Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Blighters Rock

No, it's not really writer's block, I've just been, ah, busy. We're in busy season at Nemetschek, meeting our design deadlines for the next great version of Vectorworks, and I've had my head down.

I've had my head down cycling, also. As I knew would happen, I "made my year" and met my goal of 3300 miles last week. In retrospect, it seems kind of ho-hum. We'll see how many miles I make by the end of the year and I'll try and do some kind of estimation of what percentage of work days I rode to work. I have to say, though, my utilization has got to be really high, if you deduct for business trips. I think I use my car to get to work no more than 2 days per month, at least for the past 3 or 4 months. Good weather (that is to say, reasonably clear weather) helps.

When it comes to understanding urban cycling, there's nothing like statistics. The city of Fort Collins, CO has just released a compilation of statistics about cycle-auto accidents over a 30 month period and I'm working on some analysis of that as well as accident stats from elsewhere. But the news item I've read recently that has I think the most significance is new bicycle usage stats from New York City. Since 2007, the ridership is up 66%. (That is to say, cycling levels in 2009 are 166% of what they were in 2007.) Wow. Check out that chart. (That is a zero-based chart!)

What can account for this? It's pretty simple, really. There's a serious commitment by the NYC DOT to get people bicycling. The city has substantive programs in:
  • Bicycle education and safety;
  • Bicycle parking;
  • Bicycle/Mass Transit interface; and
  • Bike street infrastructure.
The city has created 200 miles of bike lanes in 3 years and is committed to 50 miles of lanes per year until it completes its bike network. Check out the main NYC-DOT page on cycling and drool. For anyone outside of NYC, it is just enviable, to live in a city that has resources and uses them to Make Things Better.

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