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News & Notes

The Atlantic Cities: Why Mayors Should Run the Department of Transportation

The transportation issues of the 21st century will be less about building new highways and more about building new transit, about offering more multi-modal options to bike and walk. Transportation policy going forward won’t just be about moving people as far and as fast as possible, but about leveraging transportation in service of economic opportunity and livable communities.

So here is one modest thought about who understands all of this as Obama searches for LaHood’s successor: mayors. There have been three former mayors at the helm of the DOT in the department’s 46-year history, most recently former San Jose Mayor Norman Mineta. As the agency further modernizes its mission, who better to take us there than someone who comes from a city?

I’m not sure I could even understand a world where L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was not our next Transportation Secretary.


The New York Times: America’s Mid-20th-Century Infrastructure

Europeans visiting the Northeastern United States – and many parts of the East Coast — can show their children what Europe’s infrastructure looked like during the 1960s.


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Video: How the Dutch got their cycle paths

How did the Dutch get their cycling infrastructure? This question keeps coming back because it is of course relevant to people who want what the Dutch have.

Road building traditions go back a long way and they are influenced by many factors. But the way Dutch streets and roads are built today is largely the result of deliberate political decisions in the 1970s to turn away from the car centric policies of the prosperous post war era. Changed ideas about mobility, safer and more livable cities and about the environment led to a new type of streets in the Netherlands.

Read more at A view from the cycle path.

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News & Notes

Amsterdam

Photo (cc) Fang Guo

News & Notes Amsterdam proves bikes and streetcars are allies [Greater Greater Washington]

Cyclists and streetcar tracks don’t always get along, but the two should not be enemies. On the contrary, cities with large streetcar networks also tend to be the most bicycle friendly.

This is because streetcars contribute strongly to the development of more dense, urban, less car-dependent cities – the same characteristics that produce the most friendly urban bicycling environment.


It’s time to forget the big-box store Downtown . . . and think small [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

More boutiques, more women’s clothing and accessories, more home furnishings and entertainment, longer store hours, common courtesy and parking, parking, parking.

If the working group formed by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl is serious about improving the retail environment Downtown, those areas might be good places to start.


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Like: “Moses” Bridge

Moses Bridge

In the Netherlands, RO & AD Architects designed a unique bridge to cross a moat at Fort De Roovere in Halsteren [page in Dutch].

RO & AD architects found it really strange to create a bridge over a canal of a fortification. Especially because the bridge must be built on the side where traditionally the enemy was expected. Therefore, RO & AD architects created a bridge that is not visible from a distance….

The bridge they created places the people crossing it below the waterline, so when seen from afar, the bridge disappears. Hense, the “Moses Bridge.”

More photos and information at Architizer, My Modern Met, and de Architect [page in Dutch].

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Streetfilms: Groningen’s Green Phase for Cyclists

Groningen is the largest city in the northern region of the Netherlands. With 57 percent of all trips in the city made by bike, it has acquired the title “World Cycling City.” In Groningen, even the large multi-lane roads have been tamed for safe cycling.

At this intersection on the main ring road around Groningen, cyclists get their own green phase. When the bike signal says go, cyclists at any point in the junction can travel in any direction, including diagonally. Engineer Hillie Talens explains how it works in this short video, which kicks off a series of Streetfilms we made on trip to the Netherlands with a delegation from Bikes Belong.

Video & text (cc) Streetfilms

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News & Notes

News & Notes New RIPTA bus route proposed, coming right through Summit neighborhood [Summit Neighborhood Association]

Link shows a map of proposed routes. SNA is seeking comment and is deciding if they need to have a neighborhood meeting to discuss the proposed options.

My 2 cents, a bus route that serves Miriam directly is a good thing.


Investing in urban centers key to growing new U.S. economy: Brookings [International Business Times]

“When cities collect networks of entrepreneurial firms, smart people, universities and other supporting institutions in close proximity, incredible things happen,” [Bruce Katz, Director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution] wrote.

“People engage. Specializations converge. Ideas collide and flourish. New inventions and processes emerge in research labs and on factory floors. New products and companies follow.”


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