Cities

southern rebellion

Towns invest in smarter streets … in Mississippi

Two Mississippi towns want better options than auto-only streets, and now they’ve made it official. The towns of Tupelo (pop. 36,223) and Hernando (pop. 6,812) each passed Complete Streets legislation that ensures roads will be built and maintained for walkers, cyclists, and other forms of transportation—along with drivers. Yesterday St. Louis citizens voted to fund better mass transit. Now this in Mississippi—this stuff is getting around. Towns of these sizes don’t build a lot of transit infrastructure, so sidewalks, bike paths, and road safety features are all the better. “I’m proud of our city council’s unanimous support of this initiative …

ARCH NEMESIS

St. Louis votes for better transit, despite Tea Party campaign

Here’s some good news: St. Louis citizens want robust mass transit, and they’re willing to pay for it. Despite a Tea Party opposition campaign, St. Louis County voters on Tuesday approved a half-cent sales tax increase to stabilize and eventually expand the region’s ailing transit network. The measure passed by a monstrous 24 point margin. The St. Louis Tea Party focused its energy on defeating the civic project, calling the campaign a test run for defeating Democrats in this fall’s midterm elections. So it’s a setback for them. But it’s good news for those wanting to get around the St. …

have it your subway

Imaginary, underwater subway lines are always the most convenient route

Transit Authority FiguresFor publicly transitive folks like myself, why does it seem that the fastest way between two points is an imaginary subway line? And a watery one, to boot! If I were an East Coaster, I’d definitely submerse myself in these non-existent, though wish-listily handy transit routes, even if their actual construction would be a big, wet flop. All a-surfboard!             —————————————————————————————————————————————————– Like what you see? Sign up to receive The Grist List, our email roundup of pun-usual green news just like this, sent out every Friday.

Wherein I play God

Making my neighborhood more walkable, sociable, sustainable, and safe

This weekend, I wrote a somewhat abstract post about how America’s built spaces prevent many Americans from connecting with the supportive social networks essential to health and happiness. Let’s zoom from the lofty down to the concrete. Let’s talk about my neighborhood. I live in the Bitter Lake area of Seattle. (In the early 20th century, an adjacent sawmill dumped so much tannic acid into the lake that horses wouldn’t drink the water — thus the name.) It’s zoned as an “urban village,” but at least for now that designation is, er, aspirational. Most of it isn’t mixed use, but …

wheels of fire

A firestorm of comments over LaHood’s big bike speech

LaHood steps up at the National Bike Summit on March 11.Courtesy BikePortland via FlickrFour weeks ago Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood climbed on a table and declared the reign of the almighty auto was finished. Federal transportation funding would no longer favor cars at the expense of bicycling, walking, and mass transit, said the 65-year-old Republican from downstate Illinois. A few days later he followed up with details and an explanation that this is what Americans have been asking for. The effects of his words have been rippling out ever since. Gleeful, perceptive, wary, and downright stupid responses are floating about …

at the Climate neutral unconference

The Seattle project

Courtesy Michael @ NW Lens via FlickrOn a wintery, gusty morning last Saturday, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn rode his bicycle down from his north-side home to a downtown architecture and design firm for a rather unmayoral event. Some 60 or 70 people had gathered for a daylong “unconference,” a loosely organized bring-your-own-lunch affair, to plot how Seattle can become the first carbon neutral city in North America. Here’s the background, quickly: Last fall, at a two-night lecture at Seattle’s Town Hall, Worldchanging’s Alex Steffen invited the city to adopt a goal of complete carbon neutrality by 2030. This drew attention. …

Vive la différence

My family (yours, too) needs rich social spaces–not cars–to be happy

Lisa’s fantastic essay, “Say it loud: I’m childfree and I’m proud,” had 196 comments last time I checked. If you haven’t read it, you really should. I’ll wait here. … It got me thinking. Pardon a weekend ramble. Me and my little resource hogs.I’m a father of two boys and I’ve absolutely loved it. I was making pretty poor use of being childless anyway, and it turns out having kids suits me better than independence ever did. But my first reaction to Lisa’s essay was not defensiveness. It’s not like we’re taking a quiz and there’s only one right answer. …

connect the DOTS

Do Americans really make the connection between transportation, oil use, and environmental impacts?

The national poll that Transportation for America released this week makes it clear that Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of increasing our access to transportation options, no matter where they live in America — big cities, suburbs, small towns, or rural areas. The majority believes that their community — and the country as a whole — would benefit from an expanded and improved public transportation system including rail and buses. Americans not only underestimate how much of their tax dollars actually go to roads and bridges, 58 percent think we should be spending more of those dollars on public transportation …

Imagine there's no drilling, and other wishful woo woo

Understanding the allure of ‘drill baby drill’

President Obama’s decision to expand offshore drilling leases seems to affirm the power that the “drill baby drill” battle cry holds in the American energy conversation. Turns out a short, simple, much-repeated slogan holds more currency than detailed policy arguments from clean-energy advocates. I want to tease out a connection between “drill baby drill” and what you might call the forward-looking bright green vision. Sean Casten is fond of a Soviet bread-line metaphor: Hungry Bolsheviks standing in line for bread can probably imagine more of the same stale, dry white bread. When they demand more, they’ll probably call for more …

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