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Resilient Communities: ‘Brixton in Transition’ (Video)

From Al Jazeera English:

In the last part of earthrise's economics special, Russell Beard travels to the inner-London neighbourhood of Brixton to meet a community trialling an alternative economic model - one that values people and planet, as well as profit. Brixton is part of the growing Transition Town movement - a worldwide network of people who are re-shaping their local economies to cut carbon emissions and build stronger communities.

Residents have started a local currency - the largest in the UK - to stimulate sustainable, local production and help make their economy more resilient to financial shocks. The Brixton Pound can only be spent with independent businesses in the area and is now accepted in around 200 outlets.

They have also begun to generate their own energy through the UK’s first inner-city renewable energy co-operative. So far Brixton Energy has installed 152 solar panels on the roof of a council estate, funded by over 100 local people. Profits from the electricity generation are shared between investors and a community energy efficiency fund for residents of the estate.

Check out the rest of the article here.

Related:

Infographic | Climate Change & Cities: ’Forget Superheroes: Local Government to the Rescue’
From The Carbon Disclosure Project:

In 2011 CDP Cities collected climate change data from 48 cities around the world. Our first ever infographic celebrates the actions taken by local governments to ensure that cities remain safe places to live and do business despite the effects of climate change. 

More here.

Infographic | Climate Change & Cities: ’Forget Superheroes: Local Government to the Rescue’

From The Carbon Disclosure Project:

In 2011 CDP Cities collected climate change data from 48 cities around the world. Our first ever infographic celebrates the actions taken by local governments to ensure that cities remain safe places to live and do business despite the effects of climate change. 

More here.

Forty years ago, London and Copenhagen had similar ratios of car to bicycle use, and both faced an exodus of workers moving out of the centre and into the suburbs. But after the energy crises of the 1970s, the two cities diverged. Danes were restricted in how much they could use their cars and commuters began to campaign for a better infrastructure for cyclists. Today, there are almost 200 miles of bicycle lanes in the city, and 40 per cent of its 1.8 million inhabitants cycle to work. The city has evolved cyclist-friendly policies, such as the Green Wave – a sequence of favourable traffic signals for cyclists at rush hour.

The key, it seems, is getting women cycling because only then has cycling become part of the mainstream. A recent poll by Sustrans, the UK cycling pressure group, asked women cyclists what would get them on to bikes and the answer was simple: better infrastructure, more bike lanes. Copenhagen’s separate, raised bike lanes with their own traffic signals are a must. And the lesson learnt from Gehl’s study is that infrastructure has to come first. Once it is in place, the message, says Colville-Andersen, is simple: “You don’t tell them it’s healthier to cycle, you don’t tell them they’re saving the planet, you just say that it is the fastest way from A to B. And they will come.

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~ A couple of key paragraphs from The Independent’s 'On your bike: What the world can learn about cycling from Copenhagen'. Scientific American’s 'How to Get More Bicyclists on the Road' is another worthy read on the topic and also points to the importance of women in increasing urban cycling rates.

(Photo credit: Copenhagenize)

Biking BIG in the City! 
There be bikes in the city. Lots of ‘em.
In London, England:

Cyclists have for the first time outnumbered motorists on some of the country’s busiest commuter routes during the rush hour.
On Cheapside, a street in the City of London, cycles make up more  than 50 percent of the commuter traffic, according to official data, and  account for up to 42 percent of traffic on Southwark Bridge across the  Thames. In one Bristol suburb more than one in four people cycle to  work. …
The surge in the number of people switching to two wheels is likely to be even greater than the new figures suggest.
Most of the data was compiled before July 2010, when 5,500 rental bikes were introduced and the first two “cycle-superhighways" — distinctive blue cycle lanes — were opened by Boris Johnson, the mayor of London.
… (Sunday Times via Cyclists in the City)

In Montreal, Canada, soaring daily bike ridership is creating traffic jams on the city’s bike paths:

It was no surprise to anyone who drives or cycles regularly in   Montreal’s central neighbourhoods to learn that the proportion of adult   cyclists using bicycles for transportation in this city has more than   doubled in the past decade, as a recent Vélo Québec report showed.
But  the sheer number of cyclists using the most popular paths daily —  such  as Rachel, Brébeuf, Milton and de Maisonneuve Blvd. — has experts   calling for measures to curb a problem that many of us took to our  bikes  to avoid: congestion.
…
Some of the most popular Montreal bike paths, like the ones along   Berri and Brébeuf Sts., are getting more than 7,000 users on some days.   Cycling safety experts say it’s time for the city to consider some   measures to avoid congestion of cyclists at intersections and improve   safety:
— Install priority turn signals for cyclists
— Synchronize traffic lights to cycling speeds on heavily cycled routes
— Raise or paint intersections where bike paths cross major arteries to improve visibility
— Install bike boxes, where cyclists can fan out across the roadway, side by side, ahead of the vehicle stop line
— If a bike route is saturated, build a safe alternative on a nearby parallel street
— Do not allow parking beside bike paths near intersections
… (Montreal Gazette)

And, in the USA:

Over the past few years, simple   infrastructure improvements (bike paths, lanes, etc) making it more   convenient and safe for people to bike and walk have been constructed   coast-to-coast. Cities from New York to Minneapolis to San Francisco   have enjoyed 100 percent or more increases in the number of people   biking to work, school and shopping.
Smaller  cities from Greenville, South Carolina, to North Little Rock,  Arkansas  to Long Beach, California are now following suit. Creating  better  conditions for biking and walking is one proven innovation to  cushion  us from the economic upheaval of high gas prices.
… (Alternet)

Ride on!
(Photo credit: I Bike London)

Biking BIG in the City!

There be bikes in the city. Lots of ‘em.

In London, England:

Cyclists have for the first time outnumbered motorists on some of the country’s busiest commuter routes during the rush hour.

On Cheapside, a street in the City of London, cycles make up more than 50 percent of the commuter traffic, according to official data, and account for up to 42 percent of traffic on Southwark Bridge across the Thames. In one Bristol suburb more than one in four people cycle to work. …

The surge in the number of people switching to two wheels is likely to be even greater than the new figures suggest.

Most of the data was compiled before July 2010, when 5,500 rental bikes were introduced and the first two “cycle-superhighways" — distinctive blue cycle lanes — were opened by Boris Johnson, the mayor of London.

… (Sunday Times via Cyclists in the City)

In Montreal, Canada, soaring daily bike ridership is creating traffic jams on the city’s bike paths:

It was no surprise to anyone who drives or cycles regularly in Montreal’s central neighbourhoods to learn that the proportion of adult cyclists using bicycles for transportation in this city has more than doubled in the past decade, as a recent Vélo Québec report showed.

But the sheer number of cyclists using the most popular paths daily — such as Rachel, Brébeuf, Milton and de Maisonneuve Blvd. — has experts calling for measures to curb a problem that many of us took to our bikes to avoid: congestion.

Some of the most popular Montreal bike paths, like the ones along Berri and Brébeuf Sts., are getting more than 7,000 users on some days. Cycling safety experts say it’s time for the city to consider some measures to avoid congestion of cyclists at intersections and improve safety:

— Install priority turn signals for cyclists

— Synchronize traffic lights to cycling speeds on heavily cycled routes

— Raise or paint intersections where bike paths cross major arteries to improve visibility

— Install bike boxes, where cyclists can fan out across the roadway, side by side, ahead of the vehicle stop line

— If a bike route is saturated, build a safe alternative on a nearby parallel street

— Do not allow parking beside bike paths near intersections

… (Montreal Gazette)

And, in the USA:

Over the past few years, simple infrastructure improvements (bike paths, lanes, etc) making it more convenient and safe for people to bike and walk have been constructed coast-to-coast. Cities from New York to Minneapolis to San Francisco have enjoyed 100 percent or more increases in the number of people biking to work, school and shopping.

Smaller cities from Greenville, South Carolina, to North Little Rock, Arkansas to Long Beach, California are now following suit. Creating better conditions for biking and walking is one proven innovation to cushion us from the economic upheaval of high gas prices.

… (Alternet)

Ride on!

(Photo credit: I Bike London)