Bicycling as transportation, with Don Kostelec

Urbanism Speakeasy, Andy Boenau

Warning: Don shares my bias for streets that are safe and comfortable for people of all ages.

In other words, he’s not part of the modern infrastructure cult that is so good at destroying communities across America. Like so many other guests of Urbanism Speakeasy, we met online. (Twitter, not Tinder.)

Don has excellent taste in snarkographics. But I’m distracting you…let’s get to the topics we discussed on the podcast!


A livable street is _______.

Urban planner jargon is nice but it’s still jargon. Don describes how he knows if he’s experiencing a livable street or not.

Parked cars? Bike lanes? Roundabouts? What does it take?


recreation vs. transportation

If my neighbors hear me say I’m working on a “bike plan”, they’ll assume I’m working out the details for a beach trip that involves a boardwalk. Americans usually think of riding bikes as recreation, not as a viable means of transportation.

Can we expect ordinary people to use bikes to run errands, commute to work, etc.? Or maybe we should surrender and say “we aren’t Copenhagen”.

“Bicycling as transportation” is a huge topic in professional planning and engineering circles right now. And for good reason.

If a bicycle is a fundamental mode of transport (it is!), then local/state/federal transportation funding should naturally prioritize bicycling infrastructure.


If everyone’s pro-safety, why are streets so dangerous?

Every politician in the history of history claims to promote safety.

Every professional engineer and planner claims to design infrastructure that’s safe for the traveling public.

And yet, American streets are incredibly dangerous! I’m talking about crashes, not gangs. The most dangerous thing you’ll do with your kids is take them for a drive in the family car.

Quick safety tangent: #VisionZero.

Don talks about some things he’d like to see improve, and you’ll also get a bonus chat about the use of helmets when riding bikes.


Connect with Don Kostelec


Website: Kostelec Planning


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The Death and Life of Great American Cities: 50th Anniversary Edition | [Jane Jacobs, Jason Epstein (introduction)]