Well, maybe it’s not the end of
“favoring motorized transportation”
(Photo: J. Maus)
Here’s the news that caught our eyes this past week…
– Enrique Penalosa has lost his bid for re-election as Mayor of Bogota, Colombia. Penalosa is widely hailed for his work in making Bogota more biking and walking friendly. He spearheaded the “Ciclovias” that were widely adopted around the world and which served as inspiration for Portland’s Sunday Parkways.
– U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood — who won many fans in the bike world when he declared the “end of favoring motorized transportation” — has stated that the federal government will be involved “big time” in the Columbia River Crossing project and that it is a “classic example of what America has always been known for: doing big things.” Many local residents are concerned about Oregon and Washington states’ financial commitment to expand the bridge and surrounding freeways when both states are already making major budget cuts in other areas.
– Speaking of budget cuts, Gov. Chris Gregoire suggests the State of Washington may need to stop paying its share of school transportation money. Perhaps Seattle Public Schools, which would see $15.7 million removed from their budget if that happened, might want to start a few bike trains of their own.
your commute cost?
– In his new book, Former GM Vice Chariman Bob Lutz says the federal government should enact a new $0.20-$0.25/gallon federal gas tax and suggests the profits from the tax be used to upgrade America’s railroads.
– An effort by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) to eliminate federal funding for biking and walking projects has failed. One official believes it will be very difficult to eliminate this funding, as Sen. Paul proposed, because of its popularity with local officials and constituents.
– Despite calls for more freeways, the U.S. Department of Transportation has reported that travel on U.S. roadways has dropped 1.3% from a year ago and is at its lowest level since 2003.
– Meanwhile, vehicle crashes are costing the Chicago region $11.3 billion annually, which breaks down to $1,180 per person per year and is greater than costs associated with the area’s notorious traffic congestion.
– If the cost of crashes isn’t enough to steer you away from driving, the Los Angeles Times reports on how “buy here, pay here” used car dealers are exploiting people who think they need a car but have bad credit.
– Although the “cash for clunkers” program motivated some consumers to trade in their old fuel-inefficient vehicles, it now appears the program didn’t do much, if anything, to help the U.S. economy or the environment.
– Shifting from cars back to bicycles, Toyota has funded the development of a bicycle that shifts gears by remembering your location and monitoring your brainwaves.
– Google has announced it will charge for “heavy use” of Google Maps’ API at the start of 2012. The move will impact sites and applications with more than 25,000 views of a built-in Google Map per day, which will have to pay $4 per 1,000 additional views. Some are concerned that this will hurt popular bicycling websites but Google maintains the fee will affect only 0.35% of the over-all highest-traffic websites and applications using the API.
– One protester from Occupy Santa Rosa found the city’s bike obelisk to be taller than he expected. After climbing to the top to hang a “Don’t tread on me” flag he ran out of energy and had to be rescued by a firetruck from the top of the 65-foot tall sculpture.
– Tim Blumenthal, President of Bikes Belong, believes Minnesota’s bicycle tourism industry is gaining momentum.
– Shhh! I’m going to tell you a “secret”: riding a bike is good for your health. NPR and others are realizing this after a study by researchers in Wisconsin was released showing that replacing a few short car trips with a bicycle ride can have huge benefits for you, for the public, and for the economy.
– And if slimming down isn’t enough of a motivation to get on a bike, check out how much it’s costing you to commute in a car.
Did you find something interesting that should be in next week’s Monday Roundup? Drop us a line.