• The New Yorker

    I wish I’d written this: a seven-point prescription for using energy more efficiently. It’s written from the perspective of a Manhattan resident, but the advice makes just as much sense for Cascadia. The author is an economist, and it shows: all of his energy-saving prescriptions are about pricing. There’s no mention of R&D, or emerging technologies, or changing people’s mindsets about energy. Just ideas about how to change the way...
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  • Taking All Our Money – #25

    When, oh when, will Eric end this Ahab-like fixation on the takings ballot measures? Don’t hold your breath. Yesterday, Washington’s Office of Financial Management released estimates of the financial impact of Initiative 933. It’s not pretty. Analysts are ballparking the costs to taxpayers at between $7.3 and $9 billion over the next six years. I won’t get into the technical details today—partly because I haven’t studied the analysis carefully yet....
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  • Car-less Vacation, Five Lessons

    Our car-less family vacation in Vancouver, BC, was a big success. Here’s a full report, for those of you who shared your own car-lessvacation stories and are interested in such things. For the rest of you, you might want to skim the travelogue to find the five lessons I draw. The only nail-biter (if you can call it that) was the very first leg of the trip, which resembled the...
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  • Free Ride Zone

    In addition to proposing a small sales tax increase to expand bus service, King County is also proposing to raise bus fares by an average of 75 cents over the next decade. That got me scratching my head about the bizarre way that we price bus rides. The incentives are precisely the reverse of what they should be. Leaving aside discounts for children, seniors, and the disabled, the fare structure...
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  • Your Big Back Yard

    “Density without ripping out single-family housing.” That’s how one proponent described new rules that would allow some Seattle homeowners to turn detached garages or other backyard structures into apartments. It’s a great idea. Putting an apartment in your back yard can let your neighborhood accomodate new residents without changing its character. From the street, the neighborhood looks the same; the only change is that more people get to enjoy it....
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  • Lessons From Bogota

    Very worth reading: a Tyee article about the former mayor of Bogota, Columbia, who catalyzed sweeping reforms in the capital city: Enrique Peñalosa presided over the transition of a city that the world—and many residents—had given up on. Bogota had lost itself in slums, chaos, violence, and traffic…He built more than a hundred nurseries for children. He built 50 new public schools and increased enrolment by 34 percent. He built...
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  • Carless Experiment’s 15 Minutes

    On Friday, CNN spent 7 hours following Amy and me around, and interviewing our kids, about living on a low-car diet. The resulting 2.5-minute segment appeared on Anderson Cooper 360 on Monday. And you can watch the clip online on CNN’s technology page. (Look in the green box on the right side of the page called “Watch Free Video.” Look for the story, “Save the planet, ditch your car.” Oh,...
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  • Solutions for Healthier Communities

    Individuals and institutions can take simple steps to create compact, complete communities that enable residents to get around without a car and encourage physical activity and connections among neighbors.
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  • Get On The Bus

    What would it take to get me out of my car? I mean that as a serious question, not a rhetorical one.  Unique among my colleagues, I’m a car commuter. Well, really, I carpool. My wife and I both work in downtown Seattle, and we’ve chosen to put our two daughters in a daycare that’s close to our offices.  So, even though bus commuting is definitely an option in my...
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  • Rush Hour, By the Numbers

    Sorry to be so Seattle-centric…but this post about Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct got me thinking. If the Viaduct is closed—whether for construction of a tunnel or a new aerial highway, or to make way for green space and a surface street—what happens to rush hour?  Does traffic in downtown Seattle get hopelessly snarled, and stay that way for at least 3 years?  Or do city transportation pllaners have some reasonable...
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