Auto-Free New York
Veep To Target Beeps
At a meeting of the Democratic Leadership Council in December, Vice President
Al Gore unveiled the issues he will prominently feature in his
all-but-declared presidential run. High on the list of objectives singled out
by Mr. Gore were "containing suburban sprawl and reducing the traffic
jams that induce road rage."
-The New York Times
Canadian Report: Cyclists
Should Come First
Toronto's Regional Coroner has recommended that Canada's highway laws be
changed to give cyclists precedence over drivers. In a report reviewing 38
Toronto cycling deaths over an 11-year period, Dr. William Lucas concluded
that "the concept of motorized vehicles yielding to non-motorized
vehicles seems to be a common sense rule which should be accepted by all road
users. Entrenching this principle [would] likely significantly reduce risk of
injury and death." Dr. Lucas also urged the installation of "side
guards" on large trucks and buses to prevent cyclists from being pulled
under the vehicles' rear wheels. Such guards are mandatory on large vehicles
in several European countries. The Lucas report is Canada's first
epidemiological study of cycling casualties. U.S. officials have ignored
demands for similar studies.
-The Toronto Star
You've Got Bad Air
Some southern California residents will soon be alerted to dangerous air
pollution conditions via beepers. Officials plan to issue Stage 1 smog alerts
over free personal pagers to 50 Los Angeles-area residents, warning them to
stay indoors during bad air episodes. They seek to learn if the system is
useful for coaches, joggers and those who have respiratory problems. If the
pilot program is successful, the service will be offered for a monthly fee of
about $8 to pager users.
-The Los Angeles Times
San Francisco Backs
Bike commuting in San Francisco just got more refreshing. The San Francisco
Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved a plan to amend the city's
building code to guarantee bike commuters a place to shower, change and park
their bikes. The new law requires all parking garages to provide bike parking.
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition estimates that 14,000 commuters cycle to
work each morning. SFBC credits sustained pressure on decision makers,
including regular Critical Mass rides.
-San Francisco Chronicle & SFBC
Where Walking Shoes Pay
The Aberdeen, Scotland, City Council is considering paying its staff members
to walk. Currently, the council reimburses staffers traveling on official
business 13 pence per mile if they ride a bike, 16.1 pence per mile if they
travel by motorcycle, and 51.9 pence per mile if they use a car. Said Peter
Cockhead, the council's director of planning: "We are flagging up a whole
series of options to encourage people to travel green and to cut down on
congestion on our roads . . . [a] walking mileage allowance could be
considered for short journeys." A sharp increase in the bicycle allowance
is also being proposed. The council already has a bike pool for staffers who
need to borrow a bike.
Grand Canyon Minus the
It's becoming easier and easier to view the nation's most famous natural
attraction from something other than a car window. U.S. Transportation
Secretary Rodney Slater recently announced funding for a new 5-mile hiking and
biking trail along the rim of the Grand Canyon. The new trail will complement
a planned light-rail transit system designed to curb vehicle congestion at
Grand Canyon National Park.
-The Salt Lake Tribune
Plan-full in Seattle
The City of Seattle, Washington, recently adopted its Transportation Strategic
Plan (TSP), a long-range collaborative document designed to achieve the City's
goal "to make Seattle a city where streets and bridges are
well-maintained, where transit, walking and bicycling are convenient and
attractive, and where we are less dependent on cars for transportation
needs." The TSP will also play a lead role in protecting the character
and livability of Seattle neighborhoods. Copies are available from the City's
Strategic Planning Office, 600 Fourth Avenue, Suite 300, Seattle, WA 98104 or
by calling 206/684-8080, or on the web at www.pan.ci.seattle.wa.us/seattle/td/tsp/strategy.htm.
-City of Seattle
A Real 'Park Avenue'
An engineer has proposed that the Washington State city of Lacy's Woodland
"pave" one if its streets with grass to help spare salmon from
storm-water runoff. Thomas Holz estimates the natural surface would decrease
the amount of pollutant-carrying storm water runoff by 70 percent to 80
percent. "It really fits into everything that's happening now,"
agreed City Council Utilities Committee Chair Jim Weber. "We were
thinking, 'What an identity-the first community in the country to have a grass
Share-a-Bike Is Revived
Amsterdam, often called a cycling paradise, is employing a modern technology
to revive an idealistic 1960s program. Starting in 1999, 750 white bicycles
will be available for shared use. Commuters will borrow a bicycle outside one
establishment, pedal to a destination and leave the bike there for the next
cyclist. Back in the 60s a similar program ended when thieves took advantage
of the goodwill. This time around, though, the bikes will be released from
electronic locks only when riders insert "smart cards," which will
automatically register the bikes in their names.
-The New York Times
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