Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thirsty Thursday Linkages

What is in the news today?

As is often the case, the Wall Street Journal is late to the party. But give them credit for at least showing up even though they didn't bother to RSVP. Today, they list the cities where public transportation saves the most money, needless to say it is the cities you expect with the most robust transit service providing the most mobility without the necessitation of the car.

They also include a link to a handy calculator to calculate your potential savings. You can find my past meanderings on personal savings as well as city savings.
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Staying with the financial dailies, the Financial Times asks, Are Car Free Cities the Future? Are they Possible? This alone is enough to leave me mouth agape and tongue tied. My how far we have come that these two financial news outlets would be on board. It also raises some sobering numbers about Portland (forgive the old english spelling):
Yet Portland – regarded as a model among US cities for encouraging alternatives to the private car – remains an example of how dependent most cities in the industrialised world remain on motorised transport. Public transport still accounts for only 9 per cent of journeys in the greater Portland area. Cars account for 84 per cent of trips, while walking accounts for merely 4 per cent and cycling 3 per cent.
Shall we call this progress or acceptance?
Because restrictions on vehicles’ carbon emissions are likely to increase, there is enormous interest in how best to balance citizens’ desire to use cars against the need to improve their health, protect the environment and reduce congestion. The question is whether the carrot, such as the provision of better public transport, is more effective than the stick – for example, charging for road use.
Despite venturing into the failings of one-sided policies (the carrot rather than the stick), once again this article like many many many too many debates devolves into either/or worthlessness, rather than focusing on cities availing citizens to the utmost mobility through choice, while properly designing their cities to function efficiently and be beautiful at the same time.
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This is fun. At Jalopnik, 11 historic railway stations and what we, in our infinite wisdom, replaced them with. An example from Birmingham, AL:

Eleven Gorgeous Train Stations Lost To The Wrecking Ball

Eleven Gorgeous Train Stations Lost To The Wrecking Ball

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And lastly, a wonderful article on what to do in Detroit by a local pastor, "Don't Fix Detroit, Re-invent it." The moment I first saw the link appear in my inbox, I said to myself the exact same thing the author states early in his piece:
Historically, people have always wanted to "fix" Detroit. Fixing presupposes that the way something already works is fine, but that it is only temporarily inoperable. It assumes that how a thing normally works is OK. But Detroit doesn't need "fixing," it needs "innovative reinvention."