Here are some news stories and links from around the web that have caught our eye in the last week:
Auto Industry in the News
- News Flash: Drivers and smokers are the new real Americans. The Oregonian asks state Republican lawmakers how they plan to handle a new political climate that is friendly to tax increases. Here’s one response: “On Wednesday, House Minority Leader Bruce Hanna said Republicans will continue to look out for taxpayers, especially drivers and smokers.”
- Asphalt shortages are becoming serious due to cost-cutting changes in the oil processing industry. Not only is asphalt more difficult to buy, but the price is skyrocketing. And petroleum product add-ins that increase durability are scarce as well, meaning that new paving won’t last as long before it needs to be maintained. Pavement management is already stretched thin in many places…yet the feds are focused on bailing out the auto industry.
- Massachusetts is running into trouble paying for Boston’s Big Dig project.
All Things Bikey
- The New York Times reports that “In increasingly green-conscious Europe, there are said to be only two kinds of mayors: those who have a bicycle-sharing program and those who want one.” Read the article, and join the discussion on the Shift email list.
- USA Today has another nice piece about biking — a story about artful bike racks around the US.
- Proud of your high-visibility lights and reflectors strategy? You could win some free reflective gear from DIY website Instructables.com.
- The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation is now employing “Transportation Coaches” to help new cyclists get around. The program is modeled in part after Portland’s now defunct Bike Buddy pilot program.
- New bike commuters can get help and advice from two new online features: Bike Your Drive, a nice new website by REI, includes features like “12 Cycling Myths Exposed,” how-to videos about basic bike maintenance and hand signals, and a calculator to figure out how much you can save by biking. Meanwhile, the advice columnist for Grist, an online environmental news magazine, has made an introductory bike commuting video.
- The Bee reports that plans are proceeding apace for the Clinton Street Bike Boulevard pilot project. One neighbor attending a recent open house told the Bee, “I live just off the route. I’d like to see [S.E. Clinton Street] car-free, myself — diverting traffic away from Clinton Street. I’m told it is a really difficult thing to do, though.”
- The Eugene Register Guard has a story on a woman who moved to her new house by bike with the help of 15 friends. “DeLaurier thought it was appropriate to move by bike, she said, and pay tribute to the fact that she saved money to purchase her home by not owning a vehicle.” Meanwhile a rainy bike move in Portland on Saturday morning drew 27 movers and was completed in less than 2 hours.
Elly Blue has been writing about bicycling and carfree issues for BikePortland.org since 2006. Find her at http://takingthelane.com