2010
 

Politicians are different on the West Coast

Streetfilms recently released a short film of Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn who rides his bike about 6.5 miles to work most days. Yes, it does rain in Seattle and he knows how to use proper rain gear, and he probably showers at work. "In Seattle I ran as a populist, and in Seattle that means you ride a bicycle." They have nice bike wayfinding signs there too.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009
 

Local filmaker produces bike commuting documentary

David Cranor of The Wash Cycle is one of the people featured in the documentary of bike commuting in the DC Metro area, Pedal Power Final Cut. According to The Wash Cycle, the film was made by Mike Kurec who "is a grad student at American University whose thesis project is a documentary centered on bicycle commuting in the DC area."

Pedal Power Final Cut from Mike Kurec on Vimeo.

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Bikes can be part of the Tysons traffic solution

Daring to dream of reducing Tysons traffic is the title of an article in today's Washington Post about measures being taken to get more cars off the road in Tysons, especially during the construction of Metrorail and the I-495 HOT lanes. A couple of new transportation options are now being offered.
A new free Tysons Connector shuttle loops around the malls and banks and restaurants at midday. And, starting next year, carpoolers will get points they can redeem at stores in Tysons, where 120,000 people work but only 17,000 live.
and
a new express bus service operated by PRTC OmniRide will bring commuters from Woodbridge to Tysons on weekdays.
One of the most obvious solutions to congestion isn't even mentioned: bicycles. A Tysons bike share system could handle many of the short, lunchtime trips, at a very low cost compared to the transit options. Bikes can be used for many commute trips for people living within a 5 mile or greater radius of Tysons, especially when combined with trips on Fairfax Connector buses, all of which now have bike racks. For those who drive, even short trips are now taking a very long time:
Pam Minett found another option entirely: She moved to Tysons. Life was good in her Vienna apartment until this year, when the trip to the small law firm where she works as office manager began to take over an hour.

"We're talking 6.92 miles," Minett said. "That's painful."

Her rent on WestPark Drive jumped 30 percent, but she says it was worth it. "That's how bad the traffic was."
At a very slow pace, cycling 6.92 miles takes just over half an hour.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009
 

Biking in New York, 1980-2009

Good transportation blog recently posted the article Biking Is Way Up in New York City. Again. that includes a good chart showing growth of cycling since 1980-2009. With better facilities, cycling has grown from about 2000 in 1980 to around 15,500 now. "According to the most recent data from the New York City Department of Transportation, biking in the city skyrocketed again this year. The colored bars represent the number of bikes counted at different commuter points over the course of a single day."

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Thursday, November 12, 2009
 

U. S. Dept. of Transportation bike commuters

U.S. DOT bike commuters are featured in a recent blog post by the Secretary of Transportation entitled DOT bike commuters leading by example: "Last week, on a walk through DOT headquarters, I met Thomas Dorset. Now, Tom is in his late-ish 60s, works for our Federal Railroad Administration, and commutes the 10 miles to work (and 10 back) by bicycle." We did not add the emphasis, and yes, it is possible to commute 10 miles by bike. It takes an average cyclists about 45-60 minutes, probably not much longer than driving in DC rush hour traffic, and parking is free, as is your workout.

The DOT Bicycle Commuters Group "consists of about 80 people who meet monthly to share information and come up with ways that DOT can provide more support for its bicycle commuters." I hope they are taking advantage of the Bicycle Commuter Act benefits of $20/month. As was pointed out back in August, the Government Accounting Office has authorized at least one federal agency to implement the benefits under the Transportation Fringe Benefit Program.

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Sunday, November 1, 2009
 

Trading four wheels for two

That's the title of a guest column in Richmond BizSense about bike commuting in Richmond, VA. The author, an attorney in Richmond, discusses cyclist's legal rights to the road and reasons why some of us ride and why it's a good thing:
In fact, cyclists, serious cyclists, bike commuters like me, are the motorist's best friends. Think of it this way—you may get frustrated if you have to veer around me in your rush to the next stoplight (where I will probably catch up to you waiting for the green). But ask yourself—would you rather veer around my bike or be stuck behind my Grand Cherokee? When you are looking for a parking space, isn't it nice to know that there is at least one more out there—the one that I would have used if I had driven? And when you go to the gas pump, think of the 7.5 million gallons of gas that we bike commuters didn't buy last week. That has to help keep prices down for drivers.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009
 

Health and Commuting Study

Today's Washington Post reports on a study of health and commuting, Walking, biking to work linked with better fitness: "Walking or biking to work, even part way, is linked with fitness, but very few Americans do it, according to a study of more than 2,000 middle-aged city dwellers." Anyone who bikes to work knows about the fitness aspects of commuting; it's one of many reasons why we commute by bike. It's also fun, doesn't cost much, generates no air pollution, reduces congestion, is reliable (we know how long it takes to get somewhere; we rarely know what's in store for us when driving), and others. It's good to see research being done to verify the health benefits of bike commuting:
In what may be the first large U.S. study of health and commuting, the researchers found only about 17 percent of workers walked or bicycled any portion of their commute.

Those active commuters did better on treadmill tests of fitness, even when researchers accounted for their leisure-time physical activity levels, suggesting commuter choices do make a difference.

Crumbling sidewalks, lack of bike paths and sheer distances all keep American commuters in their cars, experts said.

"I would love to bike to work, but it is completely unsafe for me to do so," said Penny Gordon-Larsen of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who led the study in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine. "There's one real small, narrow area where there's no bike lane."

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Thursday, June 11, 2009
 

Governor Kaine encourages government employees to drive less

Yesterday Governor Kaine issued Executive Order 82, Greening of State Government to encourage state employees to reduce the environmental impact of government operations. One way to reduce their impact is to drive less:
Every day we each make choices that result in impacts to the environment; opportunities to lessen these impacts abound. For instance, we can reduce automobile emissions by holding videoconferences or conference calls rather than face-to-face meetings and by walking, bicycling, carpooling, or taking transit to work.
Another way is to promote smart growth by locating government buildings near transit and in bike/ped-friendly places:
When a Commonwealth agency or institution is to lease space or build a new building in a metropolitan area where public transportation is available, it shall seek to lease or build within a quarter mile of a transit or commuter rail stop. The Commonwealth also shall, when leasing and building facilities, seek locations that are pedestrian and bicycle accessible. The Commonwealth shall encourage the private sector to adopt green building standards by striving to lease facilities that meet the same standards as those required for new state construction as outlined above. The Division of Real Estate Services of the Department of General Services shall consider these preferences in approving new leases or extensions of current leases.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009
 

Bike commuting article in Post

Today's Post contains a good, short article on bike commuting, Latest Savings Vehicle Comes on Two Wheels
Bike to work, save money, get fit, help the environment. It seems like a no-brainer, yet you still drive to the office every day.
It includes answers to common concerns about bike commuting.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009
 

Paul Dorn, Bike Commuter

Since May is Bike Month and next Friday is Bike to Work Day, I thought a bike commuting post was in order. EcoVelo is a bike blog that I check on a regular basis: "This site is the public expression of our personal commitment to reduce our impact on the environment by employing bicycles as our primary mode of transport."

A recent post features information about Paul Dorn, a bike commuter, author of The Bike to Work Guide: What You Need to Know to Save Gas, Go Green, Get Fit, and creator of a website devoted to bike commuting. There's also a link to a recent interview with Paul.

Bike to Work Day is a great time to celebrate bike commuting and for first time bike commuters to learn that it's an inexpensive, non-polluting, and (usually) fun way to get to work. Be sure to register for your local pit stop at WABA. This year, if you are multimodal and take your bike on the bus as part of your commute, you ride for free.

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Monday, March 23, 2009
 

Errands by bike

It seems that most people in the Metro DC area have full schedules and getting out on the bike can be a challenge. The best way is to incorporate bicycling into your lifestyle, especially by commuting to work. There are many options for commuting; bike-only, bike-transit, or bike-car. All Metro and Fairfax Connector buses have racks to carry two bikes, so the bike-bus option can be very appealing, especially to overcome barriers to bicycling like the Beltway or other non-bike-friendly areas. Bike to Work Day on Friday May 15 is a great way to celebrate bike commuting.

Oftentimes errands are left for the weekends, which for many people means several short trips by car. However, if you can figure out how to carry a few items on the bike, many of those errands can be done by bike. As an example, my wife and I usually ride to the market on Saturday mornings, then stop somewhere for lunch on the return trip. We can easily carry the market items in our panniers. The trip often includes stops at the bank or the hardware store. We get exercise, we have fun, and we're not burning any fossil fuels. If you don't do it already, next weekend why not try running a few errands by bike?

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