Transportation

Biking

‘The beauty of just getting on your bike’ [VIDEO]

The other night I had the good fortune of going to a meetup of bikers and bikers who blog in New York. The evening very specifically was not about the tiresome political wrangling that has been going on in my city over bike lanes. It was about people who just f**king love to bike in New York, and who aren’t going to let anything or anyone stop them from doing it. Bike nurds, as organizer Noel Hidalgo (@noneck) proudly proclaimed. Presenters included a pretty sweet selection of the city’s many bike bloggers, photographers, and filmmakers, including the most excellent Bitch …

Green Cars

China charges up the on-ramp of the electric highway

Electric charging stations like this one in Shenzhen could become a common sight in China if the government sticks to its ambitious EV goals.Photo: Remko TanisWhen it comes to the future of electric cars, as with other green technologies, the wild card is China. The People’s Republic has invested billions in renewable energy and has become a solar superpower in photovoltaic manufacturing. It’s also poised to one day potentially blow away the competition in wind turbine production. China’s new five-year plan calls for dramatic increases in energy efficiency and designates electric cars as a strategic industry. (The government has set …

Wisconsin Gov. Walker rejected high speed rail but wants the money anyway

Before he was the guy who tried to kill Wisconsin unions, Scott Walker was the guy who campaigned on a promise to kill high-speed rail in Wisconsin. There wasn’t a lot of room for interpretation or anything — I mean, one of his campaign websites was NoTrain.com, for chrissakes. But now Walker is asking for $150 million in federal funds to upgrade an existing rail line. Not only that, but he says “This is not inconsistent with the position I took in the past.” You know, except that the position he took in the past was “NO TRAIN,” and now …

Infrastructure

Tearing down the highways that choke our cities [VIDEO]

The power of an elevated freeway to dominate and degrade a city’s streets is overwhelming. So much so that if you live near one it can be almost impossible to envision what the place might look like if it were gone, and the old patterns of the streets restored. But in places where that has been done — like San Francisco’s Embarcadero and New York’s West Side — the result is exhilarating. Property values go up. People move freely along the waterfronts that were blocked off for generations. Traffic flows well. And suddenly it becomes impossible to imagine how these …

Cities

World’s cities are the ‘battleground’ in fight against climate change

Or, the other option.The world’s cities are going to have to move aggressively to curb their greenhouse-gas emissions, or the whole planet is going to pay for it. That’s the word in a new report from the United Nations Human Settlement Program, or UN-HABITAT. The report is called “Hot Cities: Battle-Ground for Climate Change,” (you can find a summary and links to purchase the full report here). It paints a dire picture of how an increasingly urban and wealthy global population could mean “potentially devastating effects of climate change on urban populations”: Urban centres have become the real battle-ground in …

Green Cars

Charging ahead: Report predicts 3.8 million electrics on road by 2016

The Volt is still charging up.As the first mass-market electric cars start to, slowly, hit the streets, the big question is whether battery-powered vehicles are the future or a fad. The answer won’t be known for years but a new report from GTM Research offers some interesting insights into where the electric road might lead. The report, “The Networked EV: The Convergence of Smart Grids and Electric Vehicles,” predicts there will be 3.8 million electric cars on the road worldwide by 2016, with about 1.5 million in the United States, 1.5 million in Europe and 760,000 in Asia. “It is …

Transportation

The E.U. wants gas-powered cars gone from its cities by 2050

Can he look forward to a future with no gas-powered cars?Photo: Alison OddyThe European Union has just announced an ambitious transportation goal: the elimination of gas-powered cars in its cities by 2050. It’s part of a plan that aims to radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation sources: A new European transport plan [PDF] aims to increase mobility and further integrate the EU’s transport networks — while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the bloc’s dependence on imported oil. Measures to encourage major infrastructure investments, change the way freight moves and people travel would boost economic competitiveness and create jobs. The …

How we roll

Pedaling away from the health care crisis

This is the third column in a series focusing on the economics of bicycling. In the United States, we have the most expensive health care system in the world. We collectively invest more than 15 percent of our GDP — that’s around $2 trillion, or $5,700 per person — into health care every year. The tragedy of these enormous numbers is that they fail to stem the tide of our increasing ill health. “Most of the money we’re spending on health care is going to treat preventable chronic diseases,” Michael Pollan told Grist in 2009. Our poor diet, he added, …

Giving beards a bad name

Minn. state Rep. Mike Beard prepares to devastate Twin Cities transit, economy, residents

Rep. Mike Beard.Minnesota state Rep. Mike Beard (R) is famous among people who enjoy laughing at stupid things politicians say. A sampling: You may recall his argument against high-speed rail: “We already have highways.” His argument that coal mining hasn’t done any damage to the earth: “When we were done, we put it all back together again.” Perhaps best of all, his argument that God’s beneficence effectively renders moot any and all resource and environmental issues: “God is not capricious. … We are not going to run out of anything.” Beard got a BA in Bible Missions at the Bethany …

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