A powerful piece from Curbed’s Alissa Walker says the coronavirus isn’t fuel for urbanist fantasies.
Instead, the virus is revealing the inequities that have long existed in our cities. And which need to be addressed if we’re going to make any real progress.
Even before the staggering impact of the novel coronavirus had been fully revealed, the people who write and think about cities were busy writing prescriptions for their recovery. But instead of bearing witness to mass death as a moment of reflection, many urbanists are using the coronavirus as an opportunity to accelerate their pre-pandemic agendas—agendas which ignore the issues that made COVID-19 more catastrophic than it should have been.
This was first obvious by early April, as cities including Los Angeles, Detroit, St. Louis, and Chicago began to report that black and Latino residents were dying at a higher rate than the rest of the population. Latinos, in particular, were at greater risk because they are more likely to work at essential jobs. Living situations—including overcrowding in small apartments due to high rents—were also pinpointed as a reason the virus was ravaging certain communities.
It’s not an easy read.
Especially if you insist on holding on to your own biases. And yes, we all have them.
But it’s important one, if we’re going to build the kind of cities we say we want.
YouTube stars Kristin and Marcus Johns are both out of the hospital, a week after they were apparently the victims in last week’s allegedly intentional hit-and-run while riding their bikes in Toluca Lake.
Police chased the suspect, but lost his car somewhere near Universal Studios.
Yet more proof you can carry anything on a bike.
Loving the version of LA where goods can be delivered cleanly and safely on cargo bikes in protected bike lanes. Photo via friends inside 100 S Main St. pic.twitter.com/tNJeB8Uwmz
— Carter Rubin (@CarterRubin) May 20, 2020
When is a bike lane not a bike lane?
When it’s blocked.
As in this view of the Venice Blvd protected bike lanes in Mar Vista.
Thanks to Ted Faber for the photo.
Evidently, kids love gravel biking almost as much as their parents do.
Metro finally dumps its balky app, replacing it with the popular multi-city Transit app, which includes integrated transportation options like bikeshare, dockless e-scooters and ride-hail services.
An LA Times columnist straps on her face mask and bikes to Venice Beach, questioning why people breaking the rules by tanning on the beach aren’t getting tickets; apparently, talk radio station KFI doesn’t like what she had to say — or the Times, for that matter. Fortunately, she didn’t try riding on the bike path, or she could have been the one getting ticketed. Although that doesn’t seem to be enforced, either.
A columnist for the Pasadena Star-News complains about over-engineering on the newly reopened and carfree Rose Bowl Loop.
Santa Monica plans to tear down an old church across from Santa Monica College to build low-income housing, with over twice as many bike parking spaces as car parking slots.
Long Beach approves an “open streets initiative,” allowing streets, sidewalks and parking lots to be repurposed for outdoor activities, including dining.
A Redondo Beach motorcycle rider tries out a beach cruiser-style ebike, and finds his commute to Santa Monica takes twice as long, but is much more peaceful.
Deadly car crashes have spiked in California during the coronavirus lockdown, as relatively empty streets entice too many drivers to put their foot down.
San Diego celebrates Bike Month by unveiling a new Better by Bike campaign. Can’t argue with that one.
A Bay Area street has been closed to car traffic, becoming home to daily cello concerts.
Davis police were able to quickly identify and arrest a thief who broke the window of a bike shop and made off with $1,600 bike. Note to CBS Sacramento — $1,600 is hardly “pricey” anymore. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.
Police in San Rafael busted two bike thieves using bait bikes. Something that the LAPD has still never tried, over fears of entrapment claims.
A travel website says you’ve got to add Tahoe’s West Shore Bike Cruise to your bike bucket list.
Inside Edition discovers the current Covid bike shortage, while CBS News picks up on the coronavirus bike boom, while noting that 50% of current riders plan to keep riding when the pandemic ends. Which will hopefully be much closer to sooner than later.
A writer for Grist takes a contrary position, questioning whether Covid-19 will halt the progress towards a carfree future.
Ebikes are the perfect antidote for coronavirus anxiety, according to a writer for a Santa Fe NM paper.
Even though Colorado’s annual Iron Horse Classic scheduled for this weekend has been cancelled, local residents worry mountain bikers will show up and try to do the ride anyway.
A Dallas woman is looking for the Good Samaritan who stayed with her and comforted her after she was hit by a driver, just days after she started riding a bike again.
Ben Stiller recounts how his late father Jerry ran through the streets of New York to chase down the kid who stole Ben’s bike when he was a child — then came back empty handed, saying the kid who stole it needed the bike more than he did.
Slow Streets slowly make their way to Atlanta.
Florida police busted a bike thief who made off with a bike that a woman had ridden across the US; they also recovered the bike — or what’s left of it, anyway.
Six ways to make city streets safer for pedestrians. And everyone else.
FloBikes tells you how to replace an inner tube. But you already know that, right?
Toronto bike advocates are calling for a two-wheeled post-pandemic future.
Britain’s bike industry is joining together to promote a new PR campaign, telling the public that Bike is Best. Which is true, even if it feels a little grammatically challenged.
British thieves are taking advantage of the bike boom, too, with bike thefts up nearly 50%.
The UK’s Alzheimer’s society says a bike ride or brisk walk three times a week can help stave off dementia in people over 60. So what are you waiting for, already?
An Irish paper says children are the future, so get them on bicycles.
French bike parts maker Mavic may be circling the drain, but a pair of unnamed former pro cyclists may be preparing to ride to the rescue.
A Manila op-ed says a connected bike lane network is just what the Philippine city needs. It’s just what Los Angeles needs, too. But Manila might actually get it.
Makes sense. Bicycling’s Selene Yeager says Everesting is having a moment right now because, as George Mallory famously said, it’s there. And nothing else is right now.
Road Bike Action remembers the late, great Amgen Tour of California, which was cancelled due to financial problems just in time to avoid being cancelled by Covid-19.
Word has it Lance doesn’t like the way he’s portrayed in the upcoming ESPN documentary about him. Which raises the burning question, who cares?
Rouleur examines the worst bike kit of the modern era.
And the road worlds could be coming back to the US.
Axel Merckx plans to bring Road World Championships back to North America
Portland, Oregon, a possible US candidate for UCI Road Worlds in 2025 or 2026https://t.co/MpHOGovZ0w pic.twitter.com/gQGpLbC5Sm
— Cyclingnews.com (@Cyclingnewsfeed) May 21, 2020
And no, bikes aren’t the new toilet paper.
They’re much harder to use, and nearly impossible to flush.
Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already.