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News & Notes

→ Slate: The Crisis in American Walking

A few years ago, at a highway safety conference in Savannah, Ga., I drifted into a conference room where a sign told me a “Pedestrian Safety” panel was being held.

The speaker was Michael Ronkin, a French-born, Swiss-raised, Oregon-based transportation planner whose firm, as his website notes, “specializes in creating walkable and bikeable streets.” Ronkin began with a simple observation that has stayed with me since. Taking stock of the event – one of the few focused on walking, which gets scant attention at traffic safety conferences – he wondered about that inescapable word: pedestrian. If we were to find ourselves out hiking on a forest trail and spied someone approaching at a distance, he wanted to know, would we think to ourselves, “Here comes a pedestrian”?


→ Salon: Preserving history, or the 1 percent?

When [Jane] Jacobs’ neighborhood was protected in 1969, it was no tony enclave. In fact, the justification for the urban-renewal project was that Greenwich Village was allegedly a slum. But now that the Village is wealthy, suddenly there are three expansions of its protective boundaries in six years. The timing invites cynical conclusions, bluntly summed up by urbanist Alon Levy on his blog last year: “Let us remember what historic districts are, in practice: They are districts where wealthy people own property that they want to prop up the price of.”


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News & Notes

Berlin Dynamic from Matthias Makarinus on Vimeo.

→ Vimeo: Berlin Dynamic

Dynamic Berlin – Timelapse project with over 50.000 photos and thousands of people. Dynamic light, clouds, street life, movement and much more. Shot from May 2010 – September 2011 with Canon 5D Mark II and many lenses.

Via: The City Fix


→ The Hill: Boxer sees ‘no path forward’ on $109B Senate transportation bill

The Senate transportation bill, which is shorter than the controversial House version of the measure, has been hailed for its bipartisanship since was approved unanimously by several committees. The Senate bill does not include provisions to expand oil drilling, but it has been bogged down amendments such as a measure from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) dealing with foreign aid to Egypt and an effort to contraception in their healthcare plans.

Boxer said Wednesday that she would not allow the transportation bill to be permanently stopped during the amendment process.


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News & Notes

News & Notes

→ Temporary uses can enliven city neighborhoods [Greater Greater Washington]

Imagine you have a long-vacant storefront or empty lot in your neighborhood. What if, just for a few months, it could become a plant nursery, a food garden, a beer garden, a sculpture garden, a playground, a clothing boutique or a tiny movie theater?

These small, temporary projects have the ability to revitalize vacant spaces, enliven neighborhoods, and provide small entrepreneurs a way test out their ideas with relatively small capital investments. This is what’s called “temporary urbanism” and shows how we can put vacant space back into productive use, even if only temporarily.


→ Transportation groups want to increase gas tax [Politico]

Voinovich also makes a point raised by others: Most drivers won’t even notice a gas tax increase.

A BP station in the Cleveland area was selling gas for $3.45 per gallon the day Voinovich spoke to POLITICO. The day before, he said, it was 25 cents cheaper. “It’s all over the lot,” he said of gas prices.

A 2009 poll conducted for Building America’s Future found that 60 percent of people think the federal gas tax is increased every year. It has remained unchanged – at 18.4 cents per gallon for gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon of diesel – since 1993. It’s also not indexed for inflation, so as construction costs rise, the flat tax buys even less in infrastructure repairs and upgrades.


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News & Notes

→ Mass. Senate approves bill licensing 3 casinos [ProJo]
The bill includes an ammendment allowing Fall River to develop a casino on 300 acres of land at the northern edge of the city. Here in Rhode Island, Gordon Fox is making noise about calling back the Assembly to override the Governor’s veto of a casino ballot question.

→ Ximedica to expand HQ by 23,000 sq. ft. [PBN]

→ US Bicycle Route System begins connecting America [USDOT FastLane Blog]

→ Watery Future for the City of Light [New York Times]
French President and Paris Mayor at odds over closing 1.2 miles of expressway along the banks of the River Seine.

→ Readying Streetcar Plans, Cincinnati Considers Reducing Parking Requirements [The TransportPolitic]
“Cincinnati is thinking seriously about how to make its proposed streetcar system a vital element of a growing downtown, not simply a trophy piece to parade around in demonstration of its progress. The city’s Planning Commission has taken a major step in that direction by signaling its support last week to significantly reducing parking requirements in areas within two blocks of future streetcar stops.”

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