Friday, November 28, 2008

OSU v. Olentangy Multi-Use Path, Part 2

Because of an errand my wife asked me to run on the way to work today, I took the Olentangy Multi-Use Path to work today. And I got to witness first-hand just how much it's been bollocksed-up by Ohio State University (and please pardon the brit/soccer-isms today... I'm still completely stoked by the Crew winning MLS Cup 2008).

As usual, the trail was just fine up to the point when I got to Woody Hayes. I went under the bridge there and was actually impressed with the work that had been done. The path was right along the river, and moving along nicely. It was wide enough for bikes to path easily, and I was really getting impressed.

Then I got to the messed-up part. Seeing no signage to tell me otherwise, I saw the path going off in a direction that might lead one to believe that it went under the next bridge (near the northern-most of the two OSU towers, I don't know the name of it). I decided to see if I was correct.

I was not.

It didn't go under the bridge... it didn't go ANYWHERE. It stopped. Dead end. Luckily, I'd built up enough speed that I was able to make it up the short but steep incline in the grass and up to where the path continued. Consider it my attempt to see how stoked I'd be to try CycloCross (which I do want to try out sometime. Just not on my commuter bike with full panniers!).

At that point, I looked around for where to go next. And I saw the "Under Construction" signage for the path as it went back the way I came... I guess the wizards at OSU just figured that the only folks who mattered were those were already on campus and trying to leave, because I don't recall seeing any signs for those trying to get through campus. So after a couple of tries, I went down in front of the Drake Union (I think that's the name of the building, the one just north of the junction of Cannon Drive and John H Herrick Drive) and was able to make it back onto the nasty section of the path as it goes past the electrical station just south of the aforementioned junction.

I'm not impressed with the steps OSU is taking to fix the path right now. It's half-done at best. And the signage to successfully reroute path users around is nearly nonexistent. And the real problem spot, up by the electrical station, is still too narrow and poorly paved.

I can accept that it's under construction. I can't accept the idea that OSU can't handle proper signs to reroute people around up there and point them in the proper direction. At most points, I had to rely on the still-existing painted path signs for Bike the C-bus. Pathetic.

OSU, for all its posturing about being an important part of the Columbus community, is still obviously all about OSU, and their treatment of the path is just the latest outward indication of that fact.

People, not speed.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

iPhone-Friendly Feed

Found a new service called DoYouFeed.com that allows you to set up any RSS feed for the iPhone. Here's the link I set up for this site: http://tinyurl.com/5ldet9

Please, if you have an iPhone (which I don't) try it out and let me know how it works!

People, not speed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Columbus Street Study Looking To Remove More One-Way Streets

In an effort to improve street safety in Columbus, city officials are investigating the idea of making Summit and 4th, currently one-way avenues into and out of downtown, into two-way streets.

This is an absolutely great move. It'll slow traffic down, make it safer for everyone using the roads, and the slower speed will help to improve visibility for the neighborhoods and businesses that are along those routes. This is a win-win situation for all involved!
Study May Change Downtown Driving
Monday, Nov 17, 2008 - 01:41 PM Updated: 05:07 PM
By Donna Willis
E-mail | Biography


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Speeding on two major Columbus streets is causing officials within the city to think about how to curb the problem.

The area in question is east of The Ohio State University's campus on Summit and Fourth streets.

By the end of Monday, city officials and residents will have a better idea whether or not to continue with a plan that would dramatically change two streets.

Summit and Fourth streets are both one-way roads and they're widely used by motorists, joggers and bicyclists.

The roads are also at the center of a safety plan put on by city officials that would take Summit and Fourth and make them two-way streets instead of one-way.

Rayniecia Ratliff and her 1-year-old daughter travel Fourth Street several times a week.

"I think it will help a lot if they just change it to a two-way street, things will be easier," Ratliff said.

Local business owners said they support the plan as well.

A mobility plan meeting was scheduled for Monday night at the Grace Baptist Church on North Sixth Street.

Stay tuned to NBC 4 and refresh nbc4i.com for more information on this developing story.

People, not speed.

Columbus Foundation Match Day Is TODAY! Support Consider Biking

A reminder from Consider Biking:

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Columbus Foundation Match Day begins at 2:00 pm TODAY!
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Don't miss this opportunity to help Consider Biking continue our work toward ensuring everyone has the opportunity to experience the joy of bicycling for active transportation, recreation, fitness, and sport.

Beginning at 2 pm on Wednesday, November 19, (TODAY!!) anyone may visit www.columbusfoundation.org, to make an online gift to their favorite nonprofit. The Columbus Foundation will match 50% of all public donations of $2,500 or less made online with a credit card through PowerPhilanthropy, while funds last. So we ask you to act this afternoon! Anyone can give, starting with a $20 minimum. Please give a gift to Consider Biking and support our education, encouragement and advocacy efforts in Central Ohio.
Click here to login and give a gift on Match Day.


People, not speed.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Neighborhoods Looking To Increase Walkability

It's not explicitly bike-related, but it's on the same track. The Dispatch today is discussing the creation of neighborhoods with increased walkability, neighborhoods that are incorporating businesses that normally would require a drive to reach. And there's also mention of bike paths and their incorporation as well. Very encouraging to see!
Home is where the businesses are
Developments bring work, play closer
Monday, November 17, 2008 3:02 AM
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

TOM DODGE | Dispatch
Curb work is being done at Oak Park in Dublin, a new development that makes it easy to get around by bike or on foot.
The Oak Park development, rising from a Dublin field in Union County, will contain a bit of everything --- town homes and single-family houses, stores, offices and restaurants.

The deal is that, if you live there, you can walk or bike to shop, get a bite to eat, go to the bank or even to work, not to mention visit the nearby Glacier Ridge Metro Park.

No driving means not using gasoline, which means not contributing to the ever-present carbon footprint.

Dublin is among a number of central Ohio communities that are encouraging neighborhood-friendly commercial developments, hoping to better combine shopping, working and living.

"One of the things we're trying to do with neighborhood centers is get away from strip malls, trying to make sure uses are mixed," Dublin senior planner Carson Combs said.

Even better is using bikeways and sidewalks, as Oak Park will, to tie the centers to nearby neighborhoods, which helps cut traffic on major roads, Combs said.

New Albany's master plan calls for such development, and Hilliard also is pushing for more neighborhood-friendly commercial areas, said Amy Lowe of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.

The aim is that people won't have to drive across town to buy a gallon of milk, Lowe said.

That will make the neighborhoods more like Worthington or Bexley, which attract the young, well-educated urban professionals whom area leaders are struggling to keep in Franklin County.

"We want to make sure central Ohio is competitive," MORPC Executive Director Chester Jourdan said. "We're competing against other parts of the country, other nations."

Look at Columbus' own German Village, where century-old brick houses sit next to restaurants and stores, said Ken Meter, who heads the Minneapolis-based Crossroads Resource Center, which focuses on building strong local economies.

Residents frequent those businesses, keeping dollars in the neighborhood. That helps sustain not only the businesses but also the value of the homes around them, Meter said.

Traditional strip centers cater to neighborhoods, too, but they are auto-oriented, said Jennifer Evans-Cowley, a professor of city and regional planning at Ohio State University. "If you're a pedestrian, it's not a safe route."

Columbus ranks 27th for walkability among the country's 40 largest cities, according to Walk Score. That's a Web site, www.walkscore.com, where you can plug in your address and gauge how car-dependent your neighborhood is, based on your home's proximity to stores, restaurants, libraries, schools and parks.

New Albany's master plan calls for retail strip centers near Rt. 161 interchanges, while the village's center would offer offices and specialty shops linked to neighborhoods by trails, said Jennifer Chrysler, community development director.

Bike paths also link office parks with retail centers near 161, she said. And Mount Carmel New Albany Surgical Hospital on Rt. 62 is next to the developing Smith Mills Shoppes, a mix of neighborhood-scale retailers, offices and homes.

"The fact we had the hospital developed as part of the community helped shape the retail development," Chrysler said.

Hilliard City Council will vote Nov. 24 on whether to pay a consultant $1.24 million to develop a comprehensive plan that better integrates sidewalks and paths with development so people can walk from their homes to stores or parks.

Hilliard has zoned land along Britton Road west of I-270 so that offices, homes and a neighborhood town center would be linked, Service Director Clyde "Butch" Seidle said.

"You get some responsible residential growth, not the untethered growth that you saw in the late 1990s and early 2000s," he said.


People, not speed.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Paul Dorn Releases The Bike to Work Guide

Long time bike advocate and blogger Paul Dorn (one of the guys whose website got ME started with bike commuting, I'm proud to say) has released his new book: The Bike to Work Guide: What You Need to Know to Save Gas, Go Green, Get Fit. I haven't read it yet myself, as it's new, but as soon as I can get a copy I'll make sure to review it here for you.

But if it's at the same level as Paul's website (which you can find on my links in the right column) then it'll be spectacular!

People, not speed.

WAD Monthly Commuter Ride Update - Nov. 20th

Here's some great news from Brett Allen of WAD, including a great opportunity to try out some new bike commuting hardware:
The WAD Bikeway Association's monthly group commuter bike ride is next Thursday, November 20th.

This month we are taking over High St - in a civilized kind of way.

Map and Itinerary - 20 NOV 08 - Click Here

Thanks to roll: Polaris we will have demo Light & Motion light gear available for trial use. See wadbikeway.blogspot.com for more information.

Free showers downtown. Five free day passes available at MetroFitness on E Long St. ID required.

See you there,
Brett Allen
Thanks, Brett, and thanks to roll:Polaris for making the equipment available! As I said, this is a great opportunity to test drive new lights, making our rides easier and more comfortable!

People, not speed.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Consider Biking Newsletter - November 2008

cbus logo
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Consider Biking Newsletter
November 2008

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In This Issue
Columbus Foundation Match Day
Dutch Kitchen Holiday Dinner
Milton Ave. Bike Boulevard
Become a Member
Greetings!
Wow! 2008 has been a time of explosive growth for Consider Biking (formally known as COBAC) We'd like to thank you for signing up for our newsletter list at one of our events or display booths this summer, or by virtue of registering on the Consider Biking website, or through past involvement with COBAC.
The momentum we're generating as a trusted resource for objective information, has drawn many to our cause of making Central Ohio more friendly for bicyclists.

We hope you'll find the news of our challenges and accomplishments to be relevant and inspiring.
Columbus Foundation Match Day 2.0 - Please Donate!
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Consider Biking has recently been approved to accept gifts through the Columbus Foundation. We are fast becoming a credible non-profit organization in Central Ohio!

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The Columbus Foundation recently announced an exciting funding opportunity through their Power Philanthropy program: Match Day 2.0, November 18 and 19. If you are considering making a donation to Consider Biking, this is a great way for you to increase your support with a match from The Columbus Foundation - gifts up to $2,500 that are made online during this program will be matched by the Foundation at fifty cents to the dollar. For example, a $100 donation would receive a $50 match.

Consider Biking has demonstrated great success for bicyclists in the past year, but we need your support to continue our work. Please take advantage of this opportunity to give through the Columbus Foundation on Match Day 2.0.

In order to give, you must have a Columbus Foundation Power Philanthropy account. If you don't have an existing account, you must register on the Foundation's website by Friday, November 14. Please click here to go to the log-in site. It's quick and easy.

Here's how Match Day 2.0 will work for donors and the community:

Starting at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 18, we will match online grant suggestions from Columbus Foundation donor advised funds and supporting foundations to PowerPhilanthropy nonprofits in the amount of 50 cents of every dollar contributed, up to $2,500 per fund, while matching funds last.
Starting at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 19, Match Day 2.0 opens to the public, and we will match all online credit card donations to PowerPhilanthropy nonprofits in the amount of 50 cents of every dollar contributed online through PowerPhilanthropy, up to $2,500 per individual, while matching funds last. Anyone can give, starting as low as $20.
Earlier this year, the matching funds provided by the Columbus Foundation were exhausted in the first hour(s) of the program; so please consider making your gift promptly at 2:00 p.m. on the appropriate day.

We sincerely thank the Columbus Foundation for this opportunity. However, it is your gift that will enable us to fulfill our vision that everyone experience the joy of bicycling and walking on a daily basis, and that cycling and walking are safely integrated into our transportation system.

Join us for the Dutch Kitchen Holiday Dinner
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logoThe Dutch Kitchen in Plain City has been an epicenter of cycling culture and advocacy for decades. Over the years, hundreds of cyclists gather for breakfast and lunches on Saturdays, and many more frequent this cycling harbor throughout the week.

Each year, the Dutch Kitchen closes to the public for an evening, and hosts a festive evening to celebrate the cycling community. This year, Consider Biking has been asked to help organize the event and provide the core program for the evening.
logoAs in years past, we will honor two cyclists that have advanced cycling causes in our community. Then, we will highlight some of the exciting initiatives in Central Ohio that will make the cycling environment better for us all!

The event is Wednesday December 3rd, and runs from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. Here is the link to the flyer for details and registration information.

The event is capped at 150 people, and always sells out in advance. So please make your arrangements now!
Consider Biking Applauds New Bike Boulevard!
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Consider Biking joined other bicycling advocates and community leaders to applaud Mayor Coleman, Council member O'Shaughnessy, and City Staff for their incredibly quick action to implement the Bicentennial Bikeways Plan at a press event on the new Milton Ave. Bike Boulevard.

logoThis Milton Ave. Bike Boulevard demonstrates that the city is serious about providing accommodation for bicyclists. This stretch of road is probably the most heavily traveled by bicyclists in the city. The City's use of the progressive, but simple, technique of creating a bike boulevard and bike boxes, demonstrates that the City is serious about creating a world class infrastructure for cyclists. Here is a link to more pictures of the Bike Boulevard.

Bicycling magazine recently named Columbus as one of the five "Cities to Watch" for bicycling accommodation. Monacle, an international design magazine that annually ranks the world's most livable cities, referenced a high expectation for Columbus' plans to become "one of the United States most bikable communities." We owe this expectation to the City's great work in the last year to develop one of the most progressive bicycle Master plans in the country.

However...a plan, regardless of how progressive.... is only worthwhile when it is implemented. This Milton Ave. Bike Blvd treatment is an important "quick win" that should send a powerful message to our community that the City is very serious about implementing the Bicentennial Bikeway Plan. So, Consider Biking unanimously endorsed the Columbus city bond issues that will affect bicycling infrastructure, and celebrates the approval of these issues at the polls on November 4th.
Let's remain persistent in our push to City officials, to implement the plans for construction as outlined in the Bikeway Plan...and hence, continue to develop Columbus into the vibrant, livable city we all envision!
Become a Member Today!
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Consider Biking is a member-supported organization. We can only accomplish our goals through the support of our cycling constituents. There are over 130 peer organizations across the country, demonstrating a need for cycling advocacy groups. Many of these organizations have THOUSANDS of members, and benefit by the financial support, and the "body of cyclists" that stand behind them when they advocate for enhancements to cycling accommodation.

We'd like to ask you to
join Consider Biking. We need your support to represent our common interests in Central Ohio.

What's in it for you??
You benefit by knowing we'll have the resources to fight for our needs.
You'll benefit by knowing that we're working hard so you can "just ride."
You'll benefit by knowing we partner with strong coalitions to advance the healthy movement of people, not just cars.
You'll benefit by knowing we coordinate unique events that serve some of the dynamic segments of our cycling audience.
And, you'll benefit through our on-line presence, where ALL cyclists are welcomed, respected, and have a safe place to share their perspective.

Your membership donation to Consider Biking is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. We thank you for your support.

Information on membership here.

Quick Links...
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Contact Information
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Executive Director, Jeff Stephens - jeff@considerbiking.org 614-579-1127

President Board of Directors, Meredith Joy - meredith.a.joy@gmail.com
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People, not speed.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

REI Joins the Fray with Commuter Cycling Section

One of my favorite gear companies, REI, has entered into the commuter cycling world with a whole new section of their website that discusses commuter cyclist news, reviews, tips, and naturally merchandise.

The site includes lists of tips, How-to Videos on maintenance and bike operation, and even schedules for live classes at some of their locations. REI is taking this seriously... look for more companies to join this wave as gas gets more scarce and cycling gets more and more attractive.

People, not speed.

Friday, November 7, 2008

My First Foreign Object Tossing Incident

I've changed my home-bound commute from S. High Street to going up 4th Ave. instead of Front Street and N. High Street. And for the most part it's better as far as time goes. It's not as much fun as the previous route, which took me through the Short North and some of the fun areas of High, but with fewer stops I get home quicker, which is nice.

But yesterday, for the first time, I had something thrown at me. I was crossing over I-670 on 4th, and a pickup decided that I wasn't over far enough (in other words, I wasn't riding on the shoulder, which I refuse to do for multiple safety reasons). So he started honking at me. I looked back with a rather withering glare and kept going. As I got to the other side of 670 and pulled over to the right-most lane, the truck roared past me and someone in the passenger seat threw a wad of paper at me.

It was only paper, and it didn't even come close to hitting me... but this was a first for me. I try very hard to ride in a way that's both safe for me and considerate to those around me. Granted, if push comes to shove and it's one or the other, I opt for safety. And that was the case yesterday.

But it was disheartening to have that happen for the first time. I've NEVER had problems with that sort of thing, and I'd always counted myself lucky in that regard.

I guess it's just a matter of time before we all run into an asshole, though, so be careful out there. And don't stop taking the lane.

People, not speed.