Alan Durning’s “Year of Living Carlessly” and “Bicycle Neglect”

Alan Durning, executive director of the Seattle-based Sightline Institute has been doing some great writing on Livable Streets and sustainable transport issues over the last year. If you haven’t run across his work, he is writing a pair of ongoing series that I think will be of particular interest to Streetsblog readers.

On Friday, Durning published a piece in Grist about his experiment with a plug-in hybrid-electric car as a part of his Year of Living Carlessly series.

Given that most New York City residents have neither a car nor a reliable parking spot close enough to their house to run an extension cord, Durning’s other series will be of more interest. His Bicycle Neglect series examines why most Pacific Northwest cities "don’t treat bicycles as transportation,
which communities are doing the best job, and what’s at stake," issues that are equally relevant outside the Cascadia region.

In a recent blog post, Durning points us to an outstanding report by University of Washington planner
Alyse Nelson who spent much of last year in Copenhagen learning how that city has transformed itself into a sustainable transport mecca. Urban planners, prepare to geek out on the full range of Copenhagen street and intersection typologies:

She assembled her conclusions in an elegantly illustrated report (pdf)
– a picture book on how to build a cycling city. The gritty particulars
of street designs and diagrams of parking placement will fascinate
specialists, but I think the main lesson of Alyse’s booklet is visible
simply by looking at the pictures. Copenhagen treats bicycles with as
much care and attention as it treats cars. Consequently, cycling in
Copenhagen is commonplace: normal, mundane, unremarkable. Sort of like
driving in Cascadia.

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