Bike Parking Can Change America

Cars have been dominating the USA (and all of North America) for decades now, and we know all too well what makes a good city for cars. Now climate change and other factors are forcing North Americans to address the problems of their oil-guzzling death machines running amok through cities. The solution is rather simple: apply what we know about car commuters to create more bicycle commuters.

Why do these measures matter? Because parking helps make commuters—a lesson long ago learned with cars. Studies in New York found that a surprisingly large percentage of vehicles coming into lower Manhattan were government employees or others who had an assured parking spot. Other studies have shown the presence of a guaranteed parking spot at home—required in new residential developments—is what turns a New Yorker into a car commuter.

On the flip side, people would be much less likely to drive into Manhattan if they knew their expensive car was likely to be stolen, vandalized, or taken away by police. And yet this is what was being asked of bicycle commuters, save those lucky few who work in a handful of buildings that provide indoor bicycle parking. Surveys have shown that the leading deterrent to potential bicycle commuters is lack of a safe, secure parking spot on the other end. (In England, for example, it’s been estimated that a bicycle is stolen every 71 seconds.)

A number of American cities are now waking up to the fact that providing bicycle parking makes sense. Philadelphia, for example, recently amended its zoning requirements to mandate that certain new developments provide bicycle parking; Pittsburgh’s planning department is weighing requiring one bicycle parking space for every 20,000 square feet of development* (admittedly modest compared with the not-uncommon car equation of one parking space per 250 square feet); even the car-centric enclave of Orange County, Calif., is getting in on the act, with Santa Ana’s City Council unanimously passing a bill requiring proportional bicycle parking when car parking is provided. In Chicago, Los Angeles, and other cities, pilot projects are investigating turning car-parking meters—once semireliable bike-parking spots, now rendered obsolete by “smart meter” payment systems—into bike parking infrastructure.

Top sustainable construction projects honored

The Holcim Foundation has released the winners of the most sustainable buildings in North America. The CBC is reporting that Canada has won three awards.

The winners of the second North American Holcim Awards competition for Sustainable Construction projects were announced at a ceremony in Montreal. Total prize money of USD 270,000 was presented to nine projects from Canada and the United States that showcase the latest approaches to address critical topics including housing affordability, employment, renewable energy, and water efficiency.

The competition is run in parallel in five regions of the world by the Swiss-based Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction. Almost 5000 projects from 90 countries entered the competition which aims to promote sustainable responses from the building and construction industry to technological, environmental, socioeconomic and cultural issues.

Free Flowing Hydro Power

TreeHugger has a post up that serves as a good reminder of all the tidal power generators that are being built in North America right now. Including Ontario’s announced tidal wave power feasibility study.

The Cornwall Ontario River Energy Project – 15 Megawatts
The province of Ontario is investing C$2.2 million into a project to demonstrate the feasibility and commercial viability of using free flow turbines to harness some of the St. Lawrence River’s kinetic energy and turn it into electricity.

This project is for 15 megawatts, enough to power 11,000 average-sized homes, but Verdant estimates that “there is enough potential power in the water currents of Canada’s tides, rivers and manmade channels to generate 15,000 MW of electricity using its technology”. That would be about the equivalent of 15 big coal power plants.

But we have to wonder… Did they pick Cornwall just because they could make a really cool acronym? The Cornwall Ontario River Energy (CORE) Project.

Scroll To Top
%d bloggers like this: