Cycling into Times Square: An Update from Architects & Urbanists Riding Across the Country

National
Monday, July 8, 2013
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The team poses for a photo in Times Square. (Courtesy Peter Murray)

The team poses for a photo in Times Square. (Courtesy Peter Murray)

[ Editor’s Note: Peter Murray, of the New London Architecture center, together with a dozen architects and planners, is biking from Portland, Oregon to Portland Place in London, studying how cities are responding to the demand for better cycling infrastructure. He reports from the start of his ride. The Architect’s Newspaper is USA media sponsor of the trip and will post periodic updates of these architects on bicycles. ]

At the beginning of last week we finished the first major leg of the tour – we arrived in New York. After nearly 4,000 miles of riding the group took the Hoboken Ferry to 39th Street, cycled a short way up the West Hudson Greenway and then crosstown into Times Square.

The Greenway is one of the best bits of cycling infrastructure in the city and forms part of the Hudson River Park, a series of landscaping and regeneration projects on the site of the old docks and a fantastic new public amenity. The pedestrianisation of Times Square and the cycle route along Broadway are the most visible of the improvements to the public realm engineered over the last decade by the Bloomberg administration, led by the charismatic Department of Transport (DoT) Commissioner Janette Sadik Khan. So popular is the area with pedestrians and tourists that we found it hard to cycle through the crush when we arrived there; but the huge digital screens that cover every building in the Square provided a photogenic backdrop.

Continue reading after the jump.

Divvy Up: Chicago Launches Bike-Share Program

Get on your bikes and ride — Chicago’s long-delayed Divvy bike share program launched Friday, kicking on 65 solar-powered docking stations and unleashing 700 “Chicago” (read: powder) blue bikes.

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(Very) Bike Friendly Streets.  (Very) Bike Friendly Streets It’s summer time! And you know what that means, bikes! Many (very) enthusiastic cyclists followed up National Bike Month by (very) carefully covering their bike seats and stripping down for the World Naked Bike Ride! (NSFW) Yes, on June 8 cyclists all around the country rode completely or partially naked through the streets of their respective metropolises. In San Francisco they braved a recent ban on public nudity. In Los Angeles they cruised through the hipster zones of Silver Lake and Echo Park, and in Portland they even had a naked marching band to cheer them on. If that’s not an argument for bike friendly streets, we don’t know what is.

 

Minneapolis, Cycling City: An Update From Architects & Urbanists Biking Across the Country

National
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
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Cyclists and Frank Gehry. (Grant Smith)

Cyclists and Frank Gehry. (Grant Smith)

[ Editor’s Note: Peter Murray, of the New London Architecture center, together with a dozen architects and planners, is biking from Portland, Oregon to Portland Place in London, studying how cities are responding to the demand for better cycling infrastructure. He reports from the start of his ride. The Architect’s Newspaper is USA media sponsor of the trip and will post periodic updates of these architects on bicycles. ]

We liked Minneapolis—it ended our sojourn in the wilderness of South Dakota, we saw some nice things, met a lot of cool people and the biking there is great!

On our journey plan we had highlighted the fact that the city was host to a bevy of starchitects—Herzog and de Meuron with the 2005 Walker Art Gallery extension, Jean Nouvel with the Guthrie Theater of 2006, and Frank Gehry at the Weisman Museum which opened in 2011.

Continue reading after the jump.

Bike Share Programs Roll Along in New York, Chicago

"Divvy," Chicago's forthcoming bike share program, features three-speed bicycles painted the same blue as seen as seen in the city's flag. (Courtesy Divvy / Alta Bicycle Share)

“Divvy,” Chicago’s forthcoming bike share program, features three-speed bicycles painted the same blue as seen as seen in the city’s flag. (Courtesy Divvy / Alta Bicycle Share)

Chicago’s bike-for-rent made its test premiere during the annual “Bike the Drive” event on the Windy City’s Lake Shore thoroughfare Sunday, and Wednesday opened the new service for membership sign-ups.

Chicago’s Department of Transportation unveiled its bike share plans in April, tapping Portland, OR–based Alta Bicycle Share, which also runs New York and DC’s bike-share programs, to roll out 400 stations and about 4,000 three-speed “Chicago Blue” bicycles across the city.

Continue reading after the jump.

Photo of the Day: Janette Sadik-Khan Ready for the Citi Bike Launch

East
Friday, May 24, 2013
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NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan tries out the Citi Bike bike share system. (Courtesy NYC DOT)

NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan tries out the Citi Bike bike share system. (Courtesy NYC DOT)

It’s finally here! Well, in a few more excruciating days, New Yorkers will be able to hop on a bright blue City Bike and cruise through the city (or at least those 12,000 or so founding members, the rest of us will have to wait one more week). While some locals haven’t taken to the alien bike docking stations popping up on city streets quite yet, it appears that the vast majority of the city is ready to roll. With the docking stations in place, crews are now distributing bikes. According to a tweet from the NYC DOT this afternoon, some 850 bikes have already been docked around the city, and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and a few of the bike share team took the opportunity to pose on some of the bikes today. The official opening day is May 27.

Seattle, San Francisco, Hoboken Reveal New Bike Share Details

East, West
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
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Alta Bike Share on display in New York (nycstreets/Flickr)

Alta Bike Share on display in New York (nycstreets/Flickr)

With summer just around the corner, bicyclists are getting excited to try out the new bike-share systems being installed in many cities across the nation. After initial delays, New York City’s bike-share program is set to open by the end of the month, and San Francisco, Seattle, and Hoboken have similar plans of their own on the horizon.

San Francisco: SPUR reports that the Bay Area Air Quality Management District signed a contract with Alta Bike Share to spin the wheels on a bike-sharing program for San Francisco. Alta Bike Share runs similar bike programs in Washington, D.C. and Boston and will be the operator of new programs in New York and Chicago this year. San Francisco plans a two-year pilot program consisting of 700 bikes in 70 locations that will launch this summer throughout the San Jose to San Francisco region. Last year the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition set a goal of 20 percent of trips in the city on bike by 2020 and now, after several delays, the plan will be the first regional program in the country.

Continue reading after the jump.

It’s Official: Citi Bike To Open in New York City on May 27

East, Newsletter
Friday, May 10, 2013
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Citi Bikes in docking station (Planetgordon.com/Flickr)

Citi Bikes in docking station (Planetgordon.com/Flickr)

The big biking news this week is that the first phase of New York City’s Citi Bike bike share system will finally launch on May 27th to program members (and to everyone else the next week), and New Yorkers’ enthusiasm (and a little controversy) is mounting. Some New Yorkers, over 8,000 according to Transportation Commissioner Sadik-Kahn (with more than 4,000 of them in the first 24 hours), could not wait to start pedaling and have already signed up for annual memberships. Meanwhile, malcontents from across the City have spoken up in attempts to stop Citi Bike from rolling onto their blocks.

Continue reading after the jump.

A Global Bicycle Trek from Portland, Oregon to London’s Portland Place.

Newsletter, West
Friday, May 3, 2013
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(Grant Smith)

(Grant Smith)

Peter Murray, of the New London Architecture center, together with a dozen architects and planners, is biking from Portland, Oregon to Portland Place in London, studying how cities are responding to the demand for better cycling infrastructure. He reports from the start of his ride. The Architect’s Newspaper is USA media sponsor of the trip and will post periodic updates of these architects on bicycles.

Portland is to America what Copenhagen is to Europe: everyone looks to it as an exemplar cycling city, and it has been continually improving its cycling infrastructure for more than 40 years – the first Bicycle Masterplan was published in 1973. As a result, 6 per cent of Portland commuters now bike to work and the Active Transport Alliance’s annual Bike Commute Challenge attracts over 700 participant companies. Cycling is undoubtably a part of Portland’s culture with its Neighbourhood Greenways, bicycle boulevards, routes across key bridges, safe routes to school and the Eastbank Esplanade – a wide path shared with walkers and joggers overlooking the Willamette river. The city was awarded platinum status by the League of American Bicyclists and acclaimed by Bicycling magazine as number one for cycle-friendliness.

Continue reading after the jump.

Apple Makes Adjustments To Silicon Valley Campus Proposal

West
Friday, April 26, 2013
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Newly released pedestrian improvements planned for Apple's Silicon Valley headquarters. (Courtesy Apple)

Newly released pedestrian improvements planned for Apple’s Silicon Valley headquarters. (Courtesy Apple)

Apple’s spaceship-like campus plans, designed by Foster and Partners, have been criticized for—among other other things— a lack of pedestrian friendly design. It appears the company has listened. New documents presented to the city of Cupertino show extended bike paths, winding walkways and private roads both circling the grounds and running through the center of the campus.  The bike lanes would have buffer lanes to protect them from cars, pedestrian walkways would have increased lighting, a transit center would be the focal point for buses, and the plans also make room for public art projects.

Not all the changes are eco/pedestrian friendly. The new design calls for an increase in parking spaces from 10,500 to 10,980. Slated for completion in 2016, the campus has also been in the news for budget overruns and delays, with Bloomberg Businessweek reporting its cost ballooning from $3 billion to $5 billion. The first phase of the campus is scheduled to be complete by 2016.The original date was 2015.

More new renderings of Apple’s campus after the jump.

Chicago To Roll Out Alta’s Divvy Bike Share in June

"Divvy," Chicago's forthcoming bike share program, features three-speed bicycles painted the same blue as seen as seen in the city's flag. (Courtesy Divvy / Alta Bicycle Share)

“Divvy,” Chicago’s forthcoming bike share program, features three-speed bicycles painted the same blue as seen as seen in the city’s flag. (Courtesy Divvy / Alta Bicycle Share)

Chicago’s bike share program will kick off in June when the city debuts hundreds of light blue, three-speed bicycles that can be rented for an hourly fee or with a yearly $75 membership.

Managed by Portland, OR–based Alta Bicycle Share, which also runs New York and DC’s bike share, Chicago’s program goes by the name “Divvy.” Alta was supposed to launch the $22 million program last summer, and has since become the subject of controversy. Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein was formerly a consultant for the company, and competitors have alleged foul play, which Alta and the city have flatly denied.

The first of Divvy’s 75 solar-powered docking stations will be downtown and in River North. Within a year the city’s plan is to roll out 400 stations and about 4,000 bicycles across the city.

Join Architects and Urbanists On A Bike Ride From Coast to Coast

International
Friday, April 19, 2013
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Riders in Paul Smith Socks. (Greg Bartley)

Riders in Paul Smith Socks. (Greg Bartley)

The English architectural editor, author, and founder of the London Festival of Architecture, Peter Murray, is also a devoted urban bicycle activist. Murray always arrives at events in London with a bicycle helmut under his arm because it’s the only way he moves around the city. He believe’s that “cyclised cities are civilised cities” and has organized group rides around Britain and Europe to publicize the need for cities to become more bicycle friendly. To demonstrate that commitment and to promote cycling, Murray and a group of peers are taking a 4,347 mile ride.

Continue reading after the jump.

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