Cycling Across America: An Update From Architects & Urbanists Cycling Across the Country

National
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
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The riders and Tom Jestico (our van driver). (Grant Smith)

The riders and Tom Jestico (our van driver). (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. ]

Reaching Mount Rushmoor was a significant—indeed iconic—moment of the trip, our sense of arrival heightened by the steep and long hill that takes the visitor up to the Avenue of Flags and the rather pompous facilities that are in stark contrast to the desolate scenes one remembers from Hitchcock’s North by North West.

Continue reading after the jump.

Squandered Land: An Update From Architects & Urbanists Biking Across the Country

City Terrain, National
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
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(Courtesy Peter Murray)

(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. ]

When the author Bill Bryson moved back to the US from England he wrote a goodbye book entitled Notes from a Small Island. I was frequently reminded of Bryson’s analysis as I rode through Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. By comparison to these great open spaces England is neat and manicured, with everything in its place.

Continue reading after the jump.

Where Are Chicago’s Most Bikeable Neighborhoods?

Midwest
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
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Protected bike lanes on Kinzie Street. (Image courtesy Josh Koonce via Flickr.)

Protected bike lanes on Kinzie Street. (Josh Koonce / Flickr)

Steven Vance, editor of StreetsBlog Chicago and frequent contributor to AN, dug through Walk Score’s breakdown of the most bikeable neighborhoods in Chicago.

The rankings are based on several factors, including the prevalence of bike lanes, connectivity, commuting mode share and hills. It also considers the number of neighborhood destinations and, as Vance points out, may consider a shared lane marking as a bike lane. That led to the Illinois Medical District’s surprising fourth place ranking, tailing East Ukrainian Village, Ukrainian Village and Wicker Park.

See the national list of WalkScore.com’s most bikeable neighborhoods here, and read StreetsBlog’s post here.

Main Street USA: An Update From Architects & Urbanists Biking Across the Country

National
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
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psp_update_01

[ 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. ]

Cycling through the small towns of Idaho and Montana provides useful lessons for the English visitor about the growth of settlements in the US and allows interesting comparisons with the development of urban structure in Britain.

While we in the UK have high streets, they are a very different sort of place to main streets. English settlements often developed around market squares, their structure defined by the relationship between the church and the ‘big house’ occupied by the feudal landlord as well as topographical features and land ownership.

Continue reading after the jump.

Architect’s Plan Would Add A Bike and Pedestrian Tube to San Diego’s Coronado Bay Bridge

West
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
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Rendering of the proposed bike and pedestrian tube on the Coronado Bay Bridge. (Courtesy Domus Studio)

Rendering of the proposed bike and pedestrian tube on the Coronado Bay Bridge. (Courtesy Domus Studio)

From the top of San Diego’s soaring 200-foot-tall Coronado Bay Bridge, architect Lew Dominy says you can see Mexico, but outside of special events when the bridge is closed to automobile traffic, pedestrians and bicyclists who might stop to admire the view are prohibited. Dominy, principal at San Diego-based domusstudio architecture, has a plan to build a tube through the distinctive archways of the Coronado’s support piers that would bring multi-modal access to the bridge.

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Proposal Could Triple Pedestrian Space on the Brooklyn Bridge

East
Thursday, August 9, 2012
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Camera-wielding scofflaw risks crossing into bike lane (Flickr/g.bremer)

Camera-wielding scofflaw risks crossing into bike lane (Flickr/g.bremer)

Every day, an average 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 cyclists cross the upper-level pathway of the Brooklyn Bridge. Commuters, tourists, and joggers vie for space on the congested path, whose width varies from 16 feet to as little as 8 feet—creating a bottleneck for two-way bike traffic. For years observers have recounted harrowing tales of near collisions on the overcrowded span, like the bike-phobic Post pitting reckless cyclists against merely oblivious tourists and the Times calling for the appropriation of a traffic lane for bike use. But now a proposal to double the width of the path could offer a solution to the overcrowding.

Continue reading after the jump.

Even More Protected Bike Lanes to Serve Downtown Chicago

Midwest
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
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Protected bike lanes on Kinzie Street. (Image courtesy Josh Koonce via Flickr.)

Protected bike lanes on Kinzie Street. (Josh Koonce/Flickr)

In a city where bicyclists may share a lane with Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein, last year’s promise by Mayor Rahm Emanuel of 100 miles of protected bike paths was cause for celebration. Chicago’s latest project, announced Sunday, will be a protected lane along Dearborn Street in the Loop that will run in both directions from Polk to Kinzie.

The new route connects the near north side with the south loop and is designed to appeal to young, tech-savvy commuters who work downtown.

Continue reading after the jump.

Legislative Update> Transit, Biking, Walkability, Preservation & the Environment at Risk

National
Thursday, February 9, 2012
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(Courtesy U.S. House of Representatives)

(Courtesy U.S. House of Representatives)

It’s becoming clear how Congress’ approval ratings keep dropping to new historic lows—the latest Gallup Poll released yesterday puts it at a squat ten percent—when the legislative body continues to threaten policies not just architects but also the general public hold near and dear. Now, as key transportation bills that set funding for all national infrastructure–including roads, transit, shipping, pipelines, and even sidewalks–prepare for a votes in the House of Representatives and Senate as soon as the coming week, we’re seeing transit, biking, walkability, the environment, and historic preservation all at risk.

Read More

Quick Clicks> Postal Nostalgia, Storing & Riding Bikes, Pocket Parks, & Zaha

Daily Clicks
Friday, November 18, 2011
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A mural in the Venice Post Office. (Laurie Avocado / Flickr)

A mural in the Venice Post Office. (Laurie Avocado / Flickr)

Postal nostalgia. During the Great Depression, the WPA built a post office with a tile roof, marble steps, and an intricate mural in Venice, CA.  The LA Times noted that the historic post office may now close down due to USPS budget cuts, much to the chagrin of Venice residents.

A place for bikes.  The number of indoor bicycle storage rooms at offices is slowly increasing throughout New York City.  Though expensive to maintain and space consuming, the NY Times asserted the presence of a bike room benefits the real estate industry (by increasing interest) as well as residents.

Biking Memphis.  StreetsBlog reports Memphis Mayor AC Wharton has proposed 55 miles of bike lanes to be inserted into existing streets.  Local businesses are subsequently concerned about slower traffic.

Parking in LA.  The LA Times reported LA Mayor Villaraigosa has announced he wants to build 50 “pocket parks” in the next two years.  First on the agenda, is the construction of several parks ranging from 5,000 to 20,000 square feet in Southern Los Angeles that begins next month.

Hadid no diva.  Zaha Hadid sat down with Newsweek and Daily Beast editor Tina Brown to discuss her life, her career, and her reputation.

Quick Clicks> Thinkin’ Lincoln, Green Critic, Exhausted Cyclists

Daily Clicks
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
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IBM's THINK Exhibit "Data Wall"

Thinkin’ Lincoln. IBM is taking over the Lincoln Center through October 23rd with one of the biggest interactive technology exhibits in the city: IBM Think Exhibit. Highlights include the 123-feet long “data wall” and a forest of 40 seven-foot media panels. More at Inhabitat.

Bronx Beauty. The New York Times‘ new archi-critic, Michael Kimmelman, has penned his first review, shying away from the iconic, gleaming projects of his predecessor, instead beginning with Via Verde affordable housing in the South Bronx, which may help him demonstrate that quality trumps quantity, especially in moral debates of architecture.

Biking Sacrifice. Atlantic Cities reported that cyclists in urban environments might want to be wary of cars for more than just accident risks: harmful automobile emissions create a hazard for cyclists as well. According to new research, bikers inhale more than twice the amount of black carbon particles as pedestrians do in the same trip.

Quick Clicks> Extreme Treehouse, Restoration Home, Bad Air for Bikes, and the Hotel Chelsea

Daily Clicks
Friday, July 8, 2011
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Pharrell Williams Youth Center (Chad Oppenheim via Wallpaper)

Pharrell Williams Youth Center (Chad Oppenheim via Wallpaper)

Youth Space. Pharell Williams speaks to Wallpaper* about his plans for a new youth center in partnership with architect Chad Oppenheim. Both Keihl’s and Williams’ charity From One Hand to Another will support the creative vision in raising funds for the Virginia Beach project. The design draws conceptually from the construction of a treehouse with plans to be a uniquely green project and a safe place for children to learn and grow.

Telly Transformations. Caroline Quentin presents a new BBC Two series entitled Restoration Home, a program that follows renovation of old buildings as they transform into sleek homes. Look forward to documentation of behind the scenes “nostalgia, architecture, and murder” as Olly Grant of the Telegraph details.

Bad Air. If riding with speeding traffic weren’t enough to worry about when cycling through the city, Scientific American reports on just how dirty street air really is from car and truck exhaust. In short, city air is a toxic cocktail of pollution that can pose a heart risk to urban cyclists. Time to clean up our streets?

Chelsea Touch-ups. The new owner of Hotel Chelsea, Joseph Chetrit, hired architect Gene Kaufman to work on plans for expansion and renovation of the historic New York property according to the Wall Street Journal. Residents have little to worry about, though, as the hotel is a registered landmark which brings extra oversight. That being said, as the project begins, expect significant upgrades to the lobby and infrastructural repairs along with a potential additional restaurant.

Quick Clicks> Lahood Rides, High Line Booms, Detroit Blooms, Weiner Wilts

Daily Clicks
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
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Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood biked to work yesterday morning (courtesy Department of Transportation).

Lahood Bikes to Work: The Transportation Secretary biked to work with other DOT commuters yesterday morning, as seen in this video. He wrote, “The route was safe and well-marked; we enjoyed some exercise; and we didn’t burn a drop of gas–which saved us some money.” Since taking office in 2009, the former Republican congressman has prioritized light rail development and overseen $600 million in TIGER II grants to projects that promote livability. John Norquist, president of the Congress for New Urbanism, tells us Lahood is the best Transportation Secretary this country has seen since Secretary Coleman under President Ford.

The High Line: “Economic Dynamo.” The New York Times reports “preserving the High Line as a public park revitalized a swath of the city and generated $2 billion in private investment surrounding the park.” The development of the High Line (the second section of which opens tomorrow) has spurred the construction of hundreds of deluxe apartments, art galleries, restaurants and boutiques nearby and the addition of 12,000 jobs, which more than make up for the $115 million the city spent on the park.

Can Detroit Come Back? With a dwindling population, low literacy rates and vacant housing, Detroit is one of America’s biggest underdogs. But the city’s woes also make it the perfect laboratory for experiments like Hantz Farms plan to create the world’s largest urban farm. OnEarth takes a look at the different ideas percolating in Detroit.

Anthony Weiner on Bike Lanes: Anthony Weiner’s getting some serious flack, but let’s not forget: he also hates bike lanes, says Transportation Nation. At a Gracie Mansion dinner for New York’s Congressional Delegation last June, Weiner told Mayor Bloomberg: “When I become mayor, you know what I’m going to spend my first year doing? I’m going to have a bunch of ribbon-cuttings tearing out your [expletive] bike lanes.”

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