3,000 Miles in 2011

December 30, 2011 in Bicycling by bikewalkadmin

Yuba Mundo Cargo Bike near Downtown Tulsa

The Yuba Mundo cargo bike is Bike Walk Tulsa's Stephen Lassiter's primary mode of transportation. photo: Lassiter

TULSA – At the end of my extended ride home today, I will have bicycled 3,000 miles in 2011. I never would have guessed I would ride that far when I began riding back in mid-February. I never would have guessed that I would ride 76 miles from my house in Tulsa to Grand Lake or ride in a Gran Fondo at Tulsa Tough. I never would have guessed that I would become a League Cycling Instructor (LCI), certified by the League of American Bicyclists to teach others how to ride their bicycles in traffic on Tulsa streets. Or drive to Fort Worth to buy a massive cargo bike. Or become Chair of INCOG’s Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee. Or start a blog on biking and walking.

Yet, all that happened in 2011. I sort of stumbled into bicycling just after the blizzard in February. I had been riding the bus since the start of the new year because my employer paid for me to take Tulsa Transit if they didn’t have to subsidize my parking spot any longer.

I started riding the bus on the last work-day of 2010. I rode my mountain bike one mile from my house to the bus stop. When the bus arrived, I would throw my bike onto the racks in the front of the bus, and I would retrieve it once we reached my office building downtown. I did the same on the way home. The system worked well all through January.

Then, the blizzard came. Many of Tulsa Transit’s buses were stranded along with hundreds, maybe thousands, of other Tulsa motorists. For days. Even when bus service started back up, the buses were not running on any kind of schedule because many buses were still in the shop being repaired.

I found myself at the bus stop with my mountain bike waiting. And waiting. Not sure if I had missed the bus or if one would ever come, I thought to myself, “I can bike there faster than this.” So I gave it a shot.

And that’s how it began. Since I started riding to work and other places, I lost 30 pounds (not a goal of mine as I have been blessed with high metabolism most of my life) and am in the best shape I’ve ever been. I actually bought a scale for the first time in my life because I was worried I might lose too much weight.

I’ve developed a huge passion for bicycling for transportation and want to see Tulsa become a better place to ride a bike on city streets. After visiting Boulder, CO, a platinum-level bicycle friendly city, where riding a bike or walking to get places is a very normal thing to do, I became even more excited about the possibilities for Tulsa.

We have a long way to go to get there, but the climate in Tulsa feels ripe for change. I have been pleasantly surprised by some of the city officials I have met this year who seem to be on board with many ideas and concepts that will improve bicycling and walking in the area. There are good people working for the city that want to see things improve who sometimes get tied down by their bosses, by outdated policy, or by a lack of funding.

Change can take time, but 2012 looks to be a big year for bicycling and walking in Tulsa. In the words of my twin brother, 3,000 miles means it’s time for an oil change.

Happy New Year,

Stephen Lassiter
Publisher/Editor of Bike Walk Tulsa
[email protected]

Word on the Street: 12/30/11

December 30, 2011 in Word On The Street by bikewalkadmin

Word on the Street is compilation of links to active transportation headlines from around the web:

  • Driver of SUV Crashes on to RiverParks Trail, Arrested for DUI
    Tulsa Police arrest the driver of a SUV early Friday after he struck a light pole and tree while he was driving north in the southbound lanes of Riverside Drive.
  • Sapulpa Woman Arrested for Hitting Man with Her Car
    A Sapulpa woman was arrested early Friday morning following a domestic argument outside a Tulsa bar in the 5900 block of South Lewis.
  • Construction on Elm Place (161st) in Broken Arrow to Begin Next Week
    Elm Place from Kenosha or 71st to Houston or 81st will be widened from the current four lanes to five lanes of travel.
  • Clear Bike Paths of Snow and Ice Study Says
    Winter cycling levels in Montreal are now high enough that the city has an obligation to clear its bike paths and lanes of snow and ice, says a McGill University researcher who has recently published a study on winter cycling in three North American cities.
  • The Best of Both Worlds
    Vehicular Cycling and bicycling infrastructure can co-exist.
  • Between the Lines
    That prized garage space or curbside spot you’ve been yearning for may be costing you—and the city—in ways you never realized. A journey into the world of parking, where meter maids are under siege, everybody’s on the take, and the tickets keep on coming.
  • Driving has Lost Its Cool for Young Americans
    In 2008, just 31 percent of American 16-year-olds had their driver’s licenses, down from 46 percent in 1983, according to a new study in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention. The numbers were down for 18-year-olds too, from 80 percent in 1983 to 65 percent in 2008, and the percentage of twenty- and thirtysomethings with driver’s licenses fell as well. And even those with driver’s licenses are trying to drive less.
  • New York Traffic Deaths Hit Historic Low
    Sadik-Khan said deaths are down because the city keeps re-engineering its streets, and plans to do more. “You will see more pedestrian countdown signals,” she said. “We’re going to be doubling them in the next two years. You will see more neighborhood slow zones, continuing our work to create slow zones around schools. We’ve done 138 so far.”
  • Chart of the Day: Biking and Gender
    Some interesting trends emerge – women make up about a fourth of bikers across the country, though they commute just as much as men in cities like Portland and Washington, D.C. Not so much in New Orleans or Honolulu.
  • Ed Glaeser on Why Cities Matter
    Ephemeral quality of life issues, like bicycling and walkability, attract smart, entrepreneurial people to cities.

Word on the Street: 12/29/11

December 29, 2011 in Word On The Street by bikewalkadmin

Word on the Street is a compilation of links to active transportation headlines from around the web:

  • Sizing Up Downtown Tulsa’s Boom: Part One
    Bad practices and too much downtown parking are also wildly inconsistent with any effort, even ones with only modest yields, to encourage transit use, ride-sharing or drive/park/shuffle-systems that Tulsa ought to be examining.
  • Photo Guide to Bicycling in the Dark
    Bike lighting is essential. Include a bike light at the front that casts light in the direction you’re traveling and one in the back large enough to be seen by any drivers who may be approaching.
  • It Takes a Village to Become a Bicycle Commuter
    The local bicycling and transportation community deserves much of the credit for giving me the information, support and confidence to bike to work every day.
  • Detroit Complete Streets Coalition Makes Motor City Safer for Bicyclists and Pedestrians
    It seems like a simple idea: Roadways should be safe for all users, whether they drive, ride public transit, bike or walk. But Detroit is the 12th-most dangerous metro area for pedestrians in the country, and the region has a long way to go.
  • Times Square Pedestrian Plaza Drives NY Post Columnist Mad
    Times Square has never been more popular throughout its long history among tourists and employers alike. Despite global economic trends, vacancy rates remain low and average rents are steadily increasing, solidifying its place as one of the most desirable destinations for businesses and retailers in the entire world.
  • Bicycle Traffic Signals Get the Green Light in Oregon
    Bike-specific signals aren’t new in Portland, the City’s Bureau of Transportation has used them for years now; but technically they’ve been doing so on an experimental basis.
  • Taken for a Ride on Commuting Costs
    Whether the federal government should give a tax break to workers to help pay for their commutes is a question that is certainly worthy of discussion. What shouldn’t be on the table is giving a bigger edge in any subsidy to those who drive, as opposed to those who use mass transit — since there is no reason to encourage more traffic, more pollution and more gas consumption.
  • At Gas Pump, 2011 was the Year of the Big Squeeze
    When the gifts from Grandma are unloaded and holiday travel is over, the typical American household will have spent $4,155 filling up this year, a record. That is 8.4 percent of what the median family takes in, the highest share since 1981.

Pedestrian Struck Crossing 91st at Hunter Park Had No Crosswalk Available to Use at Park Entrance

December 28, 2011 in Walking by bikewalkadmin


View Larger Map

TULSA – A 16-year-old pedestrian was struck by a car Tuesday evening on 91st Street while attempting to cross the street at Hunter Park, a location that has no crosswalk for pedestrians to get to Hunter Park directly from the neighborhood to the north.

KTUL published the story on its website. The tone of the police and the news report seem to place blame on the pedestrian:

Police say the 16-year-old stepped out in front of car [sic] in a dimly-lit area. He was not in a cross walk. We’re told the teenager is in serious condition tonight. The driver was not ticketed.

The description that the teenager was crossing in a dimly lit area and was not using a crosswalk leads many to believe the pedestrian was at fault. We simply do not have enough information to determine fault, but often pedestrians (victims) get the blame in auto-pedestrian collisions instead of drivers of motor vehicles, who have an obligation to drive with due care and avoid hitting human beings.

The design of the entrance to Hunter Park is completely auto-oriented. So much in fact that the only way to walk to Hunter Park from the neighborhood to the north via crosswalk is to either take more than a half-mile detour by walking west along the north side of 91st Street, crossing at an unmarked crosswalk at Canton Ave., and then returning to Hunter Park along the south side of 91st Street, or take a mile-long detour by walking east along the north side of 91st Street, crossing with the light at Sheridan, and then walking back to Hunter Park along the south side of 91st Street. There are no sidewalks on either side along 91st Street in this location to assist pedestrians in making such a trek.

Walking east to Sheridan would be extremely difficult to do safely because of the guardrails over the creek that runs under 91st through Hunter Park. The creek and guardrails would force a pedestrian to walk in the roadway to make this trip.

View Larger Map The entrance to Hunter Park is hostile to pedestrians.

So what would most people who want to get to Hunter Park from the neighborhood to the north do? They would most likely cross 91st Street directly. After all, crossing 24-28 feet of right-of-way is a lot quicker and easier, and is possibly safer, than hoofing it 3,200 feet or 5,280 feet along the pedestrian-hostile, sidewalk-absent right-of-way that is 91st Street.

This kind of pedestrian predicament brings to mind the horrific story of Atlanta’s Raquel Nelson who received the ultimate in pedestrian victim-blaming when she was convicted of vehicular homicide – yes, even though she was not driving a car – after her son was killed by a hit-and-run drunk driver while she was crossing a major street from the bus stop directly to her apartment home where there was no crosswalk.

In keeping with KRMG’s idea that the ability to drive to a park for a walk means Tulsa is walkable, the City of Tulsa and designers of Hunter Park have made no effort to accommodate anyone other than motorists at this park entrance.
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Word on the Street: 12/28/11

December 28, 2011 in Word On The Street by bikewalkadmin

Word on the Street is a compilation of links to active transportation headlines from around the web:

  • Pedestrian Hit by Car on 91st Street in South Tulsa
    Police say the 16-year-old stepped out in front of car in a dimly-lit area. He was not in a cross walk. The driver was not ticketed.
  • Tulsa’s City Hall Coming to Your Neighborhood
    Perfect opportunity to talk bike and pedestrian improvements with city leaders. Mayor Dewey Bartlett and the City Councilors are bringing City Hall to Tulsa’s neighborhoods. Beginning Jan. 10, 2012, and continuing through May, the mayor and council will host “City Hall In Your Neighborhood” events in each of Tulsa’s nine council districts.
  • 2011′s Biggest Transportation Failures
    The end of the Tampa-Orlando high-speed rail line, the death of a pedestrian near Atlanta and other low points from the year in city travel.
  • Pedestrian Fights Road Bully and Wins
    See what happens when a motorist blows a fuse when he is inconvenienced – for what would have been merely a few seconds – when a pedestrian crosses against the light.
  • Police Mock “Dumb F***” Jogger Hit By Semi-Truck
    At the time of the crash, the Washington Department of Transportation was urging commuters to bike, take transit or walk to work because of the closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
  • Amsterdam’s Bicycle Network No Magic Pill, But Still a World Beater
    Amsterdam is the global poster-city for urban bicycle networks, and rightly so. With around 450km of cycle lanes and the majority of its population riding a bike at least once a week, the largest city in the Netherlands is doing something right.
  • The Future of Bike Share in the U.S.
    The relative size of the American bike programs to their international counterparts has more to do with the lack of political and economic will to invest in a program that is seen as both detrimental to the car industry —still one of the most powerful lobbies in the US even post-bailout— and impractical due to the still burgeoning suburbs.
  • Bike Share for the Unbanked
    Bike-share programs have to run on credit cards, or the whole thing would never work. This system, though, comes with a giant hitch: What about all the people who don’t have credit or debit cards? Not just young people, but low-income residents as well. In Washington, about 12.5 percent of all households are “unbanked.”
  • The Gender Gap in Bicycling
    There’s something different about the United States. And it’s infrastructure. Studies across all sorts of disciplines show that women are more risk-averse, and indeed, concerns about riding in traffic are overwhelmingly the reason women cite for not riding their bikes.
  • Bicycling Fatality Rates: The Most Dismal Economic Indicator
    Charlie Lloyd, of the London Cycling Campaign, said: “Cycling fatalities in general are not getting any worse. It is likely that any increase in the number of fatalities during a recession is related to an increase in the number of cyclists. More people get on their bike or spend more time on a bike during a recession.”

Word on the Street: 12/27/11

December 27, 2011 in Word On The Street by bikewalkadmin

Word on the Street is a compilation of links to active transportation headlines from around the web:

  • Suspect in Fatal Pedestrian Hit and Run Released on Bond
    Christopher Nail was being held on a felony complaint of leaving the scene of a deadly accident and two traffic misdemeanors.
  • Collinsville Man Arrested in Fatal Pedestrian Hit and Run
    “The victim, Krista Holloway and her family had been involved in a hit-and-run collision in the southbound lanes, and officers were on the scene,” said Officer Leland Ashley, Tulsa Police. “Holloway had gone to the eastside of South Memorial Drive and was walking back westbound when she was struck by a truck traveling northbound in the inside lane of South Memorial Drive.”
  • Dallas Bicycle Advocates Win a Game of Chicken with City Hall
    Bike lanes cost too much? Mike Cynecki, a recently retired traffic engineering supervisor for the city of Phoenix, who was over their bike plan for years, said he estimated the cost of bike lanes somewhere in the neighborhood of zero. Zip. Goose egg.
  • Where Bicycles are the Norm
    The Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission wants to make Raleigh a place where riding your bike is the norm. And if they have their way, that will be the case in less than 10 years.
  • Memphis Movin’ On Up
    The completion of the Memphis MPO’s bike and pedestrian plan brought the MPO into compliance with federal transportation policy, but in itself — as a recommendation — the plan was incapable of forcing the construction of a single mile of bike lane or sidewalk within the nine municipalities and three counties in the Memphis MPO region.
  • Bicycle Friendly Stickers Gaining Popularity
    By displaying the blue-and-white decal, owners of residences, cars, and businesses make it known that cyclists can ask for help if they need it. A cyclist can approach a residence or business and request water or shelter, or to make an emergency phone call.
  • SoCal Regional Transpo Plan Allocates $6B for $40B Need
    In light of the state of California’s passage of SB 375, a bill requiring the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions produced under such planning efforts, this latest RTP includes the document’s highest ever amount of funding expectations for “active transportation,” or pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure.
  • Houston Latest City to Buy In to Bike Share
    The Houston City Council this week took the first step in putting such a system in place by awarding a $105,000 contract to a Wisconsin company to install three solar-powered bike kiosks in downtown.
  • Why the World Needs to Start Car Sharing
    Car sharing can be a nice back-up to the bicycle.

 

Photo: Biking Beneath the Broken Arrow Expressway

December 24, 2011 in Bicycling by bikewalkadmin

Biking Beneath the Broken Arrow Expressway

Broken Arrow Expressway Underpass on Pittsburgh Avenue Bike Route (photo: Lassiter)

Tulsa Pedestrian Critically Injured in Hit and Run

December 24, 2011 in Walking by bikewalkadmin

More on this story:http://www.newson6.com/story/16388239/pedestrian-critically-injured-in-tulsa-hit-and-run-crash

Word on the Street: 12/22/11

December 22, 2011 in Word On The Street by bikewalkadmin

Word on the Street is a compilation of active transportation headlines from around the web:

Crosswalk Enforcement

December 21, 2011 in Walking by bikewalkadmin

PORTLAND – The City of Portland regularly conducts crosswalk enforcement in problem areas to remind vehicle drivers, including bicyclists, they need to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.

The enforcement action involves a decoy pedestrian who attempts to cross the street. A police spotter notifies a police officer when a vehicle driver doesn’t yield and the officer then pulls over the driver and issues a warning or citation.

Tulsa has many places where this kind of enforcement action, if done regularly, could really change driver behavior. Good candidates include areas with large number of pedestrians like the crosswalks near the angled parking on Cherry Street and Brookside.

But it would also be smart to run enforcement operations in locations where pedestrians aren’t the norm, like 71st and Memorial or 15th and Louisville, because these locations can be some of the most dangerous for pedestrians because drivers are not expecting people to be walking in those areas. Drivers need to learn to be aware and yield to pedestrians at all crosswalks.