Going Dutch

Tomorrow at the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) is a lunchtime forum entitled Going Dutch: Creating a Bicycle-Dependent City. Leah Shahum, the Executive Director of the San Francsico Bicycle Coalition, will share lessons learned from her 8-month sabbatical in Amsterdam. SPUR lunchtime forums begin at 12:30, are free to members or $5 for non-members, and are a great way to learn more about current projects and policy initiatives happening throughout the Bay Area.

Though San Francisco focused, SPUR more recently seems to be taking a greater interest in the larger region. I highly recommend joining for anyone interested in urban planning and municipal good governance issues. There are usually at least one or two lunchtime forums a week, wonderful special events and awards, and they have a great monthly newsletter, Urbanist.

So grab your lunch, get on your bike, and go Dutch!


Parking Design

The amount that Oakland doesn't know about automobiles and their storage could fill blogs, and it has. Oakland doesn't know where to put drive-through lanes. Oakland doesn't know how to price parking. Oakland doesn't know that you shouldn't have surface parking lots downtown.

In fact, Oakland knows so little about automobiles and their storage that I often argue that, rather than try to improve it's thinking, maybe Oakland should just think about automobiles and their storage a whole lot less. Or maybe not. But one area I wish they would have thought more and better about is the design and installation of the newish parking kiosks.

Aside from the fact that most of the time they just sheared off the old meter heads to create thousands of 2" diameter trash cans that never get emptied, rather than cool bicycle parking. Or that you can't pay with paper money, so you have to use your credit card, carry around tons of change, or actually go into a bank every so often to get a roll of dollar coins. Or that when you are paying for a parking space, the kiosks don't tell how long you can park for, but what time you can park until, but don't tell you what time it is, forcing you to dig into your pocket or bag and find your phone.

Aside from all those things, the new parking kiosks are just plain ugly, with tons of different stickers and signs on them because it wasn't very well thought out in advance. But it doesn't have to be that way. San Francisco does it better, and solar powered too! So does Melbourne for their bike parking (image above). Max is right, Oakland can learn a lot from other cities, maybe even about automobiles and their storage.