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Sarah Goodyear's Posts

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Danish-style driving at Legoland California

Learning the rules of the road at Legoland.Photo: Sarah Goodyear When I was a kid, the first amusement park I ever went to was Disneyland. One of my favorite attractions was Autopia -- the race-track style driving course where you "steer" a car along a track that looks suspiciously like an interstate highway. (Sponsored by Chevron!) Well, last weekend I went to Legoland California with my 9-year-old son, and I discovered just how differently the Danes (they're the ones who invented Lego) see driving. The driving attraction at Legoland is an urban streetscape in which the kids are actually in …

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A pop-up urban experiment: The BMW Guggenheim Lab

Brainstorming at the BMW Guggenheim Lab.Photo: Sarah GoodyearYesterday, I headed over to Houston Street in Lower Manhattan to check out the opening of the BMW Guggenheim Lab, a temporary mobile structure on a vacant lot that is billed as "part urban think tank, part community center and public gathering space." The lab will be in New York until October before traveling to Berlin and Mumbai. The pop-up space, designed by Atelier Bow-Wow, was airy and inviting, with the feeling of an open-air theater. It will be the site of workshops, screenings, experiments, performances, and more over the next several weeks, …

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Mississippi cyclist hit twice by driver: Where is the accountability?

Photo: Hey PaulGetting hit by a driver when you're on a bike is not nearly as rare a thing as it ought to be. And because the law tends to favor drivers in most parts of the country, not all of these incidents end up with the driver getting charged as you might expect. Former NFL quarterback Joey Harrington was hit by a driver and seriously injured while riding his bike in Portland, Ore., on Sunday night. Thank goodness, Harrington's injuries were not life-threatening, and he's been moved out of the intensive care unit. According to reports, the driver was …

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Mayor of Vilnius takes out Mercedes parked in bike lane — with a tank [VIDEO]

I have a personal hero of the day, and his name is Artūras Zuokas, the mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania. Zuokas, who is described in news reports as an "avid cyclist" and who is bringing a bike-share program to Lithuania's capital, staged a fairly awesome stunt (and it is clearly a stunt) the other day: He ran over a Mercedes parked in a bike lane. With an armored personnel carrier. The whole thing is pretty obviously staged. (You have to love the "owner" of the vehicle who emerges from a store in "shock" -- a hangdog middle-aged man wearing a white …

Read more: Biking, Cities

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Bikeshare makes for a Nice Ride in Minneapolis [VIDEO]

More bikeshare sweetness from Streetfilms, which recently took a trip to Minneapolis to check out the Nice Ride program there. They started last year with 65 stations and 700 bikes; now they're up to 116 stations and 1,200 bikes. "You've got to go big or go home," says Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak. Rybak also talks about how now that businesses have seen how bikeshare stations mean customers, "everybody wants one." Systems are up and running in Washington, D.C., Madison, Wisc., and Denver. Boston is the latest major city to join the list. New York, you don't want to get left …

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Transportation and social justice: The sentence is in on the Raquel Nelson case

Raquel NelsonCould the Raquel Nelson case be a turning point in the way pedestrian rights are seen in this country? I write this shortly after the sentencing in Nelson's case. In case you haven't heard of her, Nelson is the Atlanta-area single mother who was convicted of vehicular homicide after her 4-year-old son was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver who later admitted to drinking and being on painkillers. Nelson and her three children, ages 9, 4, and 2, were trying to get from a bus stop to their apartment complex directly across a busy road, and there was …

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Mother convicted in son’s street-crossing death speaks out on Today show [VIDEO]

Raquel Nelson, the Atlanta-area mother convicted of vehicular homicide for the death of her son while they were crossing the street outside a crosswalk, appeared on the Today show this morning. Nelson's 4-year-old son, A.J., died after being hit by a driver, Jerry Guy, who later admitted to having consumed alcohol and painkillers. Guy fled the scene, but was later apprehended. He ended up serving six months on the hit-and-run charge, but vehicular homicide and other charges were dropped. You can read my earlier post about Nelson's story here. Nelson, in contrast, could face up to three years in jail. …

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Urban acupuncture for a healthier city

A little "urban acupuncture" has made this street corner healthier and happier.Photo: Sarah GoodyearCame across the interesting concept of "urban acupuncture" in a post on The Guardian today: Watch for the "urban acupuncture" movement to transform urban life in the coming decade. Traced to Finnish architect Marco Casagrande, this school of thought eschews massive urban renewal projects in favor of a more localised and community approach. "Urban acupuncture is a surgical and selective intervention into the urban environment," said Los Angeles architect and professor John Southern in an interview, "instead of large scale projects that involve not only thousands of …

Read more: Cities, Urbanism

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Pedestrians and transit riders come last [VIDEO]

After my post yesterday about the devastating case of Raquel Nelson -- the Atlanta-area woman who was convicted of vehicular homicide after her son was struck by a driver while they were crossing a busy road -- I've been hearing from a lot of readers. Commenter pdxcityscape posted a link to a PBS Blueprint America segment I can't believe I hadn't seen yet. It exposes the dangerous design flaws on another Atlanta-area road, Buford Highway, and explains how outdated, auto-centric planning standards fail to serve an increasingly poor and carless suburban population. The results are often fatal. It's a terrific …

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When design kills: The criminalization of walking

Photo: Vivian ChenBad design kills people. That's right. It's not a matter of aesthetics, or of politics, or of opinion. It's a plain fact: When you design streets solely for cars, people die as a result. The underlying conditions that are responsible for those deaths are rarely or never challenged. The victims often get blamed for their own injuries or deaths. Don't believe me? Well, let me refresh your memory about Raquel Nelson, the Atlanta-area mother who was recently convicted of vehicular homicide, second degree -- but not for anything she did behind the wheel. No, she was crossing a …