Category Archives: media

Something in the air

The Sightline Institute has a new parenting series on its Daily Score blog. Rather than simply discussing personal parenting choices, the series, Sustainababy: Growing up Green, examines parenthood “through the lens of sustainability policy.” Not to discount the power of personal choices (“Be the change you want to see” is, after all, my personal motto), but I’m really glad to see this. Certainly, policy has a huge impact on children’s health–arguably much greater than the individual decisions parents make.

The first entry, “Breathing for Two,” discusses air quality and its effects on unborn babies.

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Transportation safety, part V

I know I’m late, but I feel compelled to weigh in on the bus safety issue everyone’s been buzzing about for the last couple of days. According to this Seattlepi.com article, “incidents” (which can range from theft to disruptive behavior to actual fights between passengers) reported by Metro drivers have doubled in the last ten years and have risen faster than ridership.

Despite the article’s rather provocative introduction, its basic conclusion is that KC Metro buses are extremely safe. There were fewer than five incidents per million rides in 2008, and less than half of those involved …

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Car-free living: not just for city folk

VAUBAN, Germany — Residents of this upscale community are suburban pioneers, going where few soccer moms or commuting executives have ever gone before: they have given up their cars.

Street parking, driveways and home garages are generally forbidden in this experimental new district on the outskirts of Freiburg, near the French and Swiss borders. Vauban’s streets are completely “car-free” — except the main thoroughfare, where the tram to downtown Freiburg runs, and a few streets on one edge of the community. Car ownership is allowed, but there are only two places to park — large garages at the edge of …

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Everybody really is doing it

Despite low gas prices and fewer commuters (no job = no commute), transit ridership continues to rise. In fact, according to the American Public Transportation Association, ridership in 2008 was 4% higher than in 2007 (the highest it’s been in 52 years), while vehicle miles traveled declined by almost the same amount. Transit geeks aren’t the only folks taking note, either. The issue is the top headline on MSNBC today.

Now if only our funding priorities (ahem) would reflect our behavior.

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More on the stimulus and transit

Tonight on PBS NOW:

President Obama’s stimulus money is nearly out the door and on its way to the states, but will it be spent in the way it is intended? One alarming example: Mass transit. Cities and states, strapped for money, are cutting back on mass transit even as it becomes more popular with Americans. Meanwhile, President Obama is calling for increased mass transit as a necessary step toward energy independence. Will the government’s investment dramatically revitalize our national travel infrastructure, or will states spend the money according to ‘business as usual’?

The show airs on KCTS at …

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Not that kind of transit stimulus

Friend and fellow bus chick, Erin (who also happens to be the girlfriend of Bus Nerd’s cousin), hipped me to this insanity:

A Metro driver was arrested on his route Wednesday morning for allegedly dealing rock cocaine – something King County sheriff’s deputies said he’d been doing on his No. 42 route for several weeks.

The driver, 54, was arrested shortly before noon near South Leo Street and Beacon Avenue South.

“Metro transit police conducted several undercover buys from the driver, including immediately prior to today’s arrest,” sheriff’s spokesman John Urquhart said. “Not all of the buys occurred from …

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The transit paradox: more riders, less service

An excellent (if depressing) article in the NYT:

Transit systems across the country are raising fares and cutting service even when demand is up with record numbers of riders last year, many of whom fled $4-a-gallon gas prices and stop-and-go traffic for seats on buses and trains.

[...]

Their problem is that fare-box revenue accounts for only a fifth to a half of the operating revenue of most transit systems — and the sputtering economy has eroded the state and local tax collections that the systems depend on to keep running. “We’ve termed it the ‘transit paradox,’ ” said …

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Transportation in the news

From Salon: “Who Says Americans Won’t Ride Mass Transit?”

The rise in mass transit ridership should be great news. Not since the OPEC oil embargo and energy crisis in the ’70s have famously car-centric Americans been so eager to shell out for a bus fare or a train ticket and leave the polluter in the driveway. Automobile transportation is one of the largest chunks of the country’s carbon footprint, so the more that Americans opt for trains and buses, the more that footprint could shrink.

But the news isn’t all that sunny. In fact, the mini-exodus from driving has …

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I’ve been meaning to tell you about…

• A car-free city in the Persian Gulf:

Groundbreaking is scheduled for Saturday for Masdar City, a nearly self-contained mini-municipality designed for up to 50,000 people rising from the desert next to Abu Dhabi’s international airport and intended as a hub for academic and corporate research on nonpolluting energy technologies.

The 2.3-square-mile community, set behind walls to divert hot desert winds and airport noise, will be car free, according to the design by Foster + Partners, the London firm that has become a leading practitioner of energy-saving architecture.

(Source: New York Times, via Bus Nerd)

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This week in transit: bus-related news

Metro’s oldest driver is 80. He drives the 2.

Linda Thielke, spokeswoman for Metro, said Minard “has a pretty good driving record, with only minor accidents, really minor, like losing a side mirror.”

That’s more than I can say for the guy who drove my inbound 17 on Thursday night. That driver, who was nowhere near 80, was happy to share the details of his tickets and a recent accident (the reason he “doesn’t have to worry about working overtime”) with the passenger sitting in the seat adjacent to his. As if his erratic driving wasn’t reason enough …

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