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Bicycles are Transit: Linking Cycling, Transit, Planning and PeopleRush hour with cyclists and pedestrians making up the bulk of movement in central Copenhagen, Denmark.
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Photo by Carlos Restrepo
S-Train in Copenhagen, DenmarkThe S-Train at Copenhagen Central Station with a special section for bicycles.
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Photo by Thomas Le Ngo
Bike Oasis in Portland, OregonA covered parking 'bike oasis' on SW 6th Ave between Washington and Alder Streets in Portland, Oregon. The oasis was installed as part of the Portland Light Rail Project, which added MAX light rail to 5th and 6th avenues in downtown Portland's transit mall.
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Photo by Dylan Passmore
Bike Parking in ZurichExtensive parking for two wheels in busy central Zurich, Switzerland next to a multi-use trail.
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Photo by Richard Risemberg
Bicycle Parking Outside San Francisco BART stationThe San Francisco Bay Area's BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) has been making more accommodation for cyclists in recent years. Extensive bicycle parking has been added to many stations, such as this one in West Oakland, just across the bay from San Francisco. Bike lanes, bicycle boulevards, and off-street bike paths help bring residents to the BART station pictured. Unfortunately, some BART trains still don't allow full-sized bikes onboard during certain hours, through folders are always permitted.
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Photo by Dylan Passmore
Bixi Station in TorontoHeading to Pride, Alejandra Zapata takes one of the few bikes left at this Bixi station in Toronto.
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Photo by Mikkel Ostergaard/ Danish Cyclists Federation
Cycling in DenmarkEveryday riding through the streets in Denmark.
Bicycles are Transit: Linking Cycling, Transit, Planning and People
S-Train in Copenhagen, Denmark
Bike Oasis in Portland, Oregon
Bike Parking in Zurich
Bicycle Parking Outside San Francisco BART station
Bixi Station in Toronto
Cycling in Denmark
From the First to the Last Mile
“That was surprisingly easy.” The clunk of the bike rack on the front of the bus and the whirr of the trains in the station above us echoed Megan’s words as she looked triumphantly up at me. My partner of five years and I had just completed a journey around Vancouver, BC. Our trip involved taking our bikes over water on ferries and riding on a mix of slow-trafficked streets, off-street trails and separated bikeways. The option to throw our bikes onto public transit greeted us at many different points along the way. Now we were riding home, and we were surprised at how ordinary and natural our travels seemed, especially by bike.
Infrastructure that is supportive of people on bikes, especially those who use bicycles for transportation, expands our daily travel choices, allowing us to find the most convenient, fastest way for our own particular needs. Like many people who live in cities, Megan and I needed to see that functional, comfortable and identifiable infrastructure – such as separated bikeways, secure bike parking, and bike racks on buses, trains and ferries – not only existed, but that it would connect us comfortably from destination to destination.
Save for walking trips, no trip involves just one form of transportation. We inevitably shift between two or more methods of travel – by foot, bicycle, bus, train, car – so we must be aware that every mode of transportation is connected and strive to make these connections seamless. A wave of cities around the world have already recognized the need for integrated transportation and the coordinated planning it takes to make this a reality. These cities are changing gears from the one-by-one developments of roads, bike routes and public transit systems to taking a more holistic, connected approach to infrastructure and urban development. The results show that these changes make cities more humane and vibrant – a new form of human-powered city.
Known as the first and last mile, the part of the trip that connects you to the door of your destination poses a problem for transportation planners. Public transit can efficiently transport a large number of people on specific routes, but it can’t connect to every door. Urban planners and transit authorities are considering bicycles as a way to connect the “last mile” in a sustainable way while decreasing overall commuting times.
Redesigning Cities with a Focus on Experience
A strategic shift gaining popularity in city planning is to look at how cities are experienced through all forms of transport and how design either aids or inhibits one form or the other. Rising economic and environmental costs are making many people reconsider their dependency on cars, while also making them want to live in places that are walkable and accessible to the entire family. As a result, the bicycle is gaining new ground as an attractive transportation choice, even in car-dependent North America.
“Cycling is truly a mode of transportation,” announced Michel Labrecque, Chair of Société de transport de Montréal (STM), as he began his keynote speech during Velo-city Global 2012 this past summer in Vancouver. In Montreal, including the bicycle as a transportation choice meant building infrastructure that would support the transportation cyclist as well as the recreational cyclist.
“We have been calling it the ‘transportation cocktail,’” explained Floriane Vayssières of Montreal’s agence metropolitaine de transport (AMT), using a term coined by Labrecque. Mixing a unique “cocktail” means choosing from an array of integrated transportation options including walking, car sharing, taxis, public transit, and now bicycles and bike sharing systems. While the resulting cocktail will vary from person to person, providing access to each ingredient is important and must fit the needs of those traveling throughout the city.
The real challenge facing urban development is finding ways to effectively and sustainably connect and move a rapidly growing urban population.
In San Francisco, Timothy Papandreou, Deputy Director of Transportation Planning for the Sustainable Streets Division of San Francisco’s Municipal Transit Agency, sees transportation choices as part of a “mobility menu” where each person chooses transportation according to his or her taste. The car is still the most popular mobility menu choice in the region, and he believes that to change tastes toward more sustainable choices like cycling, we must follow the money. The agencies that fund transportation projects need to shift their mind-sets to see cycling as a legitimate mobility option before they will open up funding opportunities. Papandreou also suggested that to attract more people to active transportation there must be a focus on fun, something San Francisco is pursuing through the development of interactive smartphone apps that track and display commuting information over all modes of travel.