Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Green Idea Factory wins 1st Prize in Copenhagen Bike Share Design Competition

The team of Koucky & Partners, LOTS Design and Green Idea Factory has developed an innovative bike share concept, called OPENbike, for the city of Copenhagen. They have been awarded a shared first prize amongst 127 international entries in the design competition. The awards ceremony was held on 10 December, during the COP15 summit.

The City of Copenhagen, Denmark, one of the world leading cycling cities, aims at establishing a new bike share system and initiated an open international design competition earlier this Fall.

is user-focused and proposes a system that is easy to use, flexible and fully scalable. The design goal has been to create a system that seamlessly integrates with public transport and becomes a natural part of Copenhagen’s existing bicycle culture. The system proposes a smart card system and positioning solutions integrated in each bicycle to create a fully floating bike share system.OPENbike does therefore not need special stands and bicycles can easily be repositioned to adapt the system to the city's changing needs.

"We are particularly happy the jury appreciated our intentions with this iconic bicycle design that relates to Copenhagen bicycle history and, at the same time, contributes to the new branding of Copenhagen," says Erik Nohlin, a specialist in bicycle design from LOTS Design in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Michael Koucky of Koucky & Partners, also in Gothenburg, adds, "We aimed to make this bike feel like an owned bike for a Copenhager or a commuter to the Danish capital. The bike is not meant to be on a pedestal, both literally and figuratively. It should be a natural part of the lives of local cyclists, and a great example for tourists."

"It is clear to me that leading cities are ready to embrace what is now the 4th Generation in bike sharing systems," says Los Angeles-born Todd Edelman of Green Idea Factory, currently based in Berlin. "The attention and generosity shown by the City of Copenhagen in holding this competition hopefully indicates that cities are also starting to take a leadership role in implementing this important component of a seamless public transportation solution."

See OPENbike and click here for detailed information on the Design Competition and all the other entries.

High resolution images for publication or viewing can be downloaded here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Dog and Cat Collars" (2009) by Chris Jordan

Depicts ten thousand dog and cat collars, equal to the average number of unwanted dogs and cats euthanized in the United States every day*.

from "Running the Numbers - An American Self-Portrait".

Chris Jordan entry on Wikipedia.

* Statistics from HSUS seem to originate with this org., but I cannot find them.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Regarding "Compleat Streets"

Transportation for America wants people in the U.S. to send this letter:

Dear Secretary LaHood, I am alarmed by the continually high pedestrian fatality rate in this country.
Just this week, a new study by the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership and Transportation for America reported that in the last 15 years, more than 76,000 Americans have been killed while crossing or walking along a street in their community. Overwhelmingly, these deaths occurred on poorly designed roadways that encouraged speeding cars and made little or no provision for people on foot, in wheelchairs, or on a bicycle.
The study shows the strong correlation between a metro area's Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) and its spending on pedestrian safety projects. The metro areas in greatest need of improvement are spending the least.

The study also shows how many communities are creating safer streets - by making sure that every road project provides for the safety of everyone who will be using the road, including pedestrians. More than 100 communities across the country have adopted Complete Streets policies to do just that.

Nationwide, less than 1.5 percent of funds authorized under the federal transportation law, SAFETEA-LU, have been spent on projects to improve the safety of walking and bicycling. Yet pedestrians comprise 11.8 percent of all traffic deaths and trips made on foot account for almost 9 percent of total trips.
Your work on combating distracted driving and establishing a new Safety Council shows that you are passionate about transportation safety. Please add to that record of achievement by supporting Complete Streets policy adoption across the country. This is a strategy that will not only can make our streets safer, but will help make our communities more livable by providing people with attractive transportation options.
We need your leadership on Complete Streets with Congress and within USDOT.
(Your signature)

to which I say:

(to the tune of your favourite rap or folk song...)

Some had the space for a horse for a ride
Or trees so the neighbours and birds could hide
On others all agreed bikes could be ridden
Or a tram to sit in when you want your legs hidden

Streets were complete before cars came along
The sidewalks so wide you could dance your own song
The sidewalks so proud that they met in the middle
The compromised think that this must be a riddle.


"Better", "Slower" are qualitative and acceptable; "Streets for People" used elsewhere, is vague but might be okay, but please ask yourself:

* Don't these terms mean something different than "complete"?
* What about the noise and tailpipe emissions of motor vehicles, in particular private cars... they also share the street, and not in a nice way.
* Why pretend to treat everyone equally regarding safety?
* Just how much does this encourage "alternative" transport? (Probably a bit to a bunch, depending on the quality of complementary measures... so that's good.)

"Complete", re-contextualised to include private urban cars, sends a strong signal that this subgroup of automobiles (which can be appropriately used) will be a permanent feature of the built environment -- that it deserves a place as much as other modes.

So, it's a pity that local authorities are confused (and confusers), and it's a shame that various community and advocacy organizations - such as "Transportation for America [sic]" which has an otherwise decent agenda - push this new kind of "complete". It is deceptive... even Orwellian language. If enshrined as law it's very, very dangerous.