Transit Miami attended this year’s Walk 21 conference, combined with EMBARQ’s International Walking and Livable Communities Conference, in Mexico City. This is the first of several posts sharing what we learned in the conference and experienced in the city, and any applications they might have for Miami.
During Tuesday’s keynote session, Jim Walker, President of Walk 21, shared London’s success story of preparing for a multimodal London Olympics. London set about accommodating people’s trips to and from the Olympics, not simply accommodating traffic. This approach incorporated transit, bike, pedestrian, and auto modes–but merely as choices in the main goal of getting to their destination. Rather than splitting planning efforts into approaches for one mode at a time, London’s planners and advocacy groups focused efforts on trips to be taken by Olympic athletes, workers, and spectators in addition to citizens of London going about their daily business. Through this process they effectively created an atmosphere where everyone felt comfortable using transit. “Games lanes” were created to reassure those who felt that the automobile was the only method that would get athletes and VIPs to their games on time, but it was reported in several sources that some athletes did feel comfortable using transit. It seems that London came close to their goal of no additional car trips due to the Olympics by accommodating so many on public transit, on foot, or on the bike.
One key aspect of London’s plan involved providing information to promote walking, bicycling, and transit both to visitors and residents. They installed general wayfinding signage that still stands today, as well as Olympic-specific wayfinding signage. Both focused on the destination, not the mode, but incorporated the modal options for getting there. To further encourage spectators to ride or walk to the games, they offered guided rides and guided walks to Olympic venues. They created a trip planner mobile app, walking and cycling maps, and provided bicycle parking and even free maintenance for over 2500 bicycles. They targeted local businesses with a campaign to reduce, re-mode, or re-time their trips, and worked with 550 businesses to develop travel plans that fit with those goals.
No plans are perfect, and London’s preparations for the Olympics had their share of kinks. In order to guarantee a minimum travel time for the “Games lanes,” engineers removed some pedestrian crossings. These “Games lanes” prioritized automobile modes over pedestrian and transit modes, exactly the wrong direction for a progressive city like London, and reflective of the priorities that road building agencies like our own Florida Department of Transportation have traditionally embraced.
Even worse than a slight delay to pedestrians, at least one cyclist was killed by a construction vehicle working on facilities for the games. In response to this, every construction worker was required to take a cycling course in order to better understand the operational needs of a cyclist in traffic. This is an excellent idea for every driver since there are plenty of cyclists killed by–well, pretty much any sort of driver. For a local application of motorist education, the Florida Department of Transportation is working with the DMV as part of its statewide pedestrian and cyclist safety initiative (the “Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow” campaign), to better incorporate information on driver-cyclist interaction into the Florida Drivers Handbook and create an online training course that could be used for motorists receiving tickets for infractions that endanger pedestrians or bicyclists.
Olympic spectators were given transit passes as part of their tickets. While Mr. Walker did not elaborate on this much, it is worth pointing out that when a transportation service is made free, or at least made to appear free by hiding the subsidy, people are more attracted to it. One great example in our area is the Miami Metromover, paid for by a sales tax but by all appearances “free.” Metromover grew from about 5 million riders in 2002, when it was made free, to over 9 million riders in 2011. The Jacksonville Skyway, a similar system, has seen their ridership skyrocket 61% since recently eliminating fares. Also noteworthy is Gainesville’s Regional Transit System, which struggled to gain ridership in its early days. Then the University of Florida incorporated transit costs into student fees and struck a funding deal with RTS for all students to ride free, and ridership blossomed. Thanks to this continuing policy, RTS boasts the highest number of annual passenger trips per capita of all Florida transit agencies (62 trips per person, compared with 28 for Miami-Dade Transit, or 22 for Broward County Transit, per the National Transit Database 2010 report). Lest I forget (I wish I could!), our “free” highway system subsidized by gas taxes, local property taxes, and income taxes has become such an attractive subsidy that anti-tax Libertarians refuse to give it up.
Back to London and the Olympics. Despite a few setbacks, London moved in a multimodal manner during the Games. According to Mr. Walker, 35% of people changed their behavior through these efforts. The lasting legacy included the additional infrastructure built, as well as an improvement to the city’s economy. Since the Olympic preparations improved infrastructure on the neglected east side, the long term hope is that the games would serve to improve the quality of life of these London residents.
Subscribe via Email
Find us on Facebook
- John Gamble on El Portal Councilperson Presses CITT on Rail
- Jacob on Movement for Miami’s First On-Street Bicycle Parking Corral Gaining Traction
- Anonymous on El Portal Councilperson Presses CITT on Rail
- Anonymous on El Portal Councilperson Presses CITT on Rail
- ajozz on Florida Turnpike Expansion “Open House”
- Mark Rampion on El Portal Councilperson Presses CITT on Rail
CategoriesAccident Architecture bicycles bike lanes Bike Miami Days biking Biscayne Boulevard Brickell bus Climate Change Coconut Grove complete streets Downtown Miami FDOT High Speed Rail Metrorail Miami Miami-Dade County Miami-Dade Transit Miami 21 Miami Beach Museum Park News Parking Parks Pedestrian Pedestrians Pic o' the Day Planning Real Estate Development Rickenbacker Causeway Sprawl Streetcar Traffic Transit Transitography Transit Oriented Development Transportation Tri-Rail Uncategorized Urban Design Urban Development Boundary Urban Growth Urban Planning Walkability
- Record Fine for Coal Company March 8, 2014The largest ever fine for polluting waterways, $27.5 million plus $200 million in clean-up costs was assigned to a coal company. NewsHour co-anchor Gwen Ifill interviews Dina Cappiello of The Associated Press to discuss water pollution from coal.
- Note to 'Best Workplace' List-Makers: The Commute Matters March 8, 2014Baltimore Magazine’s annual “Best Places to Work” list factors in in salaries, benefits, and workplace perks—but not commuting. In the Washington, DC metro area, that’s no small thing.
- Denver Planning Board Steamrolls Opposition in Rezoning Controversy March 7, 2014In news that will come as either refreshing or frightening depending on your perspective, the Denver Planning Board recently ignored public opposition and voted to recommend rezoning in the University Park neighborhood.
- Bus Rapid Transit on Track in Albuquerque March 7, 2014Following three years of study, Albuquerque Mayor RJ Berry declared a “tipping point” in the city’s BRT plans. The city will require a federal matching grant to proceed.
- 'Walkable Urban Places' Arrive in Detroit’s Suburbs March 7, 2014Christopher Leinberger provides his assessment of the “Walkable Urban Places” concept in the suburban parts of metropolitan Detroit in a new article from metromode.
- Calling for a 'Design Revolution' in Philadelphia March 7, 2014The recently rejected proposal for a new Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia failed to live up to the spirit of that seminal event, writes Nathaniel Popkin.
- Orange County Expanding its Recycled Wastewater Program March 7, 2014Southern California takes a lot of heat for sucking up the water from Northern California and the Colorado River, but the Orange County Water District, at least, is doing its part.
- Friday Fun: Build Your Own 'Mini Metro' March 7, 2014It's been available since September 2013, but news of the "Mini Metro' subway layout game recently hit the web. Finally, a test for all those armchair enthusiasts who think they can make the trains run on time.
- MAP-21 Putting Pedestrian and Bike Programs on the Chopping Block March 7, 2014It took a few years, but funding changes as a result of MAP-21, the 2012 federal transportation bill, have started to impact funding for Metro “Call for Projects” grants in Los Angeles County.
- On the Land Use and Transit Implications of 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame' March 7, 2014The decision of where to locate ballparks, and to what extent the public should subsidize that location, can have ripple effects throughout the land use and transportation systems of a region.
- Record Fine for Coal Company March 8, 2014