Autopocalypse; electric cars; greenwashing run amok; sticking up for the right to assault; Metro plans ahead; freeway gardens; tires from orange peels
Here are the news stories that caught our eye last week:
– The new US highway bill, which is hoped by many to herald in a new era of non-highway transportation spending, is now on hold while Congress tackles health care.
– Elana Schor at DC StreetsBlog has a good primer on the current state of wrangling over the transportation portion of the federal stimulus dollars.
– Living near a freeway is worse for your health than you thought (particularly if you’re in the womb) — and you don’t even have to live very near it. New research finds that the pollution corridor extends a full one and a half miles on either side of a freeway.
– A recent Australian report has found major economic benefits in cycling, both personal and public — primarily through health care savings.
– Columbia, Missouri’s newly passed anti-harrassment ordinance aimed at protecting people on bikes from assault is under fire and may not last long.
– In LA last weekend, the huge, monthly Midnight Ridazz ride rolled past a house party, where guests threw glass bottles at the riders and fired a gun into the crowd, shooting one man.
– Locally, Metro council has approved a thirty year plan for creating 15 high capacity transit in the Portland region. Examples include boosting transit on Powell, and increasing the speed of downtown Portland’s light rail. Chris Smith has the map.
– Metro elections are coming up, and it looks like Bob Stacey, director of 1000 Friends of Oregon and one of the leading public figures who oppose the Columbia River Crossing 12 lane expansion project, will run.
– GM is abandoning its auto plants, including hundreds of millions of dollars in environmental cleanup costs. And unsold cars are causing a major storage problem.
– Here’s how the auto industry is rebranding itself: embracing environmentalism and even supporting a gas tax to pay for “green” upgrades.
– Another ultra-modern take on the automobile addresses the design shortcomings of private cars — by making them as much like trains as possible.
– A Japanese company has begun to sell car tires made of oil derived from orange peels rather than petroleum.
– Would you want to tend a community garden plot on a highway median? San Franciscans may soon have that option.
Elly Blue has been writing about bicycling and carfree issues for BikePortland.org since 2006. Find her at http://takingthelane.com