Some Simple Ideas For Improving Urban Transportation: These fixes won’t take years and millions of dollars to implement.

Author  Benno Martens

I could watch that video of Copenhagen on a loop for hours. It’s like witnessing an urban ballet. But there isn’t a city in the United States that is on a par with Copenhagen when it comes to transportation.

In researching this piece, it was infuriating how awful mass transit in the United States compared to the rest of the world. It’s embarrassing to try to put even our best transit cities in the same league as mediocre ones in Europe and Asia.

Before any American city becomes the next Copenhagen, there’s a ton of work to be done and a host of countervailing forces working against progress.

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Can the Bike Boom Keep Going?

In the U.S., the coronavirus pandemic has driven a surge in bicycle sales and use. A more supportive federal policy toward non-car mobility could help it roll on.

“Millions of Americans have been swept up in the adult cycling craze that has emptied bicycle dealers’ showrooms across the nation and swamped manufacturers with a backlog of orders,” a newspaper story reported. In it, one New York City bike dealer says, “Three years ago 80 percent of the bikes were for children. Now it’s just the opposite.

It sounds like one of the many recent descriptions of biking during the Covid pandemic, as thousands of lockdown-weary Americans have snapped up new two-wheelers. Bike sales in March were more than double a year earlier, and cycling shops report long waits and inventory shortages. But those lines come from a 1971 article in the Austin American-Statesman. At the time, the U.S. was in the midst of a massive cycling surge as young Baby Boomers embraced environmentalism. “Bicycles are back—and booming!” declared a 1972 feature story in National Geographic.

Within a few years, however, that boom had popped, relegating bicycles once again to a fringe mode of adult transportation. And that was just one of several boom-and-bust waves of cycling enthusiasm that have marked this mode’s American journey.


Sonoma County Regional Parks purchases 500 acres near Monte Rio

Author Sarah Phelps

Sonoma County Regional Parks has acquired more than 500 acres in Monte Rio through a collaborative effort to preserve critical coastal range forest and create a diverse trail system in what will be the first regional park for this part of the county.

The 515 acres purchased from the local Torr family in October are south of the Russian River, at the southern edge of Monte Rio. The acquisition includes three sections of land: one section is west of Main Street generally between Schoolhouse Gulch and Tyrone Road; one section is along Dutch Bill Creek between Main Street and Bohemian Highway; and one section is east of Bohemian Highway.

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Key connector for North Bay bike path nears construction

A new pathway in Marin County that would provide cyclists, walkers and runners easier access to one of the North Bay’s transportation and trail hubs is set to begin construction next year after five years of planning.

The planned 12-foot-wide pathway would replace the existing cramped 4-foot-wide sidewalk that runs along Highway 101 and crosses over Corte Madera Creek to Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Larkspur.

Project planners and advocates say the new wider path will be a key addition to both the San Francisco Bay Trail and the long-envisioned North-South Greenway path designed to run from the Golden Gate Bridge into Sonoma County and potentially beyond.

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BATA Leads Effort Creating New Public Park

A sparkling, new shoreline public park near the Bay Bridge in Oakland was dedicated Wednesday, the project brought to fruition with help from the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA)(link is external).

The Judge John Sutter Regional Shoreline(link is external) adjacent to the eastern touchdown of the Bay Bridge includes a massive 600-foot long by 40-foot wide public observation deck, built atop six remaining support piers from the original Bay Bridge East Span.

BATA contributed millions of dollars for development of the park, and the decision to retain the old bridge piers was approved by the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee, which completed its work last year. Former MTC and BATA Executive Director Steve Heminger served as a member of the committee throughout its 2005-19 existence.

In addition to the observation deck, a 24,000-square foot 1930s-era electric train maintenance building known as the Bridge Yard has been renovated to host large concerts, community events, and public concessions. Running the length of the park is a bicycle/pedestrian path that connects to the Bay Bridge Trail(link is external), linking the park with Yerba Buena Island. Bike parking is available adjacent to the observation pier, which is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Other visitor amenities include bathrooms, walking paths and interpretive panels. The park is expected to be a popular tourist destination with its sweeping views of the bay and easy access to the Bay Bridge Trail. It’s been dubbed as the “Gateway to the East Bay” due to its visibility to eastbound Bay Bridge drivers.

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