Posted by Elly Blue (Columnist) on May 18th, 2009 at 11:08 am
A bike bill of rights; reclaiming public spaces; commutes that suck; federal officials who ride; bikesharing in Canada; and yes, the car is still king.
– The New York Times created a big buzz with a front page article about Vauban, a carfree suburb in Germany. The heated discussion that has ensued in hundreds of comments centers around the possibility of creating similar developments in the United States.
– Colorado has just enacted a Cyclists’ Bill of Rights, including a three foot passing law as well as criminal penalties (including jail time) for throwing objects from a car at someone on a bike. The bill has earned acclaim, though not without its naysayers who complain of “special treatment.”
– Washington State transportation planners are looking for ways to cut the Columbia River Crossing budget. One of their first ideas: reduce the number of lanes from 12 to 10.
– The mayor of San Francisco has just launched a “Pavement to Parks” program, inspired by similar recent initiatives in New York City for turning public spaces into pedestrian plazas rather than auto congested intersections. Another article this week discusses the future of SF bike infrastructure projects.
– Transportation for America has launched a new forum for you to tell Congress, and the world, about how much your commute sucks and what sort of changes you’d like to see at a federal level.
– Steven Chu, the country’s new Secretary of Energy, had to give up his daily bike commute when he took the job because the secret service didn’t deem it safe — but he was able to sneak in a ride on Bike to Work Day last week.
– The new federal transportation funding authorization may now be delayed until 2010.
– More U.S. workers telecommuted last year than the year before — could this be a contributing factor to last year’s significant decrease in car travel?
– Teenagers in foster care can have trouble obtaining their caseworker’s permission to get drivers licenses. A new bill up in Salem will add “‘driving privileges’ to the list of ‘needs and goals’ the state must help youths achieve before they are old enough to transition to life on their own,” according to the Oregonian.
– A new Pew Research poll found that despite driving being down considerably, cars are still considered “the number one necessity of modern life.” By a long shot — cell phones and clothes dryers don’t even come close.