Seemingly everywhere there’s a crunch on housing and there’s a surplus of roads, so let’s change some car space to sleeping space. If we take away even just one lane of parking for cars we can create towers of housing for people. Cities can benefit from increased revenue since housing makes more money for cities than stationary cars. What’s more, when a developer wants to build and take away a lane then part of the development fees can be specified to increase transit and biking infrastructure.
He argues that highway conversions make more sense than using lanes on regular city streets for housing, at least in most cases. “Most street right-of-ways are can only be reduced by a lane or two, which can generate enough extra space for a bike lane or expanded sidewalk but not enough for the addition of housing,” he says. “Moreover, trading street width for a housing tract typically requires a public/private land swap. These are possible, but add enough red tape to only make sense when a significant amount of housing can be added.”
In Boston, Speck’s firm is working on a plan, now in its second design phase, to use excess road space in Kenmore Square to add new housing and public space. “The plan results in considerably more housing than originally conceived, plus a beautiful plaza,” Speck says. The plan would also more than triple the space available for pedestrians.
Every cyclists knows that riding a bike equals freedom, you can go where you want when you want and don’t need trillions of dollars of infrastructure to operate one. Electric bicycles are getting more affordable every year and more and more people are buying them instead of getting a car. Interest in car driving continues to decrease while interest in biking increases. Now cities need to change their car dominated approach to embrace a faster, safer, form of transportation.
Even without incentives though, e-bikes are surprisingly affordable. Like anything, you’ll find fancier expensive options. But a good e-bike can be bought for under $1,000. When you compare that to the cheapest $40,000 Tesla, you can see why young people are moving to e-bikes in droves.
The most efficient form of transportation is the bicycle, and to remind us how great the two wheeled vehicles are a couple drew a giant bike in Europe. They used a GPS to record their trip as they rode through multiple countries, and that meant riding in giant circles to create the wheels. Along the way they shared their enthusiasm for two wheels.
You can see the map of their route on their site (linked below).
As a reminder that transport alternatives to the car exist, we have cycled 7237 km to draw the shape of a huge bicycle across 7 countries of western Europe.
We hope that our mad endeavour might motivate others to ditch their car in favour of the bicycle for daily transport needs. We sincerely believe that bicycles can take us a long way in our battle to tackle climate change and environmental breakdown.
As a side note, with this project we have set an unofficial world record for the largest ever made GPS drawing (7237 km). We beat the previous record of 7163.67 km, which was obtained by multiple means of transport. We also beat the previous unofficial record for the biggest GPS drawing undertaken by bike, which was 4106 km. Far more importantly, we are quite happy to have drawn the biggest bicycle ever!
It’s clear to anyone who has to buy a car because they live in low-density suburban communities that cars are expensive and kill the environment (and people). This awareness of the dangers of the automobile is growing and people are turning to e-bikes. Anecdotally we see places which have encouraged bicycling have cleaner air, healthier people, and that riders of the bikes use their cars way less.
Researchers decided to take a look to see if this is true. And it sure it! A meta analysis reveals that pedal assisted e-bikes (PAEB) are wonderful and your life will be better if you get one (and ditch a stupid car!).
Overall, it appears that the uptake of PAEB leads to a modal shift such that overall car use is decreased. PAEB use is associated with lower emissions compared to cars, but requires physical effort that classifies use of a PAEB as moderate intensity physical activity. Cost appears to be prohibitive, thus sharing or rental programs, and subsidies may be beneficial. Several additional barriers related to lack of infrastructure were also noted. Importantly, violations, injuries, and crashes appear to be similar between PAEB users and traditional bicycle users. PAEB offer an opportunity to improve health and mobility in an eco-friendly manner compared to cars. Infrastructure and policies are needed to support this modal shift. There is an immediate need to clearly define PAEBs, and to ensure regulations are similar between PAEB and traditional bicycles. Future research is needed to better understand long-term behaviour change with regards to commuting, and to identify the effect of implementing better infrastructure and policies on PAEB uptake.
Car drivers take up way more road space than they need since the size of their vehicles are disproportionate to their usefulness. Smart countries aim to limit the number of single occupant vehicles on the road for this reason and to ensure that all people can easily get from one place to the next. Traffic is so bad in some places that countries, like France, are now paying people to give up on their car.
France is working hard to push urban drivers out of cars and towards smaller and more environmentally responsible forms of transportation. In large cities like Paris, reduction in traffic from a switch to bicycles and scooters is perhaps just as important to many residents as the environmental effects.
We recently covered the case of anelectric bicycle company that is switching from vans to cargo e-bikesto increase the number of electric bikes it could deliver each day. The company’s delivery vans were simply too slow in Paris traffic, and switching to cargo e-bikes will help ramp up deliveries by using smaller, quicker, and more efficient vehicles.