Archive for October, 2010

The Guardian reports that that London Bike Share is wildly profitable. Not only is it covering its operating costs, it will even be paying back the capital costs too.

Setting up the bike hire scheme is set to cost £140m over six years. TfL expect it will cover its operating costs within two to three years and will then be able to contribute to its implementation costs. Charlie Lloyd from the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) said, “It is very likely they will make some kind of profit on this, and you have to bear in mind that London Transport makes a loss on every single bus and tube journey. So this is a good value transport investment.

This result is no great surprise. Though often derided by planners and politicians, bicycle transport is incredibly efficient. Imagine the kind of bike network possible if cycling received the same level of monetary and political support as highways or subways.

And, let’s also note that the bike sharing scheme has large ridership too:

Jeroen Weimar from Serco, the operating company, told the committee: “As of this morning there are 94,500 members of the bike hire scheme and between them they have made over 1,068,000 journeys.”

Indeed, one of the questions raised was whether London Bike Share is scalable. At what point do bike sharing stations become overwhelmed?

[David] Brown said the scheme could never deal with commuters from railway hubs like Victoria or Waterloo. “We could never cope with that level of demand. We would need docking stations the size of five football pitches.”

Perhaps Mr. Brown needs to visit central station in Amsterdam or Copenhagen.

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My, what a confusing message from the Sierra Club’s Northern Alameda Chapter!

On the one hand, the Club supports Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Berkeley. And, it endorses Measure R, an advisory measure in favor of transit-oriented development (TOD) around Berkeley’s downtown transit.

On the other hand, the Club has endorsed candidates utterly opposed to BRT and transit-oriented development. This blog already reported on Kriss Worthington. Besides Worthington, Councilmember Jesse Arreguin has also received the Club’s blessings.

Arreguin, who’s positions on TOD are so extreme, some enviros have dubbed him Jesse ‘Arreguinejad’ (after the Iranian President) is the point-man for the anti-TOD crowd. Whereas his opponent, Eric Panzer has amazing credentials: a degree in Environmental Science, and he works professionally as a City Planner.

So here the Club has an awsome opportunity to endorse a candidate that really “gets it” with regard to alternative transport — and help get rid of Arreguin. But noooooo!!!! [/Belushi]

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Heckuva Job Doty

In the 21st century, level-platform boarding is just one of those features taken for granted in new passenger rail construction.

Except at Caltrain.

Caltrain has released plans for the “shared corridor” concept with high-speed rail. Incredibly, Caltrain is stubbornly clinging to 8″ platforms. The low platform height means anyone in a wheelchair, or with other mobility issues, will still have to suffer with wheelchair lifts or ramps.

That this is happening in the Bay Area is all the more remarkable. The Bay Area played an historic role in passing the Americans with Disabilities Act, and has an active (and litigious) disabled community.

Bob Doty, Caltrain’s High-Speed Rail Program Director, frequently refers to the $10+ billion makeover as making Caltrain just like BART. Far from being like BART, the new Caltrain is looking more and more like the old Caltrain.

8-inch Caltrain platform on the left, 2' HSR platform on the right (click to enlarge)

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Requiem for CA SR-180

Here are some photos of remnants of CA State Route Highway 180, in eastern Fresno County. Fresno County is blasting a super highway through some of the most famous California agricultural land. Already, the old farmhouses are boarded up and/or demolished. The ‘For Sale’ signs are springing up, in preparation for the Fresno metropolitan area to sprawl 10 miles east.

Literally “a road-to-nowhere”, this 2-lane highway runs through very remote orchard and ranch land, before heading up into the Sierras and dead-ending at Roads End in Kings Canyon National Park. This project was funded through the American Recovery Act (“stimulus” dollars). Unless the Obama Administration makes radical shifts in its transportation priorities, auto bailouts and sprawl highways will be its legacy.

Farming road permanently severed

How SR-180 will eventually look:

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