Saturday, June 27, 2015

How we get around

One of the subjects I've become interested in since my retirement is urban transportation. I have a list of blogs and web sites I check frequently for local and national and even international news and insights. I subscribe to Mode>Shift>Omaha's email notices, I've bookmarked several bicycling web sites (I have a bike now! It's not ride-able yet but once I've got the health stuff behind me I'm hoping to get back in the saddle!) I've said here often that I need to walk more, and take more advantage of our bus system.

Here are some web sites I've found interesting, entertaining and helpful:

Poynton Regenerated - Rumor has it that the construction chaos out at 90th & Maple Streets is going to be revealed, when the dust settles, as a giant roundabout. Single-lane roundabouts are no longer strange sights in Omaha, but somehow the idea of scaling that up to two lanes scares the hell out of people. Big cities the world over have long had roundabouts - usually scapegoated humorously by Americans such as the hapless tourist taking his life in his hands to get across the Place Vendôme. But if they can do it, we can do it. This 15 minute film is fascinating, showing pre-project doubts and conditions, and post-project opinions and benefits. They used a number of known approaches to increasing safety for pedestrians and keeping traffic moving. There is a whole *world* of ways to make our lives better through the design of transportation projects. This is a good video to get your toes wet.

Mode>Shift>Omaha - for citizens to keep up on local transportation issues.

Mode>Shift>Omaha onTwitter (pro tip: you don't have to "belong" on Twitter to read other people's Tweets; you just can't respond to them if you haven't registered. I haven't. I lurk. If I feel the overwhelming urge to comment, I'll send the Tweeter a private email. Doesn't happen often.)

Human Transit - pro planner Jarrett Walker's excellent blog about issues in transporting human beings through their cities and lives.

I love the web site Streetfilms. You get to see videos from cities all over the world about dealing with human transportation issues in humane and intelligent ways. It's inspiring!

Charles Marhon's video dissecting an engineer's video of a "diverging diamond" intersection is an entertaining 10 minutes that will get you started actually *seeing* the kind of insane transportation environment we've all become accustomed to. Marhon's blog Strong Towns is full of insightful discussions, videos and interviews about how people are trying everywhere to make towns and cities about human beings again. He pulls no punches when critiquing his profession's blind spots about designing for people.

There's a lot going on locally in this arena. If you've ever wondered what the heck is going on in Benson - cruise through Omaha By Design's website to find out.

Last October I tried a month-long experiment to see if I could live without a car in Omaha. I didn't make it the full month; read about what I learned, starting with this post.

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