Yesterday, I was listening to Victor Dover and John Massengale explain why a complete street doesn't necessarily mean a great place. So as I come back to write up my post from the "Streets of gold: High value via walkable urban thoroughfare design" session, I can't help but see it in a different light. 

That said, the first amazing fact is that in Chicago, streets represent 23% of its land area and 70% of city's public open space. Wow.  Obesity costs Chicagoans $1429 individually (42% more than the average) and the state $700million pa. They have a lot of crashes and pedestrian fatalities and know that there's a high correlation between crime and crash data.

This then is the context for the Complete Streets Chicago Guide, the default modal hierarchy of which is pedestrian, transit, bike, and then car. (Janet Attarian went through a number of examples too, but I've decided to skip right to the thing I found fascinating: about bikes, who rides them and quite possibly why Sydney Mayor Clover Moore copped such a hard time with her implementation of city-wide bike lanes. More in a minute..)

The second amazing 'fact' (I use that word loosely), is that there's a revolution going on and it's to do with bikes. For instance,  Illinois has included peds and bikes in the agenda for the first time, creating the Illinois Bike Transportation plan, and becoming the 9th most Bicycle Friendly State in the US.

But third, and finally, it's Rock Miller who turns on the light as far as the psychographics of bike riders are concerned. Read carefully: understanding these profiles could be the key to a successful bike revolution in your city, and a failure. According to Miller, the vocal minority of the bike riding world are the strong and fearless. Representing just 1% of the bike population, they're typically John Forrester disciples, want maximum visibility when riding; and in fact they actually ride like their a car. They take the lane - and the podium; they're the ones who fear loss of rights, who run lots of advocacy groups and who'll oppose much of what you, the planner, may want to achieve, with your bike lanes and other 'special facilities'. That said, if you're in a place without bike facilities, they're way of riding is the safest.

Next up are the enthused and confident at 7% of the population. A growing segment, that often includes weekend club and race riders, they prefer properly designed facilities and debate with the 1%.

They're followed by the interested but concerned - 60% of the total; a group that own but seldom use their bikes; that have bike racks and drive to natural trails but rarely ride on the city street. They'll listen to ideas and options and their greatest resistance is fear...

And then, finally, we have the no way, no how at 30% of the total. They'll never be your friends and they oppose any loss of space for the vehicle, and may use the data from the 1% to oppose you.

So, with those psychographics in mind, have fun with the revolution...!

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Posted
AuthorAmanda Falconer
Categoriesgreat places