Ambience: re-creation of Edwardian era street sounds horses, bicycles, early cars.
We’re listening to a re-creation of a city’s street sounds from the era of the early 1900s. You can hear horses, carts, early cars, and bicycles. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
Buehler: As US cities developed, initially, they were quite compact. People had to get around on foot or by bicycle, and the speeds were pretty low.
Ralph Buehler is an Associate Professor in Urban Affairs and Planning at Virginia Tech. He says that our use of bicycles has evolved along with cities.
Buehler: Over time that changed, first with the arrival of public transportation, and then with the appearance of the automobile, where people could live much further from their their homes. Initially, when the automobiles appeared, cyclists and automobilists worked together to lobby for paving streets. But then, over time, as we all know, the car has very quickly replaced bicycling almost entirely as a mode of transportation.
More recently, bicycling has been seen as a recreational tool in the U.S. It’s something you put on your car, you drive to a park, and you cycle to get exercise. In the 1970s, related to the oil crisis, some US cities made efforts to promote bicycling as a mode of transportation, but then, during the 1980s and early 1990s, these efforts, essentially were not implemented, and the plans that were made remain somewhere on a shelf in the planning department. More recently, in the late 1990s and the 2000s, many U.S. cities have rediscovered the bicycle as a mode of transportation, and they have started building bicycle lanes, cycle tracks, and other bicycle facilities to accommodate cyclists on city streets to reach utilitarian trip purposes versus recreational in a park.
We’ll hear about the future of bicycles in future programs. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.