Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

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Meade
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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby Meade » Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:06 pm

snoqueen wrote:along with saving fossil fuel


Not so. It costs more fossil fuel per commuter mile to get the calories into your body to fuel it so that you can sanctimoniously peddle your (single passenger) bike than it would for you to walk to the bus stop and ride the mass transit bus over those same miles.

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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby fennel » Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:09 pm

Meade wrote:
snoqueen wrote:I would ride more often at night if the eastbound bike path were better lit.


Oh. Well. Let's all just pony up $300,000 so welfaresnoqueen can ride her bike more often at night. Because, after all, isn't that the purpose of government - to tax the people and then spend for the general welfare of the snoqueen?
Don't forget about welfareMeade. I'm sure he's been nursing at the teat of Government his whole life. (Assuming he isn't Somali.)

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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby green union terrace chair » Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:27 pm

Meade wrote:
snoqueen wrote:along with saving fossil fuel


Not so. It costs more fossil fuel per commuter mile to get the calories into your body to fuel it so that you can sanctimoniously peddle your (single passenger) bike than it would for you to walk to the bus stop and ride the mass transit bus over those same miles.

Please cite your source. And for comparison, please provide a statistic for pedaling in a non-sanctimonious fashion.

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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby SJB » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:01 pm

The recent proposal to install continuous lighting for four miles along the Southwest Bike path is another example of planning that, though well intended, is likely to add to the negative effects of human urbanization on wildlife and to increase the carbon footprint of the City. The Southwest Bike path runs through older neighborhoods that were once forested or set on the edge of wetlands. Wooded areas in associated with the Forest Lawn Cemetery, The Glenway Golf Course and the Jen Jensen Children’s Park and the city right of way add to the wooded canopy and provide a hint of the ecological diversity that once existed in the areas. Native American effigy mounds created approximately 1,000 years add to the ceremonial landscape of Forest Lawn Cemetery and the seep of history into modern consciousness. The effigy mounds are within steps of the bike path. Walking the bike or riding the bike path on a dark night allows for vivid reminders about the mound builders and their ability to live light on the land. Continuous lighting and the associated pole structures, will add to the deterioration of this unique and special place and life in the City.

In a time when the City budget is so tight, it would seem that the $250,000 estimate for this lighting proposal, which is likely to cost more, could be better spent. Bike riders who ride on public roads need to use good lights to be seen and to see the chuck holes and in our roadways and the broken glass that all too often punctures bike tires. Not using adequate lights is irresponsible behavior and by lighting the bike path so that bikes can see almost as well at night as they can in the day would only encourage irresponsible behavior. Bike commuters must ride on public roads in order to access the bike path and they would either already have bike lights or should be encouraged to use lights. The carbon footprint of commuters using 2 watt bike lights for the time required to pedal home at night is likely to be significantly smaller than the energy costs of the planned installation and running of these lights, not to mention the maintenance of the lights and poles by large trucks on the path. Perhaps the money would be better spent on signage that reminds bikers and walkers to use lights at night and to provide free lights to those in need. A private biking company partner might even be willing to help with the advertising or in providing part of the cost of those free lights.

Though not a goal of the original plan, the Southwest Bike Path using the old rail road bed, runs through one of the few, if not the only, forested and unlit transportation corridors left in the city. It is a special place, not only for the opportunity to get closer to nature, but for keeping our carbon footprints smaller. Many people remain or choose to live in Madison because of the proximity of green spaces and rustic nature opportunities. Others make the choice to live and work in Madison in order to reduce their personal carbon footprint by not commuting into the city from a rural residence. Some residents also commute on the bike path either to reduce carbon footprints or to save money, with the additional bonus of receiving exercise. Residents of the city often choose recreation options that include the Southwest Bike Trail and other trails, rather than putting a foot to the gas pedal to find escape from urbanization. Cities can have joys and surprises within them that can attract people to raise families and live in an urbanized environment. To attract people to stay in the city variety and unique places are necessary to engage the human mind and spirit. Cities can’t protect people from everything, though efforts to do so can deprive people of a lot of pleasure.

There are numerous articles that chronicle the effects of night light pollution on animals from insects to birds and mammals. Even trees are adversely affected by the ever increasing use of lights in urban areas. For birds some of the most severe consequences are for mating and migrating birds. Year round resident birds, and humans, experience negative effects on circadian rhythms that affect alertness and ability to fend off disease. For birds, the interference in sleep patterns can result in increased predation of the birds. Experts and current data are available on these topics and even a brief Google search yields useful data and articles on the topic of effects of light pollution on humans and wildlife. For example, studies recommend that, if lights must be used, high pressure sodium or red lights interfere less with wildlife and human circadian rhythms – although those lights have their own energy costs.

My question: where is the data that shows lighting four miles of the Southwest Bike Path is necessary? If an environmental impact statement was required for this project, such data would be required. Though not required in this case, without that data, the project lacks credibility. If there is data that supports a problem, then scenarios to solve it can be outlined and discussed. Even if data exists or is collected in the future to support a need for some lighting, careful thought is required to look at all alternatives with a goal of reducing carbon footprints, maintaining the character of this special place for nature and humans to coexist.

The motto of this bike path could be multiuse for multispecies. Once lights are installed, an opportunity will be lost for benefiting from a path that is not lined with poles and lights in the future. On the good side of this discussion is the success of the path to attract bike commuters, which takes cars off the road, and recreationists, who are then healthier and happier citizens. If, in the future, it is decided that the path should be widened, the presence of light poles will add to the cost of that future project, as they will likely need to be removed and replaced to make way for a wider path. Indeed, if light poles are installed, that may well be cited as reasons not to widen the path despite perceived needs to do so.

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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby snoqueen » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:27 pm

It costs more fossil fuel per commuter mile to get the calories into your body


You don't know what I eat.

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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby kurt_w » Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:52 am

Meade wrote:
snoqueen wrote:along with saving fossil fuel


Not so. It costs more fossil fuel per commuter mile to get the calories into your body to fuel it so that you can sanctimoniously peddle your (single passenger) bike than it would for you to walk to the bus stop and ride the mass transit bus over those same miles.


Meade, you're wrong. Biking is, under virtually all normal commuting circumstances, the most efficient means of transportation.

To be fair, you're probably just repeating a myth that you read on a right-wing blog somewhere. It's easy to make a half-assed attempt at this calculation, screw it up badly, and think that you've just discovered that walking, biking, or whatever takes more energy than driving.

I'll walk you through this, but if you don't want to see the gory details, you can skip the next couple of paragraphs.

The typical American diet requires approximately 528 gallons of oil equivalent per year [1], or 1.44 gallons per day, to produce and transport 3750 kcal of food per day (some of that food is wasted). A vegetarian diet is about one-third less.[1] This works out to 3.9 x 10E-04 gallons oil per kcal of food consumed, or 2.6 x 10E-04 gallons oil per kcal of vegetarian food.

A 160-lb person will expend 29 kcal/mile biking (at 10 m/h), 90 kcal/mile walking fast (at 3.5 m/h), and 108 kcal/mile running (at 8 m/h)[2]. Subtracting off a resting metabolism of approximately 63 kcal/hour gives excess calorie consumption of 23 kcal/mile for biking, 72 for walking, and 100 for running.

For an average American diet, this translates to the following:
113 mpg of fossil fuel consumption for biking, 36 mpg for walking, and 26 mpg for running.

On a vegetarian diet, those are improved to 169 mpg of fossil fuel consumption for biking, 54 mpg for walking, and 39 mpg for running.


You can reduce the fossil fuel density of your food intake by (1) eating less meat; (2) shifting your meat consumption away from beef and towards poultry; (3) eating more locally produced food.

For comparison, the typical US transit bus uses approximately 3500 BTU per passenger-mile [3], which works out to roughly 40 mpg per passenger in oil equivalent.

Walking to work and riding the bus are more or less equivalent -- one will be somewhat more efficient than the other, depending on your diet, the number of passengers on the bus, etc.

Driving, particularly in a minivan, SUV, or truck, will be less efficient.

The only realistic commuting alternative that can compete with biking in terms of fossil fuel consumption is car-pooling with three or more people in a Prius or other very high MPG vehicle.

How do so many people manage to screw up these calculations? One common mistake is forgetting to subtract off the calories consumed by your resting metabolism. If you forget to do that, biking is still very efficient, but walking appears (incorrectly) to be not much more efficient than driving (~29 MPG).


[1] Pimentel et al. (2008). Reducing Energy Inputs in the US Food System. Hum. Ecol. 36(4): 459-471.

[2] Mayo Clinic. (2011). Exercise for weight loss: Calories burned in 1 hour.

[3] Bureau of Transportation Statistics (2011). Table 4-24: Energy Intensity of Transit Motor Buses.

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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby kurt_w » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:06 am

Of course, those calculations assume that you'll increase your food consumption to compensate for every calorie expended bicycling or walking.

Since most of us (Americans, and particularly Wisconsinites) consume more calories than our metabolisms require, we can actually afford to take up biking, walking, etc. without fully replacing the expended calories. That makes these activities even more efficient (in terms of fossil fuel consumption) and of course more healthy ... provided you manage to stick with it!

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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby rabble » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:52 am

kurt_w wrote:A 160-lb person will expend 29 kcal/mile biking (at 10 m/h), 90 kcal/mile walking fast (at 3.5 m/h), and 108 kcal/mile running (at 8 m/h)[2]. Subtracting off a resting metabolism of approximately 63 kcal/hour gives excess calorie consumption of 23 kcal/mile for biking, 72 for walking, and 100 for running.

Are you sure that's in kcals? I think the rest of the math is right but it's more like 100 calories for walking one mile, not 90 kcals.

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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby kurt_w » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:07 am

rabble wrote:Are you sure that's in kcals? I think the rest of the math is right but it's more like 100 calories for walking one mile, not 90 kcals.


The terms are inconsistent. What nutritionists (and others who talk about food consumption and metabolism) refer to as a "calorie" is actually what a chemist or physicist would refer to as a "kilocalorie" (1000 calories of energy).

The 2500 "calories" you eat per day are actually 2.5 million calories of energy, or 10.5 million joules.

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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby green union terrace chair » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:27 am

kurt_w wrote:
rabble wrote:Are you sure that's in kcals? I think the rest of the math is right but it's more like 100 calories for walking one mile, not 90 kcals.


The terms are inconsistent. What nutritionists (and others who talk about food consumption and metabolism) refer to as a "calorie" is actually what a chemist or physicist would refer to as a "kilocalorie" (1000 calories of energy).

The 2500 "calories" you eat per day are actually 2.5 million calories of energy, or 10.5 million joules.

Hey professor, I'm here to argue, not to learn stuff.

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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby kurt_w » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:33 am

green union terrace chair wrote:Hey professor, I'm here to argue


Oh, I'm sorry, just one moment. Is this a five minute argument or the full half hour?

:wink:

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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby DCB » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:58 am

fennel wrote:
Meade wrote:
snoqueen wrote:I would ride more often at night if the eastbound bike path were better lit.


Oh. Well. Let's all just pony up $300,000 so welfaresnoqueen can ride her bike more often at night. Because, after all, isn't that the purpose of government - to tax the people and then spend for the general welfare of the snoqueen?
Don't forget about welfareMeade. I'm sure he's been nursing at the teat of Government his whole life. (Assuming he isn't Somali.)


Not at all. "Welfare" is money wasted on useless people who are not Meade. Government services that directly benefit Meade are all good.

By the way, Meade, do you ever drive on the Beltline? We need to know if those street lights are 'welfare' or a vital city service.

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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby Meade » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:35 pm

Anyone else troubled by an alderman who reports to her constituents a budgeted figure of $25,000 when the real figure was $250-300,000?

Bidar-Sielaff, Shiva
10:54 AM (35 minutes ago)

to me, regentneighbor.
Hi,

Mea culpa. My deepest apologies to all for the typo: I intended to say $250,000, I did not realize that I had typed $25,000 erroneously! Again, my mistake. Here is the link to the 2012 budget information, this is project #22, the budgeted amount is $250,000: http://www.cityofmadison.com/finance/do ... CIP53L.pdf

Based on the Dec. 12 neighborhood meeting feedback, there will most likely be at least one more neighborhood meeting to see if some of the concerns brought forward by the homeowners living on Gregory St can be addressed.

Happy holidays, Shiva


Shiva Bidar-Sielaff
District 5 Alder
(608) 220-6986
________________________________________
From: Meade Laurence
Sent: Monday, December 19, 2011 8:38 AM
To: Bidar-Sielaff, Shiva;
Subject: Re: RNAListserv SW Bike Path Proposed Lighting- More info

Shiva,

In this email, you stated:

"Cost of this project: $25,000 has been budgeted for it."

But in this Cap Times article by Mike Ivey<http://host.madison.com/ct/business/biz_beat/biz-beat-lights-planned-for-southwest-bike-path-draw-complaints/article_cafc3dba-26a0-11e1-83ab-0019bb2963f4.html>, it's reported that the cost will be between $250,000 and $300,000.

"Plans call for spending $250,000 to $300,000 to install high-tech LED lights<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light-emitting_diode> on 20-foot poles along the path from Breese Terrace to the Beltline overpass. The money was included in Mayor Paul Soglin's 2012 capital budget."

I would appreciate having the discrepancy in these figures cleared up.

Thanks,

Laurence Meade
2114 Chamberlain Ave.


On Fri, Dec 2, 2011 at 11:42 AM, Bidar-Sielaff, Shiva <district5@cityofmadison.com<mailto:district5@cityofmadison.com>> wrote:
Dear neighbors,

Based on the dialogue on the listserve, here is some additional information regarding the proposed lighting:

*
Thank you for Richard, Robin and Ryan for raising the issue of light pollution and the need for down-lighting. That indeed was the subject of much of the discussion between city staff and Alder Solomon and me since we wanted to make sure that the fixtures proposed would be the least disruptive possible. The City has looked at both the High Pressure Sodium (HPS) and LED lights, both are cut-off fixtures, which means that they do not emit light upwards. The LED light proposed has a significant reduction in back spill lighting (lighting behind the fixture), which is important to avoid any light shining into residences adjacent to the path. Staff favors the LED fixtures. The attached “Before and after LED test” pdf illustrates the effectiveness of the LED to reduce back spill lighting—note the LED light does not extend as far away from the pole on the backside as the HPS fixture does.

*
Cost of this project: $25,000 has been budgeted for it.
*
Safety issues: over the past few years, many users have been contacting city staff and alders with concerns about safety (in the broad sense) because of how dark the path is at night. There have also been some criminal incidents (certainly all reported in the newspapers). This is a very popular path for pedestrians, runners and bikers alike and safety is always a priority for alders and city staff.
The neighborhood meeting was specifically scheduled so neighbors have an opportunity to ask questions of staff, understand the proposal and the type of lighting being proposed, so I would really encourage you those of you that would like more information and/or would like to offer additional thoughts/suggestions to attend the meeting.

Best,

Shiva Bidar-Sielaff
District 5 Alder
(608) 220-6986<tel:%28608%29%20220-6986>

Bidar-Sielaff, Shiva
11:09 AM (20 minutes ago)

Hi,

Of course, all those who would like to are welcome to continue to send me their comments, as always. Let me also make it clear that this project involves 5 aldermanic districts, not just district 5. I have certainly received numerous comments already, attended the meeting and I am happy to continue to receive comments. The budget amount was correctly reported in the press and at the meeting. I would like to point out that the overwhelming majority of district 5 constituents who have emailed me are in favor, and I am sure they will email me if the price tag changes their mind.

Best, Shiva

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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby green union terrace chair » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:50 pm

Meade wrote:Anyone else troubled by an alderman who reports to her constituents a budgeted figure of $25,000 when the real figure was $250-300,000?

Yes, clearly an elected official who commits the crime of a typo and admits to it when asked should be ostracized from our city walls.

Someone give Shiva a scarlet T to wear so that all may know her sin.

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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby Marvell » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:10 pm

Meade wrote: welfaresnoqueen


Thanks for this. The next time you start into your sanctimonious whining about namecalling by posters who disagree with you, it will be nice to remember what a hypocritical, misogynist asshole you are.

Plus (to no one's surprise) your math just got owned. Don't you have a hole you can crawl off to in abject shame?


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