US National

The Environmental Disaster of Louisiana's Vanishing Coast

Planetizen - Mon, 09/01/2014 - 3:00pm
A rich new feature for ProPublica details what's described as "one of the greatest environmental and economic disasters in the nation’s history."
Categories: US National

Federal Highway Administration Reports Increasing Vehicle Miles Traveled

Planetizen - Mon, 09/01/2014 - 1:00pm
The FHWA reports that Americans have returned to the road en masse this summer—beware obvious political motivations and a failure to compare VMT trends to population growth.
Categories: US National

California to Enact Nation's First Statewide Plastic Bag Ban

Planetizen - Mon, 09/01/2014 - 11:00am
Overcoming initial rejection on the Assembly floor on Monday, bill supporters picked up six votes on Thursday "upon reconsideration" and it passed. The Senate approved it Friday and it is on its way to Gov. Jerry Brown, who has until Sept. 30 to act.
Categories: US National

A Labor Day treat: the lovely new bike-walk-run mural at the Doubletree

BikePortland - Mon, 09/01/2014 - 9:00am
The new mural on the south side of Multnomah Street in the Lloyd District, one in a string of investments in the streetscape that have been made since the installation of a protected bike lane on the street.(Photo: Craig Harlow)

Both Jonathan and I are out of town until tonight, so your regularly scheduled news roundup will be published on Tuesday this week.

For now, take a moment to celebrate a gift workers at the Doubletree Hotel gave the city last Thursday. It’s a beautiful celebration of Portlanders’ love of physical activity.

<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->

BikePortland readers may remember the Doubletree as the Lloyd District establishment that volunteered to host one of the biggest off-street public bike parking areas in the city, and the one that once dumped an event vendor that illegally parked a truck in the Multnomah Street protected bike lane.

Now, reader Craig Harlow writes to note that the hotel added this mural to its windows on the south side if Multnomah along the protected lane, “giving a little life to what’s been a mostly dead wall for years.”

That’s work we can believe in. Happy holiday, Portland, and see you tomorrow.

The post A Labor Day treat: the lovely new bike-walk-run mural at the Doubletree appeared first on

Categories: US National

How One Town Cut Operations to Invest in Capital Projects

Planetizen - Mon, 09/01/2014 - 9:00am
A detailed case study of Kokomo, Indiana, which has achieved an impressive record of investments in streetscape and other capital projects, even as it struggled to deal with the effects of the recession.
Categories: US National

On the Political Effects of Transportation Infrastructure

Planetizen - Mon, 09/01/2014 - 7:00am
A comparison of road conditions in Rwanda and Mali—the former an autocracy with sterling roads, the latter a democracy where poor road conditions reveal a deep divide in the country.
Categories: US National

Chicago Parks District Offers Opportunities to Camp in the Urban Wild

Planetizen - Sun, 08/31/2014 - 3:00pm
Camping isn't for everyone, but everyone who wants to camp should get an opportunity to. A growing program run by the Chicago Park District allows residents to heed the call of the wild, right inside the city.
Categories: US National

Ottawa Offers Lessons in Transitioning from BRT to Light Rail

Planetizen - Sun, 08/31/2014 - 1:00pm
Nour Aoude examines the planning efforts behind Ottawa's new Confederation light rail line, which will replace sections of the over-used Transitway bus rapid transit line.
Categories: US National

New York Times Editorial Board Goes YIMBY

Planetizen - Sun, 08/31/2014 - 11:00am
The New York Times editorial board has published on op-ed in support of Mayor Bill de Blasio's ambitious targets for affordable housing in New York City over the next ten years.
Categories: US National

A Protected Bike Lane for Penn Ave in Pittsburgh

Planetizen - Sun, 08/31/2014 - 9:00am
Michael Anderson reports on a proposed road diet and bike lane proposed for Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh, along a historic and cultural corridor in one of the country's oldest downtowns.
Categories: US National

Cities Stand to Benefit by More Women Architects

Planetizen - Sun, 08/31/2014 - 7:00am
Architecture Critic Mark Lamster emerged from the "Architect and Architectress" at the Dallas Center for Architecture with a call to action to overturn the old paradigms that contribute to dominance of males in the architecture profession.
Categories: US National

California Resolution Will Create More Outdoor Spaces at Schools

Planetizen - Sat, 08/30/2014 - 3:00pm
The California government passed a new resolution this summer promoting green schoolyards statewide. It builds on previous state policies and unites a wide array of green city planning and education efforts under a single "Living Schoolyard" theme.
Categories: US National

How Can D.C. be the Coolest City in America if Everyone Hates Hipsters So Much?

Planetizen - Sat, 08/30/2014 - 1:00pm
In which parking minimums figure heavily in a polemic regarding the nature of cool.
Categories: US National

Chicago Metra Rail Struggles with High Rates of Suicide

Planetizen - Sat, 08/30/2014 - 11:00am
Chicago's Metra commuter rail service has a big problem on its hands: Distressed people are resorting to using train tracks to end their lives at a higher rate than in other major cities. Would partnering with a suicide-hotline agency stem the tide?
Categories: US National

Plan Maps the Best (and Worst) of Future Road Construction

Planetizen - Sat, 08/30/2014 - 9:00am
A new study published in the journal Nature maps out a plan for the development of roads around the world—where roads should be avoided due to their environmental costs, and where they can be built to maximize their potential benefit to humanity.
Categories: US National

London's Height Debate Reaches Fever Pitch

Planetizen - Sat, 08/30/2014 - 7:00am
In the midst of a building boom and expecting another 1.4 million residents to live in the city by 2031, London is embroiled in a debate about how it should meet housing demands.
Categories: US National

Comment of the Week: A little perspective on city rankings

BikePortland - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 5:31pm

Like best-guitarist-of-all-time rankings, best-bike-city rankings are mostly just for fun. But in a week when Portland reportedly got a serious demotion from the granddaddy of bike rankings, reader MaxD’s reaction probably spoke for a lot of us.

<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->

Here it is:

I am going to ride across the WIllamette, down Front>Kittredge>30> Saltzman where I will ride through the lovely, cool Forest Park to Skyline, descend Germantown, back over the Willamette with views of Mt Hood and Mt St Helens, and home via Willamette Blvd enjoying views of the river and the west hills. I would not rather be riding in New York, Chicago, or Minneapolis, despite the ranking.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone. Jonathan and I are both out of town until Monday evening — see you Tuesday.

The post Comment of the Week: A little perspective on city rankings appeared first on

Categories: US National

Safety advocates win on Clinton: city installs barricades during Division detour

BikePortland - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 4:50pm
The city’s two new temporary barricades at 26th and Clinton created a visual cue that reduced detour traffic onto the SE Clinton Street bike boulevard.(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Hours before a pair of protest rides were planned to start, the City of Portland on Friday used light barricades to reduce through auto traffic on Clinton Street during the remaining week of a detour for eastbound traffic on Division.

Portland Bureau of Environmental Services spokesman Joseph Annett circulated the revised detour plans in an email at 12:45 p.m. Friday.

“Woohoo!” Alex Reed, the organizer of a group of concerned Clinton Street users, wrote in an email to the group Friday afternoon. “We won our short-term goal.”

Reed’s group, which developed from a conversation on this site and held its first meeting last weekend, had drawn more than 20 riders to an earlier protest ride on Tuesday, attracting TV coverage. They followed up with an open letter asking for temporary diverters and a long-term change to city detour policies.

In a phone interview, Reed said a 4 pm ride on Clinton Friday afternoon would be changed from a protest to a celebration.

“We’re going to say ‘thank you PBOT’ and talk about the long-term goal of changing the city’s construction protocols for diversion to bikeways,” Reed said. “I’m imagining that we would ride up and down the section where it’s closed eastbound to autos to revel in how lovely it is, and then maybe go somewhere for ice cream.”

<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->

The city had initially planned to direct all Division Street traffic onto Clinton during the two-week detour, which is required because of drainage and walking improvements to Division. Last week, the city changed that plan by installing electric signs that direct traffic to Powell at 11th Avenue. But the city had until today declined to install any infrastructure on the Clinton roadway itself.

Bike Loud PDX founder Alex Reed made local TV headlines in his group’s first-ever protest action.

Even without the detour, Clinton Street in the 10s, 20s and 30s has been carrying more than 3,000 motor vehicles per day, which is the maximum national standard for any stretch of bicycle boulevard. Some people who walk and bike on Clinton have been urging the city to install physical diverters that prevent through traffic on what’s intended to be an all-ages street.

Bicycle Transportation Alliance advocate Carl Larson, who has been communicating periodically with city officials since last year in an effort to increase attention to bikes during construction detours, credited the group Reed organized for helping focus the city’s attention.

“I think PBOT succumbed to our ongoing pressure to improve its work zones, coupled with excellent work on behalf of a new crop of activists,” Larson said. “We hope that the city will see that it would have been cheaper and less embarrassing to do this right the first time.”

A large group of riders set the pace on Clinton during a protest ride on Tuesday.(Photo by Hart Noecker/Rebel Metropolis)

Gerald Fittipaldi, who joined Friday’s celebration ride, said the barriers “made an impact, too. There weren’t many cars on there.”

Doug Klotz, a longtime resident and Richmond Neighborhood Association leader who biked past the barriers at 5 p.m., called it a victory for street activism.

“You just need to have a bunch of people out making a bunch of noise,” he said.

For his part, Reed said that after this afternoon’s celebration ride, the agenda for the new advocacy group is to meet one week from Sunday at a location to be determined.

“We’ll probably decide on the name and a draft identity or mission statement kind of thing,” said Reed, who lives in the Foster-Powell area and bike-commutes downtown daily via Clinton. “And I would like us to start searching for the next action. … I’m hoping that the next action will be at an outlying or underserved area to show the group’s commitment to equity.”

If you’d like to connect to the group, contact Reed at or request to join its Google group.

The post Safety advocates win on Clinton: city installs barricades during Division detour appeared first on

Categories: US National

World's Largest Dam Removal Project Complete in Washington State

Planetizen - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 4:00pm
Here's a comeback story for the ages: The Elwha River in Washington, dammed for the production of hydroelectric power for almost a century, runs wild again.
Categories: US National

The Danger of Federal Money for Local Projects

Planetizen - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 3:00pm
Scott Beyer provides four reasons why federal money is the wrong policy mechanism for delivering the best possible transportation outcomes in the United States.
Categories: US National