Last week a bicycle sharing program was launched in Washington DC. The system, modeled after the highly successful Velib program in France. This new program, kicked off by making 100 bicycle available for a $40.00 a year membership fee.
Here is an article from the LA times explaining how the system works:
DC Rolls out Bike Sharing Plan to thin Traffic. By Cynthia Dizikes, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer August 15, 2008
The bad news is its sponsored by mega-media conglomerate, Clear Channel, the same people who banned the Dixie Chicks for being anti-war. I guess someone has to pay for this and it seems as if they have a full staff to maintain the bicycles. I’m sure this has nothing to do with all the advertising revenue potential from various kiosks set up around DC. It just seems a little weird to have a corporation who constantly supports the Republicans, you know the people who’s policies have lead to a warm planet and inflated gas prices, to now be trying to get more people on bikes. I guess its like Exxon trying to profit off the oil and the alternative fuel. The good news is that there is a new system in America where you can have another option in getting around by bicycle started in the Nation’s capital.
Pabst Blue Ribbon and Bustin Board Company presents:
Brooklyn Blitz 2008
What: “Brooklyn Blitz 2008″ – BIKES AND BOARDS!!!!
When: Sunday, August 24 @ 7pm sharp
South end of McCarren Park @ 6-6:30pm, following the Jelly NYC McCarren Pool Party Bike and boards race,blitzkrieg around brooklyn.
: Pabst Blue Ribbon , Bustin Boards, NYC massive +Co + guests will be sponsoring the event and free beer/raffle giveaways at East River Bar afterwards. who is fastest,board vs.board and bike vs bike. Show up 6-6:30 at the south end of McCarren Park and get your checkpoint manifest card, doubling as your VIP beer ticket to use at East River Bar for free beer. Bikes and boards will pile high, horn will sound @ 7pm, and we’ll be off to ravage the streets of Williamsburg, meet your checkpoints and get to the bar with your completed card to drink FREE PBR and chill with the dopest people in this city.==
race starts Sunday, August 24 at 7pm sharp!
Then there is the Lower East Side Bike Show and BBQ.
11am at PS 142, 100 Attorney Street, corner of Rivington in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Come Celebrate being a New Yorker on two wheels, all Bicycles Welcome, bring yours.
The executive director of Time’s Up wrote a letter to the editors of the New York Times about Critical Mass and misconceptions of the NYPD. This was in response to an article that was published on August 4th.
Letter The Cyclists and the Police Published: August 12, 2008
To the Editor:
Re â€œPolice and a Cyclistsâ€™ Group, and Four Years of Clashesâ€ (news article, Aug. 4), in which I am quoted as the director of Timeâ€™s Up, which promotes the Critical Mass rides but is not involved.
in organizing them:
The function of Critical Mass is to create a safe space where people can ride together. Group rides like Critical Mass play an important role in generating new cyclists, who in turn become everyday bike commuters. The ride grew steadily for a decade until the crackdown after the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City.
The article reports that Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly â€œsaid the Police Department wants to work with the riders.â€ By no means has the Police Department tried to work with us. Critical Mass riders have been harassed, spied on, beaten, arrested and even sued by the city. Yet we have prevailed in the courtroom â€” it has been proved over and over that police statements do not match videotaped evidence.
We also contest Mr. Kellyâ€™s claim that Critical Mass riders go against traffic. While it is true that the ride has no set route, under normal circumstances, it does follow the traffic flow.
Most appalling is Mr. Kellyâ€™s and the spokesmanâ€™s assertion that the ride was â€œhijackedâ€ by an â€œanarchist groupâ€ before the Republican convention. This is a baseless scare tactic. Critical Mass has no leaders. The lack of control that Mr. Kelly calls anarchy can be better termed community.
We are aware that the phenomenon of leaderless mass bike rides can be perceived as something different and unusual to the police. But that does not make it provocation or anarchy. It is a celebration of what our streets could look like in a better New York City.
Bill DiPaola New York, Aug. 5, 2008
The writer is the executive director of Timeâ€™s Up, an environmental organization.
Today I was making multiple trips into the city from Brooklyn, trying to avoid potential downpours. Failing miserably. I rode through the Flat Iron district around 23rd and Broadway, which has become this bizarre maze of orange cones and Green painted bike lanes all flowing in a rather illogical order. Then I discovered the D.O.T. secret plan for making our streets more “ecco-friendly,” paving them with birdseed. show here to the left of the green lanes. Not sure why there are sporatic zones of what looks like birdseed. But the birds aren’t eating it. It does seem to limit thespace for motor vehicles so it looks like both the 34th/Broadway and the 23rd intersections are big enough to provide lots of room for big wide bike lanes and vehicular traffic.
Then I headed over to the Green Market in Union Square and saw this bizarre site: No its not a bunch of freaks heading to burning man, oh, wait they are, but its also: Daniel Bowman Simon’s the thewhofarm.org.
That stands for the White House Organic Farm Project. The idea is that the 17 acres of land currently occupied by the president belongs to the people and therefore should have an organic farm on it growing wholesome natural food…and be a model for the world. The goal would be to deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to local residents fo the DC area.
9/1/08 will be the date of an online petition to demand the farm be built.
from their website: TheWhoFarm Project is a non-partisan, petition-based initiative to respectfully request that our 44th President plant an organic farm on the grounds of the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The farm will be tended by school children and Americans with disabilities, to feed the President, healthy school lunch programs, and food pantries. The farm will serve as a model for education, health, and sustainability for the United States of America & the world at large.
There will be a fund raiser for the WHOFarm, tomorrow in Central Park.
More info: Tuesday, August 12, 2008 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Location: Roof Garden and Gallery @ The Arsenal, Central Park 830 5th Avenue, New York, NY (@ 64th Street) RSVP: rsvp@TheWhoFarm.org
We just purchased the Topsy Turvy bus from Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s…using credit cards, which will come due soon. We also need gas money, etc. We are planting a small organic farm on the roof.
On Tuesday, come support our version of Community Supported Agriculture…buy a share in TheWhoFarm…the bounty of course is an organic farm at our shared house, The White House. (Suggested donation: as much as you can possibly afford! $100+ preferred…but nobody turned away for lack of $100 bills
Come for excellent tasty local food and drink, as well as gorgeous views of Central Park, the zoo, and the rest of it…we are working on fine entertainment as well…bring friends.
From now through Friday Aug 15, we are in NYC prepping and promoting TheWhoFarm at events, gardens, and greenmarkets…before heading West towards California (via Cleveland, Chicago, Denver, and Burning Man) for Slow Food Nation Labor Day weekend. We’ll also hit Austin City Limits at the end of Sept, but the rest of the itinerary is still in planning stages…so if you have any suggestions…let us know…
The DNCC has vowed it will be the “greenest convention in history.” Here’s a list of greenness:
Counting carbon: The DNCC is comprehensively calculating the carbon footprint of the convention. Where emissions are unavoidable, the DNCC has said it will participate in carbon-offset programs.
Greening the arena: After becoming the conventionâ€™s location, the Pepsi Center announced it was going â€œ100 percent green.â€ Plans are to operate entirely on renewable wind and solar energy and to include new recycling bins, a hybrid vehicle-only parking area and a â€œno idling zoneâ€ outside the arena.â€¨
Relying on buses: The buses used to transport delegates and media from all the hotels to the Pepsi Center will be either hybrid, alternative fuel or run on biodiesel, organizers said, and all vehicle miles traveled will be tracked and included in the conventionâ€™s carbon footprint calculations.
Sharing bikes: A bike-sharing program will be implemented. The â€œFreewheelinâ€ bike program developed by Humana Inc, bike industry leaders and Bikes Belong, will bring 1,000 bikes to Denver to be used free of charge.
Diverting waste: The DNCC has set a goal for a minimum of 85 percent waste diversion from the landfill through a comprehensive recycling and waste minimization program and through composting.
Ok, but Bicycles are not allowed within the DNC perimeter of the Pepsi Center, nor at Invesco Field, where Barack Obama will deliver his acceptance speech, because of security threats.
SECURITY THREATS? What the delegates might get their suit pants caught in the chain?
This sounds typical of the so-called progressive green movement clashing with the “green-scare” tactics of federal law enforcement. I’m sure there are key heads of security giving power point presentations to the DNC about the security threat of “anarchists” getting together and riding their bicycles together in a group.
Just like in the RNC in NYC in 2004 and you can expect the same behavior at the RNC in Minneapolis in September.
This reflects much of the politics going on right here in New York. The D.O.T. is making a consorted effort to create more infrastructure for bicycles, more bike lanes, more bike racks, special events like: summer streets. Meanwhile the NYPD is continuing a harassment campaign against bikes tied up with numerous lawsuits and occasionally bodychecking people off their bikes during critical mass.
Ok, lets make the planet more green. Heres a bike, only don’t ride it to the convention.