Car Free

Sidewalk Bonanza!

I am often amazed by how quickly my brain can absorb a new acronym so that I can barely remember a time when I didn't know what it meant. This has been the case with ARRA (pronounced air-rah), the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Many people just simply call it The Stimulus.

I use the word ARRA about 10 times a day, usually while harassing someone at KIDPA or Public Works, asking for lists of ped/bike projects. I was happy when I discovered the following sources of information: a list of ARRA projects from KIPDA including this list of sidewalk improvements. The new Louisville at Work website is also a helpful source of information about local ARRA projects. I am sharing these resources with you, dear readers, to spare you the pain I experienced while trying to find them.

We're gonna FIGHT for our RIGHT to WAAAAALK!

Last night, the Lexington City Council approved a controversial plan to build sidewalks along a portion of Tates Creek Road. Most folks weren't sure which way the vote was going to go.

From a Herald-Leader article before the vote: "Sidewalk plan upsets residents:"

Council member Julian Beard, whose district includes the west side of Tates Creek, and Cheryl Feigel, whose district is on the east side, are opposed to the sidewalks. Beard doesn't think people will use them. "My constituents don't see people walking along the road," Beard said, adding that when he drives along Tates Creek, "I never, I mean never, have seen anyone walking."

Supporters of the sidewalk have pointed out that there is a goat trail worn into the grass on the side of the road which drivers probably don't see when they are whizzing by at 45 miles per hour or more.

Input sought on River Road plan

(from Bike LouisvilleBusiness First of Louisville) "Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government is seeking public input on a plan to preserve River Road and improve accessibility for bicyclists, walkers and joggers.

The meeting, part of a yearlong study led by Gresham, Smith and Partners, is scheduled for June 16th, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at Gingerwoods Event Hall, [next to Henry's Ark] 7611 Rose Island Road. The study concerns a seven-mile stretch of River Road, from Zorn Avenue to U.S. 42.

[update] See the River Road Scenic Byway Corridor Improvement Study (3.1 MB PDF file)

Walking from a kid's viewpoint

Ever wonder who's educating the next generation of tranportation advocates? Well, SafeKids Worldwide recently completed a major project to teach kids about walkability. They then distributed 4,300 cameras and asked the kids to take photos of pedestrian environments in their communities. The result is a very compelling collection of photographs, captioned by the students, which are now part of a travelling exhibit. Yours truly is trying to get the exhibit to be shown in Louisville.

All of the photos in the exhibit can all be viewed on Safe Kids Worldwide's website. Warning: some of the photos are heartbreaking. No joke.

Utility Bikes Take the Nation By Storm!

Okay, so the headline was a little overdone. But I needed to get your attention somehow. And with Obama doing all sorts of fancy rail stuff, no one is paying attention to all the cool stuff happening on the utility bike scene. 

Joe Bike in Portland Oregon recently released their utility bike.  At $2699, it's a bit pricey, but is still a lot less than a car, and you can carry people and/or lots of stuff on it.  There is also a lot of buzz these days about Madsen's utility bike, which debuted at Interbike last year. Modeled after the Dutch bakfiets, but having a basket in the back, it is a bit cheaper at $1299.  The company, based in Salt Lake City, popped on the scene quite recently. Don't know what they were doing before, but I like what they're doing now.

Nice to see some U.S.-based companies getting people interested in showing people just what bikes can do!

What I Learned in Park DuValle

The Park DuValle neighborhood (southwest of downtown Louisville) was named after Lucie DuValle, the first female principal of a high school in Louisville. I tutor students at the Park DuValle clubhouse, but the other day I learned something new there.

Like several other neighborhoods in Louisville, Park DuValle is the result of hundreds of public housing units being rebuilt as a mixed-income community. A large sign in the clubhouse lobby says, "Like many of Louisville's great neighborhoods, the Villages of Park DuValle are designed to be walkable and easy to get around in. A well-planned system of sidewalks and interconnected streets encourages walking and reduces the dependence on cars. It's cleaner, quieter and friendlier." The sign is what got my attention.

Maybe I'm slow on the uptake, but Park DuValle is the only Louisville neighborhood I know of that was formally designed to reduce dependence on cars. Do you know of any others?

Villages of Park DuValle website: http://morethanhouses.com/villagesofparkduvalle/index.php

Car Free Guide to the Highlands

The Car Free Guide to the Highlands has just been released! Click the image below to download the PDF. The printed pamphlets will hit the streets next month.

World Car Free Day Report

When the alarm goes off at 4 a.m., I ask myself, ‘Why am I doing this?  Nobody would notice if I just went back to sleep and didn’t ride 200 miles on TARC buses for the next 13 hours.  This is brutal.  I don’t know how some people do this every working day. Why am I doing this?  Four years ago I heard about World Car Free Day on the internet and decided I wanted to bring it to Louisville.  I saw the addiction we have for our cars (having been an addict myself once) and thought it would be good for this city to start Step 1 and admit we have a problem.  World Car Free Day started in 2000 in Europe.  It has spread to over 1,000 cities around the world.  It challenges people to go for one day without their cars.  There’s a sure way to find out if your addicted to something – try giving it up for a while.  Four years ago I got CART (the Coalition for the Advancement of Regional Transportation), a local non-profit alternative transportation advocacy group to help me promote World Car Free Day in Louisville.  We posted fliers around town and held a press conference at the boardroom of TARC and no one came.  When I got back to my office, a bit down from the experience, I got a phone interview from a local radio station and we were off and running.  In the following years’ our efforts and successes grew.  We printed fliers, posters, had rallies, and web pages.  It’s a hard event with which to measure success because it’s a non-event.  People do this on their own, riding a bike to work, taking the bus, or telecommuting....

 

TARC riding marathon on World Car Free Day raises Awareness & Money

CART activist Tim Darst has raised over $2200 for Family Scholar House by collecting pledges for his World Car Free Day TARC marathon. Yesterday, Tim awoke early in the morning and travelled 200 miles around Louisville. The money he raised will be used to purchase bus passes for clients of Family Scholar House, so in effect the money both helps single mothers and helps TARC.

Gasoline Shortages in Houston

The availability and price of gasoline are not really on my radar.  I bike as my primary means of transportation and use TARC as a backup plan.  However, I know that gasoline prices have been going up steadily. I have heard rumors that gasoline is harder to get after this weekend's windstorm, due to interruptions in the supply and gas stations being closed due to lack of electrcity.  I have seen long lines at the gas pumps.  However, I have been amazed by the fact that I still see hordes of people out cruising around in their motor vehicles. I am amazed by my neighbors' willingness to burn gasoline to run their generator so they can watch TV. So when I saw this entry on the blog Sustainable77095, I could relate:

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