next up on the to-do list…

29 01 2010
I’ve got a few things on my plate and my mind right now—all very exciting.  My to-do list is growing but I’m excited to work on everything listed.  It has certainly been a while since I’ve felt this excited about the things happing with CAB.  Let’s keep this project moving in the right direction! So–things to get done:
  1. Advertising campaign to get more blog traffic (utilize SGA and NYPIRG for this–bike spoke cards, posters etc)
  2. Figure out the whole “wiki” thing – what are the possibilities for adding one to the site (or a link to one)
  3. add a “maps” page to include image links to NYC bike map, campus map (with rack locations), etc.
  4. upload draft infrastructure recommendations
  5. upload Design Jam files
  6. Continue survey data analysis – consider if other surveys are necessary and begin drafting
  7. Reaching out to President Schutte regarding joining us on the Campus Area Bike Ride for Green Week.

I hope to have # 2-5 accomplished by Monday evening.  I’ll let be working to set up meetings with my project’s advisors so I can provide everyone with updates and get feedback on how to maintain this momentum I’m feeling right now.  I’m hoping to solidify some of the plans for the Green Week ride and begin working on #1 on the list above.  # 4 and 5 have been on the list for a while now and it’s time I kick those things asap.  Developing more surveys will only be necessary if I feel there is information that is missing from the current data and is needed for developing an aspect of the project farther.  An example of this could be trying to answer why those who own bikes but aren’t currently commuters (as we know from the data– that is 20% of the non-commuting population) are commuting by bike.  Do they not feel safe?  No parking?  Worried about bike security? etc.

Another good survey could be to get more data on current bike routes.  Another one might be more pedestrian related could be about pedestrian safety in regards to cyclists riding through campus – is this really a problem?  This information may prove to be unnecessary but you never know…

potential for mapping

29 01 2010

I had a great meeting today with VH from The Open Planning Project. I’m a big fan of this organization. I think the work they’re doing has enormous potential for improving the ways our city agencies interface with and plan for their communities. VH used the phrase “participatory planning” –it somehow seems to adds another level to the “community based planning” concept.

I also had the opportunity to meet with LB and SS, two other TOPP folks who helped me realize that I needed to focus some of my ideas for the online platform.  In talking with VH today, we discussed the ways in which we can potentially make this mapping component to CAB a reality.  I truly believe it has the ability to impact master planning projects through cities–but I believe that, within a concentrated area, such as with Pratt’s cycling community, we can become intimate with the mapping data and produce a mapped network of information that can eventually be utilized by city governments, master planners, etc.

As I mentioned to VH, I don’t want this project to remain insular to Pratt.  I truly believe that CAB has the potential to benefit and add to the other work that has been done by alternative transit advocacy organizations and agencies.

what is the big idea?

29 01 2010

I’ve been thinking a lot about this project’s “big ideas” recently.  I’ve spent a lot time these past couple of weeks redesigning this blog to better fit CAB’s intention of establishing an online platform.  In addition to presenting the campus administration recommendations for improvement for their physical infrastructure (i.e. adding signage, new racks, adding “long-term” parking for on campus residents, covered racks, security cameras, adding more substantial lighting by rack locations, etc.) I am also working to propose an online platform that benefits the campus’s growing cycling community.  This blog is an attempt is the start.

The big idea is to use CAB as model that can be present to Universities, Master Planning groups, Advocacy organization or whomever else, and demonstrate the effectiveness of community input and the positive influence it can have on the policy and decision making process.

I am a strong believer, and I’m sure there is some data out there to support this, that when you give community members the credit for being capable of participating in the decision-making process (i.e. policy development) and value their input, you are much more likely to have a productive and useful outcome–generating much more efficient and effective policies.  On the contrary, when community members are left out of the discussion or, their opinions are not highly valued, the likelihood of negative inputs may often be greater.  I believe that this has been the case in regards to bikes at Pratt and I have seen that, with the minimal work that I have done to bring the cycling community at Pratt together, we have generated an incredible amount of positive inputs that will benefit the campus (and its surrounding community) as a whole.  The forthcoming notes from the Design Jam will illustrate this point.

CAB was created around this idea of community/people based planning and I believe it has the potential to influence other planning projects.  It is my hope to develop a wiki for this site that will allow Pratt students, staff and faculty to contribute their ideas, highlight their projects or bike/alt. transit curriculum, and share photos.  In addition to the discussions, I’d like to add two main features that I think have the potential to benefit the City’s needs as well as Pratt’s needs.  I’d like to create mapping page, as well as a “stolen bike reports” page.

How I do I imaging these to work?

Mapping:  community members can map their routes within the NYC bike map to campus and other frequented areas.  A line marks their route (much like map my ride) and then it is added and stored on the database.  Each time a route is added, where the routes overlap, the line receives a weight to it–showing the frequency of use.  One can enter notes about the route (i.e. “no bike lane but few cars” or “cars always park in bike lanes here”, etc), allowing students (and others) to see the best ways to get to and from campus (and beyond).  Mapping these routes along the NYC bike map is critcal, because we can see where bike lanes exist, and recognized frequented routes where a lane maybe needed.  This not only helps the students at PRatt, but also can help surrounding community members as well as demonstrate to City specific areas frequently ridden by cyclists, that don’t necessarily have a bike lane.

As for the “stolen bike reports” page: students can map/flag a campus map where there bike was stolen.  An online report can be written and then the report can link back to the campus Security/Facilities offices and further action can be taken.  Students/Staff can see the map of problem areas and again, further action can be taken–security cameras can be installed, more lighting, better racks, frequent pass bys by security offices, etc.  Streamlining the process and benefiting all parties.  This too can be modeled on the City level. I’m aware that some of these programs already exist–but, by integrating them into a more confined area–such as a campus or community block–people are able to directly connect the problem areas to their community or neighborhood.

What do you think?

bike from pratt to the unisphere

28 01 2010

I am happy to report that the first (hopefully) annual Campus Area Bike Ride will take place April 1st at a time TBD.  Thanks to a suggestion of my good friend JS, we’ll ride from campus to the Unisphere in Queens.  About an 11 mile ride–nothing major.  For those students who aren’t confident enough to get back on their own, we’ll have some people stick around to ride back to campus with them.  I think it’s perfect.

I spoke with the woman who handles the insurance/liability issues at Pratt and she didn’t see it to be a problem, though I’ll know for sure next week.  If it is a problem—we’ll just figure out a way to do it on our own…

campus area bike ride

28 01 2010

For Pratt’s “Green Week”, I’d like to organize a bike ride with the help of NYPIRG, and Student Affairs.  It’ll be great to get new and skilled riders out there together, checking out some local spots around Pratt.  Word on the street is, Pratt’s president has always wanted to have a Pratt bike ride.  Seems like this is the perfect opportunity.  I will certainly need the assistance of SGA and the Student Affairs office to get this to happen smoothly.

Right now, it looks like the ride will be held April 1st, after my advisor, CJ, completes his bike workshop and TA gives helmets away to students. A great way to welcome the Spring weather…

We’ll need a couple of people to support the riders, and we should be sure there is at least one bike pump and a few spare tubes and I’m sure Pratt will need students to fill out some waiver.

So here’s what I need help with: Where should we ride? The ride can’t be too long, should be on a safe route, and must start and finish at Pratt Brooklyn. This is so students that are new to riding in New York can feel confident completing the ride and getting themselves home. I don’t want to leave anyone stranded. Anyone have any suggestions? I was going to try to add a wordpress “poll” on this topic but I can’t figure it out  so for now, let me know your thoughts but submitting a comment. I need suggestions asap…

now that i’m on wordpress

27 01 2010

I’m beginning to feel like this project is really coming together.  Though this site is not directly attached to Pratt’s web system, I think it holds a lot of useful information.  It looks good, has page tabs, and has the potential to be an excellent resource that students can contribute to.

I will be continuing to update the “project documents” tab.  This tab will really contain all the PDF files that I’ve made for meetings and communications to faculty, advisors and even participants.  Eventually, I hope to have links (or direct PDFs) of “Pratt’s policies” regarding bikes on campus, safety, security, abandoned bikes etc.  This might be the hardest thing to do though I think this website might help to convince the administration.

I now have to complete the Design Jam notes (i know–still late).  I will then be sending out emails to all the Jam participants to get their feedback on the notes–to see if I missed anything–and then I will finish drafting formal recommendations to the campus facilities/securities director.

Look for much more frequent project updates as I begin moving this project ahead.  I have a lot to do this semester!

Stay tuned…

exciting findings

26 01 2010

total # of bike commuters vs. non bike commuters

I’ve been using excel as a tool to better understand my survey data and here are a few hard facts–check out these graphs to the right. I must first admit—this information is REALLY REALLY exciting! Ok–so…Of my total population of 686 people surveyed (note; there were a total of 726 responses to the survey however data from 40 responder was eliminated due to incomplete data rendering it useless)60% of respondents were cycling commuters. 40% were not. This is represented in the purple graph.

breakdown of non commuters

I then wanted to breakout the non commuters to understand whether those people had ever considered riding. This is represented by the green graph. As you can see, I looked at people who owned bikes, and those who didn’t own bikes–this may provide some context for why some didn’t commute via bike. If you look closely, you can see that a total of 33% of non commuters were bike owners. I broke this out to see, of those bike owning, non bike commuters, which ones have ever considered riding to campus. 23% have considered.

The question is: what is stopping them? If you total up, of the 40% of non cycling commuters to Pratt, 59% of those responders have considered riding to campus (36% of non bike owners + the 23% of bike owners). With just this little bit of data, we can conclude from this information that there is huge potential for increasing bike use on the Pratt campus. 59% of the non commuters–that’s huge!

Now what…? More survey analysis! Who knew I could love excel so much?