This week our team met to discuss our individual research findings. The information we found ranged from in-depth details about the bikeability metric that San Francisco uses called Level of Traffic Stress (LTS), other bikeability metrics from around the world, and the methods and tools we can utilize to map bikeability. We did not meet with our community partner representative, Janice Li, this past week, however, we have been in contact with her to check in with her and to finalize our scheduled plans for our upcoming meet-up on Friday, February 3. As previously planned, we will be taking our bikes on the CalTrain and we hope to take the 11:30 AM train so that we can arrive in time to get a tour of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition office and have the amazing opportunity to meet two community organizers--Julia and Charles. As soon as we are done exploring the office and receiving the vital information we need for this field day, we will head over to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency office and have an important meeting with urban planner Jamie Parks. Once we are done with our meeting, we will carry on with our team project activities and bike across San Francisco with Janice to get our own first-hand experience of what it is like to cycle in this particular major city. Because we our meeting in San Francisco in a matter of days, we have been reading the pamphlets and information Janice gave us last week, all of which will prepare us for biking in the city as well as inform us about any recent bicycling advocacy and efforts such as “SF Transformation.” We are currently confirming check-in dates for the upcoming weeks of February 13 and February 27 and look forward to contributing our own efforts into the work of the SF Bicycle Coalition.
What We Observed and Learned
As of now, we have read through The Official San Francisco Bike Guide 2nd Edition, SFBC Bicycle Rules of the Road, and the 2017 winter issue of SFBC Tube Times that Janice provided to us last week. Our project tasks include conducting a literature review of the history and methodology of LTS as a bikeability metric and exploring bikeability metrics that have been implemented in other cities so that we may be able to recommend and ultimately devise a new bikeability metric along with a map that we will present to our community partner. As a result, we divided up the necessary research and discovered new information regarding bikeability in urban centers that will certainly aid us in producing the most effective bikeability metric relevant to San Francisco. In terms of the Level of Traffic Stress that San Francisco has been using to assess comfort and connectivity analysis, we realize this system is far too qualitative to be used to implement new plans, routes, or even policies. The LTS maps we found were very helpful, however, because they highlighted the locations and areas where the four different levels of traffic stress were prevalent. We learned that the streets along Fisherman’s Wharf were characterized by the highest level of traffic stress, so we intend to focus on that area as a place for improvement in our future sample map. As for other bikeability metrics, we concentrated on Long Beach and Copenhagen--two cities that vary in terms of being bicycle-friendly. We discovered that Long Beach has implemented a system where bicycle riders can upload their own preferred routes online to be made readily available to the public and that Copenhagen uses telephone surveys as well as text-based SMS feedback from its very own citizens about the city’s bikeability, which we thought were aspects of the formation of their bikeability metrics that seemed very accessible to the public. We aim to further investigate this notion of accessibility and implement it within our own proposed plan.
Critical Analysis/Moving Forward
After having researched how cities around the world have constructed their own bike lane and metric systems, we have a better grip on our topic and hope to tackle it effectively as our first on-site trip will take place very soon. When we meet with the SFMTA city planners as well as the community organizers from the SF Bicycle Coalition that Janice will introduce us to, we want to clarify any questions we have regarding our tasks and duties, for we hope to be an invaluable contribution to their bikeability efforts. We believe we can make an impact on the future and advocacy efforts led by the SFBC, so we aim to be at their service by truly listening to the needs of our community partners so that we may deliver what they are looking for. In the meantime, besides informing ourselves on the basic structure of the San Francisco Bicycle Strategy, we hope to move forward by using the knowledge a couple of our team members gained in a mapping and GIS workshop in order to create proposed maps that demonstrate bikeability improvements that will make cycling a feasible and intriguing mode of transportation, for ultimately we intend to “promote the bicycle for everyday transportation” as the SFBC aims to do. How do we make sure our map conveys a clear message while also inviting further exploration? Do our community partners want something for the public, or a map that helps them locate new infrastructure? These are just a few of the questions we have as we try to critique the current LTS system and find ways that other metrics will be applicable to our area of interest, San Francisco.