Skip to main content

tv   [untitled]    July 24, 2010 11:01am-11:31am PST

12:01 pm
>> as you all know, the german marshall fund vehicle very kind to provide us with this -- has been very kind to provided us with this opportunity to have four of their european experts in bicycle planning, bicycle implementation and bicycle programs and they are experts on all aspects of the bicycle. and here in san francisco, you know, we are at this point trying to after a hiatus of three years because of court-ordered injunctions trying to implement our bike plan. so we all a collective goal, i believe, to increase the environmental and nick sustainability of the world around us that we participate in and especially in san francisco, but we do have a special responsibility because this place provides us with the
12:02 pm
opportunity that most other places don't. the geometry and geography of san francisco is up that it is easier for us being in a city of short trips to veil ourselves to other alternatives to the car. so when we want to reclaim the street and the public right-of-way and the public realm for people and basic human needs of access to the humanities that urban environments provide, we have a better shot at than, say, other places where large distances have to be traversed in most american cities to kind of get to the places you want to get. here in san francisco, we have been blessed by the geometry where our trips are short where 40 years ago we realized that this was the way we will have to kind of meet our future. the iron call part of that is at the same time europe also discovered that and they made
12:03 pm
strides to towards actually implementing these alternative choices, we have found it very difficult to kind of wean ourselves from the convenience of being able to. i say it is still convenient to drive. as long as the alternatives are not just as convenient, we won't be able to make our case about our travel modes as contribution to the detriment of the environment or to the detriment of our health as we all know the sun is by date getting madder at us and angle grier at us and we are getting fat. we got to do something about it. this is the time to do it. we have the best opportunity here with these four guests from the german marshall fund and i was hoping that supervisor chiu would be here. since he is not, why don't we get hans, i'm going to start
12:04 pm
with hans? no. we're going to start with doug johnson from m.t.c. who has been our partner in facilitating this occasion and, doug, would you please come over and say you're welcoming remarks. >> sure. >> in the interesting of being heard, i hate to stand between you and someone named hans but i will do it nonetheless. delay may also give the supervisor a chance to catch up with us. my name is doug johnson. i'm a senior planner at the metropolitan transportation commission overseeing our programs in land use and social equity. i'm also very fortunate to be a member of the transatlantic cities network, which is a project of the german marshall fund you'll be hearing from ellen. it is a network of 25 cities, 12 in the u.s., 13 in europe, and oakland is one of those
12:05 pm
cities, but i, of course, wearing my regional hat, have looked to expand what i have been learning through the network and the opportunities that present themselves to the network and to expand that. and where better to bring a cycling delegation than to the city of san francisco, a city very much on the verge of, i think, turning the tide in favor of cycling where there are 40-some-odd, 43-plus projects waiting in the wings for the environmental lawsuits to come to a close. so it is very exciting to have the opportunity for the delegation to come here, and i think the timely honkly, could not be -- honestly, could not be better. they have spent just over a day in the city of oakland doing a bit of a bike tour, meeting with elected officials there and a community open house last night where we had 80 folks turn out to listen to their talk.
12:06 pm
the other thing, obviously the public support and the public interest in this issue is alive and well and i think it's wonderful to see. i will also say that none of these events will be possible without some of our local sponsors. i specifically would like to call out the financial support we received from the bay area air quality management district and the city of oakland. they both came through with really substantial grants that allowed this to happen. sfmta, transportation planners also helped as well as my agency which i feel a little arm twisting back at the office. with that, i will hand it over to ellen, i would just like to find, if i can, jessica manzi, are you in this room? jessica helped a great deal to put together this program and i really appreciated all of her help and time over the last few weeks. so with that, ellen. >> thanks, doug. i want to make sure everyone
12:07 pm
can hear me. i have a love-hate relationship with microphones. i want to thank you all for coming today. this is really a wonderful turnout for us. the german marshall fund, for those of you who don't what the fund is, wire a 501 c public charity that was funded as a gift from the german people. we were set up as an american institution to work on a broad mandate of tackling the changes that are faced by advanced industrialized societies. that is a broad mandate. we work with europe and the united states and we work on how europe and the united states can work together on the major world challenges like climate change and economic trade and development, just a number of issues the program i run goes back to the early days in the first 20 years when we were primarily a grantmaker making grants to low-cal
12:08 pm
practitioners and policymakers. i started this program about four years, five years ago now, i think, time flies, to really bring in members of our marshall memorial fellowship network of which david chiu is one of our alumni. some of our past grantees and also the next crop of practitioners and local civic leaders who are really looking to change their home communities by looking abroad or looking to other cities to see what other cities are doing well and how that might be imported back home or translated back home. so the comparative dom particular policy program works primarily in the 25 cities that doug mentioned, but not exclusively in those cities. we really are looking for some of the best practices in education and workforce development, in integration of diverse populations and affordability and quality of life issues in cities and
12:09 pm
regions and also -- and sustainability, in which encompasses a broad range of things. it's primarily environmental sustainability. the overarching theme which i think is particularly pertinent here in the bay area is regional governance and cooperation where we try to emphasize move each of our cities that they really need to figure out in their broader economic region, not just within their city limits. so how do you coordinate with the communities around you to advance some of these policy issues, whether it's transportation, environmental improvements, economic development, education systems, workforce training, etc. these are some of the issues that we really want to publicize the best practices so that practitioners such as ourselves can bring these ideas back home and really move an issue forward. i think here in the bay area, bringing this group of four european experts here has really been an interesting exercise for me, not knowing
12:10 pm
the city of oakland very much at all, having been to san francisco a few times, but it really is -- i do think that the communities here are poised to really be sort of going over the crest of the hill in terms of moving this issue forward. and i think hopefully these four will serve as sort of a catalyst in your community to get the community talking about what is possible and how some of these ideas may be adapted to your local community. nothing is going to be directly importable. the european systems of governance, the mindsets and cultures are a little bit different than they are here in the u.s. but i think the ideas will spark other innovations here and adaptations of their policies that might work in an american context. so i don't want to stand too much more between you all and hans and the rest of the group, so well -- i'll pass the microphone back and then we look forward to the discussion that follows. >> thank you, ellen.
12:11 pm
why don't we do this. i had first thought that we would have presentations and then questions and answers. maybe it's four presentations, 15 minutes each, why don't we have the presentations all in a row first and then unless you have clarifying questions, hold your questions until the very end and hopefully we will have enough time left over to have questions and answers. the first presentation is by mr. hans and i'm sure i mangled your name and you can do the same with mine. hans is an international coordinator, a is you si did i of the dutch knowledge center on traffic and transport. it's a knowledge center for expertise on cycling and other subjects. it runs the website
12:12 pm and has cycling ambassadors to spread the word on dutch policy cycling abroad. prior to joining the group, he was the project leader of a 10 million euro european project, the opt tum two which stopped the use of cars for commuting businesses and social and recreational activities by providing motorists attractive alternatives. i'm sure he has a huge amount of information to share with us. hans, please. and he needs a microphone. >> thank you. i'm very glad that i'm invited to be here which is my primary task because we are also -- the
12:13 pm
company is also the official government office to lend support to other countries to promote -- who want to promote bicycling which is booming, not only here, but worldwide, there is a booming interest in promoting cycling. and as soon as people think about promoting cycling, they think the nether hands and it's been -- netherlands, and it's growing but it's really cycling. since i have come back from the holidays in august, there are requests from 18 countries who want to enlist their support by visiting the netherlands or wanting some of our people to come over. so i can touch on a tiny little bit of what we -- what i would
12:14 pm
like to take you, so if you want to know more, visit our website and also we got a brochure which you can download or you can ask for in hard copy in you visit our website, so do so. this i'll skip. this is an important graph, i think, because the situation we are in is completely different. most u.s. towns, when you start bicycling promotions, the first thing you do is to invest a lot of things, invest a lot of money without hardly any benefit because it will take sometime for people to go on cycling. so if the first time you have to -- it's a hard time because
12:15 pm
politicians will say oh, it's a waste of money because no one cycles. why would you invest in bicycle paths and so on? especially until you are in the upwards part of the slope as some towns, and even some u.s. towns. but like we are completely here. everything we do in cycling is immediately rehouston tiff. for instance, in -- rehouston tiff. for instance in amsterdam, they build 30,000 cycle places. i believe they will be filled from day one on because there is an enormous lot of people who cycle in the netherlands. and yesterday people asked me, tell me a little bit more, what are the benefits?
12:16 pm
and the benefits are in two directions. one of them that you can't tell in money, but it's about life. it's all the things we care about. it's about when i was in oakland, i asked some kids, do you like cycling? oh, yes, we like cycling. when you ask people around do you like cycling, people like cycling. so it's about quality of life. it's about freedom, it's about convenience, and it's about health. it's about feeling good, living real, being there. but there are also benefits that you can put down, some pitches of -- pictures of, about amsterdam cycling. this is one of my favorite.
12:17 pm
someone picking up a bunch of flowers with a child on the back seat and this is what we call normal bikes in the netherlands which people use in everyday biking. but also people in formal suits just because in the netherlands, bicycling is not a sport, it's a means of transport and that's important to realize. also this is a common sight in the netherlands, a lady with a skirt on with a full necklace cycling. this is one of the things, i have other pictures for you. this is an important picture. the average daily number of trips, and you see that on
12:18 pm
average women make one trip by bike on average in the whole population, men about 1.7 trips per day and you see also that boys from 12 to 16 years old take on average nearly seven kilometers per day by bike. so the bike is just a part of your life. so that's the different. in america a lot of people consider themselves bicyclists. in the netherlands hardly anybody considers themselves bicyclists anything more than brat eaters. everyone eats brats, so everyone cycles. there is no discussion about it. you see on distance, men cycle a little bit more and women use
12:19 pm
the bike more often because they use it for going shopping or the short distances. one other thing is that biking has a high status in the netherlands, so that's also different from a lot of other countries. this i will skip. hardly readable but this shows that bicycling is used in all kinds of modes of travel, 25% is using the bike, to go into education is 50% and beyond high school it is even a lot more, 55% to 80% children who visit high school do so by bike and you got to realize how in
12:20 pm
the situation, there are hardly any school buses in the netherlands. there will be no parents bringing their children to high school by car. they say, ok, what's wrong, you can use your bike. it's very cold or range, you won't melt, do you? -- raining, you won't melt do you? >> there are more sigh cligs then people in the -- cyclists then people in the neggederlands. they cost each 30 million euros to build. and the bicycles, you can't see it but more than a quarter of all trips and 40% of all trips up to 40 kilometers are made by bike. second is denmark with 20% and
12:21 pm
down to great britain to 2% and the u.s. only has 1% trip share by bike. advantages and the benefits of cycling, very short but, which you can capitalize is the health part, the reduction of health costs because the effect of cycling on health are above expectations. it's nearly all diseases will have less risk of occurring when people have enough physical exercise and all the extra, the ideal means of physical exercise is about half an hour a day, medium-intensive exercise. so it's far better than going to the gym twice a week and then, very intensive sporting
12:22 pm
for two hours. and what is easier than having this bike trip into your daily commuting? then automatically you have your half an hour exercise and it's been shown in the managementerlands that people who sigh -- netherlands that people who cycle to work have more than people who don't. also the environment there are a lot of things you can capitalize because you don't have to invest on electric cars or transit or whatever to reduce the carbon dioxide, because the emissions of bicycle is zero. there is a huge problem in the
12:23 pm
u.s. by traffic noise. a lot of people are not aware of it but the effects for people being constantly having traffic noise are enormously. also, in the netherlands productivity loss because the effect that, for instance, in amsterdam, so many people cycle means that there will be a lot less congestion. when you have ever visited amsterdam, see all of these people cycle and who think what would happen if all of these trips would have to be made by car, then there would be no more amsterdam economy because no one would be able to move about. there would be one giant traffic jam all day. so the bike is the grease in the amsterdam economy. you have to build less
12:24 pm
highways, you have to build less parking garage. you put the bike -- use very little space. where you have to build parking garage, they're very expensive. there are recent surveys that companies pay up to 30,000 euros, that's $50,000 per year per person to have them traffic by car to work, where as a bike costs only 250 euros so there are large benefits at stake. also, there is lots of surveys that show that people who live in towns where there is more cycling, people like to live there better than in towns
12:25 pm
where there is less cycling. there are an overwhelming lot of advantages on cycling and i'm going to put some -- and then this is what oakland should do as few of them -- recommendations that are put together oakland also could be used for san francisco. one thing is, if you want to have these advantages, for instance, if you're scared about all the money that goes to building highways, well, you can only reduce the number of highways that are to be built if you aim for more cycling. and more cycling is do not aim for the people who are already biking because they don't care about mixed cycling with cars and so on they're able.
12:26 pm
but think about the people who are not yet bicycling, women or elderly people, children, you should aim -- and especially children because they're your future bicyclists. so make it for cycling for everybody and get rid of all of the relics of john forester and the vehicular bicyclists or those who want to travel or who are advocate of the speed cyclists but realize in the netherlands the average piece of cycling is 12 miles an hour. that's enough because already you're faster than the cars and it makes cycling at reach for everybody. and that's one thing that is important, realize that it's not actual safety but perceived safety what makes people cycle.
12:27 pm
if people feel safe, and i can guarantee you that a lot of people will not feel safe on a bicycle lane where they could easily get doored or if they are just a little less bit concentrated or make strange movements, they will be in the car traffic and they will be run over. so think about that it will be a lot better idea to remove the parked cars away from the sidewalk and have your bicycle path then between the parked cars and the pavement. i guarantee you that's all people who are latent cyclists will feel much safer. can have the children also on these poik paths where i can guarantee you a lot of parents won't have their children cycle on these bicycle lanes or the mixed traffic. you can say, well, but we have
12:28 pm
got these guidelines and so on. then work hard to change the guidelines because i think, and it may be a little bit provocative, but these guidelines prevent real growth of cycling in the u.s.a. and also go for more quality infrastructure solutions. here is a picture taken in the south of netherlands. here, the layout is so much that you are really regarded as cyclists that they have made space for you. the cars know that cyclists have priority. this is a common roundabout situation in the netherlands, also in the village where i live. so this shows that you go for the cyclists. go for cyclists and realize when someone is saying we were
12:29 pm
cramped in space like in san francisco, we say, well, you have never been to any dutch town because your roads are so wide. and then they think, yeah, but all these lanes are needed for car traffic. i'll tell you, if you use this traffic model, you should realize that the capacity of your system is not determined by the amount of lanes and the stretches of roads but by the capacity of intersections and you realize that the capacity of these intersections are a lot lower than any capacity of lanes that are on the stretches of roads. so it's only a parking place for cars on to the next traffic light or intersection. so it's only convincing the people to realize that there will be hardly any sacrifice if there will be face given over to cyclists.
12:30 pm
one thing and that's also the problem with being in the downturn because there is also safe by numbers. in the netherlands, cycling is inherently more safe than in the u.s.a. because all car drivers are also cyclists. 60% of the people in the netherlands cycle at least three times a week. 80% at least once a week. so all the car drivers are also cyclists and they know as they turn right that there is an 80% chance that they will cut off a cyclist if they don't look. so there is also safety by numbers. one last thing and that is about liability. when i hear about cycling in the u.s., people say, oh, but