Posted by Elly Blue (Columnist) on December 7th, 2009 at 8:30 am
Here’s the news that caught our eye amidst all the wind, ice, and fog this week:
– The embargo has been lifted! San Francisco has begun to install all the pent-up bike infrastructure that it’s been planning for three long years. They’re jumping right in to the modern era with separated bike lanes.
– The new federal push for high speed rail is getting set to create jobs and boost the economy as rail companies will be required to source rail cars from US factories. GE is already trying to position itself to supply locomotives to US markets.
– Seattle has a new, bike-friendly mayor, strong bicycle advocacy, and more and more people out riding, but its laws haven’t caught up to reality on the ground, as the case studies in this story show.
– On the public health front, a new study by Peter Jacobsen (of Safety in Numbers fame) shows that amount and speed of car traffic both have a significant effect on people’s willingness to walk and bike.
– News coverage continues in the wake of recent findings about the dismal state of pedestrian safety in US cities, including two excellent, sobering pieces about places that stacked up poorly in the stats — Florida and Baltimore.
– More on the troubles in Philadelphia, where public outcry and the recent tragic deaths of two people struck by bicycles is leading to calls for a bicycle registration law (and, perplexingly, a crackdown on fixies). Some have said, and one man with a video camera found that maybe efforts would be better spent enforcing red light laws for people driving cars.
– In Hartford, Connecticut, planners and politicians have worked hard in recent decades to boost downtown and compete with the burbs by adding more car parking — tripling the parking spots available since 1960. Perhaps not coincidentally, during the same amount of time the city lost bigtime in jobs, population, and prosperity.
– Two LA traffic engineers have been sentenced and fined for hacking into the city’s traffic control systems and snarling traffic during a strike.
– In Long Beach, California, the area’s ongoing Car-Free Fridays campaign has been joined by many area restaurants, who offer discounts to customers who show up by bike.
– A look at the bike-related events and madness set to accompany this month’s climate change talks in Copenhagen.
– Good news for new riders: a $10 bike helmet protects your head just as well as a $150 one.
– More on the bicycling gender gap in the US, this one with less pseudoscientific speculation, and a bonus call for policy changes that would help make cycling safer for everyone. Another story looks at how to make bicycling attractive to teenage girls.
– Thanks to a reader for pointing out this real estate story from SF that encourages people to move to the suburbs to save on housing despite increased transportation time and costs.
– Another reader brought our attention to this old-but-good essay from last January that calls for rethinking our interstate freeway system and using it as the basis for a high speed rail transportation network.
– Amazing photo of the week: A giant Santa freakbike in Berlin.