Thursday, May 27, 2010

kolelinia Very very cool and just a little crazy.

I've finally tracked this system down. I'm a big fan of minimal systems - the narrower the lane the less weight you carry, the further between columns the cheap the whole system is.  Snd you can't get more minimal than a couple of wires.
I think my basic worry is that any system where you run high up and have to wear a security harness is a challenge to our health and safety culture. Still who am I to throw stones?  This kind of think would be cheap enough  to test out and see how it matches up to reality.

Check out the video for the kolelinio - they have a really nifty mechanism to keep things attached while going over wire attachment points.  Talk about elegance !

kolelinia core sysytem from on Vimeo.

Naturally the thing I am most envious of is their marketing ability. This one got on to a stream of TED talks and in Wired. How did they manage that!

The mighty Biketrans or transglide 2000

The Transglide system goes all the way back to 1997 (possibly earlier I'm not sure). I love the drawings of the system wonderful, this is elevated cycle ways as they should be. I think Milnor has got all the right ideas, elevated (naturally), stations, bikes don't have to have as structurally over designed as pedestrian or car ways,  but the clever stuff to notice is

  • Separate up/down sections so you can push the air to encourage faster flow by lowering air resistance(1).  
    • this means you can travel much further much faster
  • Optionally charge a toll per trip ( you have on/off stations so you can do this).
    •  This could make the system financially self supporting. 
I remember someone once critiqued that pumping air down was a energetically too expensive and I wrote back defending the Transglide pointing out that this was putting as much energy in as running a bus ( i.e. its still better than a car). This made me realise that in strong winds cyclists are putting in as much energy as a bus - which seems a bit much to ask, why not protect them from strong winds?

Still I'm getting off the point, Check out the transglide system it's cool.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Health, Facts and a lovely talk. Building a non motorised city

If your like me then nothing can beat some good facts and this presentation has got them. Its nice to see all the threat to health information put together. Naturally I love the elevated 'skyway' section but some very excellent work on the costs of street reform, Any elevated cycle lane is about fitting in cyclc lanes into a city but they would always be part of a mixed approaches ( ground cycle lanes, storage facilities but also integration with trains and buses ). Great talk well worth a look. Sorry about the width - try opening it in another window if you have problems.

Non Motorized Transportation Mar -

Friday, May 21, 2010

Let them eat tarmac

I've linked to this because you can read some of the negative comments of car drivers as they find their roads pushed aside to make way for cycle lanes. 

It's a problem, how do you make space for a separate transportation network in a city? You can push the car's aside but as anyone who has cycled in a cycle lane full of parked cars knows, car's can push back. The alternatives are go down ( underground the most expensive way of doing things ), don't built ( cycle on the road and hope for the best)  or go up.

Up is the space monorails, but you need minimalism, tight turning, circles and tiny stations. Things you can't do with traditional heavy rail even traditional monorails. PRT can do it, but I think bikes are the most elegant way of doing it. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mojdeh Stoakley of Fast Lane Cyclery

I've linked to this article from the Chicago examiner  to show that the idea of an elevated cycle way is an obvious step which many independent people at thinking about. Eventually one of the people touched by the idea will have the access to capital to make it happen. The odd thing is the use of the term Motoway - Moto or Motorway. Motoway Nice word anyway. 

Can you tell me about the Motoway idea? 
MS: Motoway is an elevated cycling environment plan that Anthony has been developing with several local nonprofits and architects. It is a 25-year project designed to get cyclists off the road itself for huge chunks of their ride. The Motoway system would consist of tubes which would affix to existing structures such as the El, some buildings, etc. It would be a climate-controlled environment with multiple lanes -- structured by speed so people on motorized bikes as well as other fast-moving cyclists don't compete with weekend comfort bike riders, etc.

The majority of bad bicycle accidents happen because cyclists are forced to ride on roads without bike lanes, and because too many motorists don't pay attention to the cyclists around them. The Motoway plan wouldn't solve the problem of careless motorists, but it would create an environment in which cyclists no longer have to worry about careless drivers.

Monday, May 17, 2010

NY 9th Ave Separated Bike Lane Experiment

This is quite cool cycle lane. Basically put the bikes at a different gradient next to the pedestrian pavement/sidewalk then put a separator and then do the parking.

Notice you still get the same old problem - drivers can cut in and cross the lane.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cycleways and travelators

Odd thoughts about high speed travelators/moving walkways. Architects like Brian Rogers had a big thing about them in the 60's. If you want a high capacity (bodies per second) line then a travelator is the thing for you. In the 70's Dunlop tried to invent versions that could slow down and speed up but they could never deal with the problem of people 'bunching up' and then collding as they slowed down. I was told my David Turner ( guy at Warwick University that had done a lot of simulations of this ) that you have problems with the little old lady not walking way from them. 

So what happens if you have one designed for cyclists only ? I saw a cyclist level change in Holland ( nice ) and thought about it as a ski-lift like gradient change device. 

At this point you don't need moving handrails and if you come off you just coast ( assuming there is nothing either side to collide with). More importantly once you come off you just coast (so no little old lady slow moving blockage ). This would be true if you had a system that accelerated too and if the system broke then the passengers would not be threatened. 

Something to consider. What would happen as you got on ( front wheel on back wheel off) if the break was off I guess your front wheel might go backwards for a second. 

Cycle lanes dangerous?

Interesting link to a summery of cycle path safety.
There is a lot of naive work done shown how unsafe current cycle lanes are. If you look closely they tend to say well the cycle lane is safe its coming off it thats unsafe.

Generally I agree, mixing road and cycle lane traffic is a bit like trying to mix roads and rail traffic (imagine roads being built in an adhoc way around railway track). I'm sure if you people built roads but failed to raise or lower them for railway tracks ( the rail tracks just go straight through a motorway with no signals) then yes building motorways/freeways would be unsafe ( for car drivers). But we are some how smart enough not to do this ( thankfully).

But what happens if we break the rules and say 'expediency be dammed?' What happens if we deiced to put a decent amount of money into cycle lanes and more importantly make sure they cross as regularly as level crossings of trains and cars (i.e practically never).

Then I think the safety results would be quite different.

Elevated cycle way in Pasadena 1897

Wow check out this link amazing link. 
There is a wonderful link to the California cycleway company from 1897 ( yes that's  1897 right this is not a typo) set up Horace Dobbins. A cycle tollway from Pasadena to downtown Los Angeles.
This was found by the late  Dennis Crowley while proposing a similar modern ( but generally unelevated ) system [here]. Given the proposal a good look at its the first time I've seen such a detailed proposal ( including trip estimates). 

You must go a look at this it is so beyond cool.