Posted by Elly Blue (Columnist) on January 11th, 2010 at 9:43 am
Here’s the news that caught our eye this week:
China, car capital of the world; Tweeting and driving; immobilizing the poor; Potestio speaks; Jacquie Phelan speaks; garbage bikes; burning cars; motorized wheelchairs on the loose.
– The high-profile “road rage doctor” case has concluded; ER doctor Christopher Thompson, who was found guilty of intentionally slamming on his brakes in front of a group of people on bikes “to teach them a lesson” was sentenced Friday to five years in prison.
– Transit ridership is shrinking in some cities but growing in others during the down economy.
– Meanwhile, rampant transit cuts in cities across the US have been affecting the mobility of many; this story profiles stranded night shift workers in New York City.
– One major US automaker is banking heavily on selling you cars equipped with social media devices that will read your text messages out loud to you and connect you with Twitter via voice recognition software.
– The Environmental Protection Agency wants to tighten up air pollution standards, including auto emissions, and can withhold highway money if states don’t comply.
– If you’ve ever been in doubt about how urban design can be used to isolate and disenfranchise the poor, just take a look at the many housing projects of New Haven, Connecticut. Here’s a particularly ripe example of how designers can intentionally limit mobility.
– Portland architect and cyclocross organizer Rick Potestio sounds off in the Oregonian about the Burnside-Couch Couplet, the Flanders Street bridge fiasco, and the role of architecture in creating a livable city.
– A year-round bicycle hauling service that has trash removal contracts with the city of Northampton, Massachusetts is profiled on the front page of the Daily Kos.
– In the UK, motorized wheelchairs occupy a legal grey area, and regulation is being considered.
– In Denmark, it’s common practice to leave your children napping in your box bike on the sidewalk while you pop into the store or cafe. Here’s what happened when a bike thief accidentally made off with three kids.
– In Switzerland, speeding tickets are assessed according to ability to pay; a wealthy man was recently handed history’s most expensive speeding ticket, at $299,000 USD for hurtling through a village 30mph over the limit in his red Ferrari.
– In Berlin, car arson is on the rise, with a militant anarchist group taking credit for what they say are protests against gentrification.
– Moving by bike comes to Edmonton, Alberta — yes, in the middle of Canadian winter.
– This pedal-powered forklift is as nice looking as it is brilliant.
– Video of the week: MTB champion Jacquie Phelan’s inspiring story:
Elly Blue has been writing about bicycling and carfree issues for BikePortland.org since 2006. Find her at http://takingthelane.com