Friday, September 30, 2011

British High Speed Rail? - Or a better railway for Britain

Editor's note: I personally and professionally am quite happy to continue to bash the feckless and  ill-gotten British High Speed Rail (“HS2”) proposal and its variants that we and others have discussed in these pages previously at  It is such a juicy target of avarice, gross incompetence and intellectual laziness. One has to ask oneself what do the cheering advocates have in mind -- not only those in the industry and other interests that will benefit largely from this railroading (!?!) of hard earned taxpayer money, but also in the three main political parties who have lined up most irresponsibly to support the proposal. If only they could turn back the clock and it were 1965 -- and Britain were France, or 1990 and they were Taiwan, or anytime they chose and Chinese, then they might have a decent shot at it.

--> Read on:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Towards Carfree Cities X: What happened in Guadalajara from 3 to 10 September 2011?

From the Editor's Desk:
This year's World Carfree Network Conference was organized by the dynamic and fast growing city of Guadalajara, under the title Towards Carfree Cities (Hacia ciudades libres de autos), and with the support and management of two local activist groups, Ciudad Para Todos and GDL en Bici. I was invited to provide the opening keynote address on the topic of "Better Cities with a Lot Fewer Cars", to kick off a weeklong festival of events, discussions, and presentations in the context of their program.  My chosen themes were (a) deep democracy and (b) the need for immediate action.  I was wonderfully received and learned a lot during my busy week with them.

--> Read on:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Op-Ed, Cornie Huizenga: The transport sector as leader in the sustainability debate?

There are a lot of reasons which need to be investigated if we are to have a snowball's chance in hell of winning the sustainable transportation wars. The first step in this necessary process is to accept that by any reasonable measure, we are losing the war and losing it badly -- in such a way that each day our sector in cities around the world is one that is in a state of increasing disruption and destruction, aggressing our most fundamental human and social values. It is that bad, and anyone who refuses to accept this is very definitely part of the problem. But then, once we have accepted the bad news, it is time to stop the weeping and figure out how can start to reverse this mounting tide of poor policies, unwise investments, and other abject indifference to all of those who are left worse off in the process. Let me stand aside here and give the word to Cornie Huizenga who has some thoughtful positive suggestions s to where we might go from here.

--> Read on:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Peer reviews on momo memorandum on carsharing -- directed to the European Commission

Why this memorandum on carsharing and the European Commission?

- Eric Britton, Editor, World Streets
-  Read full report and peer commentaries here.

The sustainability agenda is not only important. It is critical.  Moreover it is critical for Europe and it is critical for the world.

Carsharing works and does an important job

In point of fact when it comes to sustainable transport in cities Europe is leading the way world-wide, as our cities one by one are starting to get control of motor cars  and in parallel begin to offer a broader array of better transport alternatives. There are more than two hundred cities across Europe today that are working on advancing the sustainable transport agenda though this two-pronged approach of car-control and new mobility options that work. And all of this against a background of near term actions that kick in within months and a few years at most. This is the proven European formula for sustainable mobility.

--> Read on:

Monday, September 19, 2011

New York's New Bike-Sharing Plan is a Model for the Country

A city known for its sea of yellow taxis and crowded streets, New York is becoming a place no one thought was possible: bikeable.

New York City is at the tipping point of becoming one of the world's great bicycling cities. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and the New York City Department of Transportation (DoT) have done a tremendous job creating a more bicycle-friendly New York. According to the DoT, commuter cycling increased by 13% between 2009 and 2010. In the last five years, bicycle ridership has doubled.

A city known for its sea of yellow taxis and crowded streets, New York City is becoming a town no one thought was possible. With this bike share plan, New York City will transform itself into the nation's top bicycling city. All eyes will be on us to see if the program succeeds or fails. Bike sharing is such an important change, and change is always challenging. But this will be a game-changer for NYC; get ready for it.

* * * Click here for article.

--> Read on:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Learning from each other: Four Cities, Four Ways

Every time I go into a city that is struggling with its transportation/environment situation, I have the feeling that it would be a great thing for them to develop for themselves a "sharing and learning film" along these lines. Perhaps one day . . .

In the beginning was New York City and its historic transportation mess:
Streetfilms, the sharp media end of the innovative program out of New York City, has recently put on line for free download a full feature version of a documentary originally produced in 2006 as part of the New York City Streets Renaissance Campaign. The film, "Contested Streets: Breaking New York City Gridlock", explores the history and culture of New York City streets from pre-automobile times to present. Even now, five years later, it gets its important points across.
[vimeo w=400&h=265]

--> Read on: