tagged w/ Commuting
Traffic noise is a common complaint among urban commuters. Along with the many damaging physical health problems, prolonged excessive noise exposure can also cause severe psychological problems including aggression, high stress levels and depression. Crowded cities suffer the most from noise polluting issues from construction machine to sirens to honking horns it would seem escaping the daily noises in your average urban area would be impossible. However, some cities have taken a harsh position against noise pollution in an effort to promote green living.
Portland, OR, is known as one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the world, in fact it has some of the strongest investments in alternative transportation systems, including light-rail projects and bio-diesel fueled buses. It is no wonder, then, that Portland also has some of the oldest noise-pollution laws in the country. These laws limit everything from the decibel levels of your leaf blower to regulations on the sound output on a construction site and with fines of upwards of $5,000 per infraction; Portland has some of the toughest noise ordinance laws on the books.
As seen in the Personal Rapid Transit video, transportation services like the PRT, monorail or light-rail systems are quieter modes a key component in urban mobility innovation. Aside from tough fines and alternative transport, what are some other steps we can take to minimize noise pollution in our neighborhoods?Traffic noise is a common complaint among urban commuters. Along with the many... more
The T.25 will provide commuters with an energy efficient alternative to the gas-guzzling SUV. The small, fuel-efficient vehicle is inexpensive to run and easy to park. As car designers continue to develop greener technologies the options to purchase low environmental impact vehicles will increase. But what if you commute only a few miles to and from the office, do you drive a car or find an even greener alternative?
Take for example Ricardo Assis Rosa, an architect from Bath, UK who commutes the two miles to his office via kayak. Rosa says he took up kayaking one day after a friend lent him his kayak to experiment with, and he has never looked back. After years of daily commuting on a packed bus, he says his new commute makes his daily travel feel like a holiday as he paddles quietly beside the river wildlife. Rosa, an admitted adventure seeker, admits that on occasion his trip to and from work is less than ideal for the average person, with the UK’s typical rainy weather and winds making for a treacherous journey. Kayaking to work may not be for everyone, especially if you don’t live or work near water, however Ricardo has taken full advantage of the waterway that connects his backyard to his office.
As commuters continue to go green with their daily travels between home and the office, from driving electric cars to kayaking, they are ensuring they leave a smaller carbon footprint. Do you or someone you know take an alternative form of transportation to work? Tells us your stories below.
The T.25 will provide commuters with an energy efficient alternative to the... more
Another fine example of the President who fashions himself as environmentally minded, keeping oil wells from producing, talking up energy independence but keeps his temperature in his White House office at 82 degrees and with 56 personal trainers in the DC phone book has his personal trainer fly in from Chicago each week. Yes we want a healthy President but at what cost to taxpayers and the environment? Is 50,000 pounds of Carbon emissions worth it? For someone who talks the environmental talk, he sure is the picture of hypocrisy in his personal life.Another fine example of the President who fashions himself as environmentally minded,... more
Biden announces $53 billion high-speed rail plan
By the CNN Wire Staff
February 8, 2011 8:09 p.m. EST
Vice President Joe Biden has been a prominent advocate for railway travel, specifically Amtrak.
* The Obama administration is proposing to spend $53 billion more on high-speed rail
* The investment would be made over the next six years
* The proposal may face a cool reception among GOP leaders worried about federal spending
Washington (CNN) -- The Obama administration is proposing to spend $53 billion over the next six years to help promote the construction of a national high-speed, intercity passenger rail network, Vice President Joe Biden announced Tuesday.
The proposal represents a significant expansion of the $10.5 billion already spent on high-speed rail expansion since Obama entered office, including $8 billion in the 2009 economic stimulus package.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters potential funding sources for the plan will be outlined in the president's proposed budget, which is scheduled to be released next week.
President Barack Obama said in last month's State of the Union address that he was setting a goal of giving 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail within 25 years.
The proposed new investment -- including $8 billion in the upcoming fiscal year -- would accompany a streamlined application process for cities, states, and private companies seeking federal grants and loans to develop railway capacity.
"There are key places where we cannot afford to sacrifice as a nation -- one of which is infrastructure," Biden said in a written statement. There is a pressing need "to invest in a modern rail system that will help connect communities, reduce congestion and create quality, skilled manufacturing jobs that cannot be outsourced."
Biden, who commuted regularly by train between Washington and his home state of Delaware during a 36-year Senate tenure, has been a prominent advocate for railway travel and, more specifically, Amtrak.
A new high-speed rail investment, however, may face a cool reception in the new, more Republican Congress. GOP leaders have called for more spending cuts in the wake of spiraling federal deficits. Obama has also called for more fiscal responsibility, proposing in his State of the Union address a five-year freeze on non-security discretionary spending.Biden announces $53 billion high-speed rail plan By the CNN Wire Staff February 8,... more
Bike culture is finally gaining ground in Manhattan and the boroughs. Bicycle commuting has more than doubled in New York City since 2000, largely due to new street designs that enhance safety. But not everyone sees this as a good thing.Bike culture is finally gaining ground in Manhattan and the boroughs. Bicycle... more
Air pollution: The silent killer
Air pollution: Silent killer in the city
By Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent
November 16, 2010 8:53 a.m. EST
How to protect yourself from polluted air
* Air pollution can raise the risk of lung and heart problems, Dr. Gupta says
* Urban pollution kills more than a million people annually, according to U.N. figures
* Cities around the world are trying out solutions to tackle the problem
Kobe, Japan (CNN) -- For the last several days, I have been in beautiful Kobe, Japan, reporting about the World Health Organization forum on urbanization and health.
Given that more than half the world's population now lives in cities, with the number expected to increase significantly, the implications on individual health are becoming pretty clear. A lot of the discussion here has been specifically on the quality of the air we breathe, and the news has not been great.
For starters, an Environmental Protection Agency report found the air in many cities is simply too dirty to breathe. Think about that: as things stand now, toxic pollution has become a particular disease of the world's urbanites, affecting more than a billion of its citizens.
And, if you look more closely at the impact of pollution, you see more than half the burden on human health is on people in developing countries already crippled with poverty and few resources.
As things stand now, toxic pollution has become a particular disease of the world's urbanites.
--Dr. Sanjay Gupta
For example, here in Kobe, there is an obvious marriage between the industrial sector filled with at least 15 large factories, and residential areas close by. Walking around the city, you quickly see the consequences of explosive urban growth. The combination of factory emissions with exhaust from trucks, buses and automobiles is proving toxic to human health.
Today, urban pollution kills a million people a year, according to the United Nations. And, conventional wisdom was that it took a long time to develop health problems associated with pollution, but it is simply not the case. A study published in 2007 found that on days when pollution is high, cities see spikes in emergency room visits over the next 24 hours. Just one day.
If you live in a city, chances are you might not even notice just how polluted the air has become. Turns out that within four days of breathing the dirty air in, your body sort of becomes accustomed to it, despite the fact that your airways becomes more inflamed and restricted, and your risk of lung and heart problems start to rise.
The good news is that fixes are being tested in many cities around the world. In Shanghai, coal-free downtown areas have been established, which has already resulted in lower particulate matter. In New York City, there is a ban on idling trucks and buses. And in Bogota, transport management policies have led to increased use of mass transit.
Having spent time in many major cities on every continent in the world, it is safe to say "urbanization" is here to stay. As individuals and as societies, however, it is up to us to try to make the beautiful city we live in a safer and healthier one.Air pollution: The silent killer Air pollution: Silent killer in the city By Dr.... more
by Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium blogger
Congress couldn’t get it together to vote even on the smallest of possible energy bills—the renewable energy standard—before the October recess. That doesn’t change the reality that our energy dependent society needs to find alternatives quickly. Changing up our approach to transportation, one of the biggest sources of energy consumption, is a good place to start.
If more Americans used bicycles as a primary mode of transportation, the country would be closer to getting its energy use under control. So how can we make biking safer, easier, more mainstream? Infrastructure, safety, and education are key. It also helps to replicate model behaviors.
“Last spring, public officials from Madison, Wisconsin, returned home from a tour of the Netherlands, and within three weeks were implementing what they learned there about promoting bicycling on the streets of their own city,” reports Jay Walljasper for Yes! Magazine.
Cities like Portland, Madison, and San Francisco are trying to make cycling a way of life. But for the best answers, American leaders must look abroad, to cities like Copenhagen in Denmark, Utrecht and The Hague in the Netherlands, and Malmo in Sweden.
Improving safety is the first order of business to encouraging cycling, and that means investing in infrastructure specifically for bike use. As Change.org’s Jess Leber writes, “Every time there is a senseless death, there are going to be a group of residents who decide biking is too risky for their tastes.”
Many regular bikers admit that it’s frightening to ride down a street with a gigantic, roaring beast of car quickly approaching. “When I lived in New York City, I myself was too frightened to use my bike in many parts of the city,” Leber admits.
What kind of infrastructure do we need? Designated bike lanes indicate what sort of space bikes need on the road. But bike lanes should also be physically separated from cars. In Copenhagen, for instance, “the busy roadways are lined with cycle tracks (elevated bike paths painted bright blue for distinction),” writes Campus Progress’ Jessica Newman.
In the Hague, bike paths are separate from cars and trucks, Some streets are designated as “bike boulevards,” where bikes take precedence over cars, reports Walljasper in Yes! Magazine.
Ease of use
But safe infrastructure is a waste of money if no one uses it. While cities are out building better bike lanes, they should consider adding other features that will make it as convenient to bike as it is to drive or walk. In Malmo, bike riders stopped at red lights can grab onto railings to keep their balance—”a surprisingly popular feature,” reports Grist’s Sarah Goodyear.
Another Dutch project is to improve the process of parking. “Access to safe, convenient bike storage has a big impact on whether people bike,” as Walljasper reports in Yes! Magazine.
“The car is parked right out in front of the house on the street, while the bike is stuffed away out back in a shed or has to be carried up and down the stairs in their buildings. So people choose the car because it is easier,” one Dutch policy officer told Walljasper.
In both Utrecht and Copenhagen, one strategy for integrating cycling into its citizens’ behavior is to teach the young. In Copenhagen, “Instead of driver’s education classes, children attend biker’s ed in the third and ninths grades, where they learn traffic laws, proper bike etiquette and general agility,” according to Campus Progress’ Newman.
Going back to Yes!, in Utrecht, cycling is also built into the curriculum:
A municipal program sends special teachers into schools to conduct bike classes, and students go to Trafficgarden, a miniature city complete with roads, sidewalks, and busy intersections where students hone their pedestrian, biking, and driving skills (in non-motorized pedal cars). At age 11, most kids in town are tested on their cycling skills on a course through the city, winning a certificate of accomplishment that ends up framed on many bedroom walls.
“To make safer roads, we focus on the children,” [city planner Ronald] Tamse explained. “It not only helps them bike and walk more safely, but it helps them to become safer drivers who will look out for pedestrians and bicyclists in the future.”
Envisioning the future
What does a city with these sorts of programs in place look like? In Copenhagen, you see “streets crowded with bikes, with riders ranging from wealthy, middle-aged businessmen to mothers in tow of three or more kids to poor college students,” Newman reports. Thirty-three percent of Copenhagen’s citizens commute by bike; in Portland, by contrast, it’s just 5.81%.
Yes! Magazine points to another way to understand the difference between biking in an American city, unfriendly to bikers, and in a European city that embraces them. In Riding Bikes with the Dutch, Michal W. Bauch compares transportation culture in Los Angeles and Amsterdam:
Increasing reliance on cycling is not impossible. The tools are already there. American cities just need to use them, and quickly.
This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the environment by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Mulch for a complete list of articles on environmental issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Pulse, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.by Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium blogger Congress couldn’t get it together... more
Who is sitting in traffic the most?
In the land of mass transit and commuting, there is a bright beacon in the mass transit bump grind and wait system, and it's called...drum roll please...the casual car pool. It sounds strange when you explain it to your parents, "yes mom, a stranger drives up, and I get their car..."
"Casual car pools" or "ad hoc car pools" are informal car pools that form when drivers and passengers meet – without specific prior arrangement – at designated locations. There are a number of East Bay morning meeting locations, which are listed below. Drivers drop passengers off at Fremont and Mission Streets (or nearby) in downtown San Francisco. There is also evening return service from San Francisco to some of the East Bay locations.
Truth be told, it's become an important source of ideas for blogging these days. Now, the general rule is no talking, but about one out of three cars has people who like that to chat and get to know each other (we start our ride in Berkeley after all). For example, I befriended Adam Browning founder of Vote Solar by reading him his horoscope during one ride (he has become a trusted resource for helping me understand solar initiatives), I learned about an under reported environmental disaster in Peru (coming soon to a blog near you), and just this morning, I met an icon in Berkeley, THE BERKELEY BIRD HOUSE MAN (he makes all of his bird houses from refurbished materials)! (I'm visiting his gallery next Monday so stay tuned for photos and video). And..I convinced him it's high time to start making chicken coops so I can purchase one from him!
Now if only I could work in a way to exercise during commuting time. Oh wait..there's a way to do that~ and here's a video of people doing just that in Copenhagen.
In the land of mass transit and commuting, there is a bright beacon in the mass... more
It's Spare the Air Day in San Francisco.
Spare the Air Every Day is the Bay Area Air Quality Management District's call to action asking the public to consider clean air choices every day.
Single occupancy vehicles are the largest source of summertime air pollution. Sharing a ride and carpooling to work will help the Bay Area achieve clean air AND reduce travel time by unclogging our freeways. Rethink your drive and carpool, take transit, bike or walk to help reduce smog pollution.
Designed to educate about alternative ways to commute to work, they used to provide free passes on public transportation systems. But no longer. What do you think? Do public campaigns like this influence your daily travel habits?
Paris on two wheels a day (video)
Foldable Electric Bicycle for Your Urban Commuting Needs
Free Bike Cages Offer Safe Parking for CommutersIt's Spare the Air Day in San Francisco. Spare the Air Every Day is the Bay Area... more
Um....so...yeah. That was the line I gave my boss today, and it was true, I swear! I few months back, a few good people on the green page challenged me to start riding my bike more. I happen to live midway up a very significant hill, so wasn’t so quick to jump on the bike riding band wagon. My idea of biking was driving my car to a trail head...not sweating my way up a hill with my computer bag at the end of the day. And..I happen to live in the Bay Area, and am lucky to have a down right decent public transportation system. So I usually drive my car to the Bart station, hop in the casual car pool and get a ride to SF. I love this system since I save time and money (the Bart ticket, plus it’s faster), and the driver saves time and money (we ride in the commuter lane, and they don’t have pay the $4 toll fee. (Side note: there is a rumor going around that they are going to start making the car poolers pay the toll fee (sounds like someone's focused on the cent in incentive)).
But now I'm trying to leave my car at home, and ride my bike to work: so it's all Bart all of the time for me. The only problem is that the Bart bike schedule doesn’t allow people with bikes to ride during prime time hours (another interesting incentive program). So when I had to make a 6pm appointment in the East Bay, I had to dash out of work at 4pm. There are a couple of us scratching our heads and thinking: in this land of eco innovation, isn’t it possible to dedicate a car on Bart to bikers during prime time hours? When I posted that very question on Twitter: @goldenone piped up with “next you’ll be asking for chocolate milk in the water fountains.” Ouch. Is that how it is: unreasonably sweet to expect our government to incentivise green communiting activities? Well it would seem that there are plenty of buisnesses incentivising bikers, and then there is the very well known bike sharing program in Paris, Velib', a combination of the words 'velo' (bike) and 'liberte' (liberty), is an initiative pushed by Paris' mayor:
Even though this program has had it's ups and downs and massive thievery, London just announced it's green motoring program. It would appear that I'm inspired, and even to my inner anti-geek's dismay, checked out a few bike blogs dedicated to the art of bike commuting, for instance Bike Commute Tips Blog: I'd put this under "you're a real biker Charlie Brown" and actually care about things like biker meets-ups and biker news. Then there's Bike Commuters which has more biker news, random and cool-to-me facts, but I was totally taken the gas saving calculator. And then there's Commute by Bike who won my heart with the slackers guide to bike commuting.
Need some more inspiration, and want to see some bikers who can do it in style (aka anyone but me)? Check out:
Scraper Bikes: a new fashion trend in biking straight out of Oakland:
[current 89500136 ]
Or... Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park
Pillowfight Bike Ride (need I say more?)
And last, but certainly not least: The Wolfpack Hustle who describes themselves as, “Insurgent militia high speed bicyclists in LA"
[current 76970742]Um....so...yeah. That was the line I gave my boss today, and it was true, I swear! I... more
Whoa. Above traffic? Riding my bike?? Listen...I love saving the earth and all, but is this for real? Um, yes it is....
http://www.greenwala.com/community/blogs/all/4237-The-Future-Of-Urban-Commuting-Aerial-Bicycle-Tightrope-LanesWhoa. Above traffic? Riding my bike?? Listen...I love saving the earth and all, but is... more
Do you think your cycle commute is tough? Is it harder than a 100 mile bike ride? If you think doing a century bike ride is harder then you should watch this video.Do you have more respect for commuters and the daily battles they face?Do you think your cycle commute is tough? Is it harder than a 100 mile bike ride? If... more
I posted last year about the 'Unite Bike 2008 - Twin Cities' –Now is time for San Francisco!!
Clark Patrick Photography & Bikes and The City present:
UNITE BIKE - SAN FRANCISCO
"This years Unite Bike photo will happen in 3 different cities, in Minneapolis-St. Paul – it’s origin, in San Francisco, and in Austin, Texas. The Unite Bike idea is traveling to new places this year because from the beginning it was envisioned to be more of a new kind of solidarity then just a group photo of people with bicycles.
Unite Bike is a test of whether our generation really believes in one another and the world we are struggling to create. This fall, during a very tumultuous time in our world, we can show the best of ourselves, and in the process help create the kind of society we all aspire to, even if only for the brief moment of time it takes to create a photograph.
Do not wait for leaders. Ride alone. And they will see we ride together." – Unite Bike 2009
RSVP for final location & more info: http://www.unitebike.com/
•See facebook & twitter links here:
http://bikesandthecity.blogspot.com/2009/09/unite-bike-san-francisco.htmlI posted last year about the 'Unite Bike 2008 - Twin Cities' –Now is... more
We have this law in California, but so often it's ignored.
I hope that Colorado drivers and cyclists will accept and respect this law.We have this law in California, but so often it's ignored. I hope that... more
The iPhone has quickly proven itself to be one of the most revolutionary, and profitable, gadgets to ever infect the marketplace. Here are the 100 best iPhone apps to make your daily commute more productive (and fun).The iPhone has quickly proven itself to be one of the most revolutionary, and... more
That, at least, appears to be the lesson of this chart, which shows the increasing number of bike riders and declining number of bike-related accidents in New York City since 1998.
This trend is due in part to New York’s aggressive and smart Bicycle Network Development Program—begun in the mid-1990s—which expanded bike access on greenways and established a number of new on-street biking routes chosen, in part, for their low conflict with “existing modes of transportation.”
What do you think? Safety in numbers?That, at least, appears to be the lesson of this chart, which shows the increasing... more
A little round up re: commuting issues, bike commuting blogs, and you guessed it, a few of my favorite biking pods a-la-current.
"Um….so…yeah. That was the line I gave my boss today, and it was true, I swear! I few months back, a few good people on the green page challenged me to start riding my bike more. I happen to live midway up a very significant hill, so wasn’t so quick to jump on the bike riding band wagon. My idea of biking was driving my car to a trail head…not sweating my way up a hill with my computer bag at the end of the day. And..I happen to live in the Bay Area, and am lucky to have a down right decent public transportation system. So I usually drive my car to the Bart station, hop in the casual car pool and get a ride to SF. I love this system since I save time and money (the Bart ticket, plus it’s faster), and the driver saves time and money (we ride in the commuter lane, and they don’t have pay the $4 toll fee. (Side note: there is a rumor going around that they are going to start making the car poolers pay the toll fee (sounds like someone’s focused on the cent in incentive))...."A little round up re: commuting issues, bike commuting blogs, and you guessed it, a... more
Thousands of pornographic pictures were scattered across a freeway in San Diego, forcing the police to get in on the clean up effort. Seems like a funny prank but a waste of paper! ;PThousands of pornographic pictures were scattered across a freeway in San Diego,... more