Let's Copenhagenize the City!
I used to talk about making Decatur more like Paris. (That's Paris, France, not Paris, Texas.) Wide sidewalks, greenery, flowers, sidewalk cafes, and parks make Paris delightful by foot or bike. Well, I now want our town to be Copenhagenized instead (www.copenhagenize.com).
Here's an example of some of the things the website covers: a quote from a paper by John Pucher of Rutgers (the full paper is available from his publications list at http://policy.rutgers.edu/faculty/pucher:
"Bicycling is healthy. That is the conclusion of an increasing number of
scientific studies assessing the impacts of bicycling on levels of physical
activity, obesity rates, cardiovascular health and morbidity."
"The combined evidence presented in these studies indicates that the health
benefits of bicycling far exceed the health risks from traffic injuries,
contradicting the widespread misperception that bicycling is a dangerous
activity. Moreover, as bicycling levels increase, injury rates fall, making
bicycling safer and providing even larger net health benefits."
"Perhaps due to the increasing evidence of the health benefits of bicycling,
many government agencies and public health organizations have explicitly
advocated more bicycling as a way to improve individual health as well as
reduce air pollution, carbon emissions, noise, traffic dangers, and other
harmful impacts of car use. [...]
"Countries and cities with high levels of bicycling and good safety rates tend
to have extensive infrastructure, as well as pro-bicycle policies and progams,
while those with low bicycling rates and poor safety records generally have
done much less."
The Copenhagenize site is about this and more -- what's going on in different cities around the world, how we can make them safer and easier places to live. Some of it is visionary -- why not set a speed limit of 30 km/hr everywhere inside the city limits? Some of it is down-to-earth practical.
But it's all good.