BikeCommuters.com

advocacy

Superbowl Fever in Tampa…but what about bikes?

Anyone who follows professional football knows that next weekend, Superbowl XLIII makes its appearance in Tampa. Preparations are underway throughout the city for an estimated influx of over 100000 visitors for this huge event.

Since I live right down the road from Raymond James Stadium (where the game’s going to be played) and not too far from downtown Tampa, I thought I’d take a bike trip to capture some photos of the preparations and to see if there was any evidence of bicycle accomodations for the event.

First, pictures: how about the stadium itself —
rayjay

Along Himes Avenue, what used to be open grass parking fields have been converted into a “tent city”…event tents, stages and other structures designed to house the press, numerous VIP parties and something called The NFL Experience. It’s really quite amazing to see just how much has been packed into this area:

himes

more development

Huge fences have been erected with security entrances at points along it…the NFL was thoughtful enough to cover the fencing with “no peek” banners so the non-ticketholding-riffraff can’t look in at all those celebrities in attendance:

fence

Elsewhere in Tampa, a number of displays have gone up. Downtown near the Channelside area, two art installations are available for visitors. The first is an NFL-themed interactive sculpture that was part of Tampa’s recent “Lights on Tampa“. This one is called “Tampa’s public mood ring”, as it responds with different-colored lights as the crowd responds to it. The artists were thoughtful enough to set up an online tool to help change this art piece in real time. Play with that by clicking here.

mood ring

The second art installation is located nearby the “mood ring” on a portion of Tampa’s Riverwalk. It is a series of really cool sculptures made out of welded recycled steel and each piece is meant to represent an NFL team:

sculptures
(sorry, the pictures aren’t great…I’m no Russ Roca!)

Just down the street, construction crews have put the finishing touches on the brand-new Tampa Bay History Center, which is a breathtaking building. They had their grand opening last weekend and hope to be 100% operational by the time all those tourists and celebrities make their way into town.

history center

So…what does any of this have to do with bicycles? Good question. As many of you might have heard or read about, the recent inauguration in Washington D.C. saw thousands of cyclists take advantage of the free bike valet parking, courtesy of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA). These folks did a tremendous job in orchestrating this, and with large parts of the city closed to motorists, bicycles made a LOT of sense to get around on.

What about Tampa and the Superbowl? Well, it’s like this: NO ONE I’ve spoken to and nowhere have I heard about or read ANYTHING about any bicycle accomodations for this huge event. There are going to be massive street closures (some of which are listed by clicking here) and because some of the road closures are major avenues through the city, I fear that gridlock is going to spill out into surrounding areas. I’ve got a couple theories about bicycles and the Superbowl, though:

1. If you can afford a ticket to the game or one of the exclusive VIP parties, you wouldn’t be caught dead tooling around town on a bike!
2. They can’t accomodate bikes at this event because they needed the room to park all the limousines, team vehicles, broadcast trucks and celebrity Hummers.
3. The most plausible: Tampa just doesn’t get it. Bikes? Those are for recreation, not transportation!

Anyhow, things should get interesting around here. I’ve got next weekend off, so I am strongly considering putting my pirate flag on the Xtracycle and wading into gridlock over in the stadium area…passing out “Gas Sucks” stickers and showing folks caught in traffic that there IS a worthwhile alternative to burning gas. I think I’ll check out that NFL Experience, too!

Who knows? I might bump into Diddy or Carmen Electra heading to one of those exclusive parties.

More on the “LightLane” Concept

Many of you have probably read about the “LightLane” concept dreamed up by the fertile minds at Altitude, Inc. of Somerville, Massachusetts. The concept has been covered on a wide variety of cycling and design blogs, but there wasn’t a whole lot of information included.

lightlane

As a professional librarian, the quest for more information is near and dear to my heart, so I sent the designers, Evan Gant and Alex Tee, an email. Here’s what Evan had to say about the concept:

Thank you for showing interest in our LightLane concept. We are extremely excited about the response it has been receiving, which has spurred us to continue down the development path. The origin of the idea was purely conceptual, as Alex and I had entered a design competition to promote commuting by bicycle (editor’s note: the design competition was Bicycle Design’s excellent “Commuter Bike for the Masses” contest). Having witnessed several friends be hit by cars while in traffic, we felt the intimidation of sharing the road was one of the bigger barriers to commuting by bicycle.

However, we also noticed that our personal comfort on roads with bicycle lanes was much improved so we set out to understand what the differences were between these two situations. Clearly one of the biggest benefits of bicycle lanes is that there is an established common boundary that both drivers and riders respect and must stay within. However, this requires a great deal of resources and planning to implement, so we decided to focus on the fact that the bicycle lane establishes a safety buffer outside of the bicycle’s footprint.

After experimenting with physical ways of increasing the perceived size of the bicycle, we quickly realized all of these would compromise the rider’s safety by increasing the probability of accidental clipping. It was at this point that we decided to project a visual boundary onto the adjacent pavement using a laser. Although it doesn’t establish a clear and predictable path for a rider to follow, it does encourage a driver to provide the rider with a wider berth by capturing their attention in a different way.

Currently we are building a beta prototype where we will be experimenting with different laser colors and orientations. Once the optimal laser configuration has been established and validated, we will quickly develop a fully functional unit where we will focus our efforts on several aspects of usability including theft prevention, cleanability and corrosion resistance. Concurrently we will be looking for manufacturing and distribution partners.

It’s been truly remarkable to see the excitement that this concept has generated, especially considering it was just a fun quirky idea to begin with. What’s been equally interesting in my opinion is to see how the product has pushed the debate of who owns the roads. This well established debate has been a common point of discussion within my own family, and clearly the LightLane, nor any product, will solve it. Instead we hope that it connects with people in a new and fun way.

Thanks, Evan, for responding — there have been lots of great comments on the various sites that covered this concept, including different laser colors (green lasers for more daytime visibility) and even aiming the lasers into following motorists’ eyes (not such a good idea). Let’s hope this concept reaches a prototype soon, as the idea behind it is full of possibility!

Los Angeles Bicycle Community Center

NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Los Angeles Set To Benefit from New Bicycle Community Center

LOS ANGELES – Cyclists Inciting Change thru LIVE Exchange (C.I.C.L.E.) announced that it will begin plans for an innovative new Bicycle Community Center in North East Los Angeles, thanks to initial funding from New Belgium Brewing Company.

The Bicycle Community Center will house an extensive bicycle education program, and provide a comprehensive set of resources that is sure to get more Los Angelenos riding their bikes for everyday transportation. Workshops will run the gamut, from teaching people to learn to ride for the very first time, to demonstrating working solutions that can haul a week’s worth of groceries home by bike.

The Center will also run the world’s first Social Bike Business program which will manufacture affordable transportation bicycles and equip qualifying low-income individuals with a transportation bicycle and the training to help them meet with their transportation needs. Area residents will also benefit from job training programs and additional business opportunities created by the Center. C.I.C.L.E. has partnered with international bicycle advocacy organization, One Street, for guidance on this new program that follows the principle of social business that adheres to the proven for-profit structure, but places the needs of people before profits.

“Bicycling is not only an environmentally friendly form of transportation but for many of our community’s residents who are transit dependent, it is also an effective and low cost means of contributing to their livelihoods,” said Councilmember Ed Reyes of the First District in Northeast Los Angeles when he learned about the program’s launch. “C.I.C.L.E’s social bike business project fulfills a great need in my district and I fully support their efforts.”

While the New Belgium funding makes the initial launch of the program possible, funding is still needed for the Center and the training programs. Those wanting to help should contact C.I.C.L.E. C.I.C.L.E.’s full name is Cyclists Inciting Change thru Live Exchange. Their work focuses on promoting the bicycle as a viable, healthy, and sustainable transportation choice. Find their contact info and more at www.cicle.org . Find out more about One Street at www.onestreet.org .

For more information, please contact Liz Elliott, Executive Director, liz@cicle.org 323.478.0060

# # #

C.I.C.L.E. :: Cyclists Inciting Change thru Live Exchange
Friendly Streets : Healthy Body : Happy Planet

Website:: www.CICLE.org
e-mail:: info@CICLE.org
phone: 323-478-0060

Stimulus Bike — A New Web Resource

Andy from Stimulus Bike alerted us to his new blog, and we thought we’d share it with you.

screenshot

Just what is Stimulus Bike? Well,

Dubbed the “The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” by Barack Obama, this economic stimulus package is still in development and no details are known for sure. Early reports indicated the total plan accounting for anywhere between $500 billion to $1.2 trillion over two years. In a recent interview with CNBC’s John Harwood, Obama stated that he plans on $775 billion to be in this plan, with possibility to grow.

So what is your portion? The majority of this money will go towards major projects such as infrastructure, while approximately $310 billion may be allocated for tax breaks. Individuals may receive $500 per person ($1000 per couple) in the form of reduced tax withholding over 4 months. For those that receive a paycheck every two weeks, expect around $60 more on each paycheck.

What should I do with this money?
Use your economic stimulus money to buy a bike! Buy a new bike, a used bike, fix up your bike, get one for your kids, or donate the money to bike advocacy groups. A bike is a cheap yet effective way to get around, especially in combination with trains and buses where available. Many Americans just made New Year’s Resolutions to be green, to lose weight, or to budget their money better, and biking is a fantastic way to do all of those.

The site is low on content, as it is pretty new — still, this one bears watching, and surely it is a great idea: I mean, extra money is always great for a bike project!

Check out Stimulus Bike and sign the pledge.

Bike Signage Survey Help Needed

Forwarded to me by a friend of the East Coast Greenway, and appearing in their newsletter:

Click on the below link to take part in a brief signage survey developed by the East Coast Greenway.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=_2bdmAJQR4_2f7OrJANA0wbg2Q_3d_3d

This survey will provide preliminary data that will help us to get a proper hearing from the national committee now considering changes to our bicycle route, roadway, and trail signage. If you can spare 12 minutes to fill it out, you will have done much to help this important process. Thanks!

sign