Earlier this summer San Diego made waves in the niche world of urban planning by hiring Bill Fulton, a rockstar among sustainable growth experts, as its new director of planning.

Now another national planning expert has stepped on the scene: San Diego State University hired Bruce Appleyard as its new professor of city planning and urban design.

The sudden wealth of well-known planning thinkers comes as the city and region continue conversations on how best to handle the expected surge of growth over the next 40 years.

Fulton is best known for writing the textbook read by all first-year planning students in California, and for his role transforming Ventura as its mayor before moving on to a national group advocating for smart growth. Appleyard is best known for his work on active transportation and the positive effects cities see when they provide transit and cycling-related infrastructure to their residents.

Photo by Sam Hodgson
Photo by Sam Hodgson
Bruce Appleyard

Appleyard’s work, and that of many of his colleagues, “stands on the shoulders,” he says, of his father’s 1981 book, “Livable Streets,” which played an influential role in describing the ways people’s behavior relates to the activity on the streets around them.

I sat down with Appleyard during the first week of classes at SDSU to talk about whether he plans to involve himself in San Diego’s planning dialog, how cycling infrastructure can improve the lives of the city’s residents, and why discussing transportation changes can engender such adverse reactions.


We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?

Can you describe the goal of the national transit and livability study you’re involved in?

It’s a national study on transit corridor livability. We’re looking at huge samples of transit corridors across the country, looking at different aspects of quality-of-life factors and what sorts of strategies we can employ to make these things better. It’s taking into account environmental sustainability and quality-of-life factors, and the ability of people to pursue a better life and what type of access there is to those opportunities.

Is there a broad takeaway that cities can try to implement?

Absolutely: Provide easy access to transit opportunities, or readily available opportunities without having to rely on an automobile. Be able to walk, bike, take transit and have those everyday opportunities available to you in easy form, and cities can see multi-dimensional benefits from having both the transportation and land-use integration that allows ease of access to opportunities.

Transit in San Diego has a reputation for being inaccessible; mainly that it requires a car to make use of the trolley.

The bike-transit-bike trip, when you start factoring in the time and what you pay to find parking, it actually can be reasonably competitive with an auto-trip, even in San Diego. San Diego has a wealth of freeways, but when you think about the need to find and pay for parking, it helps the bike-transit-bike trip be more competitive with driving, plus you get exercise, you have a lighter footprint on the environment and with the smaller space you’re taking up on the road, you’re not adding to the congestion of the road.

Is there another city you think San Diego, because of geographic similarity or something else, should try to emulate in terms of transit?

Yes, and I think they have in many respects. Portland’s been a good example. San Diego has done a good job at initializing the foundation for a transit system, and starting to look at bus rapid transit, to sort of expand the network of rapid express transit.

What do you think of the bus rapid transit plan? It has plenty of critics, many of whom dislike that its capacity relies to some extent on widening freeways.

All of these things help make a connected network that people can look at and start using on a more regular basis. I think the bike-transit-bike connection is really important. I lived for a while in Portland, Ore., where it rains all the time. Compared to Portland, it doesn’t rain here. There’s no real excuse to not bike. We’re a region of canyons and mesas and coastal plains. We have these very — we’re a region of corridors. So we need to think about how to make all these different corridors function for all these different modes better. We have a tremendous freeway network, and now we need to start augmenting those options for bicyclists, and of course, transit riders and pedestrians.

SANDAG’s long-term plan does rely a lot on widening freeways. How do you think that plays into what you describe as making the rest of the transit system as functional as the freeway system?

With all these things, you need to focus on what’s happening at the end of the project, whether it’s building a light-rail line or a freeway. One of the problems we’ve had in this country is we don’t do a good job of coordinating our land-use planning and our growth with our transportation investments. So, if we don’t have this coordinated land-use planning that integrates with our transportation planning, what happens is, we don’t optimize the return on our investments.

Two local examples that spring to mind are the BRT construction along El Cajon Boulevard, which is going through an area flirting with downzoning the area in its new community plan.

Driving is incredibly inefficient in so many ways. From space consumption, from energy consumption, you have to move this multi-thousand-pound vehicle down the road, and it takes up a lot of space when you need to park it or when it’s in motion. People often try to downzone, or increase off-street parking requirements, but the footprint that a cyclist, or a transit rider, or a transit line take up are so much more efficient for an urbanized area. You’re bringing up a great sort of basic corridor example, where the BRT provides a very efficient way of moving people in a narrow amount of space. But they should think about how the BRT is going to get people up and down that corridor to different businesses or schools or homes and things like that, and think about actually really intensifying that corridor.

The other thing that came to mind is the Mid-Coast Trolley extension, running along I-5. El Cajon Boulevard is already a pretty dense area, but that area isn’t really at all. The transit stops there then could have the effect of changing those neighborhoods in many ways.

Right, they have a lot of park-and-ride lots, but it’s particularly situated for people to be able to bike and get on the trolley. The other thing about the bike-transit-bike trip is that the transit system itself, this also goes for BRT and bus, is they’re terrain liberating: They can get you up on the mesa and down into the canyons, they can help bridge people from one place to another. So the bicycle ride can be augmented to get people from one place to the other, and then it takes care of this “last mile” problem. Right now I know the mid-coast line has park-and-ride lots, but it’s really a flat area, a perfect place for people to ride their bikes. And also there’s the city’s bike-sharing program coming, and the bike-sharing options can really help both ends of the transit line so you don’t always have to put your bike on transit. That actually can be very effective too.

How effective have bike-sharing programs been at changing commuting share nationally?

It’s completely been effective in the places it’s been implemented. Commuters use it all the time, it’s been tremendously effectively in Paris, London, New York, D.C. Sure, it works for tourists, but it gets people that last mile, those last few blocks.

Bike stations and bike parking, they’ve all been very effective at increasing the amount of people who bike to different transit lines.

At the Uptown planning group meeting this week, I didn’t poll the audience to find out how representative this was, but there was a very vocal opposition to bike-related investments, people who viewed it as an attack on their lifestyle. Is there any reason to think that mentality fades over time as bike investments are implemented?

People always have an agoraphobic reaction to change. There’s a fear of change whenever you’re in the marketplace, a fear of the unknown.  And as planners, the public realm is really a perfect arena for a lot of the concerns people have. It is completely right and just for people to come out and raise questions. But time and again, when we make these improvements, people then look back and say, “Ya know, that really worked.” And so there will always be people to object to anything in the public realm that’s changed, and we should always honor and respect those concerns. But it’s really the start of a conversation.

A lot of the concern came from local business owners with parking-related concerns, but there have been many recent studies suggesting an increase in cyclists is a good thing for local businesses.

More people coming by at a reasonable human-scale speed, it’s easier for them to stop, it’s easier to go into the stores and be customers, and studies have been showing this time and time again.

I know there’s a lot of concern about parking, but the big question you need to ask with regards to parking is do you really have a parking availability problem, or is it a parking convenience problem? Can people actually not find parking, or is it just a little bit farther away, but still available? …

We really need to colonize the street with bike infrastructure. And it’s not just about the aggressive cyclists. It’s about getting the people who are concerned.

Well, the aggressive cyclists are already biking, and they probably will be under just about any circumstance.

It gets to a central equity issue. There are people who want to bike, but they don’t have the facilities and they’re scared. This is something the community really needs. I believe there’s a strong indication that there’s a pent-up demand for bicycling, as long as you provide the facilities.

When you say there’s a social equity issue, does that issue track with a certain demographic or population?

There’s concern and growing literature that says oftentimes it’s women that aren’t going to bicycle, and that men are more likely to bicycle in dangerous conditions. So there’s certainly an issue of gender equality. Our children deserve an opportunity to enjoy the streets. The elderly might not bike if they feel unprotected. There’s a growing theory of people called “the interested but concerned cyclists.” If you think about how many people own bicycles, there are probably more people who own bicycles than own cars. Everyone owns a bicycle. These are people who are interested but concerned, and the majority of them are women, so it’s a gender equity issue.

With you and your dad’s book, “Livable Streets,” you’ve been working on this issue for a very long time, but it does seem ideas around walkability and complete streets are very en vogue right now.

It has definitely gained traction. Yes, that’s true. “Livable Streets,” there’s a lot of people who use that book and say they stand on the shoulders of my father, and we’re now coming to realize how to make our streets more livable. It was really a very paradigm-broadening work that my father did, and now we recognize that there’s really only so far we can go on the path that we’re going, and we really need to make the streets more inclusive for all users. I mean, Levi’s is now building pants with a little reflective strip and a u-lock holster.

With the conversation being elevated, you’re upping the bar with the sorts of things you have to disarm. You move up from arguing about whether planning represents market-distorting government control, to whatever the next thing is.

What we’re left with now, with the rise of the greatest centralized infrastructure planning projects that the world has ever seen, is the interstate highway system, our freeways. People complaining about centralized government, they’re really 50 years too late. They really should have talked about what was going on between the building of the freeways, GM, people who want to talk about public-private, centralized government. But really, with all those things, they were addressing what people wanted at the time. And now there’s a desire for us to go back, and retrofit and refashion what we’ve developed. We haven’t reached our maturity of providing all we can provide for all modes and all people.

And I think we need to ask whether a smart-growth agenda is as equitable as it should be as well, and whether it’s meeting the needs of the poor. There are more poor people living in suburban areas that are harder to reach, so we need to think about making sure it’s inclusive. I think we need to be creative in the types of units we provide, and the ways we provide mixed market. Growing up in a society that is ethnically and financially diverse is very beneficial.

What sorts of things can local or regional planners pursue that can aid binational collaboration between the region and Tijuana?

I think we should work with what I’m calling “binational areas of confluence” for business. You could build a business park on the border, where there’s security to get in and out, and you could have it designed as such so the public agencies for both sides, the nonprofit agencies and private agencies, so people could come together and have face-to-face conversation.

Without having to deal with wait times and border issues.

In many businesses you need to pass some sort of security to get in there. And you do the same thing on both sides, so it’s a place people come together and work together. We are obviously tied with the Tijuana River, and we share air quality. We share job opportunities, a workforce. We are a community. We are a binational community whether we like it or not. And if we’re at all to be considered a world city, if San Diego is, it’s because of Tijuana.

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    This article relates to: Bike Plans, Bike Policy, Border Connectivity, Bus Rapid Transit, Growth and Housing, Infrastructure, Land Use, Mayoral Election Issues 2014, Neighborhood Growth, Neighborhoods, News, People, Public Transportation, Share

    Written by Andrew Keatts

    I'm Andrew Keatts, a reporter for Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you'd like at andrew.keatts@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0529.

    59 comments
    Erin Schumacher
    Erin Schumacher subscriber

    Mark. I agree with you. My argument is not that bikers shouldn't pay cycling fees. No where in my short statement did I say or allude to that. My point is that labeling cyclists as "freeloaders" is unfounded and incorrect.

    Erin Schumacher
    Erin Schumacher subscriber

    Jim, this comment ignores the fact that cyclists are also car owners and pay the exact same taxes & registration that you do. One difference, however, is that they also create less pollution and require less oil. According to your logic, I could make an argument that you're freeloading off of their reduced emissions...

    Mark Giffin
    Mark Giffin subscribermember

    Erin. That is a ridiculous argument. Bikes and cars are both vehicles.
    If the push is for more bike improvements to acomodate transportation then those public improvement costs should include bike license fees. Going mainstream should bear a cost

    JLDodd
    JLDodd

    When the cyclists support a bike license fee and a bike license plate fee I will believe that that are serious about sharing the transportation system. Until then the bike people are free loaders while I pay their way driving my pick up truck…jim dodd

    Erin Schumacher
    Erin Schumacher

    Mark. I agree with you. My argument is not that bikers shouldn't pay cycling fees. No where in my short statement did I say or allude to that. My point is that labeling cyclists as "freeloaders" is unfounded and incorrect.

    Erin Schumacher
    Erin Schumacher

    Jim, this comment ignores the fact that cyclists are also car owners and pay the exact same taxes & registration that you do. One difference, however, is that they also create less pollution and require less oil. According to your logic, I could make an argument that you're freeloading off of their reduced emissions...

    Mark Giffin
    Mark Giffin

    Erin. That is a ridiculous argument. Bikes and cars are both vehicles.
    If the push is for more bike improvements to acomodate transportation then those public improvement costs should include bike license fees. Going mainstream should bear a cost

    Kevin Swanson
    Kevin Swanson

    I attended a C3 breakfast several years ago and heard Bruce speak. The dependence on the auto created by the industry is now starting to "come home to roost" as they might say only 120 years ago. Implementation of Clean Water Act storm water cleanup before it reaches an outfall will cost the City of San Diego over $2.5B in unfunded expenditures over the next 18 years. Why? Pollutants from autos are a big contributor. How could we improve circulation, use of efficient public transit, and other issues? Follow the lead of Seattle, San Francisco, Abu Dhabi, and other Cities around the world in putting Freeway and Transit in tunnels along the lines of MOVE SAN DIEGO's proposal. This would remove the significant pollutants and travel congestion, if combined with automated shuttles along the lines of what is being tested in Singapore and elsewhere. San Diego needs integrated solutions. Kevin SWANSON FOR MAYOR

    Kevin Swanson
    Kevin Swanson subscriber

    I attended a C3 breakfast several years ago and heard Bruce speak. The dependence on the auto created by the industry is now starting to "come home to roost" as they might say only 120 years ago. Implementation of Clean Water Act storm water cleanup before it reaches an outfall will cost the City of San Diego over $2.5B in unfunded expenditures over the next 18 years. Why? Pollutants from autos are a big contributor. How could we improve circulation, use of efficient public transit, and other issues? Follow the lead of Seattle, San Francisco, Abu Dhabi, and other Cities around the world in putting Freeway and Transit in tunnels along the lines of MOVE SAN DIEGO's proposal. This would remove the significant pollutants and travel congestion, if combined with automated shuttles along the lines of what is being tested in Singapore and elsewhere. San Diego needs integrated solutions. Kevin SWANSON FOR MAYOR

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones subscriber

    Actually there may be very little room for growth. There is an upper limit of bike commuters that is far below total commuters. This is a given, not everyone is suited to bike commuting. Before you get to that limit you start compression, you have to spend more to add fewer riders as distances increase and the spending to facilitate those with . We are likely already in compression on a national level. If you look at this study's data: http://policy.rutgers.edu/faculty/pucher/TRA960_01April2011.pdf Federal spending on bikes and walkways has increased from $5 million in 1988 to almost $1 billion today, while bike commuting has only increased 0.4% from 1.2% to 1.4%. Consider also that the spending has targeted the low hanging fruit, dense area's with short commutes, and you can see just how expensive it is to make inroads. Everyone looks at Portland as inspiration, where you have around 6% bike commuting. They spent around $60 million to get to where they are, they intend on spending over $600 million over the next 20 years for a 2% gain, so clearly they are in heavy compression. Is even that 6% possible here? No, because logistic and demographic limitations. We are much more challenged in terrain, Portland has much better direct routes, we have to drive through valleys, we have an slightly older population, more people in households as opposed to single, a much lower percentage of whites (important because demographically bike riders are overwhelmingly young white males), and we are more economically challenged by high cost of living that makes our time more valuable. Can we increase bike riders? Sure, but can we do so in a way that is cost effective, fair to all, and makes significant inroads? Not very likely, other cities that have tried have not matched Portland, in part because Portland increase came when their economy collapsed and gas prices spiked, but even now the cost of a loft in high density Portland area is a fraction of what it cost here, so the people dispositioned toward biking (young white males with short commutes) can't afford to live where they have that density and commute in any large numbers. We are not Portland, no other city has seen that kind of increase, and there is no magic bullet. Blindly throwing money at bike lanes is irresponsible governance. It is flying under the radar now, but with our streets a billion dollars "in the hole" when spending on bike lanes does get the general public spotlight, you start seeing a lot of pushback, and you should. Anyone who wants to bike right now can, and you shouldn't be spending money to drag people kicking and screaming to biking.

    doug evans
    doug evans

    "How Cycling Can Solve San Diego’s ‘Last Mile Problem’" The Q&A never addressed what, exactly, the "last mile problem" really is. What's the definition? The "last mile" from or to where? And is there an answer to how we can solve the problem? And regarding the question, "Transit in San Diego has a reputation for being inaccessible; mainly that it requires a car to make use of the trolley," Appleyard doesn't answer the basic question of the accessibility of the trolley system, without first driving to a trolley stop. He simply tells us how "you get exercise." I guess I was hoping that a successful planner, former mayor, and now teaching professor, would have concrete examples of what we're doing wrong, and offer a solid plan that could be used as a platform to spark interest in alternative modes of transit. Maybe a platform that one of the potential mayoral candidates in the upcoming election could take to heart.

    Jeff Evans
    Jeff Evans

    It's a phrase that refers to the problem of getting people from a transit hub to their final destination (shop, workplace, home, etc.). It is a major and widely discussed issue in the context of transit in most cities that have any sort of system. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_mile_(transport)Last milehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_mile_This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page . The "last mile" or "last kilometer" is a phrase used by the telecommunications, cable television and internet industries to refer to the final leg of ...

    Tar Marble
    Tar Marble

    not only people don't bike to work but they can't handle cyclists on the road - in their bike lane. I have not seen such backward "nation" as San Diegans when they interact with harmless bikers

    Susan Harrigan
    Susan Harrigan

    Harmless, they're not. This morning, as I was waiting to make a right turn, a group of cyclists came up on my left. On the green arrow, I started to pull out, only to have three of the bicyclists pull out and cut me off, pulling into the right lane. I slammed on my brakes and honked. When I turned to the rest of the cyclists, several were laughing. I lowered my window and told them that if they "wanted drivers to respect them, they needed to obey the law". While some of them continued to smile, one said "you're right". At the next light, I saw him talking to those who had cut me off. Given the multiple experiences I have had with bicyclists who blow through red lights, ride on the wrong side of road, etc, I can't trust that it was about obeying the law.

    Susan Harrigan
    Susan Harrigan

    Harmless, they're not. This morning, as I was waiting to make a right turn, a group of cyclists came up on my left. On the green arrow, I started to pull out, only to have three of the bicyclists pull out and cut me off, pulling into the right lane. I slammed on my brakes and honked. When I turned to the rest of the cyclists, several were laughing. I lowered my window and told them that if they "wanted drivers to respect them, they needed to obey the law". While some of them continued to smile, one said "you're right". At the next light, I saw him talking to those who had cut me off. Given the multiple experiences I have had with bicyclists who blow through red lights, ride on the wrong side of road, etc, I can't trust that it was about obeying the law.

    Joshua Brant
    Joshua Brant

    Regarding "bike-transit-bike" - each bus has a bike rack that only holds two bicycles, even the extended length buses.

    Joshua Brant
    Joshua Brant subscriber

    Regarding "bike-transit-bike" - each bus has a bike rack that only holds two bicycles, even the extended length buses.

    David Hall
    David Hall

    "There’s no real excuse to not bike. " Try carrying a ten foot piece of lumber.

    Kevin A Parker
    Kevin A Parker

    My names Kevin, a Grad student in the City Planning program at SDSU. A great way to improve our public transit would be to implement a water public transit program, similar to Long Beach's Aquabus and Aqualink. The idea would be to run a public route from National City, Coronado, Downtown, then to Mission Bay and back. San Diego is filled with leisure and tourist travelers, that could be encouraged to bring a bike on a boat to bike ride. Our military would love to bike to work, but nobody would ride their bike across the Coronado Bridge at 530 am, so to pay a buck and get a ride across the bay with your bike would be, safe, fun, and welcomed.

    David Hall
    David Hall

    No, not so easy in a city like San Diego. But I do give you credit for the link. They're carrying more than I expected.

    David Hall
    David Hall subscriber

    "There’s no real excuse to not bike. " Try carrying a ten foot piece of lumber.

    David Hall
    David Hall subscriber

    No, not so easy in a city like San Diego. But I do give you credit for the link. They're carrying more than I expected.

    Randy Dotinga
    Randy Dotinga

    Geez Louise. This kind of attitude -- "People always have an agoraphobic reaction to change. There’s a fear of change whenever you’re in the marketplace, a fear of the unknown" -- is dismissive and arrogant, and his response gets worse from there ("honor and respect concerns," but essentially blow them off).

    Randy Dotinga
    Randy Dotinga memberauthor

    Geez Louise. This kind of attitude -- "People always have an agoraphobic reaction to change. There’s a fear of change whenever you’re in the marketplace, a fear of the unknown" -- is dismissive and arrogant, and his response gets worse from there ("honor and respect concerns," but essentially blow them off).

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones

    The whole argument, hinging around the supposition that many people will bike if it somehow gets safer or more convenient, is seriously flawed. Many places have spent countless dollars playing into this supposition, and always fail to make any meaningful inroads. It's a pipe dream.

    Dennis Rosche
    Dennis Rosche

    I would like to see some real numbers of the people who actually bike to work and some realistic estimate of how many would if conditions were improved. How many of the 1.3 million people in the city bike to work? Without some actual numbers it seems that there are a small group of people who want to be subsidized by the rest of us.

    Dennis Rosche
    Dennis Rosche

    Belinda, an increase in % doesn't mean much unless you have the underlying numbers. 250% sounds like a big increase but if the number of commuters went from 1 to 250 it still doesn't mean much if there are 50K commuters. I walk a few miles every day for my exercise and it doesn't cost anyone else a dime.

    Derek Hofmann
    Derek Hofmann

    Similarly, bicyclists can ride without bike lanes. In fact, they are legally allowed to ride in the center of the regular traffic lane when no bike lane is provided and the regular traffic lane is too narrow to share with motor vehicles. However, many motorists prefer bicyclists to stay off to the side of the road, so you'll have to convince those motorists that bike lanes aren't necessary.

    Carrie Schneider
    Carrie Schneider

    not to be pedantic, but a 250% increase would be from 1 to 2.5. Even less impressive!

    Dennis Rosche
    Dennis Rosche

    So what % bike to work? While work trips may only account for 15% of all trips they are likely the longest trips. Perhaps a % of miles traveled monthly might be a better measure. The fact that there is lot's of room for growth doesn't mean that the percentages will increase dramatically, many people can't or don't want to bike for lot's of different reasons.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones

    Biking is already about as safe as driving, the safety issue isn't real. You shouldn't be relaxing when commuting, even, or especially on a bike, and the bike riders I see running lights and stop signs are not relaxed. The only relaxed looking riders I see are those old bearded guys on their recumbants.

    Belinda Smith
    Belinda Smith

    I hear what you're saying Dennis, but if it's safer, many more people will opt to bike to work. Lots of people see it as a way to get their daily exercise, and for some it's just more relaxing than sitting in traffic. I believe San Fran has seen a 250% increase for commuters. If I can dig up the stat, I'll post it.

    KatFerrier
    KatFerrier

    WalkSanDiego has data on bicycling (and walking) as % of all trips (not just work trips) which is very interesting: For trips under 1 mile: • 1.5% bike • 45% walk For trips between 1-3 miles: • 1% bike • 10% walk For all trips: • 1% bike • 15% walk Work trips are typically only 15% of all trips. This data is from 2010. Lots of room for growth to get more people biking.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones

    Actually there may be very little room for growth. There is an upper limit of bike commuters that is far below total commuters. This is a given, not everyone is suited to bike commuting. Before you get to that limit you start compression, you have to spend more to add fewer riders as distances increase and the spending to facilitate those with . We are likely already in compression on a national level. If you look at this study's data: http://policy.rutgers.edu/faculty/pucher/TRA960_01April2011.pdf Federal spending on bikes and walkways has increased from $5 million in 1988 to almost $1 billion today, while bike commuting has only increased 0.4% from 1.2% to 1.4%. Consider also that the spending has targeted the low hanging fruit, dense area's with short commutes, and you can see just how expensive it is to make inroads. Everyone looks at Portland as inspiration, where you have around 6% bike commuting. They spent around $60 million to get to where they are, they intend on spending over $600 million over the next 20 years for a 2% gain, so clearly they are in heavy compression. Is even that 6% possible here? No, because logistic and demographic limitations. We are much more challenged in terrain, Portland has much better direct routes, we have to drive through valleys, we have an slightly older population, more people in households as opposed to single, a much lower percentage of whites (important because demographically bike riders are overwhelmingly young white males), and we are more economically challenged by high cost of living that makes our time more valuable. Can we increase bike riders? Sure, but can we do so in a way that is cost effective, fair to all, and makes significant inroads? Not very likely, other cities that have tried have not matched Portland, in part because Portland increase came when their economy collapsed and gas prices spiked, but even now the cost of a loft in high density Portland area is a fraction of what it cost here, so the people dispositioned toward biking (young white males with short commutes) can't afford to live where they have that density and commute in any large numbers. We are not Portland, no other city has seen that kind of increase, and there is no magic bullet. Blindly throwing money at bike lanes is irresponsible governance. It is flying under the radar now, but with our streets a billion dollars "in the hole" when spending on bike lanes does get the general public spotlight, you start seeing a lot of pushback, and you should. Anyone who wants to bike right now can, and you shouldn't be spending money to drag people kicking and screaming to biking.

    KatFerrier
    KatFerrier

    I'm glad Bruce brought up the equity issue - and see it relate not only to ethnicity but also to age and gender. This was also raised at Uptown Planners the other night when someone stated most bicyclists were white. I don't know the stats for San Diego but would be interested in finding out. He's also right about the importance of corridors. I'd love to see the city focus on connecting our neighborhoods by making our corridors more bike/ walk friendly. This is the beauty of SANDAG's EAP bike projects. It's our corridors that are often the most hostile to walking and biking. Think Washington Street. Yet these are essential to getting from one neighborhood to another.

    Bill Davidson
    Bill Davidson

    Actually, Portland has seen a drop in congestion that has meant that they can put off expanding freeways and that has saved saved more money than their entire investment in bike infrastructure for the last 20 years. Freeways are very, very expensive.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones

    Actually Portland's drop in freeway traffic was nationwide, due to the economy, not due to bikes in any measure. According to INRIX, the average traffic load from 2010 to 2012 in the measured 162 US cities was 90.3%, while Portland's was 92%, so against a baseline of all US cities congested corridors Portlands traffic has gotten worse, not better. So biking seems to make traffic worse, or maybe correlation doesn't indicate causation and people with extreme bias will cherrypick and ignore good science to make a point that is false, hoping to sway the non critical thinkers?

    Derek Hofmann
    Derek Hofmann

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Portland's bicycle commuting share has increased by 443% since 1990, and San Francisco's is up by 258%.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones

    Yes, but the increases are meaningless in the large picture. A small insignificant number of people ride bikes becoming a little less smaller but still insignificant number can be a large percentage change, but as an overall amount of total traffic it is still insignificant. Portland spent much much more promoting biking than they will ever see in return, San Fran as well. It is throwing tax dollars away..

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones subscriber

    The whole argument, hinging around the supposition that many people will bike if it somehow gets safer or more convenient, is seriously flawed. Many places have spent countless dollars playing into this supposition, and always fail to make any meaningful inroads. It's a pipe dream.

    Derek Hofmann
    Derek Hofmann subscribermember

    Similarly, bicyclists can ride without bike lanes. In fact, they are legally allowed to ride in the center of the regular traffic lane when no bike lane is provided and the regular traffic lane is too narrow to share with motor vehicles. However, many motorists prefer bicyclists to stay off to the side of the road, so you'll have to convince those motorists that bike lanes aren't necessary.

    Derek Hofmann
    Derek Hofmann subscribermember

    Except for the cost of the sidewalks.

    Dennis Rosche
    Dennis Rosche subscriber

    Derek, I can walk without the sidewalks.

    Dennis Rosche
    Dennis Rosche subscriber

    Belinda, an increase in % doesn't mean much unless you have the underlying numbers. 250% sounds like a big increase but if the number of commuters went from 1 to 250 it still doesn't mean much if there are 50K commuters. I walk a few miles every day for my exercise and it doesn't cost anyone else a dime.

    Carrie Schneider
    Carrie Schneider subscribermember

    not to be pedantic, but a 250% increase would be from 1 to 2.5. Even less impressive!

    Dennis Rosche
    Dennis Rosche subscriber

    So what % bike to work? While work trips may only account for 15% of all trips they are likely the longest trips. Perhaps a % of miles traveled monthly might be a better measure. The fact that there is lot's of room for growth doesn't mean that the percentages will increase dramatically, many people can't or don't want to bike for lot's of different reasons.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones subscriber

    Biking is already about as safe as driving, the safety issue isn't real. You shouldn't be relaxing when commuting, even, or especially on a bike, and the bike riders I see running lights and stop signs are not relaxed. The only relaxed looking riders I see are those old bearded guys on their recumbants.

    Belinda Smith
    Belinda Smith subscriber

    I hear what you're saying Dennis, but if it's safer, many more people will opt to bike to work. Lots of people see it as a way to get their daily exercise, and for some it's just more relaxing than sitting in traffic. I believe San Fran has seen a 250% increase for commuters. If I can dig up the stat, I'll post it.

    Dennis Rosche
    Dennis Rosche subscriber

    I would like to see some real numbers of the people who actually bike to work and some realistic estimate of how many would if conditions were improved. How many of the 1.3 million people in the city bike to work? Without some actual numbers it seems that there are a small group of people who want to be subsidized by the rest of us.

    Bill Davidson
    Bill Davidson subscriber

    Actually, Portland has seen a drop in congestion that has meant that they can put off expanding freeways and that has saved saved more money than their entire investment in bike infrastructure for the last 20 years. Freeways are very, very expensive.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones subscriber

    Yes, but the increases are meaningless in the large picture. A small insignificant number of people ride bikes becoming a little less smaller but still insignificant number can be a large percentage change, but as an overall amount of total traffic it is still insignificant. Portland spent much much more promoting biking than they will ever see in return, San Fran as well. It is throwing tax dollars away..

    Derek Hofmann
    Derek Hofmann subscribermember

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Portland's bicycle commuting share has increased by 443% since 1990, and San Francisco's is up by 258%.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones subscriber

    Actually Portland's drop in freeway traffic was nationwide, due to the economy, not due to bikes in any measure. According to INRIX, the average traffic load from 2010 to 2012 in the measured 162 US cities was 90.3%, while Portland's was 92%, so against a baseline of all US cities congested corridors Portlands traffic has gotten worse, not better. So biking seems to make traffic worse, or maybe correlation doesn't indicate causation and people with extreme bias will cherrypick and ignore good science to make a point that is false, hoping to sway the non critical thinkers?