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Planning Junkie

Geek of the Urban Sphere

They are expanding the freeway along my morning commute. I am sure most people feel like this is a great thing. I mean the construction traffic is horrible, but when it is finally over we will have a shiny new interstate with 5 lanes on each side. Utah County will finally have a huge freeway, just like the big city. One politician actually said, “This will open up Provo to the world.” I don’t know how to respond to that, unless you consider sprawl opening up your city to the world….

I hate traffic as much as the next guy, but I also know that expanding the freeway will not really fix anything, at least not for long. And I guess I am not the only one who feels this way, there are a few places starting to think a little differently.

http://cityparksblog.org/2009/07/07/freeways-to-parks-parkways/

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New York City’s park in the sky. Once an abandoned, blighted track, running above western New York City. Now a beautiful public park. Nature did the first step, by blowing in seeds, growing weeds and then decomposing and evolving. Then just when it was set for demolition some local residents started thinking of how to save it. They started Friends of The High Line. Now it is becoming a full public park with trees, water features, benches, etc. Not only that, the neighborhoods it runs through have gained destination status.

Of course converting old rail lines into trails is nothing new. But an elevated greenway……

Paris has one, the Promenade plantee,  but it took building one here in the US for it to seem real. Now other cities like Chicago and Philadelphia are starting to dream up their own projects to turn industrial era relics into economic engines.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/15/arts/design/15highline.html?_r=1

Even mainstream news, and real-estate are starting to get it.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703964104575335164136600430.html#mod=djemLifeStyle_t

“When I was looking for a house four years ago, lots of real-estate agents didn’t even mention walkability,” Mr. Howe says. “Now I see it everywhere, which is great.”

I LOVE Bike Sharing. I love it.

If you already know all about it, you know how cool it is. If not listen up, it may blow your mind.

The idea reminds me of the cart rentals at the airport. You put money in the station and it spits out a cart. When your done with it you just deposit it in the nearest station. Bike sharing is exactly the same, but with bikes. In a good system there are stations all over the city. You pay a monthly fee to have unlimited access to their bikes.

The advantages are huge. For one, bikes can be used in correlation with transit. With bike sharing you don’t have to worry about what to do with your bike when you get to the bus or train. Also lets consider the economic, environmental, physical health benefits of biking rather than driving. Compared with cars bikes are cheap. No gas, no insurance, no car payment. Bikes are a zero emissions vehicle. ZERO. The only side effect may be a healthier lifestyle.

And with bike sharing you get all the benefits of bicycling without having to worry about storing, locking or maintaining your bike.

Bike sharing programs promote cycling. More people on bikes = less on the road, it sounds like a good idea to me. If cities recognized the benefits, why would they not want to put a few dollars toward a program like this?

So yeah, bike sharing is cool.

The idea is really starting to take off around the world. Traditionally, the U.S. falls behind our world neighbors on any transportation that doesn’t involve cars. But we are starting to see bike sharing programs popping up all over the country. Denver opened their B-cycle on April 22 of this year. They claim to be the largest in the nation. But, I am guessing that wont last long.

They have a site  http://www.bcycle.com/whowantsitmore.aspx where you can vote for your city to get bike sharing next.

Miami Beach is about to open up a really great program.

They are marketing the whole thing as the being the only green transportation. What I love about it is the $15 a month membership fee. They say it is equivalent to 3000mpg. Now that is cool.

They also manage to make riding a bike seem very sexy. I don’t think you have to wear a bikini to ride one, but I can’t be sure.

A blog for one planning geek to spew forth her random thoughts about the world to other planning geeks, or anyone  else who is interested in making the urban world more green, more beautiful, more sustainable, more walkable, bikeable, and all around more better.

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