Long live the pedestrians. / Länge leve fotgängarna.

New tactic from our fellas across the border. Volvo pander the motorists worst enemy, the pedestrians, in their ads for a new (orange!) car. “Long live the pedestrians”? Are they making fun of us? (Enlighten me please.)

Volvo anno 2010

Anyhow, by reading more about the thoughts behind the ad, apparently they’re thinking outside the shell (literally). Some how this car detects pedestrians hidden from the drivers view while driving slowly around the city. “…driving slowly…”? I think we already found a fault. Even worse, they hope to improve the urban environment by adding this new wonderful car…

And did James Dean ever imagine he would front a Swedish car-campaign?

Nostalgic moments

Advertisements

Who’s street?

A street is a paved public thoroughfare in a built environment. It is a public parcel of land adjoining buildings in an urban context, on which people may freely assemble, interact, and move about. –Wikipedia

How wonderful… But wait! I hardly remember last time I moved about freely in the streets of Oslo. It seems like ages ago when I acted like the king of the road, fearing no one. And yet it was just the very early 90’s. The pedestrians were the majority, and embraced their position for a brief while.

A road’s main function is transportation, while streets facilitate public interaction.

Even with the distinction between roads and streets I cannot say todays streets meet the function they’re entitled in theory. So how would an explanation according to practice be? Probably ending somewhat like this…

(…) on which cars may freely move, people may interact where there are no cars, and all other forms of personal transport should occur elsewhere.

The streets have changed, that’s for sure. I’ve been noticing how motorists are getting less and less observant. Is it because the roads are improved and pedestrians act more careful in the city traffic? Are there simply too few obstacles? At one point, someone got too comfortable…

It’s our street, and apparently we’ll need to take it back! How can we reverse the trend?

How to avoid conflicts…

Allowing all to move in the speed of desire.

Cars of the future

Comment in the norwegian newspaper Dag og Tid ("Day and Time"), 5.2.2010

This talks for itself, but I’ll try to translate the comment as well as possible:
“HYBRID: India shows the way to the post-petroleum society with this pedal driven cabriolet on three wheels in Siliguri in east India. As good as emission free, and goes miles and miles just on a pile chapati… This environmental friendly model will be available in Norway by 2020, if todays oil extraction continues with the same speed.”

Winter “Wonderland”

It’s about time to get out of the winter lair… I’ve had a way to long break, but now I’m finally settled in Oslo, and trying to get back on track, which seems to be harder than I thought. The winter has been snowy and colder than usual (this early in the wintertime), and all respect to those few I saw biking despite minus 20 earlier this month.

Yes, people do bicycle, and several norwegian newspapers report that the amount of year-round cyclists increase. Now even “normal” people hit the snowy streets. Well, they have to be somewhat tough to do so, and I admit I’m not one of them… Maybe it’s because of the lack of proper gear, but another issue is the bad snow shoveling of bicycle lanes in the city. The few lanes that actually exist usually serve as disposal for snow, or even car parking, and lack of space makes people insecure. To get more people to concider winter cycling, the streets must be cleared, and not only in favor of the cars…

Would you even consider your bicycle?

Copenhagen 1937

I’m now spending my last days in Copenhagen before returning to the not so bicycle friendly city of Oslo. So it suits with this old travel video from 1937 (“Copenhagen – a FitzPatrick Traveltalk”). Look at the traffic – the bicycles, the tram, the walking people and the few cars. It seems like they all float together, though with a helping hand from the constable. An obvious change in the city image today is the absence of a tram, increase in amount of cars and the bicycle lanes and traffic lights, but the amount of bicyclists is still large. They’re everywhere, and you can still see people cycling with furniture in Copenhagen…

Enjoy this wonderful image of the Danish capital.

Copenhagen’s new Bike Sharing System!

OPENbike

Copenhagen is about to get a new Bike Sharing system (finally), and of course the ambitions where high for the new system that will brand the world’s leading bicycle city. Therefore they set out an international competition to get the most modern and intelligent system. And it looks like they’ve got it. Yesterday the winners were announced, and here are the two first prices. I must admit OPENbike looks most appealing in my eyes, but as long as they’re more comfortable than the existing ones, we should be happy…. Read more of this post

No bicycle city

A couple of weeks ago this image dumped into my inbox twice, from two different friends… It’s an article from a Norwegian newspaper telling about the top five and bottom five bicycle cities in Norway. Of course Oslo is in the bottom five. :(

It’s definitely a contributing factor that the newspapers write more and more about the issue, but there’s a long way to the top. And the Norwegian top is probably not even close to the standard of bicycle cities around the world. We need some new and greater goals, and a kick in the ass!

What’s all this about Portland?

Yes you read right, Portland, Oregon. For some reason I’ve been hearing a lot about this city lately, even from different sources. Apparently there are things going on, bicycle wise. All this Portland-talking made me curious, and after some research, I found that the city’s focus on bicycle planning is superior to most other american cities, which greatly and solely still relies on car use (…but this trend is about to change, ex. NYC).

A friend mentioned that an American city had started an import of Christiania Bikes... apparently it was Portland

Links on The Office of Transportations web pages, showed that Portland is one of the first North American Cities trying out aBike Sharing System (like Oslos city bikes/’bysykler’). Other mobility related aims of the city, includes blue bicycle lanes (as we see a lot of in Copenhagen) and a plan for making Portland “a world-class bicycling city” by 2030. And on top of it all they’re in this very moment holding the Transatlantic Active Transportation Workshop, where they get European experts to share their perspectives on bicycling and walking in the region of Portland. Some crucial questions might be: Why do European cities choose to invest in bicycling and walking? How do freight and active transportation work together in Amsterdam? What does it take to have 30 percent of trips made by bike?

This might look like a commercial for The City of Portland, but it’s rather a positive notification of the point that there are great things going on “over there” as well. Sustainability is on the agenda.