Tag Archives | Environmentalism

News & Notes

→ Dallas Covers Highway with Greenery – Cities are increasingly decking highways with piles of greenery and new development. [Governing]

I’m looking at Route 10 at Olneyville, Route 95 from Broad to Atwells, Route 95 between Garden and George in Pawtucket, Route 95 next to the State House…

→ Parking Management That Actually Manages Parking [Bill Fulton, Mayor of Ventura Blog]

Some shoppers have complained over the past few months that parking at the mall is free, so why should they pay to park downtown? The answer — provided by Downtown Ventura Organization board chair Dave Armstrong — is that you’re paying for access to a few hundred premium spaces. And he’s right. After all, all the mall parking spaces are far away from the stores — farther than even the most remote free lot downtown. If it was possible to drive right inside the mall and park in front of your favorite store, don’t you think the mall would charge for that space? And don’t you think some people who think it’s worth it would pay the price? Obviously, the answer to both these questions is yes.

→ A Portland group pulverizes pavement to make way for green space [Grist]

→ Newport: Making Transportation Holistic [RI Future]

On September 15th, the Newport City Council passed a Complete Streets resolution, becoming the first municipality in Rhode Island to give equal consideration to all road users in its planning rather than giving primacy to automobiles. Redesigning our streets to be more inclusive of pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders will be a boon to our quality of life by improving the environment, the local economy, and our health.

Dearest Providence, why are we letting Newport take the lead on this? Step it up!

→ Nissan’s smug (?), cute (?), ironic (?) polar bear Leaf ad [Grist]

But let’s take a look at the claim that climate-endangered mammals will thank you for buying a Leaf — which goes on sale later this year for as low as $21,000 in California and Georgia, and slightly more in other states.

An electric car might be superior to the gas-burner you own now, except that it still takes plenty of embodied energy to produce a new car. If buying a Leaf earns you a bear hug, then hanging on to a reasonably efficient ride for a few extra years probably deserves one too.


News & Notes

→ California Drive-Thru Ban and the “Health in All Policies” Approach Baldwin Park, California, home of the country’s first drive-thru, has banned drive-thru construction for nine months in an effort to combat obesity. [The City Fix]

→ RI senators land Pawtucket River bridge money Rhode Island’s senators on Thursday announced a $2.3-million appropriation to help replace the Pawtucket River Bridge, the deteriorated structure carrying Route 95. [Projo 7 to 7 News Blog]

→ Q&A: How the Deepwater Wind deal works What it means for RI electricity customers []

→ Berlin Eyes Exotic Trees in Response to Warming Weather Palm trees in Berlin? Not quite. But the German capital is testing trees from the south as native species show signs of struggling with increasingly warm temperatures. Instead of limes and oaks, the city could soon be filled with Judas trees and Daimyo oaks. [Der Spiegel]

→ Jarrett Walker talks to our staff about public transport branding (and more!) [TransLink (Vancouver, Canada) Buzzer Blog]


Bigger than Rhode Island

This has been all over the interwebs this week, so I’m playing along:

This Google Earth tool allows you to lay the oil spill* over a familiar piece of the Earth to allow you to grasp the size of the spill. Here we see, it is bigger than Rhode Island.

* Notice how I can just say, “the oil spill.” I don’t really need to describe which spill do I?


January Evolution Forum: Transit in a Sustainable Rhode Island (01/28)

Kennedy Plaza Repaving Project
Photo by Jef Nickerson

When: Thursday, January 28, 2010 – 5:30pm to 8:00pm
Where: 17 Gordon Avenue, Providence, RI 02905
Cost: Admission for Apeiron members and students with valid ID is free. Admission for others is $10.

Please join us for Apeiron’s next Evolution Forum! This month we will highlight Transit in a Sustainable Rhode Island.

Panelists include Catherine Lutz, anthropologist and the Thomas J. Watson, Jr. Family Professor of Anthropology and International Studies at Brown University; John Flaherty, Grow Smart RI and Chair of the Coalition for Transit Choices; and Mark Therrien, General Manager of the RI Public Transit Authority.

Come engage with experts from academia, government, and the non-profit sector to learn how Rhode Island is and should be helping to create the future of Transit in the 21st Century.

Speaker Biographies:
Catherine Lutz- Catherine is an anthropologist and the Thomas J. Watson, Jr. Family Professor of Anthropology and International Studies at Brown University. With her sister, Anne Lutz Fernandez, she has been studying the car system in the United States, focusing on its financial, social, and health impacts on families and individuals. Their book, Carjacked: The Culture of the Automobile and its Effects on Our Lives, is out with Palgrave Macmillan in January (

John Flaherty- Grow Smart RI, Chair Coalition for Transit Choices

Mark Therrien- General Manager, RI Public Transit Authority

Schedule of Events
5:30 to 6:30 – Snacks and non-alcoholic drinks served
6:30 to 7:30 – Presentation
7:30 to 8:00 – Question and Answer session and mingling

Co-sponsored by the RI Coalition for Transit Choices

Bus Directions from Kennedy Plaza:
Take Bus #11: Providence to Broad City Line Outbound. Depart Kennedy Plaza at Berth F. Ride for approximately 18 minutes. Get off the bus at Stanwood Street. Walk north on Broad St toward Saratoga Street. Turn right at Saratoga Street and walk to the first intersection. Turn right at Baxter Street. 17 Gordon Ave will be on your left. Look for a sign that says Gordon Avenue Business Incubator.

For more information and to register visit


Ontario introduces green vehicle license plates


The province of Ontario in Canada has introduced a new green vehicle license plate for plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles. The province describes the plate and the benefits associated with it:

Ontarians have voted for a new vehicle licence plate that will encourage consumers to switch to environmentally-friendly cars and trucks.

The new plate will have green lettering on a white background with the picture of a trillium in the middle. It was selected from four choices in an online vote that ran from July to October.

Drivers sporting these plates on a plug-in hybrid or battery electric vehicle will be able to:

  • Use Ontario’s High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes until 2015, even if there is just one person in the vehicle
  • Access recharging facilities at GO Transit and other provincially operated parking lots
  • Use designated parking spots at the University of Toronto and private companies such as Walmart Canada.

StreetFilms at COP15

Tens of thousands of people from nearly every nation on earth have descended on Copenhagen this month for the UN climate summit. As the delegates try to piece together a framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, they’re also absorbing lessons from one of the world’s leading cities in sustainable transportation. In Copenhagen, fully 37 percent of commute trips are made by bike, and mode share among city residents alone is even higher.

Come see “the busiest bicycling street in the Western world”, and lots of other you-gotta-see-them-to-believe-them features including bike counters (featuring digital readouts), LEDS, double bike lanes (for passing) and giant hot pink cars.

Copenhagen wasn’t always such a bicycling haven. It took many years of investment in bike infrastructure to reclaim streets from more polluting, less sustainable modes. Last week, I was able to squeeze in a whirl-wind tour with Mikael Colville-Andersen, the bike culture evangelist behind Copenhagenize and Copenhagen Cycle Chic, to get a taste of the city’s impressive bike network and cycling amenities. Watch this video and see how Copenhageners flock to the streets by bike even in December, when average temperatures hover just above freezing.



This water tastes delicious!


Photo (cc) Cayusa

A report by the Environmental Working Group ranks Providence’s municipal water as second best (of metropolitan areas over 250,000 people) in the country. EWG compiled information from water utility tests going back to 2004 in 48,000 municipalities in 45 states. Arlington, Texas beat us out for the top spot. The only other New England city in the top ten is Boston at number 5.

More reason for us Providencians to give up the bottled water habit.

View the full report here.

Via Yahoo! Green Blog and Po-Tee-Weet?.


1577 Westminster, for realz!

1577 Westminster Street, rendering Kite Architects

The WBNA has been working hard for some time now to build their green building at 1577 Westminster Street. Delays have been caused largely as a result of putting together financing for the project. I’m told that WBNA and their partner, SpurwinkRI, now have a building permit in hand and construction could begin as soon as December 23rd. If the winter construction season cooperates, the building could be done by next fall.

The building will have many green features including solar panels, insulation made from recycled newspaper, and flooring made with corn oil instead of petroleum. It has 7 apartments above that are supported living for folks with developmental disabilities, and the ground floor is still planned as Urban Greens’ new retail space with a full range of local and organic veggies, dairy, meat, and dry goods.

We’re looking forward to this excellent project finally coming of the drawing board and getting built.