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Sarah Goodyear's Posts

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Living la CicLAvia

In Los Angeles, people come out to play when streets are closed to cars [VIDEO]

"We can take a ... street that's usually filled with cars and congestion, blowing out pollution all around, and clear every car from that street, and create a canvas of what a community can look like when we get the cars off the streets and let people enjoy them in the way we are today." That's the mayor of Los Angeles -- Los Angeles -- talking. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was speaking last Sunday, Oct. 10, at CicLAvia, an event that closed 7.5 miles of the city's streets to motor vehicle traffic and opened them to people -- on foot, bikes, …

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Doing their shares

NYC to use hybrid Zipcars for city employees

New York City is the latest, and biggest, municipality to try car-sharing for city employees as a strategy for reducing costs and the number of automobiles on the street. Philadelphia, Portland, Ore., Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas, already use car-sharing programs. Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday that New York would try a pilot program in which 300 city employees would share 25 Zipcars -- mostly hybrids - that would be based in garages in downtown Manhattan. The move is expected to save the city $500,000 and mean fewer cars on the streets. New York jumps on the car-sharing bandwagon.Photo: Shinya …

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The new New York

How NYC's streets are being reclaimed from the automobile [VIDEO]

When I was growing up in Manhattan, the city's auto-choked streets and crappy public spaces were something to be taken for granted. Dealing with the pollution and noise and danger without complaining was just another way of proving you were a tough New Yorker. The streets of New York are still plenty gritty, don't get me wrong. But things are changing fast -- including people's expectations for space that is designed to accommodate humans rather than personal vehicles. The last three years have seen an incredible transformation of the city's streetscape. More than 200 miles of bike lanes have been …

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Another tunnel to nowhere

The Cincinnati subway that never was [VIDEO]

In light of N.J. Gov. Chris Christie's decision last week to pull the plug on the new ARC tunnel for commuter rail to New York -- a decision that he is now reportedly rethinking -- we thought we'd bring you a glimpse of another big infrastructure project that was abandoned, this one back in 1925. Take a look at this trailer for a documentary about Cincinnati's Abandoned Subway. It's the Cincinnati subway that never was, a planned 16-mile-long network of tunnels and stations that was meant to serve the city's downtown. The project was discontinued because of construction problems, cost …

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Tunneling to nowhere

NJ governor puts a halt to major public transit project [UPDATED]

Chris Christie.Photo: Chuck WalkerNew Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has killed the so-called ARC Project, a rail tunnel that would have been the largest public works project in the United States. [Update 10-8: Actually, maybe not. After a meeting with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Christie now says he's reviewing options.] The move had been rumored ever since a moratorium was declared on new work last month, and Christie announced his final decision to pull state funding from ARC this afternoon. "The ARC project costs far more than New Jersey taxpayers can afford and the only prudent move is to end this …

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Stop this train, they want to get off

Republican guv candidates line up to say no to federal stimulus money for rail

The American rail system: going nowhere fast?Photo: Tim Gilliam"Is it just me, or is it hard to argue against writing the next chapter in American innovation?" That was U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Twitter yesterday. He was talking about an article in the The New York Times on Republican gubernatorial candidates in several states who have vowed to reject federal stimulus funds for passenger rail projects. According to the Times piece, candidates from California to Florida are lining up to say no to federal funding, and to the high-speed inter-city rail network that's been a centerpiece of …

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Mosquito smackdown

Teen-repellent device removed in Washington, but teens still not welcome in many public places

Do you know of a Mosquito where you live?Photo: Moving Sound TechnologiesA few weeks ago we told you about Gallery Place, a shopping mall in downtown Washington, D.C., that was trying to repel loitering teenagers with a device known as a "Mosquito." The Mosquito emits a high-pitched and irritating noise audible only to younger ears. Well, that particular Mosquito has gotten smacked down, due to to the efforts of the National Youth Rights Association. Invented in the United Kingdom, where it has drawn fire for targeting an entire class of people, the Mosquito is becoming increasingly popular here in the …

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No vacancy

In the empty lots of Flatbush, students see possibility [VIDEO]

In the Flatbush neighborhood, of Brooklyn, N.Y., vacant lots are so common that they become invisible. Many local residents walk right by the trash-strewn pieces of property without really seeing the spaces or wondering why they're there. That was true for the students at the neighborhood's Walt Whitman Middle School. But as part of a project with New York's Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) and the Brooklyn College Community Partnership, some of those kids started looking more closely at the plots of vacant land that surround them. Working with teaching artist Douglas Paulson, the kids started asking questions about what …

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Carless in Hollywood

'Mad Men' actor chooses transit over driving in autocentric Los Angeles

Vincent Kartheiser in his ’Mad Men’ character.Photo: AMCImagine a successful young actor in Los Angeles who doesn't own a car. Not only that, he chooses not to drive because he would rather interact with other human beings than speed down the freeway in his own private world. In Sunday's The New York Times, there's an article about Vincent Kartheiser, who plays the despicable Pete Campbell in the AMC hit series Mad Men. Writer Tricia Romano went for a ride on L.A.'s Metro with Kartheiser, who hasn't owned a car for more than three years: To go downtown where "Mad Men" …

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The Superfund site in my backyard

Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal may be a toxic mess, but a lot of people love it

Paddling the urban frontier.Photo: Sarah GoodyearYou might think that living down the street from a Superfund site is a bad thing. I'll admit that it has its downsides. The Gowanus Canal, which wends its sluggish way through the streets of Brooklyn just a half-mile from my house, can smell awfully bad. For decades, it was an industrial dumping ground, and the result is a pungent mix of petrochemicals, rot, and plain old sewage. People in the neighborhood have been complaining about it for years. Last March, the federal government finally stepped in and declared it a Superfund site. The Gowanus …

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