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Streetfilms: Groningen’s Green Phase for Cyclists

Groningen is the largest city in the northern region of the Netherlands. With 57 percent of all trips in the city made by bike, it has acquired the title “World Cycling City.” In Groningen, even the large multi-lane roads have been tamed for safe cycling.

At this intersection on the main ring road around Groningen, cyclists get their own green phase. When the bike signal says go, cyclists at any point in the junction can travel in any direction, including diagonally. Engineer Hillie Talens explains how it works in this short video, which kicks off a series of Streetfilms we made on trip to the Netherlands with a delegation from Bikes Belong.

Video & text (cc) Streetfilms

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Why is non-auto infrastructure always “too expensive”?

In one of the meetings of the Providence Downtown-Knowledge District Development Framework Study Committee, of which I am a member, we discussed the idea of a pedestrian/bike bridge over Route 95 between Point Street and Eddy Street. There is a long-term proposal for Rhode Island Hospital to build on a site along the highway, and the other side of the highway is a potential home for a parking structure.

Pedestrian/Bike bridge over Route 95

Click image to enlarge

The idea was thrown about for a minute, then immediately shot down as too expensive, would never happen, and we moved on. But why? We had money for the Iway. We have money for the Pawtucket River Bridge, on and on, we’ve gone over this before. Yes, we are in a recession, especially in this city and this state, but when there is a need for autos, we find a way.

In Minneapolis, they’ve found a way to build a stunning bridge for bikes and pedestrians. And their bridge was built to bypass a road that actually does have crosswalks. Albeit a terribly wide, dangerous road, but you can cross it. One cannot cross Route 95 on bike or on foot.

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Streetfilms looks at Washington DC’s Capital Bikeshare

The Phenomenal Success of Capital Bikeshare from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

Nearly three years ago Streetfilms took a day trip to Washington, D.C. to see their Smart Bike DC in action. We found the trial bike share system a fun ride with great potential, but with only 120 bikes there wasn’t a great sense of widespread use.

Flashforward to 2011 and with over 1100 bicycles and 110 stations D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare’s is amazing testament to having to “go big or go home” when deploying bike share programs.

Streetfilms

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News & Notes

→ Public Seating Beyond Parks and Playgrounds [Urban Design Week]

We’ve all been there: exhausted, hot, annoyed, and just looking for a seat! With over eight million people calling New York City home, finding a place to sit outside of parks and playgrounds can be a bigger challenge than one might imagine. Megan in Clinton Hill wishes there were places to sit in public space besides in parks: free, public resting spots on every block for a coffee, lunch, and conversation. Ultimately, she wants the city to be “more free and open to all! Not limited to only people who eat at outdoor cafes, etc.”

More and more this is how I feel about Downcity. You can sit at Grant’s Lot, and you can sit at the tables at Burnside Park, that’s about it.


→ The 1950s Called, and They Want Their Transportation Bill Back [AltTransport]

What costs $230 billion and shortchanges pedestrian and bicycle safety and already cash-strapped urban transit systems? If you guessed the new transportation reauthorization proposal from the GOP-led House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, you’d be right.


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