Ten Percent Challenge

Muscle Powered and Bike Carson are challenging Carson City to reduce motor vehicle traffic by 10% in Carson City on Bike to Work Day, Friday, May 21. Measurements will be taken at some key traffic locations on Bike to Work Day and one week beforehand, so that comparisons may be made.

We’ve come up with ten actions that may help Carson City achieve this goal:

  1. Ride your bike to work
  2. Walk to work
  3. Carpool
  4. Use public transportation
  5. Let your kids walk, bike, skateboard and scooter to school
  6. Exercise at home
  7. Make meals at home
  8. Accumulate errands
  9. Steer clear of big box stores
  10. Turn off your cell phone

A Ten Percent Challenge document provides detail on each of these items, letting you know more about what you can do and why. A Ten Actions for 10% flier is available that you can print for your own use, and post around town in places where people will see it.

We ask for your help in measuring motor vehicle traffic. Please volunteer by contacting Dan Allison, allisondan52@gmail.com. We need to know ahead of time your name and the location you pick. It can be a high or moderate traffic street or intersection. You need not specify the time you’ll be there ahead of time, but the time does need to be the same on May 21 and on May 14. It can be at any time of day, not just commuter hours, since we are trying to reduce overall motor vehicles trips, and only about 1/3 of trips are now related to work. We ask for at least one hour, though if you can do more than an hour, that is great. You’ll report your counts by Monday, May 24, and we will compile them and report back on the results for Carson City.

If you can count two things at once, then you may also count bicycle traffic, but our main focus is motor vehicle traffic. We will start counting bicyclist and pedestrian traffic in the future.

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Ten Reasons

Jeff Moser posted Ten Reasons to Commute by Bike on Bike Carson. Thank you! I like the entire list, but “Reconnect with your community” is fresh in my mind. Riding yesterday early evening, I smelled a different dinner cooking at least every block, all the way home, and my mouth was watering. I chuckled at how many different things people were cooking. You don’t get that from a car!

Sidewalks and livability on 4th St

chairs, tables and umbrellas on the new sidewalk

Carson City Public Works recently rebuilt the sidewalks on Fourth St between Carson St and Curry St, as well as some nearby sidewalks along Fifth St and along Curry St. Years of neglect and tree roots had left the sidewalks almost unusable. It is sad to see the old large trees gone, but they were causing problems for not only sidewalks but sewer systems as well.

Comma Coffee and its associated businesses just added chairs, tables and umbrellas to Fourth St, creating a little island of livability in downtown Carson City. There are several other places, particularly Firkin and Fox and Bella Fiore Wines on Third, and Doppelgangers at Curry and Proctor, where local businesses have turned their businesses outward to street seating and more involvement with pedestrians. These are small steps, but great to see. If you’d like to see more of these amenities in Carson City, please frequent the places that have them, and let them know why you are there!

A sea change for transportation

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood’s Fastlane blog announces a new policy that puts walking and bicycling on equal footing with motor vehicles! He uses the words “sea change,” and this certainly has the potential to be that. The policy includes:

  • Treat walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes.
  • Ensure convenient access for people of all ages and abilities.
  • Go beyond minimum design standards.
  • Collect data on walking and biking trips.
  • Set a mode share target for walking and bicycling.
  • Protect sidewalks and shared-use paths the same way roadways are protected (for example, snow removal).
  • Improve nonmotorized facilities during maintenance projects.

Wow! You’ll want to read the detail of the policy as well.

Of course the federal government only has some control over what the states do, even with federal money, so it will also take change at the state level that has so far never happened. I think now is the time to exert pressure on NDOT and on the state legislature to change the way things are done in Nevada. A rational transportation system that works for everyone is now a step closer, and many many more steps are needed. Literally. We have a lot of poor decisions and damage from the past that will take a long time to correct, but if we can at least head in the right direction, we are moving towards a better world.

Bicycle Friendly in other places

Here are a few links to Bicycle Friendly Community efforts and status in other places. If you have links to recommend, please comment with them, and they’ll be added to the list.

Democracy demands… the speed of a bicycle

“High speed is the critical factor which makes transportation socially destructive. A true choice among practical policies and of desirable social relations is possible only where speed is restrained. Participatory democracy demands low-energy technology, and free people must travel the road to productive social relations at the speed of a bicycle.” – Ivan Illich, Energy and Equity, 1974.