Friday, April 30, 2010

MCBC acknowledges the work of Safe Passage

Marin Voice: Unveiling the Northgate promenade
Staff Report
Posted: 04/30/2010 12:09:28 AM PDT

MAY 1 marks a momentous occasion in the history of Marin's shopping malls, as Macerich, owner of the Northgate shopping mall, is hosting a celebration of its innovative bicycle and pedestrian promenade that frames the mall on its north and east sides.
The promenade offers the opportunity for shoppers from the local community to walk, roll and stroll their way to the stores, and encourages the elimination of vehicle trips for nearby residents considering a meal or a purchase at Northgate. The public can test the new facility at 11 a.m., and enjoy the fun family activities and bike parking being provided until 3 p.m.
The Marin County Bicycle Coalition applauds Macerich and members of the San Rafael City Council for implementing a unique idea used primarily in Europe - a two-way bicycle lane adjacent to a pedestrian sidewalk, both completely separated by a curb from vehicular traffic on Los Ranchitos Road. Now, in conjunction with the mall's location on the North-South Greenway (the north to south primary bike route through Marin), shopping, dining and movie entertainment at one of Marin's recently renovated malls has become even more accessible for residents and commuters along this popular route.
To make trips by bicycle convenient, the mall provided circle-shaped racks that can lock two bikes at one time.
But it's also important to acknowledge the persistence and good work of community members who worked with San Rafael City Council members to use these opportunities to create safe passageways throughout the community. Shirley Fischer in Terra Linda led the charge with other neighbors a decade ago to create the vision for a promenade connecting Scotty's Market to the Civic Center. The mall is an important piece of this long-term vision.
Kel Harris, Carolyn Lenert and Ray Lorber continue to work with the North San Rafael Community to expand the Safe Passages program and develop key community connectors and safe pathways along the North-South Greenway.
Supervisor Susan Adams has lent her support to this work in her district.
What better way to launch May as National Bike Month, but with this acknowledgment of the value of walking and bicycling to our well-loved destinations?
At the National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C. last month, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood closed the summit by declaring himself a "full partner" with bicycle advocates. Two days later, LaHood issued a new "Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation Regulations and Recommendations" and called for full equality for non-motorized transportation modes within federal transportation programs.
Marin County has been an early leader in this effort, through our participation in the federal $20 million Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Program to complete our bike/ped network. Los Ranchitos has been completed and Puerto Suello Hill-to- Central San Rafael and the Cal Park Tunnel are almost complete.
This new federal policy underscores the benefits of walking and bicycling.
If bicycling is new to you, I invite you to give it a try on Thursday, May 13, for Bike to Work Day.
Join thousands around the Bay Area in celebrating bicycling as a fun healthy way to make your local trips - to work, school, the store, library or movie.
MCBC will host 18 energizer stations around the county that day to support new and veteran riders on their spring morning bicycle commute.
Biking is a healthy way to reduce traffic congestion and improve the environment. In just one hour, the average person can save 52 cents per mile on gas, reduce carbon emissions by 15 pounds and burn 450 calories.
With all these obvious benefits, I hope to see you on your bike on May 13.
Kim Baenisch is executive director of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Life before they had safe and separate pathways


"you are there" for a cable car ride in San Francisco"

This  film was "lost" for many years.  It was the first 35mm film ever.

It was taken by camera mounted on the front  of a cable car.
The number of automobiles is staggering for 1906. Absolutely
amazing! The clock tower at the end of Market Street at the
Embarcadero wharf is still there.  

How many "street  cleaning" people were employed
to  pick up after the horses? Talk about going  green!

Great  historical film!  Watch the scampering
as Joe Public race away from autos, horses, cable cars and bicycles.

This  film, originally thought to be from 1905 until David Kiehn
with the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum figured out exactly
when it was shot. From New York trade papers  announcing
the film showing to the wet streets from recent heavy rainfall &
shadows indicating time of year &  actual weather and conditions
on historical record, even when the cars were registered
(he even knows who owned them and when the plates were issued!)..

It was filmed only four days before the Great California Earthquake of
April 18th 1906  and shipped by train to NY for processing.

 Amazing, but true!***

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

$600,000 Federal Grant awarded

Supervisor Susan Adams announced that a

Federal Grant for $650,000 has been awarded 

to the County of Marin.  The grant was provided to construct a safe and separate pathway along Lucas Valley  Road from Las Gallinas Avenue to Los Gamos Drive.

Transportation's bicycle policy hits potholes

MSN Tracking Image

Transportation's bicycle policy hits potholes
Associated Press Writer
The Associated Press
updated 5:18 a.m. PT, Wed., April 14, 2010
WASHINGTON - Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a weekend bicyclist, might consider keeping his head down and his helmet on. A backlash is brewing over his new bicycling policy.
LaHood says the government is going to give bicycling — and walking, too — the same importance as automobiles in transportation planning and the selection of projects for federal money. The former Republican congressman quietly announced the "sea change" in transportation policy last month.
"This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized," he wrote in his government blog.
Not so fast, say some conservatives and industries dependent on trucking. A manufacturers' blog called the policy "nonsensical." One congressman suggested LaHood was on drugs.
The new policy is an extension of the Obama administration's livability initiative, which regards the creation of alternatives to driving — buses, streetcars, trolleys and trains, as well as biking and walking — as central to solving the nation's transportation woes.
LaHood's blog was accompanied by a DOT policy statement urging states and transportation agencies to treat "walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes." It recommends, among other things, including biking and walking lanes on bridges and clearing snow from bike paths.
Transportation secretary is normally a quiet post, a Cabinet backwater. But LaHood has been the administration's point man on an array of high-profile issues, from high-speed trains and distracted drivers to runaway Toyotas.
The new policy has vaulted LaHood to superstar status in the bicycling world. Bike blogs are bubbling with praise. A post on calls him "cycling's man of the century." The Adventure Cycling Association's Web site calls LaHood "our hero."
"LaHood went out on a limb for cyclists," Joe Lindsey wrote on "He said stuff no Transportation secretary's ever said, and is backing it up with action."
Word of the policy change is still filtering out beyond the bicycling and transportation planning communities, but the initial reaction from conservatives and industry has been hostile.
The National Association of Manufacturers' blog,, called the policy "dumb and irresponsible."
"LaHood's pedal parity is nonsensical for a modern industrial nation," said the blog. "We don't call it sacrilege, but radical is a fair description. It is indeed a sea change in federal transportation policy that could have profound implications for the U.S. economy and the 80 percent of freight that moves by truck."
LaHood said he has been surprised by the response.
"It didn't seem that controversial to me," he wrote in a second blog item. "After all, I didn't say they should have the only voice. Just a voice."
At a recent House hearing, Rep. Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio, suggested jokingly to a Transportation Department official that one explanation for the new policy is that the secretary's thinking has been clouded by drugs.
"Is that a typo?" LaTourette asked. "If it's not a typo, is there still mandatory drug testing at the department?"
The new policy is not a regulation and, therefore, not mandatory, Transportation undersecretary for policy Roy Kienitz responded to LaTourette.
But it's LaHood's view "that the federal government should not take the position that roads and trains are real transportation and walking and biking is not," Kienitz said. "His view is it's all real transportation, and we should consider it based on what benefits it can bring for the amount of money we spend."
That didn't satisfy LaTourette.
"So is it his thought that perhaps we're going to have, like, rickshaws carrying cargo from state to state, or people with backpacks?" asked the congressman.
Bicycling advocates have been blasting LaTourette. Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists, with 300,000 affiliated members, called his comments "a little childish."
LaTourette said in an interview that he thinks bike paths, bike lanes and projects that make communities more walkable are fine but shouldn't be funded with money raised by a gasoline tax paid by motorists. The federal gas tax pays for most highway and transit aid, although lately general Treasury funds have been used to supplement the programs.
LaHood noted that LaTourette supports federal funds for a bike path in his district.
"The point is, on his Web site he's bragging about the fact that he got some money for a bike path," LaHood said. "He knows people in his district like them."
LaHood, 64, said he and his wife have biked on weekends for years. Three days before his announcement of the new policy, LaHood stood on a table to speak to a gathering of hundreds of bike enthusiasts in Washington. He drew cheers when he vowed the Obama administration will put affordable housing next to walking and biking paths.
"I'm not going to apologize for any of it," he said in the interview. "I think this is what the people want."
On the Net:
League of American Bicyclists:

© 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

County of Marin - Public Works Department crew clearing shrubbery

Rick, Tony and Bruce


                              Phil and Bert