It would be an awful thing indeed if around the world each of us, each person, each group, each city, each country had to learn only our own lessons in isolation, without being able to open our eyes and look beyond our borders and what we know. In the following short report, roughly translated by Google and the editor from the original Dutch article which appeared yesterday morning in the web journal KpVV Travel Behaviour, Friso Metz tells us a story of low cost problem solving based on social analysis and citizen participation from the beginnings, as opposed to treating all problems of transport as infrastructure considerations to be sorted out by experts and politicians.
A Short History of Social Mobility in five small frames – from a collection of drawings and pastels that first appeared in the edition “Nothing is easy” (Rien n’est simple) by Jean-Jacques Sempé, published a half century ago in 1962. And even back then the message was howlingly clear. Amazing to think of how little it is understood two generations later in most cities around the world, rich and poor, even though the indisputable proof is right before our eyes. If only we choose to look. (From World Streets Archives)
Take a break. It’s the weekend. And even if you have seen some of these before, let’s invite you to take your head out of that fat report and come with Navdeep Asija and me to the movies in India, the Bollywood Bicycle Boogie. The idea behind World Streets has from the beginning been to seek out and share universal lessons, from specific times and different places but which, with a bit of thought, can open up our eyes, ears and hearts to many things, including with a bit of luck to ourselves and our own limitations and quirks. For today’s musing Navdeep brought us a packet of Bollywood films for your weekend viewing pleasure. Let me turn over the word to Navdeep so that he can explain it for himself.
It’s no secret that just about anywhere you go in the Netherlands is an incredible place to bicycle. And in Groningen, a northern city with a population of 190,000 and a bike mode share of 50 percent, the cycling is as comfortable as in any city on Earth. The sheer number of people riding at any one time will astound you, as will the absence of automobiles in the city center, where cars seem extinct. It is remarkable just how quiet the city is. People go about their business running errands by bike, going to work by bike, and even holding hands by bike.
Not sure if this is worthy of the Worst Practices page so thought I’d ask your opinion. As of tomorrow bus lanes in Malta will be open for car pooling cars and electric vehicles as well. While it’s a laudable notion, it remains to be seen how this will effect cyclist and motorcyclist rider safety. Up to now we knew the only cars that would (or should) be passing us were Taxi’s. Motorcycles were also allowed to use the lane. We knew that other private cars were not allowed and this meant we knew who to look out for (the idiot breaking the law and dangerously trying to squeeze past). Now its not so clear, neither is it clear how this will be enforced (a big problem in Malta) and managed. So I’m deeply concerned about cyclist safety with higher traffic volumes on the bus lanes, and particularly electric cars creeping up silently on cyclists. While you need to ask why other two wheeled traffic lost out (that will now filter down files of traffic).
EPI Bicycle Share Fact Sheet
The prevalence of bicycles in a community is an indicator of our ability to provide affordable transportation, lower traffic congestion, reduce air pollution, increase mobility, and provide exercise to the world’s growing population. Bike-sharing programs are one way to get cycles to the masses.
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.