New bike, parking policies leave polluting vehicles in the dust

Now for some wheely good news (sorry, it had to be done): officials around the globe are moving forward on innovative eco-transportation schemes. Last week, the city council of Reykjavik, Iceland, enacted a rule that gives free parking to those who drive fuel-efficient vehicles. In Ontario, Canada, yesterday, officials said they will develop a rating system for eco-friendly cars and trucks, with an eye toward debuting a green license plate in 2008 for low-emitters; the tag could net owners perks like free parking and access to commuter lanes. In Paris (ah, Paris), the first three weeks of the free-bicycle Vélib program saw 10,000 bikes used a total of 1.2 million times — an average of six times per day. While some vandalism has been reported, and a few overeager commuters have illegally secured bikes with their own locks, officials are pleased with the experiment. And others are taking notice: London Mayor Ken Livingstone has asked his city’s transportation agency to develop a similar scheme.