Posts by tom

The Whitening of Martin Luther King, Jr. Way (part 1)

As I've ridden around doing field work, I've noticed that many cities have a Way, or a Boulevard, or a Drive, or a Parkway, named for Martin Luther King, and that those streets are often located in neighborhoods which were predominantly African-American in the 70s and 80s when the dedications were made. Like gentrification itself, the answer is complex. I generated a lot of rich data to analyze, so this post will be the first of several digging into it. But here's a teaser.

The Bike Hub opens in Richmond

There was a ton of stuff going on in Richmond on Martin Luther King Day. Rich City Rides was opening up the Bike Hub, their satellite repair location on the Richmond Greenway. Nakari led a mural project to decorate the new shed, and Najari also got decorated, with a well-deserved Jefferson Award for community service. There were also other projects going on on the Greenway, as well as up at the North Richmond Farm.

Police stop data maps for Oakland

Here are some maps I'm working on, trying to combine OPD police stop data for bikes and pedestrians with demographic info. It's not good. In every police beat in Oakland, the majority of pedestrian police stops are of non-whites; in most beats, it's above 80%. Bike stops are not much better.

BikeStory: Advocacy

I was invited to speak at LuckyDuck Bike Cafe's "BikeStory: Advocacy" event this past week. There were a total of six speakers. mostly from the traditional bike advocacy world, and a sizable and pretty appreciative crowd. In my preparations for the talk I made some progress on boiling down the concepts of the Bike Lab's work.

National Household Travel Survey bike/walk data

The 2017 National Household Travel Survey is out! In preparation for my talk next week at Luckyduck Bicycle Cafe, I dug into the data to see if the findings from 2009 hold, and they mostly do. Hispanics have the highest cycling mode share overall, and the data suggest substantial differences in cultural relationships to active transportation modes.

Celebrations of community

I got to do two holiday rides this year, with Rich City Rides and the Scraper Bike Team, and it got me thinking about what it means to celebrate the holidays in that way. Holiday traditions are important to communities, and that both of these community groups have incorporated the bicycle into their own traditions speaks to the way the bicycle has become part of their identities. That will have long-term effects on cycling rates, and therefore health and wellness in those communities. And these kinds of rides can help brake down the barriers which separate East Oakland from Alameda.

Paint the Town

I led another bike ride for Walk Oakland Bike Oakland (WOBO), the lead sponsor of the Paint the Town program, which gives groups the opportunity to collaborate on painting an intersection or street. The city waives permit fees and provides a small bit of funding, and the neighbors work together to come up with a design and do the project. It's a pretty cool program, inspired by City Repair in Portland. I'd done a ride to visit a number of Portland's projects, and doing a similar ride in Oakland seemed like a fine idea.

Bicycle “Friendly” “Community”

My feed today lit up with friends sharing the news that Oakland has been granted Gold status in the League of American Bicyclists' "Bicycle Friendly Community" program, which has been a goal of the advocacy movement here for some time. As you might expect, I have an opinion about it.

Further unsolicited advice

Everyone who's involved in cycling advocacy, especially in places like the Bay Area where advocacy has become powerful, must take the time to read and understand Adonia Lugo's Unsolicited Advice for Vision Zero, which challenges advocates to think about how their behaviors contribute to the identification of bike infrastructure with whiteness. Conflict amongst advocates over the Telegraph Avenue design in Temescal demonstrates the point.

T-shirt depicting apocryphal sketch of bicycle allegedly done by Leonardo

The image of the bicycle

I just returned from a bike tour in Italy (wonderful!), and was struck by the way the image of the bicycle is used. Perhaps the #1 t-shirt sold in tourist shops in Tuscany is a fake sketch of a bicycle supposedly drawn by Leonardo. I think the reason tourists buy that shirt is that the bicycle is relatable, and the drawing connects to their personal experience of travel. I think those shared experiences can help us develop shared understanding across cultural gaps.

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