One Street News
Vol. 7, Issue 3
- Bike Shift Lever Mold Underway
- Resources – San Francisco Parklet Manual
- Hot Topics – Parking Lots Demolished
By: Sue Knaup, Executive Director
The long hunt for a machine shop willing and happy to make our permanent casting mold for our Bike Shift Levers, has finally come to an end. They will begin machining the first mold out of steel this week at their shop in Salt Lake City, Utah. I’m thrilled that we have finally reached this next important step in the production process to create these simple, durable shift levers designed for people who rely on their bicycle every day.
This first mold will be a prototype marked as “Mold #1 2014” so that the shift levers I produce with it here in Prescott will be collector quality, sent only to supporters of our Kickstarter campaign last October. With their feedback, we will adjust the mold design so that the next mold will be ready for full production.
If all goes well, I should be using that second mold here in Prescott to produce shift levers for sale by late summer. At that point, we’ll also be ready to sign up license partners who are prepared to buy in and receive their own mold for producing these shift levers for their region of the world.
In the meantime, I’ve been having lots of fun learning the art of casting scrap aluminum with charcoal. Take a look at our Defying Poverty with Bicycles blog for some recent photos of my furnace and pouring the lovely silvery stuff.
Have you ever wondered if there might be a better use for the prime real estate now taken up by cars parked along your street? Imagine even one of those car parking spots transformed into a patio with inviting tables and chairs. Perhaps it could become a tiny park complete with grass, a few trees and park benches. Children could play there as adults chatted instead of only storing a lifeless car all day. This San Francisco Parklet Manual is just what you need to learn how to make that dream a reality in your city.
Following along the theme of wasting space to park cars, here’s a recent article on an even more extreme way to deal with the problem: “Parking Lots Demolished in Cities’ Revenue Bid as Driving Wanes.”
As you can read in our Car Parking Regulations web page, for decades cities have required businesses to set aside ridiculous amounts of land for unneeded car parking spaces. These regulations are based on fictional expectations of cars that never materialize. Even on the busiest days, most parking lots are nowhere near full. These wastelands of asphalt cause cities to expand far beyond the size they actually need to accommodate their residents and businesses.
The resulting long-distance developments then need horrendous, high-speed roads that are dangerous for bicycling simply to connect back to downtown. Instead of infilling these vacant areas with affordable housing or needed neighborhood businesses that are easy to bike to, cities force their residents to own a car and drive long distances every day in order to reach their most basic needs.
Finally, some cities are countering these destructive parking regulations, removing them from their policy books and replacing the swaths of pavement with far more beneficial uses. Apartment buildings, hotels and offices are being erected where only black pavement once baked in the sun.
Are you tired of watching your city expand into your dwindling natural habitat and farmland as available land stands unused in the form of unused parking lots? Read that article linked above and do an internet search for cities that are scrapping their car parking regulations to unlock vast areas of prime land right in the midst of their downtowns. The number of cities taking this bold step is growing every day.