Below is a very impressive satellite image of City #36. Congratulations to Allen for being the first to correctly identify City #35.
One of the first comments often heard from fellow cyclists when starting to bicycle commute was not to ride on the community’s bike pathway system because it is less safe than riding in street traffic. A whole litany of perceived dangers were cited, most commonly conflicts with vehicles entering/exiting driveways. Instead, riding amid street traffic was touted as the better and safer way to go. For those hardy souls with the skill level and nerves of steel, please feel free to ride all the busy collector roads and arterial streets that you would like to. As for the rest of us, forget about it!
This week, while reading the book entitled City Cycling, the name of the theory that appears to have fostered the pent-up angst against bikeways was discovered. First espoused in 1992, vehicular cycling (VC) theory essentially adheres to the philosophy that:
“Cyclists fare best when they act as, and are treated as, operators of vehicles.” (page 114)
While it is agreed that cyclists are operators of vehicles and should rightly be treated as so when riding on streets, the contention that they “fare best” when doing so is unsupportable. Furthermore, there is no way that everyone falls into this theory’s mold. It is simply a theory of convenience for those who prefer street cycling over other forms of bicycle riding. The frustrating part is vehicular cycling (VC) theory has largely overshadowed the utilitarian “European-style” cycling modes which promote inclusive, less stressful, and more logical non-motorized transportation network designs that most of us would prefer using as opposed to competing with motorists.
Here is a paraphrased summary of the inherent flaws of VC theory articulated in pages 114-17 of City Cycling:
“It ignores the massive evidence of the European experience.
It ignores the engineering solutions developed to improve intersection safety for cyclists.
It is preoccupied with a collision type called the ‘right hook,’ which occurs when a through-going cyclist conflicts with a right-turning motorist approaching from behind.
When first postulated it had no empirical support.
Until now , only one credible American study at first glance appears to support the [VC] theory…However, this study considers only crashes at intersections (including driveway junctions) and therefore gives a distorted view of overall safety.
A 2011 study by Lusk, et al. showed that when between-junction crashes are accounted for along with crashes at intersections, the sidewalk bikeway’s crash risk was not statistically different from the risk of riding in the street.
When the risk of riding the same direction as traffic flow was considered, the risk of riding along bikeways/cycle tracks is half that of riding in the streets.”
Thank heaven, not everyone is still buying into the VC theory. A number of American cities, such as Portland, New York City, Indianapolis, Cambridge, Davis, Minneapolis, and Washington, DC have seen the light from the European results. May many more do so and soon – hopefully bringing along county and state road agencies, perhaps even the ever-present foot-draggers at AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials). Cycling in general and utilitarian cyclists in particular, will be very thankful when they do.
For the most part, I will let these lists speak for themselves.
- Washington, DC
- Seattle, Washington
- Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Least literate cities (all news is not so sunny from the Sunbelt):
- Bakersfield, California
- Corpus Christi, Texas
- Stockton, California
- El Paso, Texas
- San Antonio, Texas
Here is City #35 for your consideration. Congratulations to geoffreyh76 for being the first to correctly identify City #34.
A year or so ago I wrote about how cyclists are sometimes our own worst enemies. One gist of that post was until the cycling community can come together and agree on ONE course of action regarding advocacy, it will be mired in division which weakens its overall argument. I still believe this is our greatest dilemma, as we have the competing interests between hardened and more-daring riders demanding equal access to the streets versus the rest of us who just want to be and feel safe and thus prefer clearly marked or protected bike lanes (see first photo below) and/or wholly separated bike routes (see second photo below). Sure, there is safety in numbers, but we first have to develop sufficient numbers to actually achieve the safety benefits.
Being more inclusive helps grow participation in bicycling and therefore raw numbers. What seasoned riders need to realize is that many women, youngsters, seniors, the disadvantaged, and those of us like me who are uncomfortable amid automobile traffic are not suited to nor capable of riding with traffic on city streets. Authors John Pucher and Ralph Buehler put it this way in the introduction to their excellent book, entitled City Cycling:
“Cycling should be made feasible, convenient, and safe for everyone; for women, as well as men, for all age groups, and for a wide range of physical abilities. The authors of this book take the view that cycling should not be limited to cyclists who are highly trained, fit, and daring enough to do battle with motor vehicles on busy roads. As demonstrated in many chapters, getting children, seniors, and women on bikes requires provision of safer and more comfortable cycling conditions than currently exist in most American, Australian, and British cities.” (page xii)
Hallelujah to Mr. Pucher and Mr. Buehler as you have hit proverbial the nail squarely on the head. Numbers (and subsequently safety) will not appreciably increase without more participation from those who are not currently part of the non-motorized community. To advocate for road sharing (or sharrowing) is simply not enough. If the greater bicycling community wants true safety in numbers…numbers that will be noticed by motor vehicle drivers, it must advocate and promote the development of a bicycling infrastructure that accommodates all, especially those with less riding ability. Otherwise, only the hardiest, the bravest, or the most daring will venture onto city streets and roadways, rarely producing the quantity of riders that is necessary to change public perceptions or to build a dynamic and diverse cycling culture.
Below is an image of City #34. Congratulations to Sagar and kidfay for identifying City #33 at nearly the exact same time.
When I purchased the Kindle e-book Odessa, Genius and Death in a City of Dreams, I was excited to learn more about the Russian and Ukrainian history pertaining to this famous seaport founded by Catherine the Great. Never did I ever imagine that the dramatic history contained in this fine book by Charles King would become a precursor and essential prerequisite to a better understanding of the tragic events of the past month. As the third largest city in present-day Ukraine, the history of Odessa is a microcosm of that nation’s story – a diverse and sometimes divisive blend of Ottoman, Russian, Greek, Italian, Cossack, Jewish, Orthodox, German, Slavic, Romanian, Soviet, and Ukrainian cultures all rolled into one.
A magnificent seaport city set aside the Black Sea, Odessa is a relatively young city by European standards, but those 220 years are packed with a series of major events that have defined this metropolis. Unfortunately, the unique mix of cultures that set Odessa apart from most of its counterparts in its first century of existence were decimated by a series of nightmarish acts (both internal and external) that have left the city as a hollow shell of its former glory. Pogroms, epidemics, purges, forced relocation, ethnic cleansing, revolution, warfare, and revisionism have left untold scars upon this once urban beacon of hope, faith, diversity, reluctant acceptance, and economic prosperity.
As strife has yet again returned to the Ukraine, one can only hope and pray that Odessa and the nation as a whole will survive this latest ordeal without undue bloodshed and suffering. Hopefully, this city that once held so much promise as a multicultural beacon can someday return to its rightful position as a leading center of acceptance and shared prosperity. To do otherwise would be a pity and a great loss for humanity as a whole.
Here are selected quotes from this excellent book, some of which are strikingly similar to the ongoing situation there right now:
“Odessa has stood out as a mixed and rambunctious city, an island of difference between sea and steppe, yet a place continually threatened by its own mottled personality.
“From its founding in 1794 all the way to the present, Odessa has struggled to survive somewhere between success and suicide.”
“In the end, Odessa’s experience reveals the creative power as well as the everyday difficulty of being diverse.”
“Visitors don’t arrive in Odessa so much as stumble upon it.”
“But the sea [Black Sea] also offered two things that the Russians in particular desired: ports that were ice-free for most of the winter and potential access to the Mediterranean.”
“Both seaborne and overland commerce made Odessa the centerpiece of an expanding international network that tied the city more to its European counterparts than to the imperial metropolises of St. Petersburg and Moscow.”
“In relatively short order, Odessans became as status conscious as persons in other major cities.”
“A climate of social freedom was readily apparent. Public smoking, fashions that bordered on the scandalous, and public discussion of contentious issues from international affairs to taxes were relatively uncommon privileges in St. Petersburg and Moscow, but they were part of the normal street life in Odessa.”
“Odessa was founded by foreigners in Russian service, and that heritage reproduced itself generation after generation.”
“Odessa’s commercial success lay in its position at the intersection of flatlands and seascape, where the produce of the former could be sent to markets across the latter.”
“The tsar’s secret police began to see the multilingual and cosmopolitan city as a breeding ground for agitators, saboteurs, and terrorists – because in large part it was.”
“Odessa’s civilized core seemed to have withered and blown out to sea.”
“How could a city generally satisfied with its easy cosmopolitanism fall so speedily into communal chaos?
“After the revolution, however, Odessa seemed mainly a place of departure.”
“As a major cultural center, with long-standing times to Western forms of art and music, Odessa was an obvious target for labeling as a den of spies and wreckers.”
“In one of the least-known episodes of the Holocaust, at least 220,000 Jews were killed in or en route to string of ghettos and concentration camps established in portions of Soviet Ukraine and overseen by the Romanian state.”
“Odessa was one f the first four Soviet cities – along with Leningrad, Sevastopol, and Stalingrad – to be awarded the title of Gorod-Geroi, or “hero city.”
“But over the last two centuries, Odessa managed to produce a local culture woven from uneasiness, way of living that may hold lessons about the creative and destructive power of being in-between.”
Just ten days ago I wrote about Philadelphia’s foray into the elite 1,000 foot skyscraper club. Well, Miami is about to join this illustrious group as well, but not with just one sky-high tower, but two. As a result, the American chapter of the super-skyscraper club will soon consist of New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Philadelphia, and now Miami. It won’t surprise this planner if more inductees join their ranks as a super-skyscraper boom is taking place around the globe. Can Dallas, Seattle, Austin, Charlotte, Denver, Boston, or even Detroit be far behind?
Greater Miami has no shortage of skyscrapers. Up and down the Southeast Florida coastline skyscrapers have blossomed for many years. However, one factor that has limited the height of towers in many parts of downtown Miami is its proximity to the flight path for Miami International Airport. As a result, until recently the bar had been set below 1,000 feet. That has changed as the FAA recently approved building heights of up to 1,010 feet. In addition, at least one developer is requesting approval to 1,049 feet. Below is a list of the two proposed buildings, one of which have city approval to start construction.
- One Brickell City Centre Tower – proposed at 80 stories and 1,049 feet, is under review by the Miami City Commission.
- One Bayfront Plaza – approved at 80 stories and 1,010 feet, by the Miami City Commission (photo at top of post).
Add to these towers the planned 1,000 foot SkyRise Miami observation tower (see below) and the aesthetics and dynamics of Miami’s skyline are quickly changing.
Spoiler alert- if you don’t want to know the answers to “can you guess the city,” please do not read any further.
The list of correct answers provided below will be updated regularly so you can check your answers as new cities are added.
Answers will no longer be listed in follow-up posts or in updates to the original questions so That others who wish to participate at a later date can enjoy the fun, as well.
1. Houston, Texas, USA
2. Paris, France
3. Boston, Massachusetts, USA
4. Manila, The Philippines
5. Monterrey, Mexico
6. St. Louis, Missouri, USA
7 and 8. Beijing and Tianjin, China
9. Cape Town, South Africa
10. Denver, Colorado, USA
11. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
12. Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
13. Naples, Italy
14. Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
15. Auckland, New Zealand
16. Omaha, Nebraska, USA
17. Tallin, Estonia
18. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
19. Sao Paulo, Brazil
20. Adelaide, Australia
21. San Jose, Costa Rica
22. Montreal, Quebec, Canada
23. Fresno, California, USA
24. Savannah, Georgia, USA
25. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
26. Istanbul, Turkey
27. Cleveland, Ohio, USA
28. Calgary, Alberta, Canada
29. Budapest, Hungary
30, Genoa, Italy
31. Dakar, Senegal
32. Osaka, Japan
Congratulations to Motorvilleboy for being the first to correctly identify City #32. Below is City #33, for which the number 33 is quite important one Sunday per year. Yes folks, that was a hint.