Thursday, October 30, 2014

At the Intersection of Happy & Healthy

I recently attended some training on the latest improvements in bicycle facility design with examples of various kinds of improvements and treatments from across the country. Walk Bike Columbia, an initiative that supports the state capital city bike and pedestrian plan, hosted a workshop. National experts came in to share their experiences and wisdom with a group of local, regional and state planners, engineers, landscape architects and other professionals.

One of the most interesting designs that was shared was the idea of the protected intersection.

Design for a protected intersection that's better for bicylists & pedestrians.
 Not yet found anywhere in the country, the inspiration for the facility came from similar installments from across the pond. Here is a video for a similarly designed intersection in The Netherlands. This idea blows my mind...and has me really excited to ride on one some day in the (hopefully not too distant) future. Can you imagine riding with your family on a bikeway like this? I can. *SMILE*

Let's break down the benefits of how the design works. There are improvements for bicyclists crossing the intersections. Pedestrians also keep their designated, separated place. Though the right turn for cars is not as convenient as it is in some states, like South Carolina, there is still room to react to potential conflicts. (That means that there should still be enough space and time for a car not to hit a bike or pedestrian.) It's a win for all, and huge improvement for the folks on two legs and two wheels.

Since this hasn't been installed anywhere in the country, it would be really cool if a city in South Carolina (*ahem, Greenville, cough*) stepped up to the plate. Share an intersection where you think this might work in your community in the comments below!

And don't forget to vote on Tuesday, November 4, especially if you live in Greenville County. There's an important opportunity to fund bikeway improvements around the county. Get out and make your opinion heard.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The 2014 SC Bike Summit Rolls Across the State in November

Last month, the Palmetto Cycling Coalition announced the 2014 Rolling Bicycle Summit, as I shared in a previous post. From Monday, November 17 through Saturday, November 22, the PCC is bringing the statewide conference to a community close to you. There are two opportunities to get together in the Upstate. On Monday, the Summit hits Greenville from 6:30 - 9:30p, and then rolls into Spartanburg during the same time period on Tuesday. Details for each of the locations can be found here.

The summit will be a bit lighter, as its the first bike summit in South Carolina history, but a lot will be packed into the 3 hours. A few speakers will share what's going on in their community and newly trained Safe Streets Ambassadors will be introduced. If you are interested in becoming a Safe Streets Ambassador or learning more about the program, please checkout this website or contact Amy. There will also be time for networking and socializing. Attendance is free and open to the public.

I've been invited to speak at the Spartanburg Rolling Bike Summit. It'll be good to share what's been going on at Clemson University (more bikeways implemented, improvements in bike parking, several bike repair stations installed, etc.), as it'll be a brief update from the presentation I gave at the 2012 Georgia-lina Bike Summit. The early successes in building momentum are applicable to other communities, and not just those involved with higher education. It will also be great to hear what's going on in a different part of the Upstate.

Folks at the PCC are also encouraging folks to consider attending the summit at a location in a nearby, but different part of the state. This creates opportunities for some cross pollenization of ideas and the ability to meet some new people. I really look forward to meeting some new people and to learn from their challenges and successes. Being able to listen to and have conversations with others in bicycle-related professionals is a valuable way to build better bicycling communities.

Consider attending, and if you do, say hi if you're in Spartanburg. Remember it's free, open to the public and is for anyone with any level of experience or interest related to biking. Taking time to attend the summit is critical to the bicycle-friendly future of South Carolina. I look forward to seeing you in November!