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» CicLAvia closes a few streets to cars but can open the city's mind

CicLAvia, which on April 6 will empty a stretch of Wilshire of car traffic for cyclists and pedestrians, is a chance to rethink L.A.’s future and skewed car-first perspective.

07.oct. 2013 ciclavia. photo: christina house.

…to define people solely by mode of transportation — to say that they belong to one and only one of these various camps — is to risk missing what might be CicLAvia’s most valuable contribution.

Drivers, when they are not behind the wheel, are also pedestrians. Most cyclists also drive cars. The vast majority of pedestrians know what it’s like, as drivers, to feel the soul-crushing frustration of horrible traffic.

CicLAvia’s real importance has been to make clear that the divisions that we spend so much time debating — between cyclist and driver, driver and pedestrian, pedestrian and cyclist — are surprisingly malleable.

CicLAvia hasn’t only allowed Angelenos to see the city and its architecture with fresh eyes. It has allowed us to see ourselves with fresh eyes.

read more: latimes, 25.01.14.

Our vision is for San Diegans to be connected by a transportation network with robust pedestrian, bicycle, car and transit options. Our streets are not just for cars. They’re for people. And when they are designed and function as the public spaces they should be, everyone benefits.

Todd Gloria, San Diego Interim Mayor: State of the City Address, 15.01.14.

via bikesd, 17.01.14.

» Suburban living linked to bigger carbon footprint

a more local article re: the recent UC Berkeley study:

The [Bay Area] region expects to add 2.1 million people in the next 25 years, bringing the population to 9 million. Commutes could lengthen as rising housing costs drive residents from San Francisco, and as new residents move in droves to the more affordable Alameda and Santa Clara counties.

To ease pressure on the region’s transportation systems, Plan Bay Area, the region’s outline for development until 2040, calls for concentrating housing in neighborhoods within walking distance of public transit and amenities like grocery stores and restaurants.

That reflects an increasing desire of people of all ages to live in walkable communities, said Jeff Hobson, deputy director of TransForm, an Oakland group that advocates for public transportation.

Having a low-carbon lifestyle is not just for hipsters,” he said. “It should also be for soccer moms and NASCAR dads and Instagram teens.”

sfgate, 14.01.14.

» Streetsblog Seeks Freelance Reporters in the East Bay

Streetsblog SF is looking for experienced freelance journalists in the East Bay who are knowledgeable and passionate about livable streets and sustainable transportation issues — from public space expansions like the botched Latham Square project, to open streets events like Oaklavia and Sunday Streets Berkeley, to efforts to build safer bike lanes and improve service on BART and AC Transit.

East Bay reporters would be expected to cover public hearings and press conferences, and seek interviews with advocates and policymakers.

Streetsblog freelancers are paid per article. If you or someone you know fits the bill, send resumes and writing samples to

aaah I would! if i were still in the Bay! and if reblogging news on tumblr counts as journalism experience! :D

ahah but it would be good to improve my writing. 

I went to this “pub talk" yesterday @laurelwood​ pub yesterday, hosted by TriMet. The topic was "Climate Change and Transit", and a person from Metro and from TriMet both presented. Lots of people asked great questions.
pretty cool that TriMet (Portland area public transit agency) is doing these events to get more engaged in the communities.
the next event will be in Tigard:

What is BRT?  BRT stands for Bus Rapid Transit, which is among the transit options being considered in the Southwest Corridor and along the Powell-Division corridor.  Learn more about BRT and how it’s been implemented in communities around the world.  
Wednesday, January 29, 20145–7 p.m.Max’s Fanno Creek Brew Pub12562 SW Main St, Tigard, OR 97223
» Scientific Proof That Cars and Cities Just Don't Mix

A fascinating new study has revealed what many Planetizen readers already know: cities aren’t meant to be experienced from behind the wheel of a car. Researchers at the University of Surrey found that drivers perceive exactly the same things more negatively than those who walk, bike, or take transit, confirming the anecdotal experience of literally every person that’s ever tried to find parking in an urban downtown.

Pacific Standard Magazine has a great write-up describing the results of the study, in which participants were asked to judge the traits of people they saw from a car, transit, bicyclist, or pedestrian perspective:

"The researchers found that participants who saw the video from the perspective of a car rated the actors higher on negative characteristics (threatening, unpleasant) than participants in the other three conditions. Participants who saw the video from the perspective of the pedestrian rated the actors higher on positive characteristics (considerate, well-educated) than those in the car condition."

These findings have a few interesting implications…

These studies, taken together, indicate that cities working to emphasize walkable, transit-oriented communities are laying a strong foundation for continued growth. Improvements that focus on how people interact with cities at a human level, rather than the driving experience, are likely to be the changes that produce the most positive experiences for visitors and new residents. And the more alternatives residents and visitors have for getting around without a car, the fewer negative impressions they’re likely to form of the city.

planetizen: 30.12.13.
Why Your Big Move to the Big City May Be Your Last. psmag, 19.12.13.
Hoody, goody or buddy? How travel mode affects social perceptions in urban neighbourhoods. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour Volume 21, November 2013, Pages 219–230

» Even An 85 MPH Highway Can't Fix Austin's Traffic Tangle

Texas Highway 130, a new Austin bypass toll road, is so far east of the city that it sees little traffic. The state recently raised the speed limit there to 85 mph in hopes of boosting its use.

Mayor Lee Leffingwell, a native Austinite, says he’s watching automobile traffic slowly ruin his beautiful city.

"There was kind of an epiphany — a moment in time when we realized that we are going to have to quit ignoring the problem, which we’d done for so many years in the past," Leffingwell says.

An ‘If We Don’t Build It, They Won’t Come’ Mentality

While Austin fiddled decade after decade, Dallas was busy building the largest light rail system in the country. Thirty years later, the Texas city with the conservative reputation has the regional mass transit network, not Austin. Austin has done practically nothing in that regard…

Like many in Austin, businessman Kevin Tuerff moved here to attend the University of Texas and never left. Ten years ago, he bought his dream home in the Austin Hill Country. Traffic has become a mess as the population has exploded.

By last year, Tuerff was fed up with two hours on the road every day. Now he rents a high-rise apartment in a gleaming new building downtown.

"My office is about five minutes by car or 12 minutes by bicycle," he says. "And that’s what I love about this place."

Tuerff is part of that 40 percent that Lomax needs to make his transportation models work. And there’s a growing population of successful professionals paying $3,000 to $5,000 in rent every month for the privilege of walking and biking to work and play.

But what about Austin’s many musicians and artists — and, in fact, everybody else?

npr, 17.12.13.

» Driving Is Going Out of Style

A new study from U.S. PIRG gives us perhaps the most detailed yet look at the “peak car” phenomenon whereby America’s passenger-miles driven keeps falling. As Ashley Halsey writes (washpo. 04.12.13), perhaps the most important contention of the report is “data that show the cities with the biggest drop in driving suffered no greater unemployment peaks than those cities where driving declined the least.”

PIRG’s takeaway is that it’s time to stop lavishly funding new highway construction and instead focus money on a mix of maintaining existing infrastructure and improving mass transit services. I agree with that, but the budget allocations are in some ways the smallest pieces of the puzzle. The real gains are to be made in rolling back the implicit subsidies to parking and barriers to multi-family apartments, leveling the regulatory playing field between private cars and private transit (slate, 21.06.12), and looking at operational issues that prevent cost-effective transit operations in the United States (slate, 12.11.13.).

slate, 05.12.13.

(Source: emergentfutures)

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