Monday, September 26, 2011

Cycle lane wars but what about the results?

How one New York bike lane could affect the future of cycling worldwide - is an interesting article in the guardian about the cycle lane wars in Manhattan by Matt Seaton.

Causing an incredibly biased article in the New York Times ( apparently). 

The bit that caught my attention was the quote 
"there was no attempt to report the facts – the booming commerce in the newly pedestrianised Times and Herald Squares, the improvements in road safety, particularly pedestrian casualty numbers, from the traffic-calming effect of installing bike lanes, and the increase in cycle use itself." 

I've personally believed that well designed cycle lanes in the right places would lead to a boom in shopping and cafe existence. (the relatively ) Low speeds mean you can see information as you go. If you see or smell something you like you can stop easily enough*.  The compact nature of a bike means that you can have very generous parking in front of the smallest shop. Unlike cars you can say hello to an acquaintance as you pass in the street, or if you pass some friends you can pull up quickly enough. 

As scientist and engineer I would like some hard figures to back up these reports. Assuming they were true I think it would be another economic reason to add to the outcomes of a well funded cycle lane scheme ( including overhead lanes naturally )

* on elevated systems you would have regular stations so stopping and coming off would be simple enough. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Another system fom Richard Architecture

Nice looking system from Richard Moreta. Lovely design but at the high end cost wise ( nothing wrong with expensive in principle if you can get the money ). I like the up and down tubes - although Richard doesn't explain anything (shame) I suspect that this is about permitting a back draft system ( push air down the tubes in keep the wind to the cyclists back raising overall speeds). I if you look on the website you can see the stations have what look like flat escalators ( good idea) all driven my small wind turbines (cute).  Dates back to 2002 which isn't bad for such a cool looking system.

Intreasting to imagine that the helicopter in the image is likely to use up more energy than the whole system from people will in its life time( but not the savings in CO2 from cars which will be considerable ).