Urban Life
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what to do to improve our lives in the city where we live
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European cities promote cycling with everything from ‘superhighways’ to revolving bike racks

European cities promote cycling with everything from ‘superhighways’ to revolving bike racks | Urban Life | Scoop.it

Cycling through the heart of some European cities can be a terrifying experience as you jostle for space with cars, trucks and scooters that whizz by with only inches to spare. Thankfully for bicycle enthusiasts, a movement is afoot to create more room for cycling in the urban infrastructure.

From London’s “cycle superhighways” to popular bike-sharing programs in Paris and Barcelona, growing numbers of European cities are embracing cycling as a safe, clean, healthy, inexpensive and even trendy way to get around town.

Amsterdam and Copenhagen are pioneers of this movement and serve as role models for other cities considering cycling’s potential to reduce congestion and pollution, while contributing to public health.

The trend is catching on also outside Europe, says John Pucher, a professor of urban planning at Rutgers University in New Jersey and co-author of a new book titled “City Cycling.”

Pucher says urban cycling is on the rise across the industrialized world, though Europe is still ahead of the pack.


Read the complete article for further details on urban cycling, cycle 'superhighways', bike sharing programs, two-wheel parking, mixed-mode commuting and more...


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How Amsterdam’s Urban Form Created the Ideal Cycling City

How Amsterdam’s Urban Form Created the Ideal Cycling City | Urban Life | Scoop.it
Before the bicycle arrived in Amsterdam in the 19th century, the city had undergone six centuries of development, inadvertently creating a compact urban environment ideal for bicycle use.

A smaller city is more navigable by bicycle purely becaus 85% of journeys by bicycle in Amsterdam are shorter than 5km (3.1 miles). Amsterdam’s suitability for a bicycle network is about more than its size, however. A network of canals and 1,500 bridges mean it is essentially a city of islands. Most of Amsterdam’s canals were built to encourage property development, meaning many roads have water to one side and housing to the other. The result is that road widening is almost impossible. Considerations about how to adapt Amsterdam’s centre for cars were ultimately abandoned for bicycle-friendly policies. This included the development of an extensive network of segregated cycling facilities and bicycle friendly policies.

Mixed-use developments typically found in Amsterdam have further enhanced the city’s suitability for bicycle use. With home, work, and leisure opportunities located within shorter distances of each other, residents have easy access to retail, leisure, health and education facilities, critical in establishing sustainable communities...


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Commuter biking could save US $17 billion a year | SmartPlanet

Commuter biking could save US $17 billion a year | SmartPlanet | Urban Life | Scoop.it
According to a new report on the public benefits of commuter biking, the practice can generate massive savings in health care.

The U.S. spends around $2 trillion a year on health care, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. Wouldn’t it be nice to find a way to cut back on those costs, while simultaneously improving public health and lowering carbon emissions?

Copenhagen recently published its 2012 Bicycle Account, which enumerates the considerable public benefits of commuter biking. One-third of the city’s population bikes to work, and this has benefited everything from transportation costs to security, tourism, traffic infrastructure, and public health...


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Sharing time: Tracking the ‘sharrow’ on city streets

Sharing time: Tracking the ‘sharrow’ on city streets | Urban Life | Scoop.it
Not a full bike lane but better than nothing, the sharrow is popping up in cities everywhere. It's half a solution, but it points in the right direction.

A "sharrow" -- the word is an amalgamation of "arrow" and "share the road" -- is a large symbol of a bicycle topped by two chevrons pointing the way forward. More technically known as "shared lane markings," they're intended to remind two-wheeled and four-wheeled road users to share with each other, and also to encourage people on bikes to take the lane when it's too narrow to ride side-by-side with car traffic.

Visiting Seattle last weekend, it was impossible not to notice that its streets are covered in sharrows. Increasing in popularity nationwide, they got a boost in 2009 when they were officially entered into the federal transportation engineering canon. Seattle got a head start, writing them into its 2007 Bike Master Plan. Other cities began earlier, but I've never seen such a profusion as in the Emerald City...


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