Archive | May, 2014

Northside Happenings

27 May

Northside Bike Lanes

Ever ride (or drive) along Hermitage or Brook Road and fantasize about what it would be like to have a nice bike lane to ride in?  The current draft Bicycle Master Plan foresees buffered bike lanes (a bike lane with a buffer zone between the lane and the motor vehicle lane) on these roads as well as a section of Brookland Park Boulevard.

These and other proposals for the northside are up for discussion and input this Thursday, May 29, 6 pm at Holton Elementary School.  If you’re planning to attend, it would be great to let Bike Walk RVA know: RSVP here.

Kidical Mass

The first northside Kidical Mass Bike Parade on Saturday May 24 saw 40-50 adults and children come out for music, popsicles, and a fun ride through the streets of Bellevue (more photos on the event Facebook page).  Thanks to all who took part!

When should we do the next Kidical Mass?  What should the theme be?  Should we do a city-wide one next time?  Who wants to host one in their neighborhood?  It’s easy!

 

IMG_0594

Ready to ride!

We also got to try out bikes from Yuba.  Steve Bode brought down a few, including the Mundo cargo/family bike with electric assist, which was a hit.

In case you’re wondering, I have no connection to Yuba other than owning one, and I know a number of folks in Richmond who are happy with theirs.  That said, there are a growing number of good cargo bikes out there.  An earlier post on cargo bikes is here.  Check out articles from Momentum Mag here and here to learn more.  They also have a review of ten cargo bikes here.

Kidical Mass Bike Parade Sat. 5/24

18 May
Kidical Mass ride in Tuscon, AZ.  From livingstreetsalliance.org.

Kidical Mass ride in Tuscon, AZ. From livingstreetsalliance.org.

Two more weeks of National Bike Month remain, and there’s still a lot going on.  Here’s a list!

This is only a partial list, so check out the bike month calendar for more.

An event that I’d like to highlight is the Bellevue Bike Parade.  I do so because, well, I’m behind this one and I’d love to get a bunch of kids and their parents and anyone else up for it to bike around my northside neighborhood.  Below is the description, and let me know you’re coming on the event’s Facebook page.

Join us for the first ever north side Kidical Mass bike parade to celebrate Bike Month and a bikeable city!

Decorate your bike and work up an appetite for a Pedal Pops popsicle (available fur purchase) at the end of the ride. Free popsicle to the child with the best-decorated bike!

The ride will be roughly 2 miles on the friendly streets of Bellevue, beginning and ending at the Linwood Holton Elementary School playground. We will be riding on the street as a group, but will not cross major thoroughfares. Children should be accompanied by an adult, and helmets are strongly encouraged.

Yuba, a company that makes great cargo bicycles, will also be on hand with some bikes to try out.

Saturday, May 24, 11 am – 12 pm, beginning and ending at Linwood Holton elementary school playground (behind the building), corner of Hermitage and Laburnum.

Snacks for Bike to Work Day!

15 May

 

cycle track-2255_1

Image from bikeleague.org.

If you’re someone who does not usually bike to work but took the plunge during Bike to Work Week, May 12-16, good for you!  If you need a bit more of a nudge — or a reward if you bike to work anyway — then Bike to Work Day is your day.

One of the many rides and other activities that your fellow Richmonders have put together for Bike Month (see the calendar here) include refreshments and rewards for morning bike commuters at several locations this Friday, May 16, from 7-9 a.m.  So if one of these locations is on your route or close to it, stop by for a high five and some free coffee and snacks:

Oregon Hill (2nd Street behind War Memorial)
Floyd Ave (at Morris)
Leigh and Lombardy
MLK Bridge (MCV side)
James Center
Main St. Station

If you’re still thinking about commuting by bike, or are trying to convince someone to do so, check out this piece from Momentum Mag with basic tips on doing it comfortably.

Important Meetings

13 May

Floyd Avenue Project Meeting

A significant bike and pedestrian project currently under development is the Floyd Avenue bike-walk street.  A meeting that will include presentation and discussion of more detailed plans for that project is being held Monday, May 19 at the Virginia Historical Society on the Boulevard starting at 6:30 p.m.  This could set a really good precedent for installing good infrastructure in the city, so come out and show your support — and offer your critical comments on the design too, of course — especially if you live in the Fan or Museum District.  See rvanews for a bit more detail and background, as well as earlier posts from Bikeable Richmond (there are a bunch — just search “Floyd”).

Kids and parents feeling safe on our streets should be the goal of our master plan. From streetsblog.org.

Master Plan Meeting

A reminder that Bike Walk RVA is teaming up with the city to host a public presentation and discussion of the draft Bicycle Master Plan for the city is happening tomorrow (Wednesday, May 14) at the Carillon in Byrd Park from 6-8 p.m.  More details in this Richmond.com piece; RSVP here. An interactive map of the proposed routes and suggested infrastructure are here.

This is also huge: getting a master plan in place will put the city bike-ped coordinator Jake Helmboldt and the rest of us pushing for a real network of bikeways in a much better position to get funding from the city and get the kind of bike lanes we want.  Even if the you don’t have much to say about the draft, please come and show your support and be part of the conversation.

Initial Thoughts

I’m thrilled that we are a step closer to having a master plan, and theres a lot to like here.  Here are a couple of initial, general thoughts I’ve come up with in looking at the draft:

1) I love the cycle tracks, buffered bike lanes, and bike-walk streets (including Floyd).  This is the kinds of infrastructure that get people who are otherwise worried about riding in traffic out on their bikes.

2) There are too many sharrows (shared lane markings).  I’d like to see more bike-walk streets — which can vary in what they entail depending on the street in question.  Some fairly quiet streets might just have some speed lumps along with sharrows, for example.  The point is, sharrows by themselves do not inspire much confidence in riders who do not have it already.  Anywhere where we do not have separated facilities like bike lanes, we should work toward significant calming of motorized traffic.

3) “Existing” infrastructure should be open to revision.  There are streets that now have sharrows that should really have bike lanes, but in some cases the draft seems to assume they will stay the way they are.

4) When will we revisit this? When will it be done?  The information on the plan so far does not state explicitly when we would revisit this and whether this is a vision for 5, 10, or 20 years.  The Bike Master Plan started out as part of the Richmond Connects Multi-Modal Transportation Plan, and the latter is framed as a 20-year plan.  I think Richmond can and should go beyond what is in this plan by 2034.

$$ and the Master Plan

5 May

BicycleMasterplan

Hope your Bike Month is off to a good start.  We had some exciting races and great weather in town over the weekend.

But there’s lots for us not-so-fast, non-lycra-wearing folks to do as well.  Don’t forget to check out the Bike Walk RVA calendar for lots of fun events for all ages and abilities.

And on top of that, city council voted last week to put $4.5 million back into the budget for bike and pedestrian infrastructure (see below).  We’re not out of the woods yet, since Mayor Jones can veto the council amendments, and the veto can be overridden only with a 6-3 vote (the amendments passed 5-4).

That makes the completion of a Bicycle Master Plan especially important.  That way we’ll have a specific list of projects and a comprehensive network for which we can ask for funding.  Well, we’re getting close!  See the text from an email I received today from Bike Walk RVA’s Max Hepp-Buchanan, which includes links to rsvp for a public meeting and information on how to view the proposed network and provide feedback.

Everything you have done so far has worked! On Thursday night, City Council agreed to add an additional $4.5 million to the budget for new bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, including the Brown’s Island Dam walk and several miles of bike lanes.

While the City budget still has yet to be finalized, this is a huge first step. But without a vetted and finished master plan for bicycle infrastructure in Richmond, it will be incredibly difficult to get any funding for new bikeways in future years. 

Click here to RSVP for the Richmond Bicycle Master Plan Open House on the evening of Wednesday, May 14 at the Carillon in Byrd Park >>

The City of Richmond has been working on the Bicycle Master Plan for months and they now have a network map for us to review and comment on in the coming weeks. But it needs a lot of improvement. The draft plan proposes over 120 miles of new bikeways, about half of which are sharrows and will not work for our less experienced and timid bicycle riders.

The project managers and consultants will want to know: Do you want to continue sharing the lane with cars, or do you want a network of real bike lanes and calmed streets that make bicycling feel safe and comfortable for everyone?

Tell them in person! RSVP for the open house on May 14 >>

If you can’t make it to the open house, you can also use this online mapping tool for providing comments and recommendations from the comfort of your own home. And knowing full well that not everyone will be able to use the online tool, you can also email the Bicycle Master Plan project managers directly with your thoughts and ideas.

You are the expert on what it takes to make biking safe and comfortable in your community. Please help contribute to the plan that will guide bikeway construction for the forseeable future by RSVPing and providing your feedback today.

Busy Bike Month

1 May
Photo: New York Times.

Photo: New York Times.

Thanks to all of you who have written to council members and the mayor in support of amendments to the mayor’s budget to fund the Brown’s Island Dam Walk and other infrastructure.  If you haven’t had a chance to do so, click here asap so they’ll see your message before the 3 pm meeting today.

How Will You Celebrate Bike Month?

Bike Month 2014 looks like it will be the best yet.  As mentioned in a previous post, Bike Walk RVA got people together to plan their own rides and other events to celebrate Bike Month.  You can check out all of them on this handy calendar.  There’s something for everyone: lunch rides, donut rides, family rides and bike parades, a tweed ride, women-only rides and workshops, and much more — not to mention this weekend’s races and the Cap2Cap ride on May 10.  Or just find opportunities to ride your bike somewhere instead of driving!

There are also workshops for people who have considered bike commuting but would like more information and encouragement.  In cooperation with Active RVA, another Sports Backers initiative, Bike Walk RVA is hosting three seminars.  Please share with anyone you know who might be interested:

May 7th at the Boulders on Southside. 5:30pm.
May 8th at Innsbrook for West End riders. 6pm.
& May 21st at MeadWestVaco downtown. 5pm.

According to the release published on rvanews:

Commuting by bike is something we can all aspire to and it’s chock-full of benefits. It kickstarts your heartbeat, makes your first hours at work much more alert and energetic, and can sometimes even be quicker when you trade traffic jams for neighborhood short cuts.

But it can take a little help to get started. That’s where Active RVA comes in. To support more Richmonders to use their bikes for commuting and running errands, we’ll help you to pick safe routes, learn how to navigate traffic, and get advice on what gear (if any) you could use to feel more comfortable.

These gatherings are informal with time to socialize, drink and chat. And we’ll make sure that you leave feeling more prepared to experiment with a bike commute you’d like to try. Plus, they’re FREE!

Connect RVA

If all of that were not enough, Bike Walk RVA has also just announced a new initiative called Connect RVA.  According to Richmond.com:

Bike Walk RVA has announced the launch of Connect RVA, “a multi-year, regional campaign to make Richmond, Chesterfield, Henrico, and Hanover better places to walk and bike for everyday activities,” according to a release. Connect RVA is now gaining traction in the city of Richmond and has recently become an official legacy project of the Richmond 2015 UCI Road World Championships.

“The Connect RVA project is a perfect example of the kind of legacy that we had hoped would emerge as a result of hosting the World Championships and a benefit for the entire community for years to come,” said Tim Miller, COO of Richmond 2015, the organization behind the effort.

What better long-term legacy could there be for the 2015 races?  It’s great to see this kind of collaboration in the effort to ensure that Richmond becomes a truly bike-friendly city.

Bike Master Plan

Word is out that the Bike Master Plan for the city is coming together, and there will be a public meeting this month to get input on the routes and infrastructure choices for Richmond’s bike network.  More on that soon!

Movement on Infrastructure Funding

1 May

 

Photo from S.F. Streetsblog.

Photo from S.F. Streetsblog.

 

Some very good news on bicycle infrastructure funding in the city budget: you sent loads messages to your city council reps, and they took notice!  Thank you for your efforts!!  But we’re not quite there yet.

Two amendments to the mayor’s budget have been introduced and they will be voted on tomorrow afternoon (Thursday, May 1):

• Agelasto, Baliles, and Samuels are patrons of an amendment to put an extra $3.5 million in the budget for the Riverfront Plan

• Agelasto, Baliles, Newbille, and Samuels are patrons of an amendment to put an extra $3 million in the budget for bike infrastructure

That is awesome news, but of course these amendments still have to be passed by council.  The Greater Richmond Bicycle Coalition has set up a link for you to send a quick message of support for these amendments to help make sure they get the votes they need.  To send a message to council members and Mayor Jones, click here.

Deliberations start tomorrow at 3 pm in city hall.  If you’re able to come in person and show support that would be great too!  Let’s make this happen!