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Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

Here’s a really interesting article from the L.A. Times. A new study points to the fact that teenagers in America are much less interested in cars than they used to be.

The goal was to gauge the perceptions of Generation Y (those born in the 1980s and early 1990s) toward the automotive industry in general as well as toward specific vehicle brands. The analysis focused on “teens” (ages 12 to 18) and “early careerists” (22 to 29).

According to J.D. Power, “online discussions by teens indicate shifts in perceptions regarding the necessity of and desire to have cars.”

American teenagers without a set of wheels? James Dean, who drove a ’49 Mercury to fame in the 1955 movie “Rebel Without a Cause,” must be spinning in his grave.

Part of the reason could be economic, the study said. During the worst recession since the 1930s, the cost of owning a car probably makes less sense than it did when gas was 30 cents a gallon and every red-blooded American teenager yearned for a Chevy Camaro or a Pontiac GTO.

Later the article points out that China is wild about cars and could save the auto industry. I have a friend at work who is Chinese and he told me as much. He’s lived in the U.S. since he was 16 and recently went home to visit. He said everyone from his family wanted a car and talked a lot about cars. He described feeling the need to try and convince them that cars weren’t really that big of a deal once you had them. He wished he could get them to just trust that eventually the country would get tired of the automobile.

It’s funny, isn’t it? We’re riding our bikes more here, and China is driving cars more.

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I tend to pay attention to the news stories about pedestrians and cyclists getting killed by cars. I do this because I am a bicycle commuter and a frequent walker. Quite frankly, cars scare the shit out of me.

While cycling home yesterday and encountering yet another close call with a car situation, I thought of a news story of a young girl who was killed in a crosswalk in Shoreline several years ago. And then I thought to myself, oh my God, my grandmother died in a crosswalk. My grandmother was killed by a car while crossing the street in a crosswalk. The only grandmother I ever had.

I’m not writing this to elicit sympathy from my readers. This happened in the early 90’s and I’m over it. In fact, what was disturbing to me about my memory yesterday was the fact that I don’t believe I was ever traumatized by this fact of my life. The event happened. My grief passed, so much so that when I think of pedestrian safety I think of news stories before I think of my own family’s experience. It’s very odd to feel this way. Reflecting on it makes me think I am a very cold person.

There was something of a trial. The driver was old and the sun was in his eyes. Of course, I always think that if you can’t see you shouldn’t be moving forward. I don’t think anything happened to him. The sad thing about pedestrian, cyclist, motorist and motorcycle deaths is that if the perpetrator wasn’t drunk then s/he usually just gets a slap on the wrist. Of course the fact that it’s not a DUI certainly doesn’t change the fact that your loved one died.

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since I was a kid. In Saratoga Springs New York, a student had his bike confiscated for riding his bike to school.

While hundreds of area workers pedaled their way to work last Friday as participants in the national Bike to Work Day, one woman and her son were scolded for breaking the rules.

Janette Kaddo Marino and her son, Adam, 12, wanted to participate in the commuting event, so the two set off to Maple Avenue Middle School on bicycles May 15. The two pedaled the 7 miles from their east side home, riding along a path that extends north from North Broadway straight onto school property.

After they arrived, mother and son were approached first by school security and then school administrators, who informed Marino that students are not permitted to ride their bikes to school.

Can you imagine? Riding your bike to school is as American as apple pie. Later the principal of the schools says you can’t even walk to school.

He said the district’s policy does not allow students to ride or walk to schools outside of the city’s urban core.

The concern appears to be child abduction and traffic accidents.

There is no doubt in my mind that by riding my bike to work, I am taking a greater risk to my life than if I were to ride the bus to work. I’m not familiar with the stats, but perhaps I am even taking a greater risk than were I to drive to work. But life is about balance, and I know how hard it is for me to fit in exercise into my schedule. What’s great about biking is that it doesn’t take me any longer to ride my bike than it does to take the bus, so I am getting a lot of exercise without spending any additional time in the day to do it.

I look at the health risks of obesity and I weigh it against the risk of riding my bike to work. I think it’s a good risk. The more people there are like me, the safer our streets get. As communities get used to seeing bicycles on the road, they drive safer to accomodate them. It’s a no-brainer.

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Like Carhenge for instance in Alliance Nebraska.

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Here’s an article in the Seattle PI about a proposed tunnel as a replacement to an elevated highway that currently exists.

The caption on the picture.

The tunnel option to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct would have two lanes in each direction and would extend from approximately South Royal Brougham Way to Harrison Street. This scenario also includes a pair of northbound and southbound one-way streets using Alaskan Way and Western Avenue.

A portion from the article.

The new four-lane highway also would be double-decked inside the tunnel, which would be bored under First Avenue and extend from the sports stadiums to Harrison Street, north of the Battery Street Tunnel.

And the picture:

Let me begin.

1. The picture obviously does not display a tunnel.

2. It isn’t double-decked.

3. There are 3 lanes of traffic on each side. Not 4 lanes. Even if we assume that they meant 2 lanes in each direction, which is what I believe is in the proposal, there are clearly 3 lanes on each side.

4. Both directions of traffic are on the same plane.

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My new commute

Two things have changed in my life: the location where I live and the location where I work. Happily, these two are quite compatible although bus service is sadly lacking. My bus should take me all of twenty minutes to get me to and from work. But here’s how it really went.

Day 1, Route 355: 30 minutes late consequently unbelievably packed bus with another 355 just behind it. Only just enough behind it that all of us squeezed onto the first one.

Day 2, Route 48: 15 minutes late unbelievably packed.

Day 3, Route 48: I saw the 4:54 bus rolling away at 4:53. I could not cross the street in time.  The bus was empty. The next bus at 5:14 was 15 minutes late, and as the minutes ticked by I knew that bus was going to be busier and busier. It was and the one just behind it was equally packed.

Day 6 – 10: I ride my bicycle. All is bliss.

My commute is about 25-30 minutes. I don’t have to wait or rush. I can leave at will. This must be how car commuters feel. Even in the rain, I prefer to ride my bike. Sure, there are death-defying moments everyday, but I do receive a health benefit at the same time.

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Pimped up Yugos

This BBC story must be seen to be believed, so do click.

A search on Flickr also revealed the following:

Via TheDamnMushroom

Via Sherlock77

Via BizzareRecords

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