Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Carbon Market Bailout Announced

Washington, D.C. November 18th, 2014 - MSM News - Today U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers was on Capitol Hill to push for his 1400 billion dollar bailout for several major banks involved in the sub-prime carbon storage crisis. "We cannot let critical environmental initiatives suffer because of the weaknesses of one sector." he argued.
The sub-prime carbon storage crisis was precipitated when Brazilian authorities abruptly reassessed the valuations of thousands of parcels of sequestered rainforest. There had been claims for years that the parcels were overvalued and allegations of conflicts of interest with the World Carbon Bank that sets the valuations, but the move by Brasilia was a surprise to many. As a result, said Summers, "many large banks in the U.S. with carbon structured investment vehicles are unable to determine what percent of such holdings are tainted by sub-prime carbon sequesters."

In other news, U.S. President Dick Cheney urged Americans to "stay the course" in the war in Turkmenistan, and not lose sight of the goals simply because of a few setbacks in military operations in Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. "We have to hang tough" he urged, speaking to a Rose Garden gathering of Tea-Partiers-for-Freedom at the White House today... read more at: MSM-News.com

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Your bumper sticker whispers "peace"...

but your tailpipe bellows "WAR."
  • autosprawl creates energy demand
  • energy demand empowers suppliers
  • suppliers need to control raw source regions
  • suppliers influence government
  • government invades raw source regions
  • government subsidizes autosprawl
==> to stop energy wars, stop the subidies.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Freedom from Car

I've been car-free since 1989. Since then, I've felt such a feeling of freedom that I can't imagine ever owning a car again. Young people are astutely realizing this: look at the leading causes of accidental death among young people. Look at the sunk costs and debt required to serve an automobile-centered life. Look at the lost time spent finding a parking space, parking, sitting in traffic, routine and non-routine maintenance, gassing up the car, and the rate of death for car drivers. Being free of all of this is the best possible feeling you can have.

I urge you to consider being car-free: you can do it by living close to what matters to you in an environment that has an existing infrastructure of walkable urbanism and alternative transportation. See if you can walk and bike to your major destinations. Choose your home close to transit lines. In the odd time you need a vehicle, rent one, use a zip car, or see about community car-sharing services. It is easy to be car free, and the freedom you gain from it is uniquely American. Cars, invented in the 19th century, popularized in the 20th, and worshipped by our grandparents, aren't a smart choice for the 21st century. JohnDecember, commenting on Planetizen

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Today is World Car-Free Day

2008 Car-Free Day in London, England
An estimated 50,000 cyclists joined the London Freewheel, Britain's biggest mass cycle ride.Link

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Enough to make the Onion jealous

Teabaggers want better public transit so they can protest government spending. Yes. You read that correctly. WallStreetJournalBlog [be sure to read the comments too, you are in for a treat]

Here is a sample of the comments...
I guess WAMTA made the logical assumption that all the self-sufficient, government-hatin’, freedom-defendin’ Tea Party crowd would rather have been caught dead rather than use a socialist, one-size fits-all, government-run, public-option transit system. Surely their belief in the superiority of the free market in providing all services should have prompted them to support hard-working, taxi-driving entrepreneurs rather than than the lazy, inefficient, unionized workers who try to keep Metro running despite chronic underfunding from Congressmen like Brady. Who would have known that these modern day Paul Reveres and Thomas Paines would have betrayed their ideals just to avoid a little traffic and some parking difficulties?...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

West Memphis, Arkansas can have it, why can't we?

...On Thursday, officials from West Memphis and MATA met to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their collaboration. Offering free bus service wasn't a popular idea, said West Memphis Mayor Bill Johnson.
"We were criticized. They said it wouldn't be utilized, it wasn't necessary and people wouldn't ride it," Johnson said. "We average over 20,000 (riders) a month."... Commercial Appeal

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tired of looking for parking?

Septa and Phlash get you to Penn's Landing with no parking to worry about. Imagine if they were fare-free. There would be much more freedom of movement, less congestion, and fewer cars circling center city blocks looking for a place to park.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Medhanie Estiphanos - Free Public Transportation

Where do you stand on residential parking permits? [from myasara] What about congestion pricing? [from Mike]

Medhanie Estiphanos: My goal is to lift as many cars off the road as possible as they are bad for our environment, health, and economy. This is why I am a strong advocate for free public transportation. However as a former resident of California and former habitual driver, I also see the need for and appreciate residential parking permits. Therefore, I support it.
Medhanie Estiphanos.
Regarding congestion pricing, I fully support it as long as the revenue generated by congestion pricing goes towards reducing the cost of public transportation. Implementing congestion pricing and allowing the cost of public transportation to continue to spiral upward does not at all address the lack of fairness in the City – because you will then make all transportation expensive.
Moreover, congestion pricing without cheap or free public transportation will reduce traffic in Manhattan but may increase it Brooklyn and the other boroughs. This would be very poor urban planning. NYTimes

Friday, August 28, 2009

Phila streetcars - 900M passengers/year

In Philadelphia, PA - USA: Over 900 Million passengers per year ride the streetcar system. This is great news. So great that we waited only 88 years to post it on this blog.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Car-free streets are good for business

Streetsblog analyzes L.A. envy of NYC car-free Times Square Days. Also -- the beans are spilled that business is better in car-free areas.

Foot traffic is up over 50% on both weekends and weekdays in Times Square, and the business-friendly Times Square Alliance forcefully backs the plan.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wildwood free trolley a hit with the tourists

Wildwood N.J.: This summer saw the debut of the "Dolly" a free trolley that runs on summer weekend evenings. It goes up Atlantic Avenue and down Pacific, north to 24th and south to Cresse. The trolley has steadily gained ridership over its initial season, according to the drivers.

Vacation is so much better without the stress of driving and the parking headaches. Try it out!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Causing traffic problems? Lock 'em up.

...All the developers over the years who built the houses which sprawl for scores of kilometres, making it almost inevitable that hundreds of thousands ... will use private vehicles to go to work, shop and go about their daily lives.
...Everyone who argues that wider and more roads are the solution to traffic problems, because all the evidence instead demonstrates more cars and therefore more congestion is the inevitable result. All those who choose to live too far from work to use public transit or walk or ride a bike.
...All those who object to well-planned densification of single family neighbourhoods.
...all those who promote an economic system that requires us to choose between ever more growth or the misery of depression/recession. In this car-addicted society that inevitably means more automobiles and therefore more traffic jams....

Gary Engler on Commondreams

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Debate on car culture, economics

Photo: Jose Fidelino Vera Hernandez / AP via StreetsBlog

Peter Smith on "hating cars"

...thankfully, a good percentage of us really do hate cars with the core of our beings, and some of us are unapologetic about it. many of us who hate cars still need to use them once in a while, but we don't apologize for the damage they do to our society day in and day out. what would be the basis for that?
i can only guess that the reason some people feel compelled to apologize for cars is that they really don't believe that cars and car culture are as destructive as they actually are. or maybe they're just afraid of a little criticism. how intentionally ignorant must one be, or how servile must one be, to grovel at the feet of car culture? seems a bit demented and sad.
we need a modern-day abolition movement to make illegitimate cars and car culture once and for all. ... comment by Peter Smith on GreaterGreaterWashington

Peter Smith on "greening cars" (same source)

What about the future "greening" of automobiles?
i suspect a Ford F150, a Toyota Prius, and a Chevy Volt could terrorize me and other cyclists and pedestrians equally well. that's only the very beginnings of why so many people have a great yet still growing distaste for autos.
hopefully local toxic emissions will drop, though i'm not so hopeful that 'greening' autos will have anything to do with it, if it happens. the Jevons effect might see to that. i'm more hopeful that we continue to knock down highways, calm streets, etc. --
these things will have real effects.
then we can start talking about all the ridiculous battery tech we've already started subsidizing. yikes. when we start looking at full energy lifecycles, fergeddaboutit -- 'greening' cars might be the worst idea we ever had. i'd rather we just let them fade away.
cars separate us from nature, which has myriad harmful direct and indirect effects --
like the killing/maiming of wildlife and human life, noise pollution from loud exhaust systems and rubber tires on pavement, a loss of appreciation for the natural environment - which helps us to continue to kill off myriad species, and with them all their secrets and successes and etc. Cars prevent people from walking and biking places they would otherwise walk and bike to. The effect of cars on the social fabric of the US, and ultimately our politics and policies, i think can scarcely be imagined. Think of all the right-wing hate radio that is propped up by our car-dependent society. The various economic costs of cars and car culture have been mentioned on this blog before -- fire, rescue, security, police, crime (carjacking, robbery, kidnapping, etc.), repair, insurance, fraud, etc. And surely the degradation of the value of human life by way of the yearly human slaughter on our roadways can't be good for society, can it?
Really, it's not a stretch to suggest that cars are 'the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world'.
The world without cars will be a much, much better place.

comments by Peter Smith on GreaterGreaterWashington

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Auto system falling down, falling down...

Crack in pillar supporting Interstate 95 in Philadelphia, PA. Taxpayers can't keep up with the trillion-dollar carbon-auto subsidy. We are stuck with an unsafe, unsustainable system. Meanwhile the tariff is maintained on transit users to discourage any alternative.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New York Mayor proposes free buses

Mayor Bloomberg lifted a page straight from the Kheel Plan playbook yesterday in calling on the MTA to make crosstown buses free [PDF]. Bus riders and transit advocates should be beaming.

m14.jpgPhoto of M14 bus: Kriston Lewis/Flickr.
Free buses will save bus riders time and money and will benefit everyone by luring some taxi and car users to transit and easing traffic gridlock. Ted Kheel recognized this as far back as the 1960s. Over the past year, he and I have quantified the benefits from free buses, and they're striking:
MTA Bus engineers recently clocked "dwell time" -- those maddening seconds and minutes taken up by passenger boarding -- on the Bx12 Limited route from 207th Street to Co-op City. A typical run takes 56 minutes and 17 seconds, with passenger stops consuming 16 minutes and 16 seconds -- nearly 30 percent. The engineers found that doing away with fare collection could slash dwell time on the Bx12 to 2 minutes 36 seconds: an 84 percent reduction and a 24 percent saving in total trip time. Read more Komanoff on Streetsblog

Friday, July 31, 2009

The 'Free Transit' option

...OK, let's look at the numbers.

How much would it cost? A lot less than the billions being thrown at Wall Street. In 2010, SEPTA expects to collect about $400 million in passenger revenue. Chump change in the new Washington, especially compared to the $1.1 billion it will spend. Not having to collect fares will certainly save a big chunk of change.

So let's upgrade the bus and rail lines. Let's get real security - effective transit police, with zero tolerance for misbehavior, and that includes loud music, graffiti, etc.

Let's spend $1 billion a year on Philadelphia's transportation system from 2010-2015. That's $6 billion. Let's make this investment in an effective regional system. Then let's see what happens. Make Philadelphia the nation's public-transit experiment.

Instead of spending billions to redo the South Street Bridge - scrap it. Build a walking and biking bridge. I don't know if anyone has noticed, but the Schuylkill Expressway runs a lot better without a South Street exit and entrance - they were death traps anyway....PhilaDailyNews