BUB is up (not to mention gas prices)

Nearly two years after BUB's inception, Blue Urban Bikes and the ReCYCLEry have received recognition at RTP Headquarter's 2008 luncheon and award ceremony celebrating the achievements of the year's transportation demand management (TDM) programs, including the Durham County Trip Reduction Ordinance and TDM Programs in RTP, Durham, Orange and Wake Counties.

There are 8 BUB Hubs now, from Eastgate to the MLK YMCA and into Carrboro. Discussions are ongoing with Wellspring, 3 campus locations, and hopefully in Meadowmont. Rumor has it that a possible partnership with gotriangle could target bus stops. Thanks to the determination, effort and foresight of just a couple people at the outset, SURGE, and the community at large, the program survives and is looking better than ever.

I just happened to visit a thread in OP's random sidebar, What's up, BUB?, and I was a bit amused and surprised at the initial cynicism of the OP community. Now that gas is over four dollars a gallon, perhaps opinion may differ. I commented with an update, but since that will get buried back into 2006 archives, I figured I post fresh and include more details.

Current BUB Hubs:


Just found out that the 3 Cups Hub is currently inactive.... according to the 3 Cups website, they are "temporarily closed", but I'd guess temporary is not necessarily temporary.
I think 3 cups is moving to Village Plaza later this summer/fall as a consequence of the bizarrre landlord interactions at the Courtyard.

Good to know.  It's hard to predict the feasibility of any local mainstreet business even in the best of times and I wish them the best of luck.

They were the first willing folks (along with Dennis at Skylight/Nightlight) to take a chance hosting a BUB Hub, and willing to sacrifice some space and employee time for training and keeping up with the BUBs conditions. 

One of the funny things about the old post I referenced above, is that the Hub locations were criticized.  It was (and still is) difficult to find the forward-thinking, or activist business owners willing to sacrifice time, space and potential distraction for the unknown potential of extra traffic that future bikers might bring.  It isn't that complicated to work out, but still, it does demand wading through some logistics.

Maybe the first two Hubs weren't ideally located, but they were crucial to getting the ball rolling.

I need to try to dig up some numbers of registrants, and if possible, how many checkouts have been made.  I'll need to make time for it though, since myself and everyone who works on this stuff volunteers it all in their increasingly small amounts of spare time. 

I suppose I should re-introduce myself as ReCYCLEry Advisory Board member and volunteer web-designer, site administrator, and public do-gooder for the ReCYCLEry.  Kirk Schmidt.  Many of you probably knew that already but I like to be transparent with my work with the ReCYCLEry, and not use OP as publicity, but Bicycle/transportation issues are my primary contribution here.

That said, I must admit some personal automobile vanity: per Ruby's suggestion, I did put an OP sticker on my car bumper.  Thankfully it's small.  It nicely complements my small Apple, my small Tarheel, and my large Obama '08 stickers.  I'm going to start a thread on bumpers in the not too distant future.  Since I lost my VW Bus covered with stickers, I've been very minimal and hesitant towards any automobile adornment.  Another story though.

Lex abandoned the Courtyard for good, and says he's re-opening 3 Cups in Village Plaza down by the ABC Store there.  Let's wish him all the best.  That location has its own set of troubles which appear recently to have been resolved. 
to the ReCyclery, Chris Richmond, and everyone else working on the Blue Urban Bike program for their two years service. The recognition at RTP Headquarter's 2008 luncheon and award ceremony is well deserved.

Good observation.  The big props must certainly go to Chris Richmond.  He didn't start the ReCYCLEry, but he came in early, and without him there most certainly would be neither ReCYCLEry nor Blue Urban Bikes. He has not only put in years of sweat, but he has also figured out how to involve the community, mostly through sheer determination and a unique and wonderful charisma.

Chris is the "director" of the ReCYCLEry, and he has brought in a diverse group of individuals with different skills to participate on the Advisory Board as he seeks to establish an institution that can survive and be self-sufficient.  

As an old housemate of Chris, I witnessed the early days and how he spearheaded the growth.  While I have only actively contributed for the last 3 years, I can attest to the effort that Chris has put forth for years beyond that.  Even as a group, we can still run into times when it's hard to find someone who can open up and host workshops, but thankfully things are really looking up these days.  

One nice example is that we've had a lot of kids showing up, dropped off by their parents.  However, we've had to work out some of the logistics of permission forms and figuring out how to make sure there are a given number of adults for a given number of kids.  In this case, the community is not only building our program, but also challenging us to meet the needs and consequently draw upon more community to help.  Much of it is still word of mouth.

Let your friends know... it takes more than bike mechanics!  Besides from donating bikes, I've primarily contributed web design and administration and whatever community building and publicity I can find time to keep up with.

Thanks for keeping us updated on this Kirk. Just ignore those naysaying trolls on that other thread. We need as many alternative forms of transportation we can get.

Time Magazine last week had a story on bicycle sharing. Several US cities are have started or started pilot programs with varying degrees of success. In Europe, Paris, Copenhagen, Lyons and Barcelona have successful systems in place. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1813972,00.html

Hi Dave,

Good questions. I am not an authority but every time a car is replaced by a bike that means less automobile congestion and pollution. Also, the BUB program costs $10 per year. I' also would like to know the results of any study on the matter.


" Time Magazine last week had a story on bicycle sharing . . . Could it reduce traffic and pollution?  Has anyone studied this?I noticed the BUB program.   But the systems described in Time is more point to point such that you are not renting a bike for $10/day.   That gets pretty expensive for everyday use.  Especially
when the buses are free.  "

I currently live in Lyon, France, and we have had a bike rental system for several years. Its quite popular, and very convenient. There are 340 stations throughout the city and 4000 bikes available. They're typically located close to subway stations, near the public squares, the parks, and major attractions. You can check the bike out from one velo station, ride it to your destination and then return it to the nearest velo station. The stations are automated, making the bikes available 24/7. 





I believe Washington DC's system should be up and running by now--like Lyon and Paris, theirs is run by an ad company (Clear Channel) in exchange for the right to advertise on bus shelters. Its great that CH/Carrboro has our own system, instead of letting advertisers run amok (that stupid billboard truck cruising town notwithstanding).


Regarding retailers giving up space--In Paris the city makes space within the street for the bike parking.

Partnering with TTA would be great. The shorter routes serviced by the CH buses are less attractive for bike+bus trips as its usually quicker to just bike (and cheaper, greener, funner...) Bike sharing for bus+bike makes a lot of sense as the racks on the buses only hold two bikes, are often full, and TTA's idiot insurer won't allow bikes-on-boaard.

Plus, maybe TTA will finally update their gotriangle.org trip planner to include a "[ ] biking" checkbox instead of assuming walking.


When advertisers subsidize services that reduce traffic, pollution and potentially increase fitness, I am not sure I see it as a bad thing.

Bicycles are more ingrained in the European culture than the American culture. Traffic laws in France, at least when I lived there, gave bicycles the right of way. Drivers seemed to treat cyclists better than pedestrians. Not all things transfer from one culture to the other. I hope this one works out.


As the founder of the Recyclery (back in 2000), I think I'd like to sit down with you and give you an accurate history. You can contact me at rgiorgi21@yahoo.com.

Rich Giorgi

As a result of this thread, Rich, the founder of the ReCYCLEry contacted me and I immediately replied admitting my ignorance of the true origins.  As the closest thing to group archivist, at least with respect to the online world, I totally look forward to meeting with him and getting the full history.

In short, Blue Urban Bikes would be most unlikely if there were never a ReCYCLEry, and therefore OP (original props) must go to Rich.

Please accept my apology for negligence, my friend, and I will publish your scoop at first opportunity.   k 

You've done a great job with this thread, Kirk but I look forward to being involved in the next advisory board meeting and getting re-involved in the current incarnation of the Recyclery (and giving it back some of it's earlier capabilities as well)...

And I have to whole-heartedly agree with Davepr in that advertisers should be involved, especially if they can help promote more bike use in this (and neighboring) towns.  I see no conflict in seeking out (or taking) benign sponsorship for a good cause, either private or corporate or governmental.  As someone who spent his own money for 2 years to give the Recyclery it's current wealth of tools and parts, I ensure you it would have been impossible without the unselfish sponsorship we received from the Clean Machine and Performance Bikes.

It still boggles me that the government of Carrboro and Chapel Hill don't throw more attention to this project, but that's something I intend to change.

For years bikers and walkers have taken the cut-through from Village Drive (next to the graveyard) over the railroad tracks, then through Estes Park and down Pleasant Drive as a safer option to get to Carrboro from points north (much less scary than biking down Estes Drive, even with the new "bike lanes"). Now there's a 10-foot fence with a barbed-wire top fence running the length of Estes Park, with a locked gate where the cut-through was.

What gives? This has to impact a lot of people from Village Apts, Bolinwood, and Jay St  who use that route on a daily basis to get to Weaver St, Harris Teeter and the drugstore. Was this a decision by the railroad, or by Estes Park?

I discovered this padlock after walking home from downtownm Carrboro this afternoon, and had to slog even further in the heat to get around this awful new fence. Additionally there is a huge tree down between Village Drive and the tracks which will need to be moved before most people can use this trail again.

I discussed this essential cut-through path here: http://www.orangepolitics.org/2006/10/alternatives-to-estes

I would really like to see the towns work together to make what is currently a well-used trail to a dense neighborhood into a proper greenway that would be safer and more accessible.

I wonder if this wouldn't be a good topic to go public-private. Between what you and anonymous said it seems to me that there are a whole  number of businesses that prosper from this cut-through. Why not reach out to them and show how popular greenways are once produced (see Raleigh greenway and property values), how pedestrian traffic has risen in the last year due to higher gas prices, and why they should chip in to get this done ASAP - with the approval and construction by the towns.

One man with courage makes a majority.

- Andrew Jackson

Here's a picture I took yesterday:


I really don't understand this fence. It has barbed wire facing out from Estes Park Apartments. Is it supposed to be protecting the residents or keeping them in? It's a serious eyesore and- along with a lot of recent tree removal - must be degrading the quality of life for the many people living on the east side of Estes Park.

I walked along the fence toward Estes Drive and found that it ended at a wooded area, so I simply slipped between the fence and a bush. Anyone with nefarious intentions could do the same.  This fence is pointless and hostie at best.

I lived at Estes Park Apartments in 1994-96.  For some reason during that period of time there were a lot of people that would walk through the entrance of the apartments, help themselves with whatever they could find (locked car was only an inconvenience), and continue their course through the woods.  They would also litter like it was going out of style.

 I'm not sure what's worse--the hideously ugly fence, or litter through the woods (or a bulldozer to perform some remodeling at Estes Park...).

I was getting used to that shortcut, too, but can't argue with owner's property rights. Obviously, he didn't feel he was being heard on this issue.

Seems that the road along the tracks opposite the fence could be linked to Broad St which would also give access to the mall. Is that another option?

What issue? I don't even know who the property owner is, or what problem the fence is intended to alleviate.
I spoke with the property manager for Estes Park about this.  He said that they have security concerns and that so many people were coming across the tracks to commit crimes on EP's property that they felt they had no choice about putting up the fence - he pointed out that the fence was a huge investment and that they did not undertake it lightly.

The other issue is about the informality of the connection between Pleasant Street and Estes Park.  That connection could be a lot nicer, although ironically, the neighbors to the west have sometimes gotten pretty worked up about the possibility because some of them perceive a security problem.

Also, note that a sidewalk is being built from Estes Park to Greensboro Street on the south side of Estes Drive Extension.  This project is in the final planning stages now and will be sent out for bids about the Dec/Jan timeframe.

The upcoming sidewalk and the recently added shoulders to Estes Drive Extension are all welcomed improvements. But practically speaking, watching bicyclist try to get up this steep hill towards Greensboro street during "rush hour" is pretty scary. Most cars and trucks have to swerve into the other lane with oncomming traffic to go safely around a biccylists. Its just not safe enought yet. Nor will it be, IMHO, until the NC DOT widens the road fully.

I plan on commuting that direction every day in a month or so. I don't look forward going that direction with all the speeding cars. Don't get me wrong. I really appreciate Mayor Chilton's and the Town of Carrboro's work on improving this road for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Personally I rather walk on the side of the Rail Road tracks towards Carr Mill Mall than risk walking or riding up Estes Drive every day. This option would be much better if the two Towns could work together to build a green-way along side the tracks. Besides funds what are the barriers to completing such a project?

I too would love to have a path along the railroad tracks from Estes Drive towards Carr Mill Mall. And it would be nice to safely ride up that last hill before North Greensboro Street on Estes Drive. I think both could and should happen.
Mark wrote: "... the neighbors to the west have sometimes gotten pretty worked up about the possibility because some of them perceive a security problem." This is an example of why this is an issue related to the limited mindset of the car culture. Automobile dominance is in the mind. If out of one hundred people who use a footpath one of them is up to no good, the pedestrian access itself is seen as the problem. How absurd! Does anyone say that roads and streets should be shut down because sometimes criminals drive their cars into someone's neighborhood? The prejudice underlying this absurdity is that respectable people get around in cars, as one is supposed to. The same sort of thinking led to the management at The Streets at Southpoint banning buses from the central stop. They were worried about gangs using the bus. If the community is serious about walkability, this mindset can not go unquestioned. The need to upgrade the path was the very first issue I spoke to Mark about back when he got elected. It should have been upgraded and protected long ago. -- James Coley
I am only trying to remark on the existence of those objections.

How will the fence stop crime? People can still walk around the fence, or drive/walk through the front entrance. In seeking an alternate route we discovered another well-worn path to the tracks at the end of Mulberry Street, so I bet bike/ped traffic will increase there. Will that get fenced off next?

As for commuting up the tracks, how about a RailBike? I plan to ask our fine local bike shop Back Alley Bikes if they can build me a conversion kit, since a welder works out of the shop. Maybe start a new program, BURB - Blue Urban RailBikes.




I am just telling you what they told me.
Anonymous, the objective of the fence is only mildly to keep criminals out. In reality, it is designed to keep criminals from getting away with the goods. How likely is a thief to throw a computer or a wide-screen tv over a fence? Thieves not only look for easy access but they look for easy get-aways as well. A fence has the potential for deterring both, both not necessarily to the same degree. While I dont like the idea of security fences (or gated communities for that matter), I think we need to be more worried about the mindset that leads to such measures rather than the measures themselves. What can we do, in place of barbed-wire topped fencing, to allow citizens to feel secure in their homes? That is the issue we need to deal with.

the thief could skulk through the adjacent woods and walk around the fence. Really, this is a stupid idea. It only stops people who are NOT criminals.

One man with courage makes a majority.

- Andrew Jackson

I agree. When you secure something it will only slow down someone who has already decided to take it. I don't like up my posessions thinking that no one can get to them. I lock them up playing the odds that someone will choose to take someone else's stuff instead.

I also use the path and noticed the fence going up. I contacted Mark Chilton about it. I have spoken to the manager over Estes Park Apartments about keeping the gate open during posted daytime hours, but he is reluctant. If you want to encourage him to do this you can call him, too. His name is Shannon Brummett and his number is 401-4577. -- James Coley


Thanks, James. I will give Mr. Brummett a call.
Perhaps such mindsets are just an outgrowth of the cul-de-sac and enclave style of development - the whole idea is to keep non-resident traffic to a minimum, right? And when the dead end stands in the way of where people want to go, then isn't it a design problem rather than a people problem?

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