Monday, August 31, 2009

New York: Leading the way to the post-Motordom city?

New York City is changing, and safe and abundant cycling is part of the new face of the city. It's one thing to hear about it from those in the middle of the often painful process, but it can be bracing to ask an expert from outside to have a look and report what they see.

Gordon Price, keen observer of cities, politician, cyclist and World Streets Sentinel travels to NYC for us and reports what he sees. Signs of hope. Lessons for your city? In his words, this latest report of the Price Tags series on transforming world cities (

This is a celebration of active transportation in NYC – how New York is leading the way to the post-Motordom city. With an interesting comparison to Portland and Vancouver.
Visit New York City with Gordon and his camera, and check out the state of play as things stand as of summer 2009. Cycling NYC 2 presents 34 pages of photographs and commentary on what works, and what is causing friction as the cycling agenda gets pushed ahead by a strong team with high, consistent commitment from the highest levels of local government, with vigorous support from transport and environment groups, the non-profit sector, academics and specialized consultants, citizens and increasingly the media. (This last being a huge change in the local landscape and certainly one that you should be working on in your city. It pays off!).

If they can do it there, we can do it anywhere, might be a line to remember.

• For your copy of Cycling NYC 2, click

More on Gordon Price and his work:

Gordon is Director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University. A former six-time City Councilor in Vancouver, he has written extensively on Vancouver and transportation issues (The Deceptive City, Local Politician's Guide to Urban Transportation. He also publishes an electronic magazine on urban issues, called “Price Tags" ( In 2009, he was appointed by the Mayor of Vancouver as a member of the “Greenest City Action Team.”

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

We need both blue-sky speculation and hard nosed planning

Alison Gopnik, Professor of psychology at Berkeley, author of "The Philosophical Baby" on the differences between minds that explore and exploit.

She makes the point that: "Each kind of intelligence has benefits and drawbacks. Focus and planning get you to your goal more quickly, but may also lock in what you already know, closing you off to alternative possibilities."

Thank you Alison. We take note.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Report from South Africa: Wheeling and Healing

One billion needful people live in Africa and when it comes to sustainable mobility they are not getting a lot of help from the wealthy North. It's not that they need us to send them all our treasure, that's not the point. It's our example that counts. Let's start to give dignity to sustainable, healthy behavior on our own streets and we will have done out part. Gail Jennings reports on biking pride and prejudice in South Africa.

Wheeling and Healing

- Gail Jennings, Eyes on the Streets Seniin Capetown

CAPE TOWN, Aug 5 (IPS) - Every weekday morning, a stylish procession leaves the offices of MaAfrika Tikkun NGO in Delft, Cape Town; bumps and jolts through the gravel entry gates; then hits the tar and scatters into every corner of the township...

"Those people, they are mos kwaai jong (now very cool) - they drive a bicycle now..." says an envious onlooker.

In an area portrayed by the press as crime-ridden, bleak and desperate, the MaAfrika Tikkun health workers cruise the streets between shacks and houses without anxiety, on their elegant, black, single-speed Africabikes, their wire baskets and backpacks filled with the accoutrements of home-based care.

"People say it looks like a bike from the past," says Esmerelda Piers, who’s been working as a home-based carer since 2006. "Everyone wants one. We lock our bikes, but people see it almost like an 'ambulance' bike and they won’t take them from us."

Piers was one of 108 MaAfrika Tikkun healthcare workers who received a bicycle in late 2008, donated by US-based project BikeTown Africa. The project aims to hand over a further 1,000 bicycles to health workers in 2009.

The carers make home-visits, dress wounds and ensure that people with chronic illness (such as TB, diabetes and HIV and AIDS) are taking their medication. They also monitor the growth and wellness of newborn babies.

Piers has lived in Delft for 19 years, and like most carers used to walk from patient to patient. "It is slow, and tiring, and sometimes you have to rush to get to the next patient," she says. "If you want to take a taxi, you have to pay out of your own bag."

South Africa’s national government pays home-based carers a stipend to visit a minimum of between four to ten patients a day (depending on the level of care needed). But sometimes carers don’t get to see everyone, says Beryl van den Heever, who manages the MaAfrika Tikkun team. "It can take a long time to wash and listen to just one patient. Sometimes carers were only getting to see five people properly.

"Now, our carers see 8-12 people a day, they spend more time with the patients, and they can respond to emergencies more quickly..."

Community-based health services such as home-based care play a vital role in enhancing public health and alleviating the pressure on health facilities, says Faiza Steyn, director of communications, of the Western Cape provincial department of health.

In the Western Cape alone, there has been an 83 percent increase in the number of NGO-appointed carers over the last year, and they have provided home-based care to more than 24,000 people during this time.

Home-based carers work mostly in three areas: what the department of health calls ‘dehospitalisation’, patients who have been discharged from hospital but still need care; adherence support, particularly for chronic and TB, diabetes, hypertension and psychiatric illnesses; and health education campaigns.

Charles Rosant, in his third month as a home-based carer, tells of how he visited a patient who had no food in his home. "How can I ask him to take his medicines with no food?"

"It is being able to help like that that makes be stand up every morning," says Rosant – who got on his bicycle and sped to the nearest shop to buy bread for his patient. "With walking, I would have only gone back to him the next day."

On another occasion, the Delft team were able to rally additional carers when they needed to create a ‘makeshift ambulance’ to carry a patient to hospital. "We would never have got so many people together so quickly otherwise," says Piers.

But they don’t move so quickly that they’re no longer able to stop, chat and remain part of the community. ‘We ride slow enough to people to come out of their houses and ask us questions,’ says Piers. ‘We can still give advice "on the move".’

In terms of energy expended over distance, a casual rider can travel four times the distance by bicycle as on foot, says Bradley Schroeder of BikeTown Africa, and carry up to five times more goods. And in terms of speed, it takes about as much effort to walk at four km an hour as it does to ride at 16 km an hour. Bicycles also have lowest operating costs of all transport modes.

Sixteen kilometres is the average distance Trudy Makerman travels each day, to complete her rounds as a carer - from home, from patient-to-patient, and back home again.

Makerman is a healthcare worker in the fruit farming district of Robertson, Western Cape. Together with Stoffel Klein and Nicolene Regue of Robertson’s Rural Development Association, she travels long distances – 10-20 km - on steep gravel roads to visit babies and people with chronic illnesses.

In November 2008, the Association received a delivery of bicycles from national government programme Shova Kalula. Since then, the team has been able to visit between 500 and 550 patients a month (and spend more time with each of them – as they don’t have to rush off on foot to the next farm), compared to the 100 to 200 patients they saw when they walked.

"Walking there was not the big problem," says Makerman. "It was the eindpad [the walking back], once the day was hot. (Their working days start at 8 am and end at 12.30.) We were tired by then, from the work. I would want to rest before visiting the next patient, I did not always have the energy for them."

Her bicycle also enables her to leave home later in the morning, and get back home earlier, giving her more time with her family (and herself).

"My bicycle is just right for me,’ says Makerman. ‘People can shout that I am too old [she is 43] and why don’t I get a car. But for me, my bicycle takes me away from my stress. It is good for me and good for my patients. All health workers should have one!"

Piers also finds personal benefit in her bicycle. ‘I go to see friends and cousins in Belhar, in Bellville, I go shopping, I visit my cousins… each time, I save at least 30 rand ($3.50) in taxi fare.’

And she takes her children with her, but only on her older bicycle - "My nine-year-old and my six-year-old, they both fit on the bike, but I won’t use my work bicycle for this!"

"But you know, it is not about the bicycle," says Piers – unaware that she is echoing the title of that famous autobiography. "Some people want to become carers because they will get a bicycle, but for us, the bicycle is just the cherry on the top. When someone thanks me for a job well done, I know why I am doing this. And the bicycle helps me do it better."

Credit: Gail Jennings of Mobility Magazine in Capetown and IPS.

# # #

One of the fundamental themes of World Streets is South/North transmission of ideas and examples. Here is one that any community in the North will do well to think through for themselves.

The editor

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Changing the Game for BRT in India

EMBARQ's CityFix reports from India: "The new Janmarg BRT system, in the process of being completed in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, meets most of the highest standards applied internationally. It is already a “best practice” of BRT in South Asia, in sharp contrast to the bus corridors in operation in Delhi and Pune, which are off to a good start but still have much room for improvement."

Ahmedabad’s Janmarg: Changing the Game for BRT Systems in India

Click here for full August 27 article by Dario Hidalgo from CityFix:

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Behind World Streets: What makes it tick?
The New Mobility Agenda

World Streets is the daily reporting arm of the New Mobility Agenda. Its content derives from adherence to a consistent set of overall program goals, mediated by a network of collaborative relationships that have been built up over the last two decades, which involve on the order of two thousand collaborating expert colleagues and friends of sustainable transport worldwide. The goal: sustainable transport policy and practice.

"The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them." -- Albert Einstein
The New Mobility Agenda, active since 1988, provides the unifying strategic base, the firm bedrock on which all the work and content of World Streets is oriented. The orientation is very specific. On the one hand is the Mission Statement, which is set out here. On the other, the overarching goal and m.o. of the program, as set out on its title page: The New Mobility/Climate Emergency Project, is "The Politics of Transportation: New thinking & world-wide collaborative problem-solving".

Focus programs:

The Agenda is organized into and supported by a collection of specifically targeted "focus programs", continuing collaborative projects, each addressing one or more (but far from all) of the key building blocks of sustainable transport. More than two dozen of these focus programs have thus far been developed since the Agenda first got underway in 1988, of which you have the currently most active listed here. Each is supported by its own website and discussion forum and library.

It is not out of place here to repeat the strict 2-4 year results horizon and strategy that underlie all these initiatives -- and of the paramount importance of rapid GHG reductions as a driver for policy, practice and reform in a sector that accounts for nearly one firth of all planetary emissions. That is the insistent hard core of the Agenda

Active New Mobility Agenda programs and groups:

1. The New Mobility/Climate Emergency Project-
2. World Streets –
3. Nuova Mobilità –
4. New Mobility Partnerships -
5. World Carshare Consortium –
6. World City Bike Implementation Strategies –
7. Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice -
8. xTransit – Shared small vehicle systems –
9. World Car Free Days / New Mobility Weeks -
10. Kyoto World Cities –
11. Lots Less Cars in Cities (Idea factory) –
12. New Mobility City Dialogues –
13. Land Café: Value capture and land tax reform (Forum) –
14. Global South –
15. Gatnet: Gender, Equity and Transport Forum -
16. New Mobility Media Partnerships –
17. International Advisory Council -
18. New Mobility Knowledge Environment
19. Knoogle 1.1 –
20. Talking New Mobility (all discussion fora)–
21. World Eyes on the Streets Sentinels network -

Example of coverage and participation:

It is not without interest to reflect briefly on the message of the following map, which though it merely maps the locations of the last eighty visitors to the New Mobility Agenda site this morning nonetheless give us an idea as to where the search for new ideas and solutions is most underway. It is gnerally quite typical of the pattern that we observe for this project.

To close, a quick look at the map for the same period for the World Carshare Consortium discussions. This tells us where carsharing is for the most part happening today.

Which is fine, but far from enough. Our goal of course is to put it into every city and community on the planet. Carsharing is an integral part of our sustainable future.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Carsharing in Japan - A corner in the road

As will be seen in this latest report on carsharing developments in Japan, the period of quiet mainly slow growth appears to be heating up. The sharply divided attitudes of the auto industry suppliers is a clear sign of a very different future. Let's stay tuned, there may be some interesting lessons for all of us.

TOKYO, Aug 24, 2009

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services -
Nissan Motor Co. and Audi Japan KK, have joined Toyota Motor Corp. in offering car-sharing schemes, in a move designed to counter sagging auto sales by raising brand recognition and increasing the firms' ecological appeal.

Unlike a rental car service, in which many cars are made available to any number of customers, in a car-sharing scheme one car is shared by a limited number of people who must be members. The members each possess IC cards used to unlock the cars.

Nissan has been providing a car-sharing service in Yokohama since late July on an experimental basis through an affiliated rental car firm. The 20 or so members of the scheme jointly use a Nissan Otti light car and March compact car.

The members must make a reservation to use the vehicles and are required to pay a monthly fee of 980 yen plus an initial charge of 6,460 yen. The rental rate is determined by tallying the total driving time (340 yen per 15 minutes) and distance traveled (15 yen per kilometer). (Note: 100 JPY = 1.06 USD)

Nissan plans to increase the models available and boost membership by expanding its service network across the country.

Audi Japan KK, a Japanese subsidiary of Audi AG of Germany, will later this month jointly launch a car-sharing business with Sumitomo Realty and Development Co., a major real estate firm. The share scheme service center will be located in Roppongi, Tokyo.

The service will be limited to tenants of Izumi Garden, a Sumitomo-operated apartment complex in Roppongi. Three Audi models, including an "A6 Avant," will be made available.

An increasing number of people are joining car-sharing schemes as more people choose not to own a car. According to the Foundation for Promoting Mobility and Ecological Transportation, car-sharing schemes had a total of 6,400 members nationwide as of January, almost double that a year before.

Car-sharing originally grew popular in Europe as a result of environmental concerns, an ethical stance that conflicts with the interests of carmakers, which want to increase car sales.

But an official of one automotive firm said participation in car-sharing schemes "gives carmakers a chance to advertise the selling points of their cars."

Toyota entered the car-sharing business in November 2007. Despite the entry into the car-sharing business by Toyota, Nissan and Audi Japan, some in the industry are against the move, noting its potential negative effect on car sales.

An official of a major carmaker slammed car firms for participating in the schemes, likening it to firms "tightening a noose around their own necks."

# # #

* To view all World Streets postings to date on carshare development in Japan - -

* For all WS articles on carsharing:

* For World Carshare Consortium home page-

* For World Carshare discussions:

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Honk: Find-a-parking-spot contest

The city of Tel Aviv has all the natural attributes of a place where carsharing is part of the new mobility solution: tight urban form, plenty of mixed use, high incomes, plenty of people ready to try new ideas (the "Mediterranean’s New Capital of Cool"), and some, it is said, attention to costs. Here is how their carshare operator is calling attention to the Achilles heel of carsharing, parking.

Tel Aviv: 'Find-a-Parking-Spot Contest' Highlights Car-Sharing

by Hillel Fendel -

How to deliver 24 newly-arrived cars from the port to dealers in Tel Aviv? Have drivers take them there, competing along the way to be the first to find a parking spot!

The contest will be held this Friday and will be used to call attention to both the lack of parking spots in Tel Aviv and the advantages of car-sharing systems gaining in popularity around the world.

Israel’s car-sharing company is Car2Go, which was founded last year in the city of Ulm, Germany. The system's advantages are that the cars can be rented by the hour or day, picked up and dropped off almost anywhere, and can be reserved with almost no advance

In addition, from municipal and national standpoints, the car-sharing systems offer considerable savings in traffic congestion, pollution, and parking availability. Car2Go reports that each one of its cars replaces 15 cars on the roads and frees up 14 parking spots.

Naom Margalit, who heads the Car2Go company in Israel, would like the Tel Aviv municipality to follow the example set by other cities around the world and designate – for a monthly fee - parking spots for his company. He explains: “The idea for the contest was born when we looked for an original and creative way to get 24 new cars from the importer to the dealers. The competition illustrates the parking problem in Tel Aviv and the daily race for a spot in which Tel Aviv drivers take part, and raises public awareness of the advantages of designating parking spots for us.”

The Tel Aviv municipality is reportedly interested in the idea, but no decision has been made of yet.

The system works roughly as follows: A fleet of vehicles is made available for Car2Go members, parked in specially-designated spots and available for use at any time. A car can be "hired" by flashing one’s driver’s license – equipped with special chips for the purpose – at the windshield, thus checking to see if the car is “taken” or “available.” If the former, the user will be informed of the nearest available car. The customer then gets in, types in his personal PIN number as well as other information, such as the condition of the car, and drives off. When he finishes – an hour, day or even a month later – he parks the car in another designated spot, logs out, and is billed monthly.

Car2Go reports that over 400,000 people currently take part in car-sharing systems in 600 cities in 18 countries around the world. The “Mobility” company is the largest of its kind in Switzerland, which has a population similar to that of Israel, and serves 70,000 drivers with an array of 2,000 cars.

Friday’s contest will be held in three stages. It will begin at the Reading Power Plant parking lot, where 24 pairs of contestants will get into freshly-arrived new cars. At the signal, they will dash off to find parking spaces, in accordance with special instructions they will receive via SMS and envelopes at various points along their trip. Points will be taken off for traffic violations. A vacation for two will be granted to the winner, and other prizes will be awarded to the other contestants.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Public Space Shootout in the Aspen Corral

Public spaces – chief among them in most cities in terms of the real estate occupied being streets – are a legitimate topic for World Streets and sustainable transport/climate policy more generally. Last month friend Fred Kent traveled to the Aspen Ideas Festival and ended up in a bit of a brawl with Frank Gehry on our topic. Who won?

Let's have a look at this in four quick parts:

1. The gunslingers

* Frank Gehry you know (otherwise will get you started), and

* Fred Kent: you can check him out

2. The shootout:

Now while their spat here is not about public spaces as streets, the basics of the discussion – Fred's insistent challenge that "Iconic Architects" have an obligation to create "Iconic Public Spaces" have opened up a pretty interesting discussion, which you will find at I find the comments worth a read and some reflection, and among them does a fair job of summing up things from Fred's side at least.

The full Gehry presentation is at

Fred's self-introduction and question can be picked up at the minute 54.15 marking, which also segues into their somewhat unpleasant exchange.

3. From the Project for Public Spaces site

Now on to the short introduction that Fred provides in the Project for Public Places site at

At the Aspen Ideas Festival last month, I posed a question to Frank Gehry about how iconic design and public space together could create more diverse destinations than iconic design alone. Gehry promptly dismissed me and refused to answer the question.

We urge you to explore what transpired - it is amusing, sad, and provocative at the same time. This blog post sets up an important discussion and we are eager to hear your thoughts and comments on how we might proceed. We are in the process of preparing a broader piece and would appreciate your input. Please respond by commenting on the blog or by emailing me directly at

4. Who won?

A pretty useful dustup on a topic that certainly deserves more airtime, but we can also understand why neither Frank nor Fred did not chose international diplomacy as their career.

The winner and still champion therefore is the topic.

And a reminder for us here at World Streets to give more coverage to the public spaces aspects of our charge.

The editor

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Ik ben een Amsterdammer -
New Amsterdam Bike Slam – II

World Streets strongly supports this creative, high-profile, positive public event which offers an open collaborative mechanism for helping New York and anybody else who is ready to learn from their experience to move together from old to new mobility.

The Slam approach offers a number of interesting and useful characteristics which those of us who care deeply about the transition to sustainable transportation have not always given sufficient play in the past -- so let's take a moment to note of some of these.

(A "slam", let's recall, has its origins in the poetry slams that got started back in the eighties: free-wheeling poetry recitations, with character, which tuned into lively competitions (think ice-skating or diving) in which the performance of the competitor/poets is marked by a panel of "experts" chosen from the audience. But all in the good spirit of poetry . . . or in our case in 2009, a safe cycling.)

1. The whole venture captures our attention by crossing a line in a surprising way, introducing up front an approach – the idea of a Slam -- which at once jolts and invites.

2. The whole approach is playful, creative and inviting. It based on what we can see thus far looks to us as if it is not going to bore (as is, sadly, all too often the case with standard plain vanilla conferences when you get right down to it.)

3. It is the sort of approach and event which, by dint of its originality and high energy level, is likely to achieve a high profile and excite considerable media and public interest.

4. It has many different parts. The melding of a symposium with leading international personalities and speakers, with a slam, and then in turn with a dance party, poetry, concept and design competition, award ceremony and a two-borough bike ride looks like a great way to maintain the momentum and interest over the four day event.

5. It is a positive event. This is an important point which should be get lost here, since it is in stark contrast to what we often hear and see when it comes to bicycles in US cities in which complaints and one-sided confrontational statements often rule the day.

6. The very idea of the event being organized as a transatlantic crossing originating in "Oud Amsterdam" is a sharp attention-getting idea.

7. The fact that it suggests a gentle partnership and not a situation of one-way lesson-giving makes it all more agreeable to all involved.

8. One hoped-for outcome will be that New Yorkers and other present will be exposed to a more mature picture of positive and negative aspects of cycle policy and practice in Amsterdam and in other Dutch cities. There is a great deal of wishful thinking on the part of anyone who has not had day-to-day experience on the streets there, and if you want a genuinely critical assessment of cycling in the Netherlands the best person to ask is a Dutch cyclist.

And let's not forget this: When we smile, our IQ goes up.

How it came about:

As best I understand, this all started as a conversation between a small group of committed cyclists in Old Amsterdam who have been following with real interest the recent attempts in New York on the part of a growing coalition of individuals and groups, public and non-profit, to create a more vigorous and safer cycling environment for day-to-day transportation in the city.

Under the leadership of Pascal van den Noort and his colleagues at Velo Mondial, the connection was made with the Transportation Alternatives group who have been leading the public interest push to support cycling in the city over many years. Then, as I understand it, when they approached the city, the team there under the NYC Department of Transportation's Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan recognized a good thing when they saw it and climbed aboard.

Once the basic principle and key team elements were secured, all it took was true grit and a lot of hard work, which brings us up to where we are today.

It remains to be seen of course what the actual results are. And you can be sure that we shall be reporting on them here both directly and through contributions including those of organizers and participants.

PS. And after this event we can all repeat those immortal words as we sail down the street: "Ik ben een Amsterdammer".
# # #

Again for all the latest: New Amsterdam Bike Slam .

For further information, contact:

* Shin-pei Tsay, Deputy Director, Transportation Alternatives, -
* Pascal van den Noort, Velo Mondial, -

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Downtown? Don't even think of parking here!

Policy overview of "Strategies for discouraging surface parking lots downtown" by Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, noting that some cities implement parking maximums (also called "lids") which limit the total number of parking spaces in an area, or place a limit on temporary commercial parking lots.

Strategies for discouraging surface parking lots downtown

Parking Maximums - - refers to a situation in which an upper limit is placed on parking supply, either at individual sites or in an area. Area-wide limits are called Parking Caps. These can be in addition to or instead of minimum parking requirements (Manville and Shoup, 2005).

Excessive parking supply can also be discouraged by reducing public parking supplies, imposing a special parking tax, and by enforcing regulations that limit temporary parking facilities.

Maximums often apply only to certain types of parking, such as long-term, single-use, free, or surface parking, depending on planning objectives. These strategies are usually implemented in large commercial centers as part of integrated programs to reduce excessive parking supply, encourage use of alternative modes, create more compact development patterns, create more attractive streetscapes, and preserve historic buildings.

It could be argued that maximums are as unnecessary as minimum parking requirements. Parking regulations could simply be eliminated, allowing property owners to determine how much parking to supply at their sites. However, parking minimums have been applied for decades, resulting in well-established transport and land use market distortions. As a result, left to itself the market may be slow to reach an optimal level, so parking maximums may be necessary to achieve quicker benefits.

Since businesses may consider abundant, free, on-site parking to convey a competitive advantage, individual firms often find it difficult to reduce supply. Parking maximums that apply equally to all businesses may be an acceptable and effective way to reduce supply in an area. A study comparing various cities found that (Martens, 2006):
• Many European cities restrict commercial building parking supply, ranging from 270 to 500 square meters of office floor area per parking space (approximately 0.2 to 0.37 parking spaces per 1,000 square feet).

• Management of on-street and off-street public parking spaces is a natural complement of restrictive norms with regard to private parking places.

• Restrictive parking policies and public transport improvements support each other, but major transit service improvements need not precede adoption of parking restrictions.

• Restrictive city center parking policies have been introduced without strict regulations preventing unwanted suburbanization of economic activities.

• Case studies suggest that parking restrictions will not have negative economic impacts if implemented in cities with a strong and vibrant economic structure.

The City of Seattle requires that major institutions which propose to provide more than 135% of minimum required parking supply develop a transportation management plan to help reduce trip generation and parking demand (SMC 23.54.016). San Francisco places a two year limit on the use of vacant downtown parcels for parking lots, to encourage redevelopment (Manville and Shoup, 2005).

For more information on various parking management strategies see:

* Todd Litman (2006), Parking Management Best Practices, Planners Press (;

* Todd Litman (2006), Parking Management: Strategies, Evaluation and Planning, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at

* Michael Manville and Donald Shoup (2005), “People, Parking, and Cities,” Journal of Urban Planning and Development, December, 2005, pp. 233-245; at,Parking,CitiesJUPD.pdf; summarized in Access 25, (, Fall 2004, pp. 2-8.

* MTC (2007), Developing Parking Policies to Support Smart Growth in Local Jurisdictions: Best Practices, Metropolitan Transportation Commission (; at .

* Redwood City (2007), Downtown Parking, Redwood City ( The City’s Parking Management Plan is at .

* San Francisco (2009), On-Street Parking Management and Pricing Study, San Francisco County Transportation Authority (; at

* Schaller Consulting (2006), Curbing Cars: Shopping, Parking and Pedestrian Space in SoHo, Transportation Alternatives (; at

* Seattle (2001), Parking: Your Guide to Parking Management, City of Seattle (

* Donald Shoup (1999), “The Trouble With Minimum Parking Requirements,” Transportation Research A, Vol. 33, No. 7/8, Sept./Nov., pp. 549-574; at

* Ventura (2008), Downtown Parking Ordinance, City of Ventura (

* Richard Voith (1998), “The Downtown Parking Syndrome: Does Curing the Illness Kill the Patient?” Business Review, Vol. 1 (, pp 3-14.

* Rachel Weinberger, Mark Seaman and Carolyn Johnson (2008), Suburbanizing the City: How New York City Parking Requirements Lead to More Driving, University of Pennsylvania for Transportation Alternatives (

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Todd Litman is founder and executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, an independent research organization dedicated to developing innovative solutions to transport problems. His work helps to expand the range of impacts and options considered in transportation decision-making, improve evaluation techniques, and make specialized technical concepts accessible to a larger audience. He can be reached at: 1250 Rudlin Street, Victoria, BC, V8V 3R7, Canada. Email: Phone & Fax: +1 250-360-1560

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Ten Commandments for Drivers

Together with Enrico Bonfatti, editor of our sister publication Nuova Mobilità, we have been working on a series of articles on "Street Codes". In doing this we came across "The Ten Commandments for drivers", issued by the Roman Catholic Church in 2007. And on the grounds that sustainable transportation is an open, even ecumenical movement that welcomes good ideas and good behavior from all, here is our rough translation of that document.

The Ten Commandments for Drivers ("I Dieci comandamenti per chi guida") was published in Italy on 19 June 2007 by an organ of the Catholic Church, as part of a larger proclamation entitled Pastoral Guidelines for Migrants and Itinerant People ("Pontificio Consiglio della Pastorale per i Migranti e gli Itineranti"). The full document is available in Italian at〈=it

Here is our rough translation of the ten points of that document.

1. Thou shalt not kill.

2. The road is an instrument of communion between people, and not the place of mortal danger

3. Courtesy, direct behavior and prudence will help thee overcome the unexpected

4. Thou shalt be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially if the victim of an accident.

5. Thy car is not an expression of power, dominance, or an opportunity for sin.

6. Thou shalt step forward to convince the young, and others who are not fully able, not to take the wheel of the car when not in a condition to do so.

7. Thou shalt give care for the families of victims of accidents.

8. Thou shalt help to organize meetings between the victim and the aggressing driver at an opportune moment, so that they can share the liberating experience of forgiveness.

9. Thou shalt always protect the weaker party on the road.

10. Feel thyself accountable to others.

# # #

Hard to argue with that. Comments?

PS. Yes and we meant "ecumenical" in its first dictionary meaning, from the Greek "oikoumenikos", the inhabited world. That's us. And we'd better take care of it.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New Amsterdam Bike Slam Symposium - An invitation

Four hundred years after Henry Hudson's arrival in Manhattan, two teams of Dutch and American planners & designers face off in a battle for the future of New York City transportation. Their challenge: find ways to bring NYC cycling up to the level of the Netherlands, the only country in the world with more bikes than people.

New Amsterdam Bike Slam is being organized in New Amsterdam (sometime also referred to as "New York City") from 10-13 September 2009. It is an initiative of Amsterdam Cycling to Sustainability, produced by Vélo Mondial and Transportation Alternatives, with funding from Transumo and the City of Amsterdam.

Full background on the program will be found here - The organizers have communicated the following information to us today by way of advance notice. (PS. It's free.)

Global Trends in Sustainable Mobility

New York and Amsterdam, like many other global cities, face challenges regarding mobility and requiring immediate solutions. An urgent look at necessary changes in mobility is the objective of the symposium ‘Global trends in sustainable mobility.’ For that purpose we have invited speakers to debate ideas that would further our thinking about cities and mobility.

How did Amsterdam and New York get to where we are now with regard to mobility and what analyses can we bring to the table? What are the systematic differences in urban planning between New York and Amsterdam? Do these differences only exist in the field of mobility or has it other psychological and cultural backgrounds? What makes cities not only livable, but attractive to live in, and what good can mobility bring or bad by making things disappear? Can cities live with less or no petrol cars at all and what does such an idea do to the economy? How will public transport play a role in the triangle with emission rich mobility and more sustainable modes of transport?

This issues will be discussed in the program: Global Trends to Sustainable Mobility

08.00 - 09.00 Breakfast
First we invite you for breakfast; also to get to know each other a little bit.

09.00 - 09.30 Opening
An political view will from New York - Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn
The Netherlands Frans Timmermans, Minister for European Affairs.

A vintage award ceremony will close this first half hour.

09.30 - 10.00 What lies in the future?
Former mayor of Bogota, now scholar, Enrique Penalosa will give an overarching talk on opportunities for New York and Amsterdam and how they can be realized.

10.00 - 10.20 Break
Coffee break and informal discussions with the speakers from the first session.

10.20 - 12.30 Trends Session

In the second session of this morning we will invite the next four speakers on stage and we intend to create as much of an interactive session with them as possible.
Speakers will be introduce their topics for a few minutes and then two moderators - Paul White from New York and ………. - will dig deeper with questions and challenges and involve the audience.

The speakers are:

* Heather Allen; Senior Manager Sustainable Development Union International Transport Public UITP Brussels
* Adnan Rahman; managing partner ECORYS Transport
* Willem de Jager; director Sustainable Mobility RABO bank
* Ruth Oldenziel; professor TU Eindhoven

12.30 - 14.00 Lunch
During lunch we will not only offer you food and drink, but we also invite you to continue the debate with the speakers of the morning and to start the discussion with the afternoon speakers.

14.00 - 17.00 Sustainable Mobility Salon
The kick-off of the salon - an informal way of gathering and exchanging views and knowledge - will be in the capable hands of Ruth Oldenziel who will dwell on historical, cultural and psychological backgrounds of planning for cycling in The Netherlands and the USA.

In three panels we will discuss:

Innovative cycling developments in The Netherlands
* Pieter de Haan Traffic Psychologist; staff member Institute for Shared Space
* Herman Gelissen: the Dutch alternative to the Public Bicycle OV FIETS
Moderator Peter Davidson

Cycling Planning in the USA and The Netherlands
* Arjen Jaarsma Balancia
* Jeff Olson, Alta Planning
* Moderator Andy Clarke; Executive Director League of American Bicyclists LAB

What does the future hold for Amsterdam and for New York?
* Paul White, Transportation Alternatives
* Pascal van den Noort, Velo Mondial / Amsterdam Cycling to Sustainability
Moderator TBA, ITDP

Drinks for attendants/ Dinner for speakers and guests

For further information, contact:
* Shin-pei Tsay, Deputy Director, Transportation Alternatives, -
* Pascal van den Noort, Velo Mondial, -

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Appleyard, Crépeau, Jacobs, Monderman, Whyte

Adams, Aeron-Thomas, Axelsson, Barter, Baupin, Bendixson, Borghuis, Brawer, Brook, Brugmann, Burwell, Cervero, Clabburn, Crist, Daros, Gehl, Glotz-Richter, Goldschmidt, Gorton, Hillman . . .

John Adams
Amy Aeron-Thomas
Jillian Anable
Tracey Axelsson
Paul Barter
Denis Baupin
Terrence Bendixson
Earl Blumenauer
Jan Borghuis
Wendy Brawer
David Brook
Keith Buchan
Dan Burden
David Burwell
Jeb Brugmann
Robert Cervero
Philippe Crist
Ali Clabburn
Michel Crépeau
Eduardo J. Daros
Elizabeth Deakin
David Engwicht
Jan Gehl
Michael Glotz-Richter
Neil Goldschmidt
Phil Goodwin
Mark Gorton
Olof Gunnarsson
Mayer Hillman
Tony Hiss
Walter Hook
Jane Jacobs
Stephen Joseph
Fred Kent
Jeff Kenworthy
Hermann Knoflacher
Corinne Lepage
Jaime Lerner
Todd Litman
Ken Livingstone
Alice Maynard
Paul Mees
Loic Mignotte
Paige Mitchell
Dinesh Mohan
Hans Monderman
Rolf Monheim
Claire Morissette
Lee Myung-Bak
Peter Newman
Enrique Peñalosa
Tim Pharoah
Stephen Plowden
Michael Replogle
Roland Ries
Benoît Robert
Gabriel Roth
Fred Salvucci
Luud Schimmelpennink
Lee Schipper
Jean-Baptist Schmider
Donald Shoup
Lynn Sloman
Dan Sperling
John Stewart
Michael Thomson
Rodney Tolley
Pascal van den Noort
Ellen Vanderslice
Jim Walker
John Whitelegg
William H. Whyte
Roelof Wittink
Sue Zielinski

Editor's note:
This is, as many of our readers will quickly apprehend, something of a wide-open, collaborative, do-it-ourselves kit, to which your comments, questions, additions and eventual nominations are cordially invited to complete the job.

Our readers will understand who these people are and, I am sure, why they are here. For those who may not: these are some of the extraordinary creative people who over the last decades have led the way in the uphill fight to sustainable transportation, sustainable cities and sustainable lives. They have served this great cause by their exceptional clarity of vision, sense of deeper responsibility, ability to apply common sense to complex technical and institutional challenges, capacity for constructive dissent, exceptional tenacity when less committed souls would have given up and moved on to other things, and by their example. They have been active as agents of change on the street.

We have definite plans for moving from here, but thought that in a first phase, rather than digging into the details of our proposal, to use this simple and certainly incomplete listing as an opening shot and with it spur to your imagination and eventual participation. World Streets is after all a collaborative.

I look forward with real interest to what happens from here.

We all need heroes.

The editor

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Subscribe to World Streets today.
(And here is why you just may want to do it)

Passion is great; financial support makes the passion available for the long term.

After five months of proving its worth day after day, bringing carefully selected news, expert views, comments and leads to the desks of more than sixty thousand visitors from some forty countries on all continents, World Streets is now reaching out to get active subscriber support. A nominal contribution is all it takes.
* Before you take this any further, you may wish to have a look at what our readers are saying about World Streets and how it is fitting in with their daily work routines and quest for new ideas and perspectives. Click here for more -
1. Subscription information
2. How to transfer funds
3. If you are not in a position to pay?
4. 2009 List of Supporting Subscribers (with note of thanks)
5. Recent visitor map

1. Subscription information

We invite you to support World Streets in the way you find most appropriate.

Individual subscription
World Streets is a public interest publication which, as a matter of policy, we make freely available to all who are looking to understand, support, and contribute to the sustainability agenda anywhere in the world. We firmly believe that there should be no barriers, and especially not commercial ones, to the free circulation of news, tools, counsel and peer exchanges when it comes to important issues of sustainable development and social justice. Students, people working in the developing countries, volunteer organizations, unfunded local or public interest groups and others of limited means are invited to come in and enjoy the benefits of the journal without payment. For those who use it and can afford it, we ask that they step up to do their part. (To receive a free subscription, we would ask you to email us a short note with your name, city, country. And, if you wish, somthing about your work and interests in this area. Thanks for the courtesy.))
* Suggested contribution: EUR 29.00 (USD 39.00)

Subscribers have full access to all sections of the site, and as well receive the monthly summary report. You also for your money get a guided tour to Vélib, Mobilien (BRT), "breathing streets", our "political tramway" and the other remarkable highlights of the ongoing process of sustainable transport innovation in Paris when your travels bring you here. Also, we are here to answer your questions and review eventual problems or projects with you by email or Skype. It is very much an active subscription.
Note: If you chose you are welcome to donate more than the nominal subscription. That's a big help and we appreciate these votes of support.

2. How to transfer funds:

Make immediate payment via Paypal or credit card:
Payment by Paypal is simple and fast:
(1) Click
(2) Enter your account (or set one up quickly (and safely) as indicated).
(3) Click "send money".
(4) Address:
(5) Amount.
(6) Click "Personal".
(7) Click "Gift".
(8) Thank you for helping World Streets to continue in 2010.
PayPal also has provision for paying by credit card. It is fairly well explained on the site.

To make direct bank wire transfers:
Account Holder: Association EcoPlan International
Account no. 00010465401
Crédit Industriel et Commercial de Paris
Succursale BR (Montparnasse)
202 Blvd. Raspail / 75014 Paris, France
IBAN : FR76 3006 6106 2100 0104 6540 105

If you prefer to send a check direct our mailing address is:
Association EcoPlan International
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Kindly make your check payable to "Association EcoPlan International".

3. And if you are not in a position to pay?

We are well aware that a fair number of our readers, particularly those working in the poorer developing countries and unfunded local environment and transport groups, cannot easily afford this amount. To you we have three messages of solidarity.

First, no problem! Please continue to come into World Streets and make use of the hard work of all of us who are pitching in here. We need you to carry on with your work and contributions, after all that is what this is all about. And if we can help you in this way, so much the better.

Second, we invite you to keep an eye on what is going on in your city and country, and when appropriate let us know of projects, problems, accomplishments, which will help us all to better understand the full complexity of our shared task. One excellent way to do this, is to sign in to the World Eyes on the Street network, for which full details are available if you click here.

Finally, it would be great if you would send us a simple email message telling us that you are making use of all this work. And perhaps a few suggestions and reactions for us to consider as we strike to do better. Also, if we have a large number of these messages of support, this will help in our search for longer term funding to support this work. After all, we have to be sustainable too. (Click here to add your message of support.)

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4. 2009 Supporting Subscribers

And finally our sincerest thanks to the first group of you who have already pitched in and helped us get this far. Donations for subscriptions have varied from one dollar from some students (important as a symbol, we asked them for that) up to several hundreds of dollars from a handful of generous colleagues who have stepped forward to help).

Over these first five months we have received paid in subscriptions and other support from the following friends and colleagues around the world.

* Austria: Karl-Heinz Posch

* Brazil: Felipe Barroso, Igor Garcia

* Canada: Zvi Leve, Ruediger Six, Christopher Sumpton, Susan Zielinski

* Colombia: Carlos Felipe Pardo

* Denmark: Per-Homann Jespersen

* France: France B, Benoit Beroud, Philippe Crist, Nicolas le-Douarec, J-Baptiste Schmider, Wolfgang Zuckermann

* Germany: Odile Schwarz-Herion

* Iceland: Morten Lange

* India: Sujit Patwardhan

* Israel: Alon Rozen

* Italy: Enrico Bonfatti

* Mexico: Tomas Bertulis

* Netherlands: Emil Möller, Dirk van Dijl, SL Saalmink

* New Zeeland: Paul Minett

* Singapore: Chu Wa

* Spain: Igor Abreu, Dirk Bogaert, Mikel Murga

* Sweden: Peter Ekenger, April Streeter

* UK: Anzir Boodoo, Mark Braund, Tim Caswell, Peter Maxwell, Richard Peace, Stephen Plowden, Dave Wetzel,

* USA: Michael Alba, Boris Berenfeld, Donald Brackenbush, Wendy Brawer, Dave Brook, Robin Chase, Roy Chase, Allen Damon, Yona Freemark, David Greenstein, Paul Kilduff, Jerry McIntire, Jason Meinzer Roy Russel, Lee Schipper, Matthew Thyer, Jarett Walker, Lewis Wolman

(Can you spot your country there? Your name?)

And while it covers only a small part of what we need to be able to continue publication, it is extremely encouraging. Thank you for showing your support and solidarity.

Eric Britton

5. Recent visitor map:

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Hawkes and Sheridan on Rethinking the Street Space

For more than 100 years, street design policy was stagnant. But now, planners and policymakers are expanding their ideas about what streets can be. Amber Hawkes and Georgia Sheridan examine the history of street design -- and look to the future.

Some first excerpts from:
Rethinking the Street Space: Evolving Life in the Streets

Good design supports the function of a desired use. For over 150 years, street design standards and funding structures have successfully supported the single use of automobiles in the street space. Major cities across the globe are beginning to rediscover the street space (i.e. streets, sidewalks, alleys, and everything they contain) as an essential component of our neighborhoods and communities. In an effort to improve the quality of urban life, a wave of new street design manuals and toolkits has emerged - redefining the way streets are used. However, as communities rewrite their street design manuals, they face an outdated and well-developed federal transit infrastructure. History shows that street design standards have been limited by the prevailing notion of streets as a place for cars, rather than people.

Streets as Places for Reform: Bicycles Pave the Way for Automobiles

Urban streets of the Victorian era suffered from their own set of design and maintenance issues: rotting trash, horse droppings, crowding, crime, noise, mud, dirt, potholes and streets without sidewalks. When introduced in the early 1800s, bicycles, or "freedom machines" as feminist Susan B. Anthony called them, provided urban dwellers with a new form of mobility. At the turn of the 19th century, innovation in bike technologies brought about a nationwide bike craze. In the 1890s, 80% of residents rode bicycles on a regular basis in Detroit, the future "Motor City" of the world.

Bicycle coalitions and clubs became the first advocates of street standardization, calling for smoother, safer roads. With a zest for 'sanitation' and 'social order,' Victorian-era governments were happy to oblige. In 1875, the Public Health Act in England passed a by-law street ordinance that mandated wide, straight, and paved streets. These early, rigid regulations, emphasizing uniformity and standardization have remained largely unchanged over the years.

* For the full text of this second article in the Planetizen series "Rethinking the Street Space" click here to

The next article in the series will take a look at the recent wave of livable street design toolkits and policies published by cities across the country and world, comparing mission statements, design elements, implementation plans, and decision-making structures. The first part of this series looks at why street design matters and where we are today in terms of designing the "street space."

Amber Hawkes and Georgia Sheridan are Urban Planners and Designers working in Downtown Los Angeles at Torti Gallas and Partners. They have lectured at conferences and universities and have worked in a variety of capacities that inform their planning and design work, from behavioral art therapy, social work, and historic preservation, to health law policy, green building policy, and journalism.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Outreach - Local Actors & Implementation Partners

Too often when it comes to new transport initiatives, the practice is to concentrate on laying the base for the project in close working relationships with people and groups who a priori are favorably disposed to your idea, basically your choir. Leaving the potential "trouble makers" aside for another day. Experience shows that's a big mistake.

A Big House/Open Door Approach
Concerned local/regional government agencies, transporters, business groups, local employers and others should be brought early on into discussions, planning, implementation, and follow-up. It is vital to bring to the table as wide a range of groups and interests as possible, from the city and in the surrounding region in each case, including those whose views may be negative about any of the kinds of major shift in today's transportation arrangements. Nobody likes change out of the blue, especially those "imposed" on us by people who are indifferent to our problems and priorities It is natural to block these unwelcome proposals.

The key to success is to take a big house/open doors approach. Make sure that you bring in all those groups, interests, people who are going to be impacted, positively or possibly negatively. Better to have them inside the tent and from the beginning.

One of the richest and most exciting phases of the preparatory projects from the outset is that of taking contact with all these groups in order to discover what they are already doing to advance the sustainability agenda in your city. And what they are ready and able to do if they get the right kind of support.

Below you have our generic checklist of possible local collaborators, partners, and interested parties. As you look through it from the perspectives of your own community, you will see that there are gaps here. But this at least can get you started.

Local/regional government agencies

1. City hall(s)
2. Communications, public information specialists
3. Community development programs
4. Energy, conservation
5. Environmental services (including monitoring stations and services)
6. Fire department
7. Fiscal and economic policies
8. Mayors (personal commitment)
9. Ombudsman
10. Other towns and municipalities in region
11. Parking policy and administrating
12. Police and traffic authorities (local and regional)
13. Public health
14. Public space management
15. Related incentive programs
16. School system
17. Social services
18. Special event management
19. Street vendors, kiosks, etc.
20. Taxes and charges
21. Transport and traffic planners
22. Urban development/master planners
23. Other concerned agencies, services?

Mobility purveyors, representatives
1. Ambulance and hospital transport
2. Carshare operators
3. Carpool/ride-share operations
4. Church, etc. buses, ridesharing
5. Cycling groups
6. Emergency transporters and services
7. Fleet managers
8. "Ghost" or black/illegal taxis and carriers
9. Goods/Freight delivery
10. Jitneys
11. Message/courier services
12. Package delivery
13. Paratransit providers
14. Parking providers (public and private)
15. Pedestrian associations and action groups
16. Postal buses (mainly in rural areas)
17. Public transit operators (rail and road)
18. Rental cars, vehicles
19. Rideshare and hitch-hiking services
20. School and other special buses
21. Taxis, limo and chauffeur services
22. Transport services for elderly, handicapped
23. Transport shelters
24. Walk/Bike to School groups
25. Other?

Movement substitutes, Demand Management
1. Activity clustering
2. Carfree housing
3. E-meeting technologies (videoconferencing, voice conferencing, other)
4. Land use planning
5. Teleshopping (and delivery)
6. Telework, telecommuting programs
7. Travel diaries, logs
8. Trip chaining
9. xWork (new ways of organizing distance work)

Other key and potential actors, Supporters, Opponents

1. Board of Trade and other industry groups (including infrastructure)
2. Automobile associations and related industry groups (get them on board early)
3. Chambers of commerce, Business groupings, Downtown associations
4. City boosters
5. Colleges and universities
6. Clubs, churches, synagogues, mosques
7. Consultants, university/research groups working in these areas
8. Developers, real estate agencies,
9. Employers
10. Financial community, banks, insurance companies
11. Foundations, individuals and others able to provide financial support or backing
12. Fundraisers
13. Green Maps (Toronto has a fine one)
14. Groups or people interested or involved in earlier Car Free Days or similar car free projects or demos in region
15. Hospitals and health agencies (including public health)
16. Including eventual sponsors and sources of active participation and support
17. International, national, regional environment, mobility, etc. agencies and associations
18. Local and regional media (old and new)
19. Local merchants, chambers of commerce, downtown associations
20. Media: traditional and new
21. NGOs, Public interest groups, associations
- Environmental, ecological, public health, clean air groups
- Non-motorized transport: Pedestrian, cycling, skating, running groups
- Associations concerned with elderly, handicapped and poor
22. Out of town commercial centers
23. Polling organizations
24. Red Cross, emergency services and public information programs
25. Schools and educational institutions
26. Specialized consultancies, working in these areas
27. Street performers, musicians
28. Transport user groups
29. Urban development, public spaces,
30. Women's groups
31. Youth, sports and recreation groups

# # #
Comments and suggestions for improvement of this rough listing are more than welcome.

If you think that transport policy and investment decisions are best taken in smoke-filled rooms peopled exclusively by your transportation experts, perhaps accompanied by some of your principal suppliers, then the New Mobility Agenda approach to outreach and broad public consultation and direct involvement is probably not for you.

Mayors, city councils and local government have a lot more their plate than the transportation-related issues of their community. And there are just 24 hours a day. However to the extent in which local leaders are ready to reach out into the community deeply and often, they are going to find that there are resources and skills out there which need to be drawn on. 21st-century governance is based on the continuous reaching out for the skills and inputs of active citizens. Getting this right requires both considerable thought and careful use of state-of-the-art communication systems.

We have long maintained that mayors and local politicians who get this right will probably be able to stay in office as long as they choose to.

The editor

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What if everyone drove to work this morning?

And now let us turn to the Big Apple, New York City, and listen to what they have to tell us about what would happen if tomorrow everyone who normally commutes into the city by subway decided instead to drive in and park their car. For the non-initiated, that is for non-New York natives, this piece, originally written to the local language, has been prepared for the ROW and is divided into three parts: (a) map, (b) rant, (c)lexicon.

- Original posting to Streetsblog NY by Brad Aaron on August 10, 2009

1. The Map:

Let's start with their map:

You probably can already see what they are up to. It might be interesting and instructive to run a similar drill for such a transfer in your city. If you do, please share your map and basic nunbers with us. We will surely publish it.

2. The rant (that is the original language Streetsblog NY piece):

[The map shows the . . . ] amount of space that would be needed for cars if subway-riding New Yorkers thought like, say, a certain assemblyman from Westchester.

Sure, knocking the MTA is a favorite local past time, particularly for the politicians and press who are practically guaranteed a "Hallelujah!" chorus for every barb (today's scandal: fat cat transit workers poised to rake in cost-of-living allowance!!). But despite the MTA's problems, as Michael Frumin points out on his Frumination blog, the city's streets and highways can't hold a candle to the subways when it comes to moving commuters into and out of Manhattan's Central Business District.

Parsing data derived from 2008 subway passenger counts and the NYMTC 2007 Hub Bound Report [PDF], Frumin writes:

Just to get warmed up, chew on this -- from 8:00AM to 8:59 AM on an average Fall day in 2007 the NYC Subway carried 388,802 passengers into the CBD on 370 trains over 22 tracks. In other words, a train carrying 1,050 people crossed into the CBD every 6 seconds. Breathtaking if you ask me.

Over this same period, the average number of passengers in a vehicle crossing any of the East River crossings was 1.20. This means that, lacking the subway, we would need to move 324,000 additional vehicles into the CBD (never mind where they would all park).

At best, it would take 167 inbound lanes, or 84 copies of the Queens Midtown Tunnel, to carry what the NYC Subway carries over 22 inbound tracks through 12 tunnels and 2 (partial) bridges.

At worst, 200 new copies of 5th Avenue. Somewhere in the middle would be 67 West Side Highways or 76 Brooklyn Bridges. And this neglects the Long Island Railroad, Metro North, NJ Transit, and PATH systems entirely.

Take a gander at the map above to get an idea of the real estate that would be taken up by all those cars. Think such a proposition would lead John Liu to base his stances on congestion pricing and bridge tolls on principle, rather than wind direction? Could Deborah Glick overlook her personal hatred for the billionaire mayor long enough to save her constituents from carmaggedon? Would the prospect of seeing his district literally transformed into a parking lot prompt Sheldon Silver to finally take an unequivocal stand favoring transit over car commuting?

Right. Probably not.


3. The lexicon

New York for Dummies Guide for non-New Yorkers

MTA is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority , the organization responsible for delivering public transportation for the New York Region. MTA subways, buses, and railroads provide 2.6 billion trips each year to New Yorkers -

NYMTC is the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council is an association of governments, transportation providers and environmental agencies that is the Metropolitan Planning Organization for New York City, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley. -

Individual local heroes named or hinted at: See links in article.

# # #
Brad Aaronhas written extensively on government, business, education, the environment, urban planning and transportation, among other topics, began freelancing for Streetsblog NY in early 2007 and became Deputy Editor in February 2008. He lives in Inwood, at the northernmost tip of Manhattan, where he can always get a seat on the A train.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mr. Meter on America's "Cash for Clunkers"

If matters of climate, sustainable transportation and careful use of scarce resources are close to your heart, and you happen to be European, you may have some reserves about your country's ecologically billed, and energetically buttressed "Cash for Clunkers" (in more polite Euro language of course) program. Let a couple of Americans energy policy experts help you feel a bit less embarrassed.

Before you dig in, a summary:
Schipper's real concerns in this article published earlier this week in the Washingtom Post are these: First, the CO2 saved come principally because the cars bought under C4C are slightly more fuel economic than others bought. But the CO2 saved over the lifetime of the new car is extremely expensive, hundreds of dollars per tonne. If Americans are whining over cap-and-trade or a carbon tax in the tens of dollars per tonne, why embrace something so much more expensive for the taxpayer. And at the end of the day C4C doesn't fix transport, it only fixes a tiny bit of CO2. Schipper is worried that Americans will now set back and breath a sigh of relief, when the real work lies ahead.

And as to our European friends, the situation is no less (I choose my word) stupid. See the Associated Press piece below summarizing the state of play of C4C in eleven European cities. Stupidity is clearly viral.


When It Comes to Being Green, Cash for Clunkers Is a Lemon

If you think the Cash for Clunkers program is confusing for dealers and buyers, you should try figuring out its impact on fuel use or carbon emissions. Despite the environmental accolades showered on the program, its environmental effects will be negligible.

How much will we save? Not much.

United States Energy Information Administration 's projections put CO2 emissions from gasoline powered vehicles at more than 16,000 million metric tons for 2010 -- 2019. The Obama administration recently proposed tighter fuel economy standards that, when implemented, should reduce emissions by 220 million metric tons, about a 1.3% drop.

Initial data from the Department of Transportation indicate that vehicles purchased under cash for clunkers are 69% more fuel-efficient than the vehicles they have replaced. So, according to our calculations, at best, the program will save about 7 million metric tons of CO2, or 0.04% -- less than two days worth -- of total emissions during that decade. By 2015, most of the clunkers scrapped under the program would have been retired anyway, and the environmental impact of removing them will vanish.

But it does not end there because, unlike clunkers, new cars are fun to drive.

Supporters of the Cash for Clunkers points to the fuel savings that the program is supposed to achieve. Unfortunately, programs that merely substitute older vehicles for newer, higher miles per gallon vehicles do not account for a critical piece of the vehicle emissions puzzle. We are cars are driven more than older cars. On average people drive their new cars and trucks about 25% more than they do with their 10-year-old vehicles. A new vehicles are driven as much as 3 to 5 times farther than genuine clunkers. Thus, new vehicles may have significantly better MPG ratings in the vehicles they replace, but since they are driven more CO2 savings will be further offset by increased use.

And the cars we're buying under the program do not have great mileage.

First the good news. The cars being turned in are bona fide clunkers. They get worse gas mileage than the average 13-year-old car.

But the bad news is that the average miles per gallon of the vehicles being fought under Cash for Clunkers barely beats the average of all vehicles currently sold in the United States. So the main impact of the program is to remove clunkers that were being driven much anyway, while drivers acquire vehicles that they will drive a lot and that are only slightly more fuel-efficient than the average new car. Is that worth $4500?

If the program returns such marginal savings, why do it? One reason is that it appears to be accelerating the sale of cars, although Edmunds, which tracks car-buying trends, reports that many Cash for clunkers buyers just delayed their purchases in anticipation of this bonanza. A better program would have pinned the rewards to a calculation of fuel savings based on the remaining life of the clunker in the miles per gallon of the clunker and the new car the math is simple, but Congress is run by lawyers!

# # #

SOURCES: Energy Information Administration, WRITET, Oak Ridge Transportation Energy Data Book, National Household Transportation Survey, U.S. Dept. of Transportation | GRAPHIC: Lee Schipper, Joel Mehler, Brian Gould, Chris Ganson

SOURCE of original article: Washington Post, undated.

AUTHORS: Lee Schipper, Global Metropolitan Studies, University of California Berkeley, and the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, Stanford University. Joel Mehler, Stanford University. Brian Gould, GMS. Chris Ganson, WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE

Dr. Schipper manages to be simultaneously Senior Scientist with the Global Metropolitan Studies of the University of California Berkeley, and of Precourt Energy Efficiency Center of Stanford University. He has long been a voice calling for more balanced approaches in the world energy policy sector. He has impeccable new mobility qualifications since he has long commuted to work daily by bicycle. Lee leads a jazz quintet which plays on demand and is still remembered for their first international hit recording of “The Phunky Physicist” in Sweden in 1973.


And now, a glance at Europe's 'cash-for-clunkers' programs

By The Associated Press (AP) – 8 Aug. 2009

The popular "cash-for-clunkers" program that has encouraged consumers in Europe and the U.S. to trade in their old cars for newer and more efficient models was born in December 2008 when French President Nicolas Sarkozy unveiled a Euro 26 billion ($37.36 billion) stimulus plan to help the country ward off a recession.

To date, 11 countries in Europe offer similar plans.

* Germany offers Euro 2,500 to buyers of new or almost new cars who own cars that are nine years or older.

* France offers Euro 1,000 to scrap an older car that's at least 10 years old.

* Italy offers Euro 1,500 for a car and Euro 2,500 for a light commercial vehicle for buyers who agree to scrap a car that is at least 10 years old.

* Spain offers Euro 2,000 on a purchase price of up to Euro 30,000; old car must be at least 10 years old.

* Portugal offers Euro 1,250 for scrapping a car that is 8 to 12 years old, or Euro 1,500 for a car that is older than 12 years.

* The Netherlands pays between Euro 750 to Euro 1,750 to scrap a car that is 9, 13 or 19-years-old.

* Austria offers Euro 1,500; car must be at least 12 years old.

* Romania offers Euro 900 to scrap a car that is at least 10 years old but limited the program to just 60,000 units.

* Slovakia offers Euro 1,100 toward a purchase price of up to Euro 18,800.

* Serbia offers Euro 1,000 on any new locally built Fiat Punto if a buyer trades in a 9-year-old car.

Source: Various governments, IHS Global Insight. -

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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