Category Archives: Actions

Leipzig Residents Compete: Ideas for Urban Transportation

Poster for Ideas for Urban Transportation (source: City of Leipzig)

Poster for Ideas for Urban Transportation (source: City of Leipzig)

As part of the updated Urban Development Plan – Transport and Public Space due to be presented in 2013 the city of Leipzig invited public participation through a competition entitled Ideas for Urban Transportation (Ideen für den Stadtverkehr) in which city residents were able to submit their innovative ideas for developing the transportation network in Leipzig. 382 submissions (from individuals, schools, community groups etc) were received for a total of 618 ideas, and each entrant received a response regarding her or his ideas from the jury. Continue reading

Activist Profile: Fietsersbond

In the spring of 2010 I had the pleasure of interviewing Govert de With from the Fietsersbond (Cyclist’s Union) Amsterdam. The Cyclist’s Union is a nation-wide bicycle advocacy organization in the Netherlands which got its start in the mid 70’s (if I’m reading my notes from almost three years ago correctly), growing out of the car-free Sundays which were mandated during the oil crisis. According to their website there are currently about 35,000 members nation-wide and, at the time of my interview, about 4,500 in Amsterdam. Member recruiting is taken care of by the national office using Continue reading

Activist Profile: VCD

Verkehrsclub Deutschland : Transportation Club of Germany

The VCD (german) is the ecological alternative to Germany’s version of AAA. So if AAA represents primarily the traditional automotive interests, then the VCD advocates for the interests of not only bicycle commuters, mass transit riders and pedestrians but also ecologically conscious drivers. What I find impressive about the VCD is how organized they are. They’re a Germany-wide organization with local subgroups who are active in front of city hall as well as within the political system. Continue reading

Parking and the Public Service Employee

Übrigens: Nach einem Urteil des Landesar­beitsgerichts Schleswig-Holstein von 2001 (AZ 1 Sa 646 b/00) haben Arbeitnehmer im öffentlichen Dienst keinen Anspruch auf einen kostenlosen Parkplatz.

as per VCD Landesverband Nord (german)

Public service employees in the state of Schleswig-Hostein are not entitled to a free parking place.

I would love to see this policy instituted in NYC. It would go a long way to start changing a culture of expectancy and entitlement. Accompanying policies would promote use of public transit as well as bicycle commuting to get to work. Actions that employers could take, as suggested by the Transportation Club of Germany, an alternative to Germany’s equivalent of AAA, include:

the option to exchange a car parking spot for a bicycle provided by the employer

offering bicycle repair workshops at the workplace

sponsoring various bicycle events outside the workplace

a bicycle lottery – in which once a month or so a random name is drawn from a hat and if that person rode her bike to work she receives a related prize (users of public transit or those who walked are also eligible, only car-drivers are excluded)

providing showering and changing facilities as well as a place to hang wet clothing or rain gear

among other possibilities. For a comparison of the situation in NYC (and surroundings), here are just a few of the issues and the players involved:

NYPD here and here

Teachers Union here

Complaining residents who don’t want the laws to apply to them (and the City Council who supports them) here

MTA here

Mayor Bloomberg here

Chambors of Commerce/BIDs here, here and here

This theme deserves more research. A profile of the VCD (Transportation Club of Germany) is also forthcoming.

Car Free Sunday 20.09.2009

HH - Autofreier Sonntag 2009 HH - Autofreier Sonntag 2009 Car Free Sunday.  It happened twice in Hamburg this summer, once in June and again in September.  It’s not an unusual thing, to close off a large segment of a major street to automobile traffic and open it up for pedestrians, cyclists, skaters and such.  The NYC Department of Transportation has Car Free Summer, successive Saturday closings of Park Ave from the Brooklyn Bridge to 72nd Street and then into Central Park via 72nd.  One of the things I found interesting about Car Free Sunday in Hamburg was that it was sponsored by the local transit system, the Hamburger Verkehrsverbund (HVV.)  Continue reading

Park(ing) Day 18.09.2009

Park(ing) Day in Hamburg Park(ing) Day in Hamburg

Park(ing) Day in Hamburg was extremely relaxed, as I’m sure it was in many other cities.  Originating in San Francisco, activists and advocates reclaim parking spots on the street for pedestrian use for a day, clearly contrasting public space used for public purposes versus public spaced used for large parked private possessions.  Hamburg was one of two German cities with Park(ing) Day participants, Munich being the other.  This particular spot was organized by the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy – Europe (ITDP,) an organization working for equitable forms of transportation as well as sustainable development in many different countries.  Continue reading