• Cascadia Scorecard: Easing Off the Gas?

    (Listen to the KUOW story on gasoline trends.) One of the most striking findings from this year’s Cascadia Scorecard (just released today, by the way) is that northwesterners are using less gasoline. In fact, per person gas consumption on the Northwest’s roads and highways has fallen by nearly a tenth since the late 1990s. To put the recent declines in context: cutting gas consumption by nearly a tenth is equivalent...
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  • More What "Bike Friendly" Looks Like

    Separate bikeways are the lead actors in bike-friendly cities, but many supporting actors complete the cast: bikes on transit facilities, good traffic law enforcement, even bike “lifts” on steep hills. Three more worth mentioning are blue lanes, parking cages, and cyclibraries. 1. Blue lanes. My youngest son often bikes to drama rehearsals. It’s about three miles, mostly on traffic-calmed neighborhood streets and a bike trail—pretty good bikeways, overall. The only parts...
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  • Social Engineering Watch

    Get this: not spending tax dollars to build a parking garage is “social engineering,” according to a column in today’s P-I. Go figure.
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  • Social Engineering, Soviet Style

    [UPDATE 5/14/07: Seattle’s innovative mixed income development, New Holly, is also “social engineering,” according to the Seattle Times. I guess it’s because policymakers had an objective in mind when they made policies.] I keep seeing the phrase “social engineering” used to describe policies that don’t kowtow to the car. See, for example, this inexplicable subhead about a third of the way through a P-I story. Not only is this usage...
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  • What Bill Rees Said

    As Kristin notes below, Vancouver Sun let Candadian eco-guru David Suzuki guest-edit an issue today. There’s lots of good stuff in there, but I think my favorite article in the day’s paper was this interview with UBC prof. Bill Rees—perhaps because his point of view reinforces my own biases: “It’s very difficult for a person living in a North American city to have a sound lifestyle, because the context in...
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  • Car-head

    (This is the first post in a new series.) In the fall of 2000, in broad daylight, I pedaled straight into the tail of a stationary Jeep Cherokee. The SUV, parked in a cycling lane, complained noisily: its alarm wailed. I dusted off my bike shorts (and ego) and checked the damage. The truck was unscathed, of course. My knee was lightly bruised where it had hit the ground. My...
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  • Spoke Plan, Washington

    The Full Draft of the Seattle Master Bicycle Plan was released last week. It’s deliciously chockfull of purple squares, blue triangles, and orange lines, which add up to new bicycle lanes and boulevards. Just as enticing are the plan’s goals of tripling the number of bicycle trips by 2017, while reducing by one-third the rate of crashes.But the full plan—the $240 million, 10-year version—lacks at least two critical elements to...
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  • The Bridge and Tunnel Crowd

    Even by the weird and hysterical standards of Seattle’s great viaduct debate, something very strange is going on. The weirdness has got to do with what I’ll call the “equity argument” — that our treatment of the viaduct should not discriminate against workers. Good. Fair enough. No doubt most of us agree: voters and policymakers should be attentive to ordinary- and lower-income folks when making decisions. But what’s strange is this: according to the...
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  • Sightline Does the Math on the Seattle Viaduct

    Sightline research director Clark Williams-Derry analyzes the Seattle viaduct debate and comes to a few simple conclusions: roads are expensive, rush hour is the worst problem, and the differences between short- and long-term consequences.
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  • The High Road?

    Good news! The Rose City has irked the Federal Highway Administration. Why? Because it’s, um, centering its new transportation plan around people instead of roads.   Metro is trying something different with the current plan update—giving the highest priority to projects that support the region’s goals for coping with growth, whether that means more roads, more transit or more bicycle lanes. The response from the FHA:   The highway agency scolded...
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