Teams trying to build urban assault bicycle

wpid-free-vector-downloads-bicycle-vintage-graphicsfairy21.jpgThe Veggie Biker has sought two things. The perfect pannier and the perfect bike–an urban assault vehicle–for navigating railroad crossings, pot holes and broken glass. There’s hope for a perfect bike.

An Urban BIKE DESIGN PROJECT plans to unveil the perfect city bike July 25, reports Fast Company magazine.

And readers of Fast Company get to vote on the design.

“The Quest To Design The Perfect Urban Bicycle
This spring, five design teams will compete in the Oregon Manifest’s Bike Design Challenge to innovate on what two-wheeled transportation can be.

“With more major cities adopting public bike programs as a cheaper, healthier, and greener forms of transportation, the urban cycling craze is at an all-time high, leaving industrial designers with a challenge: to design a better urban bike.

“This spring, Co.Exist and Co.Design are partnering with Oregon Manifest’s Bike Design Project, which has tapped teams of top designers and bicycle craftsmen in five major cities to create the Ultimate Urban Utility Bike.

“The five participating teams of design firms and bicycle craftsmen are MNML x Method Bicycle in Chicago; Pensa x Horse Cycles in NYC; Industry x TiCycles in Portland; Huge Design x 4130 Cycle Works in San Francisco; and Teague x Sizemore Bicycles in Seattle. Each will compete to create a pair of wheels that’s safer and sleeker than anything that’s come before, prepared to weather the grittiest of urban commutes.”

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Open Streets National Summit, L.A. CicLAvia April 4-6

ciclovialogoWhen the Veggie Biker stood on a curb in Bogota, Colombia, in 2002 watching gaggles of bicyclists hurry by on car-forsaken streets, he had no idea what Ciclovia was, or that a version of it, CicLAvia, would come to Los Angeles some day.

CicLAvialogoSunday, April 6, long stretches of streets in Los Angeles are closed to cars from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and bicyclists of all sizes and abilities can wheel freely down the middle of boulevards.

OpenStreetsProjectlogoOn the same weekend, April 4-6, The Open Streets National Summit meets in Los Angeles Friday through Sunday to promote bicycling in America.  For $365 one can participate in three-days of discussions about the future of bicycling.

The Open Streets National Summit writes it will have “featured sessions for both novice and experienced Open Streets organizers, led by experts from the Open Streets Project, CicLAvia and other local organizers.

  • Building a coalition of supporters
  • Outreach to key community partners and stakeholders
  • Marketing and branding
  • Choosing a route
  • Sponsorship and fundraising
  • Organizing and recruiting volunteers
  • Evaluating your initiative”

One may view the full agenda here.

“The weekend will also contains plenty of time for participants to network with one another,” Open Streets writes, “while attending CicLAvia on Sunday afternoon.”

 

O.C. Bicyclists meeting Wednesday to lobby Fullerton

Fullerton Sharrow LogoFrom Vince Buck, North Orange County Bicycle Advocacy Coalition (NOCBAC)

North Orange County Bicycle Advocacy Coalition members are tentatively scheduled to meet on Wednesday, March 12, to plan their presentations of bicycle issues to the Fullerton City Council March 18.

NOCBAC will meet in Davis Barber’s office at 7 p.m. on the top floor of Villa Del Sol, 305 N Harbor Blvd, Fullerton. Pizza will appear (contributions appreciated), but it is BYOB.

The Fullerton City Council will hear a report on bicycle issues in Fullerton at their March  18 meeting. This is a good opportunity to address the council of one’s concerns. There is the feeling that the city is currently  at a standstill in spite of a potentially supportive council. A good  turnout of articulate advocates (e.g. you) is  important. It is important bikers who have never appeared before the council come so the Council does not view the usual suspects.

The following is a rough draft of a letter Buck Vince hopes to send to the city council. These issues and any others members believe are important will be discussed at the NOCBAC meeting. The idea is to create a list of three to four items to emphasize.

Vince Buck’s rough draft of his letter. He invites bicyclists to contact him to add projects to this list.

First, staffing. Recently our mobility coordinator, who served as staff to the City of Fullerton Bicycle Users’ Subcommittee and who was responsible for bicycle developments, left for a position in Riverside. Currently that position remains unfilled.  I would like to see that position occupied by someone who is committed to moving bicycle policy and infrastructure forward; and who will be listened to.

octalogo2I am also concerned that in the past few years we  have missed out on a number of funding opportunities. Orange County Transportation Authority  distributed over $15 million to 30 different projects county-wide in the last two cycles. Only one applicant was unfunded and some money was left on the table.

Brea, La Habra and Anaheim all were successful applicants. Brea has received nearly $8 million for a single project from a variety of sources including OCTA. Costa Mesa received approximately $2.25 million from OCTA for five projects including trails, bike racks, a signal and educational efforts. Even though it was known that much of OCTA funding in the 2012 cycle was earmarked for the 4th supervisorial district (because a “connectivity study” had recently  be concluded here) Fullerton did not apply for any of this money.

In fact Fullerton did not apply in either year. And another year is approaching. We need a knowledgeable person to write grants.

In addition to staffing and funding, I would like to see action on the following:

  • Wilshire bike boulevard. There is strong neighborhood support for this but little forward movement. We have obtained a planning grant, but this will take time to complete and the project could easily and inexpensively  be started on a trial basis. Several residents of this neighborhood have asked me when the proposed bike boulevard will be put in place. This and similar routes are critical to the success of the bike sharing program.
  • St. Jude/Rolling Hills Class I bikeway link. This link has been on our bikeways plan for some time and will connect Valencia Mesa/Youth Way to Rolling Hills. It is a critical part of our north Fullerton bikeway network and it is essential that this be included in the Bastanchury widening project. This should be a prime candidate for an OCTA grant.
  • Brea Creek/ Malvern Class I Route along the flood control channel from  Basque to the city line. This is a project that has the support of County Flood Control but the ball is in the city’s court. This is another link in the Valencia Mesa/Rolling Hills route that would extend across the entire city.
  • Courtesy http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/sharrows.htm

    Courtesy http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/sharrows.htm

    Sharrows (see attachment). Sharrows are used on bicycle routes where there is not sufficient room to install a Class II route.  They are now  widely used throughout the world. Locally, I have seen sharrows in Long Beach, Newport Beach, Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Diego. Jay Eastman drew up a draft policy for Fullerton, and the BUSC has discussed specific locations with Mark Miller. Sharrows are low cost and have a high impact. We need staffing  to move this forward.

  • Signage. There are Class III routes that have been on the plan for decades for which no signage has been installed . Also signs are missing on previously signed routes, such as Valencia Mesa and Wilshire. Jay Eastman reported to the BUSC that it would cost $3000 to replace those signs but that a line item was needed to fund that.

The above is a compendium of low-cost and high cost items.  We can and should move forward with the high visibility low cost items and apply for grants for the more expensive items.  I would also encourage the city to start thinking about the possibility of a bicycle pedestrian bridge over the  57 freeway at Madison, which is on the bicycle plan (which will relieve some of the growth pressure on the CollegeTown neighborhoods),  and the bicycle route along the UP right of way; but these are not as immediate as the above mentioned items.

There are individuals in important positions who can help (e.g. Shawn Nelson, Sharon Quirk-Silva). And I believe  that our council is the most supportive we have ever had in Fullerton, but it needs to make clear that safe bicycling is a priority.

Vast leaps forward are taking place in other cities across the nation from Long Beach to New York City . We need to join this movement and make our city more livable, more energy efficient and a more desirable place to live.

Los Angeles Marathon “Fun Ride” Replaces “Crash Race”

Photo by Mikey Wally via Flickr Creative Commons

Photo by Mikey Wally via Flickr Creative Commons

The Veggie Biker always wanted to be a tail-end Charlie on the Los Angeles Marathon “Crash Race.” But today, everyone was tail-end Charlies as the City of the Angeles lost its nerve and issued a permit for a “fun ride.” KPCC-89.3 has the story.

Whatever, race or fun ride, who does not want to be there?