Thursday, January 29, 2015

Vision Zero Initiative

Bike ABQ asked me to give a presentation on Vision Zero. That will be at its February Community Meeting. So far, I've looked at a few links I will share here, as well as dug out a presentation I gave at the 2006 Pro-Bike/Pro Walk as part of the Traffic Justice Initiative. If you have some ideas to share, fling 'em this way. LAB is doing a big deal on Vision Zero at the annual bike summit, too.

The basic notion is in the video at the following link: "When the Individual Fails, the Road System Will Not", i.e., it assumes human failure and plans for it rather than planning for maximum throughput (vehicle level of service) with safety as a secondary goal, with safety too strongly determined by fallible drivers. Watch this vid:

Other stuff

Its not a new idea. Sweden started it a couple decades ago as did a lot of Europe. Maybe it will get traction in the US, although we are certainly behind the curve.

Some info here.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

To the Episcopal Church: How Drunk Would Jesus Drive?

Descanso, Baltimore Style. 
Credit Matt Roth in the NY Times
That old question, What Would Jesus Do (WWJD?), is a little tired, but pretty much on point for anyone who has ever studied or practiced Christianity. Having been confirmed in (into?) Catholicism by a bunch of crazy Jesuits back at the University of Hawaii's Newman Center, after spending time at the "thinking intensive" masses under Fr. Vin Rush at SUNY Stony Brook, that includes me.  Thinking is quite good if done before actions, but only good as damage control if done after that "oh, shit" moment. To some, contemplation precedes repentance and change.

 So here we have, according to the New York Times and the Baltimore Sun (thanks, Ian) a high ranking lady in the Maryland Episcopal Church who was guilty of DWI in 2010 (0.27 BAC), later promoted to Suffragan Bishop of Maryland (2nd highest job in the pecking order), and who still can't separate the car keys from the bottle.

Meanwhile, cyclist Tom Palermo was out for a post Christmas ride. I think you can guess the rest. Texting and breathing a 0.22 BAC (after finally returning to the scene), Bishop Cook veered into the bike lane, plowed into Mr. Palermo, and fled the scene while he lay dying, which he subsequently did. Bishop Cook is now in the slammer at 2.5 million bond on charges including negligent manslaughter, leaving the scene, and DWI.

Unfortunately, the Bishop had a problem: when it came to driving drunk, she could not follow her own advice, as described in the Times piece from her own sermon, available on Youtube, and linked in the Times excerpt below (you can start at about the 6:50 mark):

In a sermon last year, Bishop Cook spoke about traffic safety and the consequences of unsafe driving. “My perception is that we live in the midst of a culture that doesn’t like to hold us accountable for consequences,” she said, “that somehow everybody gets a free pass all the time. Well, we do in terms of God’s love and forgiveness, but we don’t in many of the things that happen, and it’s up to us to be responsible.”

That's the problem with our driving culture and to some degree, our culture in general. We think we can screw it up and let God sort it out. Often enough, we only have that WWJD moment after we are facing the tragic consequences of our lax attitudes and find ourselves praying for forgiveness from a judge and jury, if not from our choice of deity or patron saint. Lesson learned? Heck, this is not the first such story.  I hope, as a matter of penance, the local Episcopal Church takes a time out from its usual sermons to preach this story. Perhaps start with Matthew 25:40.  Because it is not just sixteen time losers who kill or endanger.  Its the guy or gal we see in the mirror who lets his/her guard down, is in denial, or who thinks bad things happen only to those other people. And of course, its not just Episcopalians.

When a vulnerable Tom Palermo is riding his bike or crossing the street in front of you, How Would Jesus Drive? For that matter, how should you or I drive? We can pray for the victim and for the Bishop, but that, unfortunately, is damage control. At least in this life for the defendant and the survivors.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

This Blog Works For Charlie Hebdo

And from Morin in the Miami Herald

Survey Open To Collect Opinions About Potential Bike Sharing Project In Los Alamos County

I was asked to publicize this too, so I hope no one at the Daily Post minds that I just copy/link to the article. Its all the same. I met with Kevin Holsapple, who is spearheading this, before the Christmas season.

Note. If you have detailed comments, please feel free to leave them here as well as on the survey. Thanks.

Survey Open To Collect Opinions About Potential Bike Sharing Project In Los Alamos County

An online survey is open for responses at that invites all interested public to provide information that will be used in assessing the feasibility of providing a bicycle sharing service in Los Alamos County. 

The survey is a project of Places & Spaces Los Alamos, a 501c3 community development organization. The group has researched approaches to bike sharing systems that are being implemented in other communities with a particular emphasis on private sector initiatives. They concluded that there may be a cost effective, scalable operating approach that could have applicability here. An open question is whether there could be sufficient demand for shared bikes to justify the effort to pursue the idea further.

The survey is short and will take most people five minutes or less to respond to. Respondents are requested to share the link with other members of the public who they think could be interested in providing their inputs.

Places & Spaces mission is to support the creation and development of amenities, places and spaces for community social interaction. The survey will be open for the next two weeks. Analysis of survey responses and future actions planned by Places & Spaces will be published on the group's Facebook page at