Archive for November, 2010

How to fight obesity: ride a bike

Reposted from FABB Blog

“It shouldn’t come as a surprise that one consequence of creating a car-dependent society is the lack of opportunities for most people to get exercise on a daily basis. When most of our transportation dollars are spent building roads for cars, there is very little available for more active modes of transportation like walking and biking. One result: we spend $147 billion a year treating the obese.

That is the finding of a recently released Centers for Disease Control report entitled Annual Medical Spending Attributable To Obesity. A startling finding is that “obesity rates increased by 37 percent between 1998 and 2006 (from 18.3 percent to 25.1 percent of the population)”.

The take-home message is that without a strong and sustained reduction in obesity prevalence, obesity will continue to impose major costs on the health system for the foreseeable future. And although health reform may be necessary to address health inequities and rein in rising health spending, real savings are more likely to be achieved through reforms that reduce the prevalence of obesity and related risk factors, including poor diet and inactivity. These reforms will require policy and environmental changes that extend far beyond what can be achieved through changes in health care financing and delivery.

What environmental changes are needed? The CDC provides some guidance in a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published this week entitled Recommended Community Strategies and Measurements to Prevent Obesity in the United States. The report lists specific recommendations for preventing obesity. Number 17 is Communities Should Enhance Infrastructure Supporting Bicycling

Overview 

Enhancing infrastructure supporting bicycling includes creating bike lanes, shared-use paths, and routes on existing and new roads; and providing bike racks in the vicinity of commercial and other public spaces. Improving bicycling infrastructure can be effective in increasing frequency of cycling for utilitarian purposes (e.g., commuting to work and school, bicycling for errands). Research demonstrates a strong association between bicycling infrastructure and frequency of bicycling.

Evidence

Longitudinal intervention studies have demonstrated that improving bicycling infrastructure is associated with increased frequency of bicycling (104,105). Cross-sectional studies indicated a significant association between bicycling infrastructure and frequency of biking (p<0.001) (103,106,107).

Suggested measurement

Total miles of designated shared-use paths and bike lanes relative to the total street miles (excluding limited access highways) that are maintained by a local jurisdiction.

This measurement captures the availability of shared-use paths and bike lanes, as defined by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, relative to the total number of street network miles in a community. The numerator of this measurement includes both shared-use paths and bike lanes. The denominator of this measurement is limited to paved streets that are maintained by city/local government, and excludes limited access highways. Although no estimated standard exists for this measurement, data collected from local governments reporting on this measurement can lead to establishment of a standard.

103. Troped PJ, Saunders RP, Pate RR, et al. Associations between self-reported and objective physical environmental factors and use of a community rail-trail. Prev Med 2001;32:191–200.

104. Macbeth AG. Bicycle lanes in Toronto. ITE Journal 1999;69:38–46.

105. Staunton CE, Hubsmith D, Kallins W. Promoting safe walking and biking to school: the Marin County success story. Am J Public Health 2003;93:1431–4.

106. Dill J, Carr T. Bicycle commuting and facilities in major U.S. cities: if you build them, commuters will use them. Transportation Research Record 2003;1829:116–23.

107. Nelson A, Allen D If you build them, commuters will use them: association between bicycle facilities and bicycle commuting. Transportation Research Record 1997;1578:79–83.

Show your support of the Hike and Bike Plan!

And if you’re interested in seeing a transformed, people-friendly Abram Street, please also sign this petition and learn about Friendly Arlington Neighborhoods and Streets!



For the past few years, Mission Arlington has hosted a bike repair project where volunteers can bring their tools and experience to help restore and rebuild donated bikes to give to kids during the holiday season.

This year, Bike Friendly Arlington is inviting anyone with a little free time between now and Christmas to give us a hand to help give some kids the ultimate joy of a bicycle for the holidays.

The repair location is hosted at 1304 W. Arkansas Ln., on the corner of Medlin and Arkansas. The facility will be open during the following hours:

Tuesday 9a – 12p
Thursday 6p – 9p
Saturday 9a – 12p

The facility will be full of donated bikes in various states of repair, so if you have tools or workstands, bring them with you. You don’t have to be a master mechanic to help out – if you can turn a wrench they can find a task for you ( and chances are you’ll learn a little bit about doing your own repairs while you’re at it ).

For more information contact Mission Arlington.

WWJD?

Originally posted @ TheBusBench.com

One of my colleagues thinks I’m insane because I don’t drive. He has offered me rides on various occasions. He often tells me the benefits of cars. I find this all very amusing since we do the same thing. That thing involves us going to various locations throughout the city.  I have a reputation of being on time and he has a reputation of being very late.

His passion is Jesus. One day when we were speaking the question, “What would Jesus drive?” popped into my head and came out of my mouth. He said Jesus wants him to have nice things. I said Jesus wants you to use your nice things to help others. And then I asked, “How many poor people are you driving around in your car?”

I wasn’t trying to be a jerk to this guy. I hope I didn’t offend him with this question. It was sincere a question.

What would Jesus drive? I don’t think Jesus would drive.

I don’t think Jesus would drive a car even it were a biodiesel or an electric car. I don’t think Jesus would drive a car period. From my time in Catholic school and reading the Bible I am pretty sure if Jesus were in Los Angeles he would be taking the bus and occasionally riding his bike.

Now I’m not even trying to imply I’m doing God’s work by taking the bus, but if I were to view my method of transportation as a religious experience, the clean family version of a religious experience and I asked the questions:

What would Jesus drive?
What would Buddha Drive?
What would Muhammad drive?

What could I answer? What path would be closest to their paths?

Now from what I have read about all of those religious figures if they were in Los Angeles they would have to be on the bus. The only way you can see everyone is to take the bus. The only way to understand LA on a true level in regards to the difference between the rich and the poor is by taking the bus.

What if the Buddha just talked to his disciples? What if the Jesus only talked to his disciples?

What if Buddha and Jesus never talked to anyone except for the people who could pay them or went to college with them or hung out in the same social circles as them?

The sustainable movement needs to diversify itself. The people on the bus are waiting for us (in Los Angeles) and it’s more diverse than a car, even an electric car.

In your car you are by yourself. You then park as close as you can to a place to spend money on organic crap, where you get on your cell phone and motion towards the person behind the counter to put the stuff in your eco bag. You have to make plans to have a community interaction.

The movement towards sustainability can’t just be about the destination. It also has to be about the journey and of course the idea of how you transport yourself is a very literal interpretation of the journey. The big key in sustainability that is missing is the reach out to the community component. When you take public transit you have a potential for an even larger sustainable community, at least in Los Angeles. It is a very organic way to access people.

The community on the bus isn’t bounded by gender, national origin, age, physical ability, family status or educational level.

And maybe I shouldn’t bring up religion for the purpose of spreading the message of the being carFREE, but I think these are questions that if we do have faith we should ask ourselves.

What would Jesus drive? What would Buddha drive? What would Muhammad drive? What would Abraham drive? What would Bahá’u’lláh drive?

What kind mode of transport would they use to get around Los Angeles?

-Browne Molyneux

Arlington needs more bike infrastructure. And some bicycle recognition.

Bikes are allowed on the street. They are a legitimate form of transportation that 1) aren’t just a “kid thing”, and 2) don’t require spandex to ride.

Grist.org tackles the subject of bike path crowding, getting infrastructure that’s more than just a compromise of cyclist demand and political offering. Check out their article:

http://www.grist.org/article/2010-11-07-we-need-real-bike-paths-for-real-bike-transportaiton

 

 

Here’s an interesting article interview that touches on the topic of Ciclovía, or “Bike Path” in Spanish. On Ciclovia days certain city streets are shut down to car traffic and opened to pedestrians & bicyclists. It’s a movement that originated in Bogota, Columbia, but has caught on in various cities around the US.

Next American City » Columns » Part Two: Bike + Planning Talk With Mike Lydon.

but apparently not too hot to ride in Phoenix, Arizona where they have “500 miles of dedicated on- and off-street bike lanes, routes and paths” (source: City of Phoenix). Yet they have temperatures that rival those of Arlington.

Hmmm…. curiouser and curiouser.

You can see their highly detailed bike map here (It’s a 16mb pdf). When you are done, remember to hydrate. Not because it’s so hot in Arlington, but because you’ll need to replenish all the tears you’ve just shed.

If  you support the direction the city is taking in regards to more pedestrian / bike-friendly roads, then come out to the meeting tonight.

Monday, November 1st, 6:30pm
City Hall
Council Chamber

Source: http://www.arlingtontx.gov/citycouncil/pdf/townhallmeetings_110110.pdf




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