Tag Archives

Archive of posts published in the category: Commuting
May
12

Houston’s transportation planner: COVID shows streets cannot be just for commuting

Since David Fields arrived on the job in Houston in February he has been a man in motion, even as the city nearly ground to halt to stop COVID-19.

As the city’s first chief transportation planner — a position aimed at coordinating Houston’s ever-changing streets into a coherent system for drivers, transit users, cyclists and anyone who uses the roads — Fields finds himself watching along with the rest of us what the virus and lockdown are doing to commute patterns and recreational trips through neighborhoods. Traffic may have dropped dramatically on local freeways but bayou trails are teeming with runners and bike riders.

Fields came from a private sector job in San Francisco, where much of his work was for local governments and transit agencies redesigning streets, plazas and bus and train depots, and establishing policies for parking and vehicle use.

In an email discussion, Fields says in the future residents could find streets that consider more than just cars, where safety for everyone trumps speed, depending on what the city is trying to achieve for particular streets so sprawling Houston can get full use of the funds it dedicates to roads.


As you look at upcoming plans and projects around the city, how is COVID-19 affecting them? Are there tangible things that are changing or are the changes more conceptual, in the sense we might not know what demand is going to look like 12-18-24 months out any longer?

Streets are funny things. Some people see them as having just two purposes: Movement and storage. That might be cars, bikes, transit, or walking, but for all of them, we often limit in our minds what this very physical and expensive infrastructure can do for us.

COVID-19 is reminding us that streets don’t need to do the same job, 24 hours per day, seven days per week, 365 days per year. If we limit streets to these two jobs, we’re not getting the full value out of our investment in our city. While our streets move people at some times of day, those same roads can be used as play spaces at other times. Businesses reminded us that space used for parking sometimes can be used for restaurant pick-up zones at other times.

Learning this lesson is a huge benefit for our city, because the more ways we can use our roads, the more value we provide to our community.

LANDSCAPE PLANNER: Post-pandemic world could be ‘a little bit slower and a whole lot greener’


From a planning perspective, has the new coronavirus bought you a little time to sort things out? The challenge here historically has been projects rarely have kept up with traffic and often induced demand makes the shelf life of their benefits much shorter. So, is there a silver lining to a pause?

COVID-19 is a teaching moment. It’s time to take a hard look about what we thought could never change. One of those big topics is believing that everyone who commutes must commute

Mar
30

60 Benefits of Bike Commuting & Recreational Bicycling


 



 



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There are many, many good reasons for bicycle commuting, recreational
bicycling and creating a strong bike culture in general.  Hopefully a
couple with resonate with everyone and motivate more bicycling.


  1. On-going use of a bicycle has virtually NO carbon footprint.
  2. You will be a leader in your community.
  3. Bicycles increase mobility for those who don’t have access to motor transport.
  4. Bikes increase mobility for those who don’t qualify to drive a car.
  5. Bicycles increase mobility for those who can’t afford motor transport.
  6. Bikes increase mobility for those who don’t want to drive motor vehicles.
  7. Bicycles increase mobility for some people with arthritis, back problems
    and other mobility issues.
  8. Bicycling can be faster than walking, transit or motor vehicles.
  9. Bicycling is the most energy efficient form of transportation ever invented.
  10. You get healthy exercise from bicycling.
  11. Save travel money by biking. If the switch is from a car this includes
    purchase price, gas, tires, fluids, insurance, maintenance, washing, parking,
    etc.
  12. Reduce stress by bicycling.
  13. Biking is therapeutic for the mind and spirit — is fun and can make you
    happy.
  14. Cycling is therapeutic for the cardio-vascular system, live healthier.
  15. Regular cycling provides better muscle tone, bone mass improvement, clearer skin
  16. Regular bicycling helps with personal weight management — new full-time bicycle commuters can expect to lose
    an average 13 pounds their first year of
    bicycle commuting if they maintain the same eating habits.
  17. Bicycling is a great initial activity for people who are obese and help
    them on their way to a healthier life.
  18. Regular cycling can lead to lower health care expenses — save money for a
    nicer vacation.
  19. Allows the rider to appreciate the more of the nuances of the natural and
    built environment around them.
  20. Your commute will be the best part of your day instead of the worst part
    of your day.
  21. The exercise increase your productivity at work
  22. Cycling improves your self-esteem.
  23. Primary school students will thing you are “cool” or “hip” or “neat” or “rad”
    or whatever the current term is.  In time even older people might come to
    appreciate your leadership.
  24. Save on the membership to a health club, get your exercise bicycling to work,
    school, shopping, etc.
  25. Bicycling is nearly a life-long activity.
  26. Bicycling is a great full family and friends activity.
  27. Cycling is low impact on the body.
  28. Cycling is low impact on the environment
  29. Bicycling in your neighborhood is a great way to