Friday, December 28, 2012

Before and After Cycle Tracks

As the nation's most dangerous metro area for bicyclists and pedestrians, Central Florida's local governments--and the FDOT--should fully explore and implement, where appropriate, innovative infrastructure improvements.  Grid Chicago posted the following video featuring the City's new Dearborn Avenue Cycle Track, showing "before and after" conditions.  The difference--in the heart of Chicago's loop--speaks for itself....




Absent dedicated traffic signals for bicyclists, cycle tracks can exacerbate unsafe conditions in dense urban areas.  Municipalities have learned from these types of mistakes and are installing separate signals for bicyclists and motor vehicles.  In addition, green paint, where the cycle track crosses an intersection, is intended to make motorists more aware of bicyclists and to reduce motorist encroachment.  In any event, even cyclists who prefer to ride in motorist traffic concede that cycle tracks are generally safe when conflicting motorist movements are absent.

The second video posted by Grid Chicago, aside from extolling the economic benefits of cycling infrastructure, shows the City's dedicated bicycle signals:



I'll look forward to visiting Chicago and trying it out.

UPDATE Jan. 7 -- A consortium of more than a dozen state departments of transportation posted a blog entry about cycling traffic signals at THIS LINK.  

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) has released guidelines for cycle track traffic signals:

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Exercise Reduces Risk of Alzheimers

Click HERE for an interesting news item from NBC linking increased exercise with reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012

Don't Decimate the LPA

Orange County Mayor Jacobs' Development Streamlining Task Force released its Final Report.  It contains good ideas, including converting the County's outdated zoning code into a hybrid form-based code, allowing online filing of development applications, making traffic capacity reservations available online, appointing a project manager for planned development applications, and relaxing onerous parking requirements. 

It also contains a very bad idea--eliminating the County Land Planning Agency's Comprehensive Plan adoption hearing.  The Land Planning Agency consists of citizen volunteers who make recommendations to the County Commission.

During the three and one-half years that I served, a number of County Commissioners told me how much they rely on the LPA's analysis and recommendations.  Because proposed Comprehensive Plan amendments often change between transmittal and final adoption--and because changes to the Comprehensive Plan warrant careful consideration--eliminating half of the LPA's job would not serve the public interest.

As I told the Orlando Sentinel, "Streamlining should not come at the expense of citizen oversight."  Here's reporter Dave Damron's article on the Task Force recommendations:

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