New York: Leading the way to the post-Motordom city?

New York City is changing, and safe and abundant cycling is part of the new face of the city. It’s one thing to hear about it from those in the middle of the often painful process, but it can be bracing to ask an expert from outside to have a look and report what they see.

Gordon Price, keen observer of cities, politician, cyclist and World Streets Sentinel travels to NYC for us and reports what he sees. Signs of hope. Lessons for your city? In his words, this latest report of the Price Tags series on transforming world cities (

This is a celebration of active transportation in NYC – how New York is leading the way to the post-Motordom city. With an interesting comparison to Portland and Vancouver.

Visit New York City with Gordon and his camera, and check out the state of play as things stand as of summer 2009. Cycling NYC 2 presents 34 pages of photographs and commentary on what works, and what is causing friction as the cycling agenda gets pushed ahead by a strong team with high, consistent commitment from the highest levels of local government, with vigorous support from transport and environment groups, the non-profit sector, academics and specialized consultants, citizens and increasingly the media. (This last being a huge change in the local landscape and certainly one that you should be working on in your city. It pays off!).

If they can do it there, we can do it anywhere, might be a line to remember.

• For your copy of Cycling NYC 2, click

More on Gordon Price and his work:

Gordon is Director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University. A former six-time City Councilor in Vancouver, he has written extensively on Vancouver and transportation issues (The Deceptive City, Local Politician’s Guide to Urban Transportation. He also publishes an electronic magazine on urban issues, called “Price Tags” ( In 2009, he was appointed by the Mayor of Vancouver as a member of the “Greenest City Action Team.”

We need both blue-sky speculation and hard nosed planning

Alison Gopnik, Professor of psychology at Berkeley, author of “The Philosophical Baby” on the differences between minds that explore and exploit.

She makes the point that: “Each kind of intelligence has benefits and drawbacks. Focus and planning get you to your goal more quickly, but may also lock in what you already know, closing you off to alternative possibilities.”

Thank you Alison. We take note.

Report from South Africa: Wheeling and Healing

One billion needful people live in Africa and when it comes to sustainable mobility they are not getting a lot of help from the wealthy North. It’s not that they need us to send them all our treasure, that’s not the point. It’s our example that counts. Let’s start to give dignity to sustainable, healthy behavior on our own streets and we will have done out part. Gail Jennings reports on biking pride and prejudice in South Africa.

Wheeling and Healing

– Gail Jennings, Eyes on the Streets Seniin Capetown

CAPE TOWN, Aug 5 (IPS) – Every weekday morning, a stylish procession leaves the offices of MaAfrika Tikkun NGO in Delft, Cape Town; bumps and jolts through the gravel entry gates; then hits the tar and scatters into every corner of the township…

“Those people, they are mos kwaai jong (now very cool) – they drive a bicycle now…” says an envious onlooker.

In an area portrayed by the press as crime-ridden, bleak and desperate, the MaAfrika Tikkun health workers cruise the streets between shacks and houses without anxiety, on their elegant, black, single-speed Africabikes, their wire baskets and backpacks filled with the accoutrements of home-based care.

“People say it looks like a bike from the past,” says Esmerelda Piers, who’s been working as a home-based carer since 2006. “Everyone wants one. We lock our bikes, but people see it almost like an ‘ambulance’ bike and they won’t take them from us.”

Piers was one of 108 MaAfrika Tikkun healthcare workers who received a bicycle in late 2008, donated by US-based project BikeTown Africa. The project aims to hand over a further 1,000 bicycles to health workers in 2009.

The carers make home-visits, dress wounds and ensure that people with chronic illness (such as TB, diabetes and HIV and AIDS) are taking their medication. They also monitor the growth and wellness of newborn babies.

Piers has lived in Delft for 19 years, and like most carers used to walk from patient to patient. “It is slow, and tiring, and sometimes you have to rush to get to the next patient,” she says. “If you want to take a taxi, you have to pay out of your own bag.”

South Africa’s national government pays home-based carers a stipend to visit a minimum of between four to ten patients a day (depending on the level of care needed). But sometimes carers don’t get to see everyone, says Beryl van den Heever, who manages the MaAfrika Tikkun team. “It can take a long time to wash and listen to just one patient. Sometimes carers were only getting to see five people properly.

“Now, our carers see 8-12 people a day, they spend more time with the patients, and they can respond to emergencies more quickly…”

Community-based health services such as home-based care play a vital role in enhancing public health and alleviating the pressure on health facilities, says Faiza Steyn, director of communications, of the Western Cape provincial department of health.

In the Western Cape alone, there has been an 83 percent increase in the number of NGO-appointed carers over the last year, and they have provided home-based care to more than 24,000 people during this time.

Home-based carers work mostly in three areas: what the department of health calls ‘dehospitalisation’, patients who have been discharged from hospital but still need care; adherence support, particularly for chronic and TB, diabetes, hypertension and psychiatric illnesses; and health education campaigns.

Charles Rosant, in his third month as a home-based carer, tells of how he visited a patient who had no food in his home. “How can I ask him to take his medicines with no food?”

“It is being able to help like that that makes be stand up every morning,” says Rosant – who got on his bicycle and sped to the nearest shop to buy bread for his patient. “With walking, I would have only gone back to him the next day.”

On another occasion, the Delft team were able to rally additional carers when they needed to create a ‘makeshift ambulance’ to carry a patient to hospital. “We would never have got so many people together so quickly otherwise,” says Piers.

But they don’t move so quickly that they’re no longer able to stop, chat and remain part of the community. ‘We ride slow enough to people to come out of their houses and ask us questions,’ says Piers. ‘We can still give advice “on the move”.’

In terms of energy expended over distance, a casual rider can travel four times the distance by bicycle as on foot, says Bradley Schroeder of BikeTown Africa, and carry up to five times more goods. And in terms of speed, it takes about as much effort to walk at four km an hour as it does to ride at 16 km an hour. Bicycles also have lowest operating costs of all transport modes.

Sixteen kilometres is the average distance Trudy Makerman travels each day, to complete her rounds as a carer – from home, from patient-to-patient, and back home again.

Makerman is a healthcare worker in the fruit farming district of Robertson, Western Cape. Together with Stoffel Klein and Nicolene Regue of Robertson’s Rural Development Association, she travels long distances – 10-20 km – on steep gravel roads to visit babies and people with chronic illnesses.

In November 2008, the Association received a delivery of bicycles from national government programme Shova Kalula. Since then, the team has been able to visit between 500 and 550 patients a month (and spend more time with each of them – as they don’t have to rush off on foot to the next farm), compared to the 100 to 200 patients they saw when they walked.

“Walking there was not the big problem,” says Makerman. “It was the eindpad [the walking back], once the day was hot. (Their working days start at 8 am and end at 12.30.) We were tired by then, from the work. I would want to rest before visiting the next patient, I did not always have the energy for them.”

Her bicycle also enables her to leave home later in the morning, and get back home earlier, giving her more time with her family (and herself).

“My bicycle is just right for me,’ says Makerman. ‘People can shout that I am too old [she is 43] and why don’t I get a car. But for me, my bicycle takes me away from my stress. It is good for me and good for my patients. All health workers should have one!”

Piers also finds personal benefit in her bicycle. ‘I go to see friends and cousins in Belhar, in Bellville, I go shopping, I visit my cousins… each time, I save at least 30 rand ($3.50) in taxi fare.’

And she takes her children with her, but only on her older bicycle – “My nine-year-old and my six-year-old, they both fit on the bike, but I won’t use my work bicycle for this!”

“But you know, it is not about the bicycle,” says Piers – unaware that she is echoing the title of that famous autobiography. “Some people want to become carers because they will get a bicycle, but for us, the bicycle is just the cherry on the top. When someone thanks me for a job well done, I know why I am doing this. And the bicycle helps me do it better.”

Credit: Gail Jennings of Mobility Magazine in Capetown and IPS.

# # #

One of the fundamental themes of World Streets is South/North transmission of ideas and examples. Here is one that any community in the North will do well to think through for themselves.

The editor

Changing the Game for BRT in India

EMBARQ’s CityFix reports from India: “The new Janmarg BRT system, in the process of being completed in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, meets most of the highest standards applied internationally. It is already a “best practice” of BRT in South Asia, in sharp contrast to the bus corridors in operation in Delhi and Pune, which are off to a good start but still have much room for improvement.” Continue reading

Behind World Streets: What makes it tick? The New Mobility Agenda

World Streets is the daily reporting arm of the New Mobility Agenda. Its content derives from adherence to a consistent set of overall program goals, mediated by a network of collaborative relationships that have been built up over the last two decades, which involve on the order of two thousand collaborating expert colleagues and friends of sustainable transport worldwide. The goal: sustainable transport policy and practice.

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.” — Albert Einstein

The New Mobility Agenda, active since 1988, provides the unifying strategic base, the firm bedrock on which all the work and content of World Streets is oriented. The orientation is very specific. On the one hand is the Mission Statement, which is set out here. On the other, the overarching goal and m.o. of the program, as set out on its title page: The New Mobility/Climate Emergency Project, is “The Politics of Transportation: New thinking & world-wide collaborative problem-solving”.

Focus programs:

The Agenda is organized into and supported by a collection of specifically targeted “focus programs”, continuing collaborative projects, each addressing one or more (but far from all) of the key building blocks of sustainable transport. More than two dozen of these focus programs have thus far been developed since the Agenda first got underway in 1988, of which you have the currently most active listed here. Each is supported by its own website and discussion forum and library.

It is not out of place here to repeat the strict 2-4 year results horizon and strategy that underlie all these initiatives — and of the paramount importance of rapid GHG reductions as a driver for policy, practice and reform in a sector that accounts for nearly one firth of all planetary emissions. That is the insistent hard core of the Agenda

Active New Mobility Agenda programs and groups:

1. The New Mobility/Climate Emergency Project-
2. World Streets –
3. Nuova Mobilità –
4. New Mobility Partnerships –
5. World Carshare Consortium –
6. World City Bike Implementation Strategies –
7. Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice –
8. xTransit – Shared small vehicle systems –
9. World Car Free Days / New Mobility Weeks –
10. Kyoto World Cities –
11. Lots Less Cars in Cities (Idea factory) –
12. New Mobility City Dialogues –
13. Land Café: Value capture and land tax reform (Forum) –
14. Global South –
15. Gatnet: Gender, Equity and Transport Forum –
16. New Mobility Media Partnerships –
17. International Advisory Council –
18. New Mobility Knowledge Environment
19. Knoogle 1.1 –
20. Talking New Mobility (all discussion fora)–
21. World Eyes on the Streets Sentinels network –

Example of coverage and participation:

It is not without interest to reflect briefly on the message of the following map, which though it merely maps the locations of the last eighty visitors to the New Mobility Agenda site this morning nonetheless give us an idea as to where the search for new ideas and solutions is most underway. It is gnerally quite typical of the pattern that we observe for this project.

To close, a quick look at the map for the same period for the World Carshare Consortium discussions. This tells us where carsharing is for the most part happening today.

Which is fine, but far from enough. Our goal of course is to put it into every city and community on the planet. Carsharing is an integral part of our sustainable future.

Carsharing in Japan – A corner in the road

As will be seen in this latest report on carsharing developments in Japan, the period of quiet mainly slow growth appears to be heating up. The sharply divided attitudes of the auto industry suppliers is a clear sign of a very different future. Let’s stay tuned, there may be some interesting lessons for all of us.
Continue reading

Honk: Find-a-parking-spot contest

The city of Tel Aviv has all the natural attributes of a place where carsharing is part of the new mobility solution: tight urban form, plenty of mixed use, high incomes, plenty of people ready to try new ideas (the “Mediterranean’s New Capital of Cool”), and some, it is said, attention to costs. Here is how their carshare operator is calling attention to the Achilles heel of carsharing, parking.

Tel Aviv: ‘Find-a-Parking-Spot Contest’ Highlights Car-Sharing

by Hillel Fendel –

How to deliver 24 newly-arrived cars from the port to dealers in Tel Aviv? Have drivers take them there, competing along the way to be the first to find a parking spot!

The contest will be held this Friday and will be used to call attention to both the lack of parking spots in Tel Aviv and the advantages of car-sharing systems gaining in popularity around the world.

Israel’s car-sharing company is Car2Go, which was founded last year in the city of Ulm, Germany. The system’s advantages are that the cars can be rented by the hour or day, picked up and dropped off almost anywhere, and can be reserved with almost no advance

In addition, from municipal and national standpoints, the car-sharing systems offer considerable savings in traffic congestion, pollution, and parking availability. Car2Go reports that each one of its cars replaces 15 cars on the roads and frees up 14 parking spots.

Naom Margalit, who heads the Car2Go company in Israel, would like the Tel Aviv municipality to follow the example set by other cities around the world and designate – for a monthly fee – parking spots for his company. He explains: “The idea for the contest was born when we looked for an original and creative way to get 24 new cars from the importer to the dealers. The competition illustrates the parking problem in Tel Aviv and the daily race for a spot in which Tel Aviv drivers take part, and raises public awareness of the advantages of designating parking spots for us.”

The Tel Aviv municipality is reportedly interested in the idea, but no decision has been made of yet.

The system works roughly as follows: A fleet of vehicles is made available for Car2Go members, parked in specially-designated spots and available for use at any time. A car can be “hired” by flashing one’s driver’s license – equipped with special chips for the purpose – at the windshield, thus checking to see if the car is “taken” or “available.” If the former, the user will be informed of the nearest available car. The customer then gets in, types in his personal PIN number as well as other information, such as the condition of the car, and drives off. When he finishes – an hour, day or even a month later – he parks the car in another designated spot, logs out, and is billed monthly.

Car2Go reports that over 400,000 people currently take part in car-sharing systems in 600 cities in 18 countries around the world. The “Mobility” company is the largest of its kind in Switzerland, which has a population similar to that of Israel, and serves 70,000 drivers with an array of 2,000 cars.

Friday’s contest will be held in three stages. It will begin at the Reading Power Plant parking lot, where 24 pairs of contestants will get into freshly-arrived new cars. At the signal, they will dash off to find parking spaces, in accordance with special instructions they will receive via SMS and envelopes at various points along their trip. Points will be taken off for traffic violations. A vacation for two will be granted to the winner, and other prizes will be awarded to the other contestants.

Public Space Shootout in the Aspen Corral

Public spaces – chief among them in most cities in terms of the real estate occupied being streets – are a legitimate topic for World Streets and sustainable transport/climate policy more generally. Last month friend Fred Kent traveled to the Aspen Ideas Festival and ended up in a bit of a brawl with Frank Gehry on our topic. Who won?

Continue reading

Ik ben een Amsterdammer – New Amsterdam Bike Slam – II

World Streets strongly supports this creative, high-profile, positive public event which offers an open collaborative mechanism for helping New York and anybody else who is ready to learn from their experience to move together from old to new mobility.

Continue reading

Downtown? Don’t even think of parking here!

Policy overview of “Strategies for discouraging surface parking lots downtown” by Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, noting that some cities implement parking maximums (also called “lids”) which limit the total number of parking spaces in an area, or place a limit on temporary commercial parking lots.

Strategies for discouraging surface parking lots downtown

Parking Maximums – refers to a situation in which an upper limit is placed on parking supply, either at individual sites or in an area. Area-wide limits are called Parking Caps. These can be in addition to or instead of minimum parking requirements (Manville and Shoup, 2005).

Excessive parking supply can also be discouraged by reducing public parking supplies, imposing a special parking tax, and by enforcing regulations that limit temporary parking facilities.

Maximums often apply only to certain types of parking, such as long-term, single-use, free, or surface parking, depending on planning objectives. These strategies are usually implemented in large commercial centers as part of integrated programs to reduce excessive parking supply, encourage use of alternative modes, create more compact development patterns, create more attractive streetscapes, and preserve historic buildings.

It could be argued that maximums are as unnecessary as minimum parking requirements. Parking regulations could simply be eliminated, allowing property owners to determine how much parking to supply at their sites. However, parking minimums have been applied for decades, resulting in well-established transport and land use market distortions. As a result, left to itself the market may be slow to reach an optimal level, so parking maximums may be necessary to achieve quicker benefits.

Since businesses may consider abundant, free, on-site parking to convey a competitive advantage, individual firms often find it difficult to reduce supply. Parking maximums that apply equally to all businesses may be an acceptable and effective way to reduce supply in an area. A study comparing various cities found that (Martens, 2006):

• Many European cities restrict commercial building parking supply, ranging from 270 to 500 square meters of office floor area per parking space (approximately 0.2 to 0.37 parking spaces per 1,000 square feet).

• Management of on-street and off-street public parking spaces is a natural complement of restrictive norms with regard to private parking places.

• Restrictive parking policies and public transport improvements support each other, but major transit service improvements need not precede adoption of parking restrictions.

• Restrictive city center parking policies have been introduced without strict regulations preventing unwanted suburbanization of economic activities.

• Case studies suggest that parking restrictions will not have negative economic impacts if implemented in cities with a strong and vibrant economic structure.

The City of Seattle requires that major institutions which propose to provide more than 135% of minimum required parking supply develop a transportation management plan to help reduce trip generation and parking demand (SMC 23.54.016). San Francisco places a two year limit on the use of vacant downtown parcels for parking lots, to encourage redevelopment (Manville and Shoup, 2005).

For more information on various parking management strategies see:

* Todd Litman (2006), Parking Management Best Practices, Planners Press (;

* Todd Litman (2006), Parking Management: Strategies, Evaluation and Planning, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at

* Michael Manville and Donald Shoup (2005), “People, Parking, and Cities,” Journal of Urban Planning and Development, December, 2005, pp. 233-245; at,Parking,CitiesJUPD.pdf; summarized in Access 25, (, Fall 2004, pp. 2-8.

* MTC (2007), Developing Parking Policies to Support Smart Growth in Local Jurisdictions: Best Practices, Metropolitan Transportation Commission (; at .

* Redwood City (2007), Downtown Parking, Redwood City ( The City’s Parking Management Plan is at .

* San Francisco (2009), On-Street Parking Management and Pricing Study, San Francisco County Transportation Authority (; at

* Schaller Consulting (2006), Curbing Cars: Shopping, Parking and Pedestrian Space in SoHo, Transportation Alternatives (; at

* Seattle (2001), Parking: Your Guide to Parking Management, City of Seattle (

* Donald Shoup (1999), “The Trouble With Minimum Parking Requirements,” Transportation Research A, Vol. 33, No. 7/8, Sept./Nov., pp. 549-574; at

* Ventura (2008), Downtown Parking Ordinance, City of Ventura (

* Richard Voith (1998), “The Downtown Parking Syndrome: Does Curing the Illness Kill the Patient?” Business Review, Vol. 1 (, pp 3-14.

* Rachel Weinberger, Mark Seaman and Carolyn Johnson (2008), Suburbanizing the City: How New York City Parking Requirements Lead to More Driving, University of Pennsylvania for Transportation Alternatives (

# # #

Todd Litman is founder and executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, an independent research organization dedicated to developing innovative solutions to transport problems. His work helps to expand the range of impacts and options considered in transportation decision-making, improve evaluation techniques, and make specialized technical concepts accessible to a larger audience. He can be reached at: 1250 Rudlin Street, Victoria, BC, V8V 3R7, Canada. Email: Phone & Fax: +1 250-360-1560

The Ten Commandments for Drivers

Together with Enrico Bonfatti, editor of our sister publication Nuova Mobilità, we have been working on a series of articles on “Street Codes”. In doing this we came across “The Ten Commandments for drivers”, issued by the Roman Catholic Church in 2007. And on the grounds that sustainable transportation is an open, even ecumenical movement that welcomes good ideas and good behavior from all, here is our rough translation of that document.

The Ten Commandments for Drivers (“I Dieci comandamenti per chi guida”) was published in Italy on 19 June 2007 by an organ of the Catholic Church, as part of a larger proclamation entitled Pastoral Guidelines for Migrants and Itinerant People (“Pontificio Consiglio della Pastorale per i Migranti e gli Itineranti”). The full document is available in Italian at〈=it

Here is our rough translation of the ten points of that document.

1. Thou shalt not kill.

2. The road is an instrument of communion between people, and not the place of mortal danger

3. Courtesy, direct behavior and prudence will help thee overcome the unexpected

4. Thou shalt be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially if the victim of an accident.

5. Thy car is not an expression of power, dominance, or an opportunity for sin.

6. Thou shalt step forward to convince the young, and others who are not fully able, not to take the wheel of the car when not in a condition to do so.

7. Thou shalt give care for the families of victims of accidents.

8. Thou shalt help to organize meetings between the victim and the aggressing driver at an opportune moment, so that they can share the liberating experience of forgiveness.

9. Thou shalt always protect the weaker party on the road.

10. Feel thyself accountable to others.

# # #

Hard to argue with that. Comments?

PS. Yes and we meant “ecumenical” in its first dictionary meaning, from the Greek “oikoumenikos”, the inhabited world. That’s us. And we’d better take care of it.

New Amsterdam Bike Slam Symposium – An invitation

Four hundred years after Henry Hudson’s arrival in Manhattan, two teams of Dutch and American planners & designers face off in a battle for the future of New York City transportation. Their challenge: find ways to bring NYC cycling up to the level of the Netherlands, the only country in the world with more bikes than people.

New Amsterdam Bike Slam is being organized in New Amsterdam (sometime also referred to as “New York City”) from 10-13 September 2009. It is an initiative of Amsterdam Cycling to Sustainability, produced by Vélo Mondial and Transportation Alternatives, with funding from Transumo and the City of Amsterdam.

Full background on the program will be found here – The organizers have communicated the following information to us today by way of advance notice. (PS. It’s free.)

Global Trends in Sustainable Mobility

New York and Amsterdam, like many other global cities, face challenges regarding mobility and requiring immediate solutions. An urgent look at necessary changes in mobility is the objective of the symposium ‘Global trends in sustainable mobility.’ For that purpose we have invited speakers to debate ideas that would further our thinking about cities and mobility.

How did Amsterdam and New York get to where we are now with regard to mobility and what analyses can we bring to the table? What are the systematic differences in urban planning between New York and Amsterdam? Do these differences only exist in the field of mobility or has it other psychological and cultural backgrounds? What makes cities not only livable, but attractive to live in, and what good can mobility bring or bad by making things disappear? Can cities live with less or no petrol cars at all and what does such an idea do to the economy? How will public transport play a role in the triangle with emission rich mobility and more sustainable modes of transport?

This issues will be discussed in the program: Global Trends to Sustainable Mobility

08.00 – 09.00 Breakfast
First we invite you for breakfast; also to get to know each other a little bit.

09.00 – 09.30 Opening
An political view will from New York – Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn
The Netherlands Frans Timmermans, Minister for European Affairs.

A vintage award ceremony will close this first half hour.

09.30 – 10.00 What lies in the future?
Former mayor of Bogota, now scholar, Enrique Penalosa will give an overarching talk on opportunities for New York and Amsterdam and how they can be realized.

10.00 – 10.20 Break
Coffee break and informal discussions with the speakers from the first session.

10.20 – 12.30 Trends Session

In the second session of this morning we will invite the next four speakers on stage and we intend to create as much of an interactive session with them as possible.
Speakers will be introduce their topics for a few minutes and then two moderators – Paul White from New York and ………. – will dig deeper with questions and challenges and involve the audience.

The speakers are:

* Heather Allen; Senior Manager Sustainable Development Union International Transport Public UITP Brussels
* Adnan Rahman; managing partner ECORYS Transport
* Willem de Jager; director Sustainable Mobility RABO bank
* Ruth Oldenziel; professor TU Eindhoven

12.30 – 14.00 Lunch
During lunch we will not only offer you food and drink, but we also invite you to continue the debate with the speakers of the morning and to start the discussion with the afternoon speakers.

14.00 – 17.00 Sustainable Mobility Salon
The kick-off of the salon – an informal way of gathering and exchanging views and knowledge – will be in the capable hands of Ruth Oldenziel who will dwell on historical, cultural and psychological backgrounds of planning for cycling in The Netherlands and the USA.

In three panels we will discuss:

Innovative cycling developments in The Netherlands

* Pieter de Haan Traffic Psychologist; staff member Institute for Shared Space
* Herman Gelissen: the Dutch alternative to the Public Bicycle OV FIETS
Moderator Peter Davidson

Cycling Planning in the USA and The Netherlands

* Arjen Jaarsma Balancia
* Jeff Olson, Alta Planning
* Moderator Andy Clarke; Executive Director League of American Bicyclists LAB

What does the future hold for Amsterdam and for New York?

* Paul White, Transportation Alternatives
* Pascal van den Noort, Velo Mondial / Amsterdam Cycling to Sustainability
Moderator TBA, ITDP

Drinks for attendants/ Dinner for speakers and guests

For further information, contact:

* Shin-pei Tsay, Deputy Director, Transportation Alternatives, –
* Pascal van den Noort, Velo Mondial, –

Subscribe to World Streets today. (And here is why you just may want to do it)

Passion is great; financial support makes the passion available for the long term.

After five months of proving its worth day after day, bringing carefully selected news, expert views, comments and leads to the desks of more than sixty thousand visitors from some forty countries on all continents, World Streets is now reaching out to get active subscriber support. A nominal contribution is all it takes.

* Before you take this any further, you may wish to have a look at what our readers are saying about World Streets and how it is fitting in with their daily work routines and quest for new ideas and perspectives. Click here for more –

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First, no problem! Please continue to come into World Streets and make use of the hard work of all of us who are pitching in here. We need you to carry on with your work and contributions, after all that is what this is all about. And if we can help you in this way, so much the better.

Second, we invite you to keep an eye on what is going on in your city and country, and when appropriate let us know of projects, problems, accomplishments, which will help us all to better understand the full complexity of our shared task. One excellent way to do this, is to sign in to the World Eyes on the Street network, for which full details are available if you click here.

Finally, it would be great if you would send us a simple email message telling us that you are making use of all this work. And perhaps a few suggestions and reactions for us to consider as we strike to do better. Also, if we have a large number of these messages of support, this will help in our search for longer term funding to support this work. After all, we have to be sustainable too. (Click here to add your message of support.)

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4. 2009 Supporting Subscribers

And finally our sincerest thanks to the first group of you who have already pitched in and helped us get this far. Donations for subscriptions have varied from one dollar from some students (important as a symbol, we asked them for that) up to several hundreds of dollars from a handful of generous colleagues who have stepped forward to help).

Over these first five months we have received paid in subscriptions and other support from the following friends and colleagues around the world.

* Austria: Karl-Heinz Posch

* Brazil: Felipe Barroso, Igor Garcia

* Canada: Zvi Leve, Ruediger Six, Christopher Sumpton, Susan Zielinski

* Colombia: Carlos Felipe Pardo

* Denmark: Per-Homann Jespersen

* France: France B, Benoit Beroud, Philippe Crist, Nicolas le-Douarec, J-Baptiste Schmider, Wolfgang Zuckermann

* Germany: Odile Schwarz-Herion

* Iceland: Morten Lange

* India: Sujit Patwardhan

* Israel: Alon Rozen

* Italy: Enrico Bonfatti

* Mexico: Tomas Bertulis

* Netherlands: Emil Möller, Dirk van Dijl, SL Saalmink

* New Zeeland: Paul Minett

* Singapore: Chu Wa

* Spain: Igor Abreu, Dirk Bogaert, Mikel Murga

* Sweden: Peter Ekenger, April Streeter

* UK: Anzir Boodoo, Mark Braund, Tim Caswell, Peter Maxwell, Richard Peace, Stephen Plowden, Dave Wetzel,

* USA: Michael Alba, Boris Berenfeld, Donald Brackenbush, Wendy Brawer, Dave Brook, Robin Chase, Roy Chase, Allen Damon, Yona Freemark, David Greenstein, Paul Kilduff, Jerry McIntire, Jason Meinzer Roy Russel, Lee Schipper, Matthew Thyer, Jarett Walker, Lewis Wolman

(Can you spot your country there? Your name?)

And while it covers only a small part of what we need to be able to continue publication, it is extremely encouraging. Thank you for showing your support and solidarity.

Eric Britton

5. Recent visitor map:

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Hawkes and Sheridan on Rethinking the Street Space

For more than 100 years, street design policy was stagnant. But now, planners and policymakers are expanding their ideas about what streets can be. Amber Hawkes and Georgia Sheridan examine the history of street design — and look to the future.

Some first excerpts from:
Rethinking the Street Space: Evolving Life in the Streets

Good design supports the function of a desired use. For over 150 years, street design standards and funding structures have successfully supported the single use of automobiles in the street space. Major cities across the globe are beginning to rediscover the street space (i.e. streets, sidewalks, alleys, and everything they contain) as an essential component of our neighborhoods and communities. In an effort to improve the quality of urban life, a wave of new street design manuals and toolkits has emerged – redefining the way streets are used. However, as communities rewrite their street design manuals, they face an outdated and well-developed federal transit infrastructure. History shows that street design standards have been limited by the prevailing notion of streets as a place for cars, rather than people.

Streets as Places for Reform: Bicycles Pave the Way for Automobiles

Urban streets of the Victorian era suffered from their own set of design and maintenance issues: rotting trash, horse droppings, crowding, crime, noise, mud, dirt, potholes and streets without sidewalks. When introduced in the early 1800s, bicycles, or “freedom machines” as feminist Susan B. Anthony called them, provided urban dwellers with a new form of mobility. At the turn of the 19th century, innovation in bike technologies brought about a nationwide bike craze. In the 1890s, 80% of residents rode bicycles on a regular basis in Detroit, the future “Motor City” of the world.

Bicycle coalitions and clubs became the first advocates of street standardization, calling for smoother, safer roads. With a zest for ‘sanitation’ and ‘social order,’ Victorian-era governments were happy to oblige. In 1875, the Public Health Act in England passed a by-law street ordinance that mandated wide, straight, and paved streets. These early, rigid regulations, emphasizing uniformity and standardization have remained largely unchanged over the years.

* For the full text of this second article in the Planetizen series “Rethinking the Street Space” click here to

The next article in the series will take a look at the recent wave of livable street design toolkits and policies published by cities across the country and world, comparing mission statements, design elements, implementation plans, and decision-making structures. The first part of this series looks at why street design matters and where we are today in terms of designing the “street space.”

Amber Hawkes and Georgia Sheridan are Urban Planners and Designers working in Downtown Los Angeles at Torti Gallas and Partners. They have lectured at conferences and universities and have worked in a variety of capacities that inform their planning and design work, from behavioral art therapy, social work, and historic preservation, to health law policy, green building policy, and journalism.

Outreach – Local Actors & Implementation Partners

Too often when it comes to new transport initiatives, the practice is to concentrate on laying the base for the project in close working relationships with people and groups who a priori are favorably disposed to your idea, basically your choir. Leaving the potential “trouble makers” aside for another day. Experience shows that’s a big mistake.

A Big House/Open Door Approach
Concerned local/regional government agencies, transporters, business groups, local employers and others should be brought early on into discussions, planning, implementation, and follow-up. It is vital to bring to the table as wide a range of groups and interests as possible, from the city and in the surrounding region in each case, including those whose views may be negative about any of the kinds of major shift in today’s transportation arrangements. Nobody likes change out of the blue, especially those “imposed” on us by people who are indifferent to our problems and priorities It is natural to block these unwelcome proposals.

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What if everyone drove to work this morning?

And now let us turn to the Big Apple, New York City, and listen to what they have to tell us about what would happen if tomorrow everyone who normally commutes into the city by subway decided instead to drive in and park their car. For the non-initiated, that is for non-New York natives, this piece, originally written to the local language, has been prepared for the ROW and is divided into three parts: (a) map, (b) rant, (c)lexicon.

– Original posting to Streetsblog NY by Brad Aaron on August 10, 2009

1. The Map:

Let’s start with their map:

You probably can already see what they are up to. It might be interesting and instructive to run a similar drill for such a transfer in your city. If you do, please share your map and basic nunbers with us. We will surely publish it.

2. The rant (that is the original language Streetsblog NY piece):

[The map shows the . . . ] amount of space that would be needed for cars if subway-riding New Yorkers thought like, say, a certain assemblyman from Westchester.

Sure, knocking the MTA is a favorite local past time, particularly for the politicians and press who are practically guaranteed a “Hallelujah!” chorus for every barb (today’s scandal: fat cat transit workers poised to rake in cost-of-living allowance!!). But despite the MTA’s problems, as Michael Frumin points out on his Frumination blog, the city’s streets and highways can’t hold a candle to the subways when it comes to moving commuters into and out of Manhattan’s Central Business District.

Parsing data derived from 2008 subway passenger counts and the NYMTC 2007 Hub Bound Report [PDF], Frumin writes:

Just to get warmed up, chew on this — from 8:00AM to 8:59 AM on an average Fall day in 2007 the NYC Subway carried 388,802 passengers into the CBD on 370 trains over 22 tracks. In other words, a train carrying 1,050 people crossed into the CBD every 6 seconds. Breathtaking if you ask me.

Over this same period, the average number of passengers in a vehicle crossing any of the East River crossings was 1.20. This means that, lacking the subway, we would need to move 324,000 additional vehicles into the CBD (never mind where they would all park).

At best, it would take 167 inbound lanes, or 84 copies of the Queens Midtown Tunnel, to carry what the NYC Subway carries over 22 inbound tracks through 12 tunnels and 2 (partial) bridges.

At worst, 200 new copies of 5th Avenue. Somewhere in the middle would be 67 West Side Highways or 76 Brooklyn Bridges. And this neglects the Long Island Railroad, Metro North, NJ Transit, and PATH systems entirely.

Take a gander at the map above to get an idea of the real estate that would be taken up by all those cars. Think such a proposition would lead John Liu to base his stances on congestion pricing and bridge tolls on principle, rather than wind direction? Could Deborah Glick overlook her personal hatred for the billionaire mayor long enough to save her constituents from carmaggedon? Would the prospect of seeing his district literally transformed into a parking lot prompt Sheldon Silver to finally take an unequivocal stand favoring transit over car commuting?

Right. Probably not.


3. The lexicon

New York for Dummies Guide for non-New Yorkers

MTA is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority , the organization responsible for delivering public transportation for the New York Region. MTA subways, buses, and railroads provide 2.6 billion trips each year to New Yorkers –

NYMTC is the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council is an association of governments, transportation providers and environmental agencies that is the Metropolitan Planning Organization for New York City, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley. –

Individual local heroes named or hinted at: See links in article.

# # #
Brad Aaronhas written extensively on government, business, education, the environment, urban planning and transportation, among other topics, began freelancing for Streetsblog NY in early 2007 and became Deputy Editor in February 2008. He lives in Inwood, at the northernmost tip of Manhattan, where he can always get a seat on the A train.

Mr. Meter on America’s "Cash for Clunkers"

If matters of climate, sustainable transportation and careful use of scarce resources are close to your heart, and you happen to be European, you may have some reserves about your country’s ecologically billed, and energetically buttressed “Cash for Clunkers” (in more polite Euro language of course) program. Let a couple of Americans energy policy experts help you feel a bit less embarrassed.

Before you dig in, a summary:
Schipper’s real concerns in this article published earlier this week in the Washingtom Post are these: First, the CO2 saved come principally because the cars bought under C4C are slightly more fuel economic than others bought. But the CO2 saved over the lifetime of the new car is extremely expensive, hundreds of dollars per tonne. If Americans are whining over cap-and-trade or a carbon tax in the tens of dollars per tonne, why embrace something so much more expensive for the taxpayer. And at the end of the day C4C doesn’t fix transport, it only fixes a tiny bit of CO2. Schipper is worried that Americans will now set back and breath a sigh of relief, when the real work lies ahead.

And as to our European friends, the situation is no less (I choose my word) stupid. See the Associated Press piece below summarizing the state of play of C4C in eleven European cities. Stupidity is clearly viral.


When It Comes to Being Green, Cash for Clunkers Is a Lemon

If you think the Cash for Clunkers program is confusing for dealers and buyers, you should try figuring out its impact on fuel use or carbon emissions. Despite the environmental accolades showered on the program, its environmental effects will be negligible.

How much will we save? Not much.

United States Energy Information Administration ‘s projections put CO2 emissions from gasoline powered vehicles at more than 16,000 million metric tons for 2010 — 2019. The Obama administration recently proposed tighter fuel economy standards that, when implemented, should reduce emissions by 220 million metric tons, about a 1.3% drop.

Initial data from the Department of Transportation indicate that vehicles purchased under cash for clunkers are 69% more fuel-efficient than the vehicles they have replaced. So, according to our calculations, at best, the program will save about 7 million metric tons of CO2, or 0.04% — less than two days worth — of total emissions during that decade. By 2015, most of the clunkers scrapped under the program would have been retired anyway, and the environmental impact of removing them will vanish.

But it does not end there because, unlike clunkers, new cars are fun to drive.

Supporters of the Cash for Clunkers points to the fuel savings that the program is supposed to achieve. Unfortunately, programs that merely substitute older vehicles for newer, higher miles per gallon vehicles do not account for a critical piece of the vehicle emissions puzzle. We are cars are driven more than older cars. On average people drive their new cars and trucks about 25% more than they do with their 10-year-old vehicles. A new vehicles are driven as much as 3 to 5 times farther than genuine clunkers. Thus, new vehicles may have significantly better MPG ratings in the vehicles they replace, but since they are driven more CO2 savings will be further offset by increased use.

And the cars we’re buying under the program do not have great mileage.

First the good news. The cars being turned in are bona fide clunkers. They get worse gas mileage than the average 13-year-old car.

But the bad news is that the average miles per gallon of the vehicles being fought under Cash for Clunkers barely beats the average of all vehicles currently sold in the United States. So the main impact of the program is to remove clunkers that were being driven much anyway, while drivers acquire vehicles that they will drive a lot and that are only slightly more fuel-efficient than the average new car. Is that worth $4500?

If the program returns such marginal savings, why do it? One reason is that it appears to be accelerating the sale of cars, although Edmunds, which tracks car-buying trends, reports that many Cash for clunkers buyers just delayed their purchases in anticipation of this bonanza. A better program would have pinned the rewards to a calculation of fuel savings based on the remaining life of the clunker in the miles per gallon of the clunker and the new car the math is simple, but Congress is run by lawyers!

# # #

SOURCES: Energy Information Administration, WRITET, Oak Ridge Transportation Energy Data Book, National Household Transportation Survey, U.S. Dept. of Transportation | GRAPHIC: Lee Schipper, Joel Mehler, Brian Gould, Chris Ganson

SOURCE of original article: Washington Post, undated.

AUTHORS: Lee Schipper, Global Metropolitan Studies, University of California Berkeley, and the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, Stanford University. Joel Mehler, Stanford University. Brian Gould, GMS. Chris Ganson, WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE

Dr. Schipper manages to be simultaneously Senior Scientist with the Global Metropolitan Studies of the University of California Berkeley, and of Precourt Energy Efficiency Center of Stanford University. He has long been a voice calling for more balanced approaches in the world energy policy sector. He has impeccable new mobility qualifications since he has long commuted to work daily by bicycle. Lee leads a jazz quintet which plays on demand and is still remembered for their first international hit recording of “The Phunky Physicist” in Sweden in 1973.


And now, a glance at Europe’s ‘cash-for-clunkers’ programs

By The Associated Press (AP) – 8 Aug. 2009

The popular “cash-for-clunkers” program that has encouraged consumers in Europe and the U.S. to trade in their old cars for newer and more efficient models was born in December 2008 when French President Nicolas Sarkozy unveiled a Euro 26 billion ($37.36 billion) stimulus plan to help the country ward off a recession.

To date, 11 countries in Europe offer similar plans.

* Germany offers Euro 2,500 to buyers of new or almost new cars who own cars that are nine years or older.

* France offers Euro 1,000 to scrap an older car that’s at least 10 years old.

* Italy offers Euro 1,500 for a car and Euro 2,500 for a light commercial vehicle for buyers who agree to scrap a car that is at least 10 years old.

* Spain offers Euro 2,000 on a purchase price of up to Euro 30,000; old car must be at least 10 years old.

* Portugal offers Euro 1,250 for scrapping a car that is 8 to 12 years old, or Euro 1,500 for a car that is older than 12 years.

* The Netherlands pays between Euro 750 to Euro 1,750 to scrap a car that is 9, 13 or 19-years-old.

* Austria offers Euro 1,500; car must be at least 12 years old.

* Romania offers Euro 900 to scrap a car that is at least 10 years old but limited the program to just 60,000 units.

* Slovakia offers Euro 1,100 toward a purchase price of up to Euro 18,800.

* Serbia offers Euro 1,000 on any new locally built Fiat Punto if a buyer trades in a 9-year-old car.

Source: Various governments, IHS Global Insight. ––vOseImAnJ5Nl4xwD99U99I81

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Great ideas travel fast. The editor.

OP-Ed: John Whitelegg on The global transport challenge

The world’s transport system wastes lives, health, and money – and is choking the planet. There is a world transport crisis. Three thousand people are killed every day in road-traffic accidents, air pollution from vehicles is bathing our cities in a chemical soup and deaths from respiratory diseases exceed deaths in traffic accidents. Citizens need to take control.

– John Whitelegg, Editor, World Transport Policy and Practice

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Leading by example: Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates

This “Leading by example” report is the first in what we hope will be a long series on how mayors and other of our elected representatives around the world are showing the way by their actions. Mayor Tom Bates of Berkeley California decided to sell his last car earlier this year and since has been getting around exclusively by a combine new mobility package based on walking, public transport and carsharing. He likes it.

For the full story of a mayor who has through his new mobility diet lost 20 pounds since the beginning of this year, click here to Maria L. La Ganga’s article in today’s Los Angeles Times –,0,7556202.story?page=1

Here are some excerpts to tempt you to do just that:

” . . . if he doesn’t hurry, he’ll miss his BART train and be late to the first meeting in a long and busy day as mayor of this Left Coast city.

Four months ago, the silver-haired septuagenarian sold his beloved Volvo S80 T6 sedan — his 26th car — and set off on a new adventure: shrinking his already tiny carbon footprint.

Bates has been eco-minded as long as his two grown sons can remember, separating and recycling garbage before cities began curbside collection. These days, he feels an urgency to bring others along with him, although his style is less taskmaster than Tom Sawyer (“Say, Tom, let me whitewash a little”). “When you reach my age, you think about how you want to spend your time,” he says. “You only have so much left on the planet. I want to do what I can for climate change and global warming.”

Before the year is out, he wants to issue a friendly challenge to his fellow eco-minded mayors: Do a personal green inventory and go public with the results. His hope is to convince indifferent consumers that they really can help cut greenhouse gas emissions.

“Do one person’s actions make a difference? Probably not,” he says. “But if, out of the 6 billion people on the planet, 1 billion take action, that makes a difference. ‘Try to be the change you seek.’ Didn’t Gandhi say something like that?”


Now, write us and tell us about your mayor or elected representative who is walking the walk. The world needs to know. We need some real real-world heroes.