In light of New Jersey’s lockdown order being extended until June, everyone has been given a lot more one-on-one time with their hobbies. If by chance you’ve run out of activities and series to watch, here is a list of bicycle and pedestrian books to fill up a little bit more of your time. In the past, multi-modal transportation has been described by many planners as an integral aspect of new urbanism. In the present COVID-19 climate, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure has proven to be a planning component that many cities have lacked in our car-oriented modern society. While many cities are now scrambling to temporarily add to the infrastructure1, others—most notably European cities— are using this incident as a means to justify providing more permanent bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.2 The following list can serve as either a reminder of or means to learn more about the subject. By becoming better-informed constituents, we are able to help raise awareness to where our own infrastructure lacks and how we can all come together to create a safer, more equitable transportation environment in the long-term.
Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time3
Let’s start with a relatively new urban planning classic that’s been at the top of many college course reading lists, Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time by Jeff Speck. The book offers Jeff Speck’s professional perspective on how walkable spaces can benefit an area. Through his Ten Steps of Walkability, Speck delves into how these spaces can be created often by means of placemaking. Written in spoken language, the book does not try to overwhelm the reader with too much jargon, making the book accessible even to bike/ped novices. The use of humor keeps the reader engaged, while not taking away from the important topic touched upon.
Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution4
Streetfight details Janette Sadik-Khan’s experience creating multimodal, green spaces in the city of New York. Sadik-Khan—likened to a modern-day child of Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses—goes on to provide “practical advice” on how these spaces can be created in other cities with the help of her co-author, Seth Solomonow. By using popular tactical urbanism methods to test out new public spaces, the New York City transportation commissioner was able to cost-effectively turn many city streets into vibrant, walkable and bikeable spaces, but as the title suggests, not without its fair share of conflicts.
How Cycling Can Save the World5
If you’re on this website than I’m sure you’re aware of the benefits biking can provide, but there’s nothing wrong with a little refresher. This book depicts the ways in which the actions and implications of biking can mitigate much of the world’s infamous problems. Precedents of cities where biking is integrated into city culture are offered to demonstrate how biking has eased some of the harsh effects of modern, convenient and often car-oriented culture on human and environmental health. Featured case-studies and interviews additionally provide insight to how bicycle culture and infrastructure can be implemented.
Building the Cycling City: The Dutch Blueprint for Urban Vitality
Written by Chris and Melissa Bruntlett, Building the Cycling City, provides a detailed account of bicycle culture in the Netherlands, where the number of bikes is greater than the population.6 For those of us, living in a country like the United States, where most daily trips are taken via car, this book provides the rare opportunity to see what life can be like if our transportation infrastructure was turned on its head. The book explores five Dutch cities and how local experts overcame their own unique challenges.
It’s All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels7
In contrast to the other four books, which describe how different bicycle, pedestrian and multimodal infrastructure can be implemented in an area, the following book provides the reader the chance to get into the head of the avid bicyclist, Robert Penn, who has pedaled over 25,000 miles in his life. It’s All About the Bike encompasses lessons in culture, craftsmanship, science and history that lead biking culture to where it is today.
Bonus: Bike On, Bear!8
If you are looking for a cute way to educate and entertain a kid, Bike On, Bear! by Cynthia Lui, might just be a good way. The children’s book chronicles the challenges of a young bear trying to learn how to ride a bike. Although he has tried everything, he just can’t seem to get the hang of it until a certain event happens. This book can help teach the value of perseverance and encourage biking!