Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Undoing the Damage Done by Urban Freeways

The effort to remove or re-purpose existing freeways and heal the wounds they inflicted on cities continues with the near completion of park Madrid Rio in Madrid, Spain. Madrid Rio sits atop a six-mile stretch of tunnels that now house the old M-30 Freeway.

From yesterday's New York Times:
"All around the world, highways are being torn down and waterfronts reclaimed; decades of thinking about cars and cities reversed; new public spaces created."
New York City master planner Robert Moses famously drove freeways right through neighborhoods until urban activist Jane Jacobs stood up to him. Now, one of his creations, the Sheridan Expressway through the South Bronx, is closer to being torn down.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Shopping Malls Using High Tech to Help You Find a Parking Space

During the holiday season, I start thinking a lot about retail parking. It is only during this time of year when the sea of asphalt around most malls and shopping centers fills up.

Meandering through a parking deck or lot trolling for a space wastes gas, causes pollution, and diminishes the shopping experience. With shopping centers earning 40% of their annual sales during the six weeks leading to Christmas, they have a strong incentive to make sure customers have a parking space when they arrive.

Malls are now using electronic signage, smart phone apps, and even Twitter to ease the pain of trying to find a spot.

Read about it in the Wall Street Journal.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mass Transit Incentive to be Cut While Parking Incentive Stays the Same

Obscured in the debate over whether to extend the payroll tax cut is the possible loss of an incentive to take mass transit. If Congress takes no action (and it appears it won't), the tax-free fringe benefit for taking mass transit will be cut in half, while the benefit for driving to work stays the same. That sends a bad message.

Currently, your employer can give you up to $230/month pre-tax to cover your mass transit costs, the same as they can give you to pay to park your car. The transit benefit is set to go back down to $120 on January 1. That's where it was before the stimulus bill increased it to its current level. Granted, a monthly subway pass in many cities is less than $120 ($95 in Atlanta, $104 in New York City), but the monthly expense for commuter trains like the Long Island Railroad can run hundreds of dollars. The bottom line is cutting a benefit for commuting while leaving the parking benefit the same sends exactly the wrong message when policies should be encouraging people to leave their cars at or near their home.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How to Win Converts to Paid Parking

I, like many transportation consultants, spend a great deal of time trying to convince people that it is in their best interest, and that of their community, to charge for parking. Paid parking encourages all types of positive behavior including employees staying out of customer spaces, the use of alternative transportation, and the funding of needed infrastructure.

In a recent issue of Atlantic Cities, Emily Badger interviews Jeff Tumlin, a transportation consultant, about what it takes to sell paid parking. “Somebody who’s screaming about ‘parking needs to be free!’ I can sit down with them for 20 minutes and get them to understand,” he says. “But it takes a full 20 minutes. And in a world where everything has to be distilled into 15-second sound bites, it’s really hard to convince people on a large scale.”

Jeff goes on to say that new technology and services are making it easier to charge for parking. "The advent of pay-by-credit card technology allows cities to raise the price of parking to where enough people are turned away onto alternate forms of transportation, without upsetting the people who are now paying more. That’s the trick of credit cards (and a lesson plenty of other businesses have long understood): People don’t mind paying more for something when they don’t actually have to hand over that difference in cash (or coins)." I have often said that if you take something (i.e money to park) you have to give something (i.e. new ways to pay, better level of service).

But, one of the hardest arguments to overcome is the question as to wether or not paid parking charges are a burden on the poor? Well Jeff goes onto explain that,"The poorest people, he’s found, aren’t looking for parking because they don’t own cars. But among the rest of this demographic, he says surveys show that poor people also place an extremely high value on their time. They too often say they’re willing to pay a little more for parking if it means they don’t have to waste time looking for it."

Read the full story here.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A New Transportation Funding Paradigm

Leaders throughout the country are recognizing the limitations of federal aid and turning to voters to voluntarily increase their taxes or institute additional fees to improve the quality of their transportation networks. Will voters go along?

An article in "The Transport Politic" takes a close look at Seattle and Atlanta, each in the midst of its own effort to raise taxes and fees. In Atlanta, a regional initiative supported by political and business leaders across a ten-county area will advance a 1% sales tax to the ballot next November. Over half of the billions in locally raised funds is to be transferred to capital and operational programs. In Seattle, an enthusiastic mayor is articulating a grand, citywide strategy to bring high-quality transit to his city as quickly as possible. If approved by voters, a significant increase in the vehicle registration fee could mean rapid streetcars and more bus rapid transit."

The article goes on to discuss what it takes to pass such a tax/fee. The article reports on Mineta Transportation Institute's study examining eight case studies and determined that the importance of consensus among business, elected and environmental interest groups and a well orchestrated and savvy, well funded media message is critical to success.

Check out the article here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

When Should Property Owners Install Electric Car Charging Stations

A year ago, I never got questions about electric charges. Today, I get several inquiries from our clients each week. When a client asks whether or not they should install a charger, I first ask, "What are you trying to accomplish?" If they say, "I want to meet demand and maybe make some money," I explain that there is no demand yet, and the only reason they should install a charger today is for the PR purposes of being a first adopter. Or perhaps the client can take advantage of the tax breaks before they expire. I go on to say, "You do not want to install more than a couple chargers, but you may want to build in the infrastructure to expand later on if it takes off."

A recent article "Charging Stations Multiply But Electric Cars Are Few" in the Wall Street Journal explains why electric chargers are multiplying much faster than the plug-in vehicles that can use them. While the federal subsidies help, some in the business community believe that the chargers will attract customers.
"Charging equipment is popping up largely because of subsidies. As part of a $5 billion federal program to subsidize development of electric vehicles and battery technology, the U.S. Energy Department over the past two years provided about $130 million for two pilot projects that help pay for chargers at homes, offices and public locations."
Although the subsidies will not last forever, the cost of chargers will fall as production rises, meaning that if you wait, you will probably not pay much more than you would today with the subsidy.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Congestion Pricing Only True Road to Relief

How do you relieve traffic congestion? The assumption is that you either need to build more roads, more transit, or both. And most of the time, this pits transit advocates against road advocates. Well, maybe neither is necessary.

In a new study published in this month's American Economic Review and reported by Eric Jaffe for The Atlantic Cities called The Only Hope for Reducing Traffic, researchers contend that congestion pricing is the only solution to decrease congestion.

Two economists from the University of Toronto analyzed data and road capacity in U.S. cities from 1983 to 2003 and found that there is such an enormous latent demand for road space, they believe that whenever a new lane is built or a driver shifts onto public transportation, another driver quickly grabs the open space.

They believe congestion pricing programs are the only things that will decrease overall car use and delays during peak hours.

StreetFilms.org produced a video on congestion pricing in March:

The US DOT put out this report on congestion pricing in October 2008:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Why Motorcycles Get to Use HOV Lanes

Have you ever wondered why they allow motorcycles in HOV lanes? [Find out the REAL reason at the bottom of this post] I just assumed it was because they pollute less than cars. Well, I caught a recent episode of the Disney Channel's "Mythbusters" and was very surprised to find out that the car pollutes less than motorcycle.

Hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman collaborated with Kent Johnson, an assistant research engineer at the University of California at Riverside, to conduct the experiment:
"Three cars and three motorcycles, each built in either the 1980s, '90s or '00s, were fitted with tailpipe probes that measured the carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions of each vehicle over a closed course... In the end, Mr. Johnson observed that while the motorcycles burn fuel more efficiently and produce lower levels of carbon dioxide than the cars, the noxious pollutants generated by the bikes exceeded the levels generated by cars. Insofar as the hosts sought to determine the greenest mode of transport, the car won by virtue of its lower pollution profile."
Read the full story here, Source: New York Times, September, 30, 2011.

The REAL rationale behind allowing motorcycles to use HOV lanes is that it is safer to keep two-wheeled vehicles moving than to have them travel in start-and-stop traffic conditions, but states can choose to override this provision of federal law, if they determine that safety is at risk.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Can Freeways be Saved from Themselves?

When you think about a freeway, you think of a wide expanse of pavement, imposing retaining walls, limited landscaping, and a myriad of steel and concrete crossings. Driving on an interstate freeway is not a particularly pleasant experience.

I guess that is why motorists drive as fast as they can with their windows up. Can this experience be transformed into a more positive, memorable experience for the driver as well as the community that the freeway surrounds?

Atlanta leaders think so. They have created the Connector Transformation Project to explore ways to transform a five-mile stretch of Interstate 75/85 that bisects Midtown and downtown Atlanta. This effort will look at bringing art, vegetation, lighting and sustainability to what some consider a very unforgiving place.

Video about the project
Article about the Project
Project Facebook Page

Below are examples of other communities around the globe who have made an effort to beautify their freeways.
Houston, TX
Seattle, WA
Los Angeles, CA.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bike and Pedestrian Funding Facing the Budget Ax

In a few days, the U.S. Senate may vote on a measure to eliminate the primary sources of funds for all dedicated federal bike and pedestrian projects. Opponents of the funding say during these tough times, all of our precious transportation dollars should go to roads.

The pro-bike and pedestrian group "Transportation for America" is encouraging like-minded folks to tell their senators to "oppose any mvoe to eliminate the Transportation Enhancement (TE) program."

NPR aired a story about the controversy on Thursday.

What do you think? Let your voices be heard.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Will Car Drivers Fight Efforts to Make Transit Fashionable?

So, you're driving down the road and you spot a person traveling on foot, or perhaps a cyclist in business attire. Maybe someone waiting for the bus. What is your perception of that person? Do you feel sorry for them? Or are you irritated by their smug sense of superiority? Or both? Can you feel both of these things at the same time?

I'm reminded of a piece in Planetizen last December in which Brian Ladd describes how transit is appealing more to riders of choice, contradicting the belief, often reinforced by politicians, that public transit is for people who have no choice.
When a Los Angeles bus rider asked presidential candidate George W. Bush about transit improvements in 2000, Bush responded, "My hope is that you will be able to find good enough work so you'll be able to afford a car." Bush was undoubtedly sincere. Like many Americans—probably most—he saw a bus (like a bicycle) as a nothing more than a pathetic substitute for a car.
How we feel about people who use alternative forms of transportation affects policy and ultimately the resources we spend on them. Ladd worries that as alternative transportation becomes more fashionable, car drivers will adopt a bunker mentality and try to demonize policies that favor bikes, trains, and buses.

Just remember, for every person you see on foot, on a bike, or waiting for a bus, that represents one car that is NOT in your way.

Monday, August 8, 2011

What to Do About a Lack of Crosswalks: Prosecute Pedestrians?

The issue of providing safe crossing for pedestrians has been front and center ever since the national media took notice of the Raquel Nelson story in Atlanta. Ms. Nelson was convicted of vehicular homicide because her four-year-old son was hit and killed as the family crossed a four-lane road. There were no crosswalks nearby.

From Atlanta to Mumbai, the transportation infrastructure has deemed cars a far higher priority than pedestrians. The result is soaring pedestrian death rates.

The Times of India reports "nearly 78% of road fatalities are pedestrians," a result of the country's focus on widening roads to accommodate the surge in cars.

Policies in most American cities aren't that different, with transportation and transit planners' single purpose being to move as many cars through an area as fast as possible. The solution isn't how to eliminate the cars but how to slow them down to accommodate other modes.

Ben Welle, assistant project manager of Health and Road Safety at EMBARQ, says “The thing to remember is that the one thing that is always involved in a car crash is a car, so slowing them down through good design and shifting trips through high quality mass transit, walking and biking facilities can really reduce risk.”

To read more about Raquel Nelson's story and the issues they have raised check out the following links:
Pedestrian Infrastructure Essential to Safer Roads Worldwide - The CityFIX

Georgia Mom Convicted of Vehicular Homicide For Crossing Street With Kids

Prosecuting the Victim, Absolving the Perpetrators

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Collier's Parking Rate Survey and Results for 2011

The results of Colliers International's 2011 Parking Rate Survey are in for the U.S., Canada, and the rest of the world.

The U.S. national median monthly parking rate is $155.22, with the highest being midtown Manhattan at $541. Reno, Nevada is the cheapest at $45. In Canada, Calgary topped out at $486 followed by Toronto at $342 and Montreal at $305.

Globally, the most expensive cities to park in are London at an average of $1,084 a month, Zurich at $822, Rome at $719, Hong Kong at $745, Tokyo at $744 and Perth, Australia at $717.

When compared with previous years, it appears despite the strengthening economy owners and operators are holding the line on parking rates. There was little change from 2010. In the U.S., medium monthly parking rates have dropped 0.2% since 2010, and most cities were found to have between "fair" and "limited" parking, with few exceptions.

Check out the study here.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The State of the American Highway System

Over the past few years we have been hearing a lot about the nation's failing infrastructure and how we can not afford to maintain or rebuild it. Well, Zach Rosenberg of "Car and Driver Magazine," paints a very bleak picture of our broken highway system and the challenges to fixing it in, "The State of the Union's Roads: An Investigative Report."
Zach explains that the Interstate Highway System, which is the backbone of the United States four million miles of roads, has reached the end of its useful life. Designed to last only 20-30 years, these roads are pushing 50 years old, and there just isn't the political will and/or the money to replace them.

Rosenberg gives a brief history of the highway system, its funding, and how its role has changed and been used far beyond its capacity. One example Rosenberg cites is the Tampense bridge in New York City, which was designed to handle 18,000 cars a day. It now carries 150,000.

"This is the era of the worn-out highway, of the traffic jam, of endless commutes, of road rage. Beltways and bypasses will not help you. We demand more, far more, than the interstates were built to withstand."

Not a pretty picture.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Service Tracks Shuttle Buses in Real Time

Lanier Parking Solutions is more than an innovator in the parking industry. We are an innovator in the transportation field. Last week, Lanier Parking Solutions in partnership with Atlantic Station and TransLoc launched a real-time shuttle bus locator at Atlantic Station. You can go on-line and see the two hybrid electric buses moving along the route.

"This technology has allowed Lanier to get greater efficiency out of the vehicles, helping customers and saving the client money," explained Steven Taff, Lanier's Atlanta GM.

Check it out here or download the smartphone app online.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Is Your Commute Killing You?

This week, researchers at Umea University in Sweden released a startling finding that suggests people with longer commutes suffer disproportionate pain, stress, obesity, and dissatisfaction. So why do they do it? Often, it is to get more house for the money. But they fail to take into account the real cost and time spent commuting.

This study indicates the real cost goes well beyond the gas in your car.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Parking Made Simple Via New Application

It was only a matter of time before technology eliminated many of the hassles associated with parking. A new app called "Parking" makes it easy to find a spot, pay for it, and even find your car when you return. Streetline, a California start-up, is the maker.
From GreentechEnterprise: The idea of finding a spot more easily, and collecting data about them, is appealing to drivers, merchants and cities alike. "Parking is a great unsolved problem," said Zia Yusuf, CEO of Streetline. He pointed to a study from UCLA that found that in just one 15-block area of Los Angeles, about 30 percent of traffic involved people looking for parking, a figure that added up to nearly one million excess vehicle miles in a year in that small areas.
It appears the opportunities are limitless for Parker, which can also find Zipcars, handicap spaces, and electric charging stations.

Check out the full story

Download the app

Friday, April 29, 2011

Plug-In Electric Webinar a Success

I want to thank everyone who participated in our first ever Lanier webinar. More than 20 people from a dozen cities across the U.S. took part. The topic, Plug-In Electric Vehicles, could not have been more timely with over 1,000,000 electric vehicle slated to hit the streets by 2015, which means that 2,000,000 charging station need to be installed by then.

I also want to thank our speaker Don Francis, Executive Director Clean Cities Atlanta for taking the time to join us. Here is a copy of the presentation.

Here are two other excellent resources:
Utility Industry National Plug In Vehicle Initiative - GOElectricdrive
USDOE Alternative Fuel Data Cetner - Alt Fuels & Advanced Vehicle Data Cetner
If you have a topic you would like to see addressed in our next webinar, please let us know.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Zipcar IPO Draws Huge Attention in the Financial World

Congratulations to Zipcar on its successful IPO. Zipcar, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZIP), the "wheels when you want them" company with which Lanier partnered to bring to Atlanta in 2007, raised over $174 million in its initial offering, 31 percent more than they sought.
Check out the article here.
Carsharing companies declined to enter the Atlanta market until Lanier Parking Solutions struck a deal with Flexcar, which Zipcar acquired in 2008. Lanier provided access to its more than 100,000 Atlanta parking spaces for the placement of cars in high-profile locations. It also promoted Zipcar and offered discounted Zipcar membership through Lanier's website.
Since I gave up my personal car three months ago, I have had several occasions to use Zipcar. It's a great way to "complete the trip," going where public transportation doesn't.
Give it a try, and tell me what you think!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Plug-In Electric Vehicles Webinar 4/27

Lanier Parking Solutions will hold our first ever Webinar on "Plug-In Electric Vehicles" on Wednesday, April 27, 2011, from 10:00-Noon EDT. If you have not heard, plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) are coming. You know about hybrids such as hybrid-electric Toyota Prius, but they were just the first step in a long evolution toward virtually emission free, high mile-per-gallon or gasoline-free vehicles.

The next frontier is the PEV electric-powered car. This year, dozens of PEV's will start to appear in automobile dealership showrooms and rental car fleets throughout the country. These PEV's won't go as far as a conventional vehicle between refueling, so they will need a place to plug-in and recharge. Charging for three or four hours at a gas station makes no sense, but changing stations in parking garages does.

Learn about how your parking deck can play a role in EV infrastructure.

  • Learn about the different types of electric vehicle charging equipment.

  • Learn about the different management solutions (access control, profit sharing, free).

  • Learn about the different costs and incentives from the public sector.

The Webinar is being offered by Lanier Parking Solutions through a partnership with Clean Cities - Atlanta. The speaker is Don Francis, Executive Director, Clean Cities Atlanta. View Don's bio.

The Webinar is free but requires registration.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Car free for three months

It's nearly three months since I went car free, so I'd like to report on several observations (good and bad) from my experience.
  1. GOOD: I really enjoy my commute, which includes a 15-minute walk to MARTA and a 15-minute train ride. That half hour feels more like 10 minutes. When I drove to work, it took about 10 minutes but felt like 30. I think my alternative commute feels shorter because of how fast I travel. When I walk, I travel at a speed that allows me to experience more things (birds, trees, cars, retail). When I drive, I travel at a speed that only allows me to experience other cars, and the reality is that other cars are not that interesting.
  2. BAD: It was much harder to completely give up my car than I thought. My car is 20 years old, and is completely paid off, so I struggled with completely getting rid of it. Of course keeping it in the driveway and not driving it was not an option. That would be like keeping a piece of chocolate cake in the fridge and not eating it. Instead, I decided to loan it long-term to a friend. Out of sight, out of mind.
  3. BAD: When walking is a major part of your commute, a bum ankle can be debilitating. In late February, I thought I sprained my ankle while playing with my daughter. It turned out to be a slight break. I told the doctor a boot and cruches were not an option, so he suggested an air cast, which would allow for greater mobility, but only limited walking. Thank goodness for Jana Senator, who works in my department and lives less than a mile away. She was willing to carpool with me. After a few weeks, I was back on my feet.
  4. GOOD: The commuter bike is a great alternative to walking. I spent the past month getting my commuter bike ready. I put on new handle bars and pedals and look forward to adding fenders and a rack. I live less than three miles from the office, so I can bike to and from work and barely break a sweat. I'm now more aware of how many other people commute by bike. On Edgewood Ave. during rush hour, a bike goes by every minute, so I don't feel alone amid a sea of cars. The other thing I am aware of is that Peachtree Street is on a ridge (which is why buffalo and later Native Americans wore a path on it), so no matter where you are in the city, if you are heading toward Peachtree, you will go up hill at some point. Thank goodness it isn't a very high ridge.
  5. GOOD: Combining transportation modes really works. When I combine bike, transit, and Zipcar, I can get anywhere in the City. Friday was a good example. I left my house at 8 a.m. and arrived at a Zipcar in 10 mintes. I locked my bike, got in, and drove to a meeting in Cobb County by 9 a.m. After the meeting, I drove back to the Zipcar location Downtown and biked a few blocks to work. With a 12:30 pm lunch meeting in Midtown, I didn't have time to bike the whole way, so I biked to MARTA, caught the train from Peachtree Center to Arts Center and biked one block, arriving in less than 15 minutes. After lunch, I rode my bike across town to Piedmont Park for a 2 p.m. meeting. From there, I headed back to the office Downtown for a 3:30 meeting. At the end of the day, I rode home. I got everywhere I needed to be, spent nothing on gas, and burned a few calories. Combine modes works.
  6. GOOD: Zipcar is an amazing service [disclosure: Lanier is a partner in Zipcar Atlanta]. Without it, I am not sure I could make this no car thing work. Walking, biking, and MARTA are great, but they limit where I can go. Zipcar truly allows me to extend the trip in those rare cases when I need it. And it's cheap. I am spending about $100 per month on Zipcar. Before giving up my car, I was spending that much on gas alone, not to mention insurance and maintenance.
No doubt, the good far outweighs the bad. Please give it a try, and tell me about your experience.
Happy commuting!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Moving Beyond the Automobile

Streetfilms, known for "documenting livable streets worldwide," has begun a ten-part video series called Moving Beyond the Automobile that focuses on non-automobile transportation in cities across the U.S. The films highlight a movement away from the auto as a primary source of transportation to other modes.

The available films include transit oriented development, carsharing, bicycling, with traffic calming, bus rapid transit. Others will follow. All of these ideas are practical and realistic and are becoming more acceptable as gas prices rise and cities look for ways to relieve congestion at lower costs.

Streetfilms has talked to dozens of transportation authorities across the country to bring these ideas to life. These include well-respected voices such as former Bogotá mayor Enrique Peñalosa, Tri-state Transportation's Kate Slevin, Commissioner of NYC Department of Transportation Janette Sadik-Khan, Portland's Mayor Sam Adams, former four-term Milwaukee Mayor and President of the Congress for New Urbanism John Norquist.

I recommend you make these films regular viewing.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Parking Management: A Contribution Toward Livable Cities

WOW!!!! I just came across this excellent parking management resource called Parking Management: A Contribution Towards Livable Cities released by GTZ's Sustainable Urban Transportation Project. You can download it here or read a summary here.

The booklet is written by Tom Rye, Professor of Transportation & Mobility Management at Edinburgh Napier University. It is a fantastic resource, chock full of policy management options and case studies to match. It focuses on developing countries, but many of its lessons can be applied across the globe.

"The message is that parking is a vital urban and transport resource that needs to be efficiently managed. Proper parking management would reduce the need to travel longer distances, reduce the amount of short trips, and also initiate a modal shift to other climate friendly modes of travel."
If you believe, like me, that parking management is a tool for serving wider goals in transportation policy and urban planning, you will certainly like this piece.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Snow Piles Should Inspire Road Designers

I have often argued that the design of a road or intersection has more to do with bad driving behavior (i.e. speeding, fast turning) than the skill of the drivers themselves. It's hard to fault a driver who speeds through an intersection with a wide, sweeping turn radius. I mean, that is what the design is asking the driver to do.

As a result, it is up to planners and engineers to get educated about traffic calming techniques, such as neckdowns or curb extensions that slow traffic down. Check out the following video that illustrates how snow has created safer crossings where planners and engineers have failed.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bike Lanes and Sidewalks Caught in Pork Battle

The reauthorization of the next surface transportation bill is starting to heat up as the new congress gets back to business. The Senate recently held a hearing to discuss the bill, and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has committed to getting it passed.

The legislation has the long, winding name "The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users." That's SAFETEA-LU for short. It's a funding and authorization bill that governs U.S. federal surface transportation spending. President Bush signed it into law in August 2005. It expired in September 2009. Congress approved  several extensions, but has not been able to tackle the replacement bill during the past two years.

The $286.4 billion measure contains a host of provisions intended to improve and maintain the surface transportation infrastructure in the U.S., including the interstate highway system, transit systems around the country, bicycling and pedestrian facilities, and freight rail operations.

Most problematics is that some in Congress still see enhancement programs, which provide funding for bicycle lanes and sidewalks, as pork. They are not. These programs are essential to cutting transportation costs and building a comprehensive transportation system. And they create jobs.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

How a snow storm affects an auto-free commute

For a guy who gave up his car at the beginning of the year, the snow and ice that has shut down Atlanta this entire week was a blessing and a curse. It was a blessing because getting in a car means taking your life in your hands. Unlike cities that get lots of snow every winter, Atlanta simply isn't equipped to scrape and salt even the major roads.
It was a curse because the walk to MARTA today in 18 degree temperatures on icy sidewalks was treacherous. Bus service was shut down for two days, and is gradually ramping back up. The rail lines are running with moderate delays. My commute has taken a bit longer than normal, but not drastically.
One of the silver linings to this event is that I have noticed a lot of new walking and MARTA commuters. It confirms my belief that the best way to get people out of their cars and to drive less is a major event, whether man made (the 1996 Olympics) or natural (snow storm). Here are some great links from the 2011 Winter Ice Storm. Enjoy!