Here’s the news that caught our eye this week:
– The ballooning recall of Toyota models with sticky accellerators has cast light on the reluctance with which the auto industry responds to safety issues.
– While many of our Portland readers were at City Hall to rally and attend the new bicycle plan hearing, the federal HUD secretary was a few blocks away at PSU announcing the opening of a new federal department with strong potential links to transportation issues, the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities.
– On Streetsblog, a discussion of the “invisible” side of bicycling—that many people who ride don’t do so out of choice and aren’t in a position to access knowledge about cycling or to advocate for themselves. (The discussion is continued here.)
– Has anyone coined the term “carfreewashing” yet? A movement in the UK towards car-free developments (e.g., residential areas, usually low-income housing projects with no provided car parking), billed as a green initiative, are instead proving a troubling experiment in placing the burden of a failed transportation system on people who have the least choice about how to get around.
– The White House has placed itself on the walkable neighborhoods front lines by promoting the spread of neighborhood grocery stores and farmers markets.
– Fed Ex has pledged to invest half a million dollars in an effort to reduce auto congestion in Mexican cities.
– Pittsburgh is considering an ordinance that would require all new construction to include installation of bike parking staples on the sidewalk.
– In Los Angeles, activists are proposing a new freeway network—for bicycles only.
– A co-op apartment building in New York is experimenting with providing car sharing rather than building more parking spaces for its residents.
– A new Yale University building earned platinum LEED certification in part by installing showers and indoor parking facilities for bike commuters. But the facilities have been locked since the building opened, and the university has no plans to let students and faculty use them.
– “Distracted driving” is Webster’s 2009 word of the year.
– Video of the week—a guerrilla crosswalk in Brazil serves as a sobering memorial: