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News & Notes


Budapest

Károly körút in Budapest, photo from Origo fotó

→ Fixing a Boulevard [Railzone]

The street is called Károly körút, which is a ring road around the historic centre of Pest, exactly where a former city wall used to stand. It is a major artery for road traffic, including still too many through trips (i.e. trips neither originating nor ending in the city centre itself). It is also a tram route, which was almost discarded following a new subway line construction, but now, partly due to the reconstruction project itself, the future of the line seems certain and an extension to North is planned.

Be sure to click through from the link to the before & after photos.


→ House Approves Extensions for the Federal Surface Transportation and Aviation Programs [America 2050]

Transportation advocates were gearing up for a big push to ensure that the federal surface transportation program did not expire at the end of the month, but in a remarkable show of common cause and swift action on Tuesday, the House unanimously approved a six-month extension of SAFETEA-LU, as well as a four-month extension of the authorizing legislation for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The Senate still has to pass this bill before it’s final, but Harry Reid has promised to move it through quickly, leaving transportation advocates breathing a little easier.


→ Growth in Boston nearly doubles U.S. average [Boston Business Journal]

The Boston area’s economy grew at a rate of 4.78 percent last year, outperforming the national average of 2.5 percent, according to figures released Tuesday.

Hey! We’re in the Greater Boston sphere!


→ Shared yards: How three D.C. homeowners created a common urban oasis [The Washington Post]

When your small urban yard is about as wide as an SUV is long, crafting a garden space becomes an exercise in ingenuity.

Some people borrow the distant view; others use visual gimmicks such as mirrored walls or trompe l’oeil murals. For neighbors Steve McMaster and Bill Eppard Jr. and their partners, the solution became all about sharing. They connected their two small yards to form one and later added the adjoining back yard of McMaster’s brother and his wife. The result is a single garden of three rowhouse yards in Shaw that has become greater than the sum of its parts.


→ Exxon: ‘One Mega-Highway, Please.’ Texas: ‘Coming Right Up’ [Streetsblog]

Nevermind that the state can’t afford it. Or that the region doesn’t have the congestion to justify it. The Houston region is renewing its push for a $5.2 billion third outerbelt at the behest of ExxonMobil.

According to the Houston Chronicle, the state is short about $315 billion – with a b – short of what is needed just to keep its existing highways in good repair and moving smoothly.

But Exxon has apparently pulled the well-worn trump card for private businesses seeking massive public subsidy in the form of roadways: it has threatened to leave the region.


New York Bike Share

Photo simulation of New York Bikeshare station from NYDOT via Streetsblog

→ NYC Chooses Alta to Operate Bike-Share System With 10,000 Bikes [Streetsblog]

New York City has selected Alta Bike Share to run its public bike-share system, under an arrangement that promises to make bicycling an integral new transit option for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. The Public Bike System Company, which supplies systems in London, Washington, Boston, and Montreal, will produce the bikes and kiosks.

The winning bid features the hallmarks of the world’s best bike-share systems — there will be many bikes and many stations, spaced closely together so that any kiosk is a short walk from the user’s destination.


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4 Responses to News & Notes

  1. Jef Nickerson September 14, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    Here’s a key to the NYC Bike Share system and something we need to remember if we decide to launch one.

    Sadik-Khan Announces a Bike-Share Program That\’s Big Enough to Succeed

    Go big or go home, that is the key. If we dump some bikes at Kennedy Plaza, the train station, and Thayer Street and call it a bike share system, then we will have failed.

  2. Alon Levy September 15, 2011 at 8:36 am #

    How are people going to ride a bicycle up the hills?

  3. Jef Nickerson September 15, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    There are other cities that offer incentives to return bikes to an uphill location so that you don’t have everyone biking down the hill then busing up it. Leaving the bike stations at the bottom full and the top empty.

  4. Alon Levy September 15, 2011 at 8:58 am #

    That could work, you’re right. On the other hand, the hill is so steep I would crash a bike coming down. I have difficulty braking while walking down with a suitcase.

    By the way, I’ve been looking into the BEA numbers for economic growth. Providence isn’t considered part of the Boston area, and grew only 2.7% in 2010. But it contracted much less in 2009 – only 0.9% vs. 2.4% – so it just means less bounceback. Over the decade, Providence had very high per capita economic growth – not that you’d know it based on the unemployment rate here…

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