Healthy images of our City: Sustainable mobility with Gil Peñalosa

Imagination is more important than knowledge.  –Albert Einstein, quoted in “The Artist’s Way”

Join AARP New Mexico Wednesday, August 14 for an evening with Gil Peñalosa.  Engage your imagination in creating more verdant and healthy places to live, today and for future generations. Gil specializes in creating vibrant and healthy cities in a world that works for all.

https://www.gpenalosa.ca — Gil Peñalosa’s website
“Sidewalks are the most important infrastructure in any city, as walking is about more than just walking”. –Gil Peñalosa on sustainable mobility

https://local.aarp.org/nm/ — AARP New Mexico, this event’s host
“AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment.”

http://www.abqciqlovia.org — Albuquerque’s Open Streets festival is Sunday, Oct 20, 2019
For more information check out their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/abqciqlovia

These NM Kids are ready to ride!

Grants, NM hosted a bike rodeo, safety and education course this summer!

It was made possible by Bike Santa Fe, New Mexico Brain Injury Advisory Council, LOOK FOR ME, Albuquerque Parks and Recreation, Future Foundations Family Center, Grants Public Schools, Cibola General Hospital, and Mt Taylor Dental, and dedicated community organizers!

More photos on https://www.facebook.com/CycleCibola/

To keep the body in good health is a duty. . . . Otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.  –Buddha, quoted in “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron

New Mexico a leader in great outdoors

If passed by legislators, the Outdoor Equity Fund would also be created–the only fund of its kind in the nation that would be designed to spur the development of New Mexico’s next generation of conservationists. –Angelica Rubio and Stephanie Garcia Richard, on the proposed Office of Outdoor Recreation, in “Op-Ed: Access to the Outdoors is a Basic Human Right

A group ride on the Paseo de la Mesa trail on Albuquerque’s West Side (author’s photo)

It’s been a busy year in New Mexico watching our newly elected officials take office.  Representative Angelica Rubio rode her bicycle 300 miles from Las Cruces to Santa Fe to kick off the legislative session!  The Legislature and Governor have been working in concert to introduce and discuss landmark legislation, including Senate Bill 462 to create the New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division in the Economic Development Department.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham with New Mexico Zia symbol on jersey (from Governor’s facebook)

In addition to the proposed Outdoor Recreation office, there have been a series of bills and memorials designed to leverage our State’s bountiful natural beauty and resources.  House Memorial 10 recognizes the “importance of bikepacking to cultural resources, physical activities, conservation, and tourism”, while pointing out the importance of road and trail connectivity.  House Bill 192 creates a uniform rule for safe passing of bicyclists, while also protecting motorists by including guidelines for not passing slower traffic when there is oncoming traffic in the adjacent lane.  This is good for everyone, as it is widely acknowledged in the transportation profession that interventions protecting “the most vulnerable road users will benefit all road users” (National Transportation Safety Board SS1701, Reducing Speeding-Related Crashes).

Puerticito road off the Turquoise Trail, NM 14 (author’s photo)

There’s more good news!  New Mexico recently published its first Statewide Bicycle Plan, and House Bill 192 will boost its implementation process.  The NM Bike Plan “includes the goal of making bicycling a more comfortable and attractive mode of transportation”.  Creating educational campaigns with instructions for safe passing is an important part of the “implementation of driver education strategies as a means to improve bicyclists safety” (from NMDOT – Traffic Safety Divison, NMBOT Bill Analsyis, HB 192).  There are many organizations in New Mexico already teaching transportation safety.  By joining our efforts together and with a concerted focus on promoting access to our natural environment, things are looking up for using the simple bicycle as an accessible, economical, and super fun way of getting people outdoors!

A mural in Albuquerque, NM with my bike (author’s photo)

This is a good video by Austin’s PD with instructions on safe passing.  In New Mexico, the required minimum passing distance will be 5 feet, up from Austin’s 3 feet, providing even more protection

References and Resources:
The lead quote is from this article in Outside Online, a magazine based in Santa Fe
https://www.outsideonline.com/2389421/new-mexico-outdoor-equity-fund-op-ed-rubio-richard

Outdoor culture is good for our spirits, and putting our economies in synch with quality of life initiatives
https://headwaterseconomics.org/economic-development/trends-performance/recreation-counties-attract/

The National Park has a guidebook to develop bicycle and pedestrian access.  Webinars are available
https://www.nps.gov/subjects/transportation/bikeped.htm includes NPS Active Transportation Guidebook

Albuquerque Journal published a story on the Outdoor Recreation office proposal
https://www.abqjournal.com/1277104/governor-lawmakers-propose-new-office-to-promote-outdoors.html

This study by the National Transportation Safety Board is a pivotal reference for traffic safety for all https://www.ntsb.gov/safety/safety-studies/Pages/SS1701.aspx

Albuquerque itself is a city with one of the best open space systems in the nation
https://www.kunm.org/post/using-historical-photos-explore-albuquerques-future

2018 NM Bike Plan http://dot.state.nm.us/content/dam/nmdot/BPE/NM_Bike_Plan.pdf

Creating a national bicycling policy

Here is my superstition: When you focus on creating more good things, you get more good things;  When you focus on solving problems, you get more problems.  —Jing Zhang, May ITE Journal, “member to member”

As we develop a national bicycle policy promoting the most sustainable form of transportation imaginable, we’ll do well listening to experienced cyclists and educators.  It is tempting to fit new knowledge around what we think we already know.   With cycling it helps to see things directly from the cycling perspective, and this changes our outlook.

References and Resources:
The video is from CyclingSavvy, founders of the American Bicycling Education Association (ABEA).  Subscribe for free to their newsletter for “empowerment for unlimited travel”.  https://cyclingsavvy.org/cycling-law/
Here is a guide for improving the conditions for walking and cycling, published and recently updated by transportation leaders from our government and private sector:  https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/ped_focus/docs/fhwasa17050.pdf
For more specific measures to improve mobility safety, see https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/provencountermeasures/
Traffic safety involves complex causality, but speed is a primary factor.  This study by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) includes recommendations for planners, engineers and various government agencies.  https://www.ntsb.gov/safety/safety-studies/Pages/SS1701.aspx
May’s ITE (Institute of Transportation Engineers) Journal is dedicated to “Making Active Transportation Safe” http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G93877_ITE_May2018/

Always leave enough time in your life to do something that makes you happy, satisfied, even joyous.  That has more of an effect on economic well-being than any other single factor.  —Paul Hawken quoted in “The Artist’s Way”, by Julia Cameron

How we think about transportation

“There is no question that conditions for bicycling and walking need to be improved in every community in the United States; it is no longer acceptable…that two desirable and efficient modes of travel have been made difficult and uncomfortable.”  —FHWA’s recommended approach for designing for cycling & walking

Ian Lockwood’s article in the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) journal this January makes a case for changing the language standards in the transportation professions.  For a long time roadway design was synonymous with serving the automobile, and the language developed around this singular goal was exclusive and limiting.  Lockwood suggests we use a more objective and representative vocabulary.  Language reflects our thoughts, and also shapes how we think.  Changing language is one important step in changing our thinking.  Take a look at Lockwood’s article for a stimulating read.

Resources:

Read Ian Lockwood’s succinct 2-3 page article in the ITE Journal (page 41) or download a PDF file here:
“Making the Case for Transportation Language Reform: Removing Bias” by Ian Lockwood, P.E.

 

placitas-overlook

Bicycling the overlook in Placitas, New Mexico

Vision Zero

“Traffic safety solutions must be addressed holistically.” —Vision Zero, Wikipedia

Creating a movement toward healthier streets requires adjusting our expectations.   Vision Zero is a multinational road safety project that does just that.  It views crashes as preventable and uses a scientific, data-driven approach to identify causes and implement multifaceted solutions that combine education, engineering, planning and enforcement.

Vision Zero sets a goal of safeguarding human life on our streets. Data reveals strategies such as reducing speed limits in areas of high pedestrian activity makes crashes less likely and less severe. Redesigned streets and meaningful behavior change campaigns can create streets that are safe and more vibrant.

vehicle speed and crash data

The Vision Zero movement is creating more political accountability to synch transportation with priorities in health and sustainability.  Los Angeles’s Vision Zero program seeks to design streets that “encourage walking. Research has shown that there is a link between moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking, to decrease the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression, and other health problems.”  Portland, Oregon’s Vision Zero declares families “deserve safe streets” on which to walk and bike.  The clear focus is protecting human lives.

Vision Zero started in Sweden in the 1990’s but more than a dozen U.S. cities have adopted it, and more are joining.  Denver’s Mayor joined this year with the Director for Transportation saying “our streets are our most public spaces…our home.”  Ask your mayor, city council, and governor to take this measure and increase their commitment to safeguarding the public.

from Vision Zero Network

9-components-of-a-strong-vision-zero-commitment-1-638

Resources
http://www.visionzeroboston.org/
http://www.austintexas.gov/page/about-vision-zero
http://visionzeronetwork.org/