Caltrain bike overload is a ‘land use issue’

Bikes boarding Caltrain – Photo credit: Richard Masoner

It’s no secret that my favorite way to make healthy choices easier for people is to influence change in the ‘physical environment’ around them. That is, for example- the street structures/ sidewalks/ bikeways, distance between people and healthy food and distance between homes and employment.

Therefore, something said in a public comment by Adina Levin at a Caltrain Board meeting really stuck with me. She urged the Board not to think about bike + train riders a special interest group, but about the need for bike + train commuting as a ‘land use issue’. Continue reading

Getting on the advocacy train

Bike parked at a Caltrain station (Photos credit: Brad Greenlee)

Bike parked at a Caltrain station (Photos credit: Brad Greenlee)

In Melbourne, working to create healthy environments always felt like an uphill battle. Probably because we were trying to intervene in systems driven by economic, social and legal factors that we hardly understood, let along had an influence over… you know, such as supply and demand?

Systems which determine things like the types of foods available,  housing density and street design. All factors which impact on what people eat and how they get around, which in turn impact on health, but which are not normally recognized as such. There were always more direct and powerful factors influencing the local area and community.

In the team, we’d get all passionate in our discussions about creating a “community demand for health”. Getting the community to ask for healthier food,  city structures and walkable/rideable streets. Surely community demand would be a powerful force which couldn’t be ignored! Continue reading

Bike uglification

Riding a bike to get around town is a great way to get daily exercise without making a big point about it, needing to find time or paying to visit the gym.

Sadly I’ve been quite hesitant to ride my new folding bike about town. It’s not so much because I’m worried about the ride itself, but because I’m worried about how safe it will be locked up on the street.

The hesitation has been enough to keep me off my bike on a number of occasions, particularly when I’ve been visiting the bike theft hotspots of the Mission District or Downtown on Market Street. This map shows the locations of the 813 reported bike thefts in SF last year. Continue reading