If you—like me—missed this great interview last week in which Mike McGinn deconstructs the evolution of Seattle’s “bikelash” politics, now’s your time to go read the whole thing. The Bicycle Story’s Josh Cohen sat down with the former Seattle mayor for a deep dive on why bike infrastructure became so divisive during his tenure, how improvements that make streets safer for everyone were branded as his pet projects, and how smart activism has changed the debate. My favorite quote: “I have a theory that every city that decides to do biking seriously has to kind of go through a passage where everyone just loses it. Then once you get through that and you actually start implementing projects and everyone has the opportunity to have their say, you get to the other side. And we’re at the other side now.”


Sightline’s stormwater maven Lisa Stiffler published two extra timely articles this week about getting through the holidays without accumulating so much stuff. She interviews Zero-Waste Holidays author Bea Johnson and reviews SoKind, an online gift registry that prioritizes experiential presents over material ones.


Several Washington cities are rolling out bike share programs, including Seattle, Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, and Redmond. Locals can learn more about alternative and active transportation choices at a roundtable on December 11 at noon at the Burien City Hall.


What the World Doesn’t Need Are Steampunk Luxury Condos” is not an article in The Onion. (But it sure reminds me of one.)

I missed this superb NYT data visualization in September: it shows just how much better long-acting reversible contraceptives such as copper IUDs and hormonal implants are. Also note the huge gap between the actual effectiveness and the theoretical effectiveness of many methods. Wow! (Valerie wrote about the new revolution in contraceptives last year.)


Sightline’s pals at Moonshadow Mobile made it into The Economist for their groovy, lightning-fast visualizations of urban demographic data. Go Moonshadow!

Over at City Observatory, the redoubtable Joe Cortright blasts Portland Metro’s “Climate Smart Communities Plan” for setting low expectations on driving trends. The plan assumes that Portlandia will have more driving per capita than the “business as usual” trend that WSDOT is now projecting north of the Columbia River.

For most of the past decade, traffic forecasters in New Zealand have consistently overestimated growth in vehicle travel. Behold:

It looks a lot like the traffic forecasts we’ve seen in the US, no?

Over at Time Magazine, Nick Cunningham explains why coal export projects are failing financially.

Sightline’s pals at Moonshadow Mobile made it into The Economist for their groovy, lightning-fast visualizations of urban demographic data. Go Moonshadow!


In case you missed it, just before Thanksgiving the New York Times published a pair of deeply reported and visually stunning interactive features about the oil industry in North Dakota’s Bakken: The Downside of the Boom and Where Oil and Politics Mix. The NYT also produced some genuinely staggering graphics depicting what North Dakota oil drilling lines would look like if they were above ground.

Speaking of volatile shale oil and meddling in politics, the Columbian reported that the Tesoro oil train-to-tanker site planned on the Columbia River would be the largest such facility in the country. The editorial page also pointed out that the project proponents, recently re-branded as “Vancouver Energy” have a history of subterfuge. That’s exactly what we’ve been saying. Also, law-breaking, pollution, and influence-peddling.

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  • In other Northwest fossil fuel news, federal analysts have determined that the controversial liquefied natural gas terminal planned for Coos Bay, Oregon would be the second biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon. (LNG plants require tremendous amounts of energy to convert the gas into a transportable liquid.) It would be surpassed only by the coal plant at Boardman, a plant that is scheduled to phase-out coal use entirely by 2020. It’s a perfect example of the question now facing the Northwest: will the region’s clean energy leadership be overwhelmed by a rush of fossil fuel export schemes?

    Seattle activist Sue Joerger has begun tracking the hazardous substance rail cars that move past the Shilshole neighborhood. Here’s what she found.

    There’s new evidence that “the way you parent a child is not going to have a detectable effect on their IQ as long as that parenting is within normal bounds.”

    Frank Rich interviewed Chris Rock. I highly recommend reading the transcript.

    In Seattle Met magazine, writer David Laskin has a superbly written account of the way one family faced the disastrous Carlton complex fire in eastern Washington last summer.