Anybody who says that Berlin is great for cycling doesn’t know what they’re talking about

uk alternative dept of transport

Cycling in Berlin *

There’s so much to cover here in Berlin;  I have to tell you about the excellent public transport system, the suffocating dominance of car parking, the superb driving conditions, the less-than-superb cycling conditions, the at times downright hostile footways, the culture and attitudes, the VC-and-helmet-loving local cycle campaign, and so much more.

So this first post is a general overview of conditions for cycling in Berlin as I’ve experienced them these past five months, and I’ll begin with this statement:

Anybody who says that Berlin is great for cycling doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

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Congestion Offsets vs Road Pricing: The quest for efficiency and equity

Matthew Bradley and Jeff Kenworthy help us to set out on our search for USA tollbooth attendenteconomic instruments that can be effective in reducing traffic congestion while leveling the playing field between cars and other transport in ways that are both efficient and equitable.  They tell us that: “A major part of the urban transport problem today is a failure from the very beginning to acknowledge that congestion is fundamentally inequitable and unfair, impractical to construct away, and therefore must be properly charged for and controlled to eliminate the transport system dysfunction which is systemic in cities today.” Recommended reading for anyone with  a serious interest in how to get the most out of economic instruments in our troubled, seriously underperforming sector.

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Learning curves (Getting on the right side of them)

This is a wonderful little video  that looks without any pretense and with limited means at a local roundabout project on Main Street USA. It is worth your attention on at least four grounds. First, because roundabouts make great good sense in cities and we need a lot more of them.  Second, and not to forget, they offer real technical challenges that need to be met with skill. Third, they are organic, i.e., learning projects, i.e., New Mobility par excellence.  And finally,  they need to be sold to all involved (which many times is not just a one-shot information pitch). The wisdom of the young team behind this project is to be commended, and emulated.

The long wait at the many unnecessary traffic lights in Germany may soon be over. Communities nationwide are exploring the use of alternative traffic control systems, such as roundabouts and zebra stripes, to resolve the traffic light’s growing issues of expense and safety. Among groups in favour of a large-scale switch, the German Cyclists’ Federation (ADFC) has a prominent voice. “We absolutely support the trend,” said ADFC traffic expert Wilhelm Hörmann. Hörmann added that traffic lights provide a false illusion of safety, pointing to the dangers of impatient drivers and children who cross the street despite there being a red light. Consultant Jürgen Berlitz of the ADAC German automobile club, argued that roundabouts are not only safer, but more efficient than traffic lights.  (Thanks to Ian Perry for the heads-up)

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Brief: The long wait at the many unnecessary traffic lights in Germany may soon be over

Safer Streets LA – Wrap a couple of spare neurons around this one

From the 2012 Safe Streets Challenge project:
If you are (a) into safer streets and (b) ready to dig in to understand that things out there are not necessarily what one might necessarily think, may we suggest that you check out here this slightly counterintuitive piece that was posted this morning in our parallel Safe Streets project. Continue reading

On “Filtered Permeability” as a sustainability tool

During one of our eternal research and reading probes which had us looking at and weighing the advantages, etc., of the many diverse approaches to creating “Livable Streets” (my favorite that being the term of the great and much missed Donald Appleyard), “Complete Streets”, “Quiet Streets”, “Fused Grids” . . . (just to cite a few of their many names”), we tumbled onto a phrase “Filtered Permeability” which was altogether new to us. After a bit we identified the person who had coined it, Steve Melia of the University of the West of England, and asked him to fill us in: Continue reading

Sustainable transport in Delhi and Stockholm

This article addresses from an Indo-Swedish perspective issues of the development of transport systems, taking its examples from Delhi and Stockholm. The introduction of the first BRT or bus rapid transport corridor in Delhi and the institution of a congestion tax in Stockholm are presented and discussed in terms of modernisation and sustainable transport. The authors explore the perceptions of politicians and examine the two projects in the search for the driving forces for transport policies. Despite all the differences, some similarities in the development of their urban transport projects have been found.

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