Culture Jamming, Urban Planning

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

Following the Ups & Downs of Montreal Cycling:
Culture-jamming, urban planning

by Kate Molleson
Montreal Gazette
October 16, 2008

A friend alerted me to news about the launch of an innovative bike signage experiment in L.A., where local cyclists have teamed up with graphic designers to create high-impact signs for the city’s bike paths and roads. The philosophy behind the 4th Street Bikeway Project: that “comprehensive wide-spread signage can be a powerful tool in convincing people to take up cycling as a mode of transportation.”

Bike Crossing StensilPerhaps the most interesting aspect of this initiative is that the site provides downloadable stensils and instructions so that cyclists can actually create their own signs. (They include a disclaimer encouraging all DIY-ers to check local sign regulations, and absolving the team of responsibility for broken laws.)

That such infrastructure development is happening in the hands of artists and cycling enthusiasts speaks volumes about the inadequate urban planning of many cities. It also shows how community-level actions can yield visible results. It’s bike culture-jamming, with a practical social purpose.
And with clear and clever design, it looks like the signs could be effective, not only for encouraging cycling in L.A. but in changing how signs for bikes are made. This project includes signs with route lenghts, directions, and alerts for nearby bike shops – the types of signs that actually help cyclists get to where they need to go. It’s far and above most bike signs, including Montreal’s, which usually serve only to alert cars to the presence of bikes. Is it possible that Montreal could learn something from L.A. about bike infrastructure?