World Streets and the One Percent Solution (And that includes you.)

You know this as well as I do. There are no single, mega-dollar, build-it, big bang solutions for transportation systems reform. Only large numbers of, for the most part, generally quite small things. Small perhaps in themselves, one by one, but when you put all these small things together you start to get the new and far better transportation systems that we need and deserve. Large numbers of small things, each doing their part in concert. We call them “one percent solutions”. And you are part of that process.

Likewise for World Streets. After seven months of unfailing daily publication and more than 85,000 readers we know we are doing an important job. But if we are to continue to appear we need the support of many people and groups. One percent solutions. Get next to us and push. For the planet, for your city, for your children.

* But 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. And why one hundred of them think it is worthy of your support. Click here for more –

1.The One Percent Solution
2. Program summary (Opens in own window)
3. Ten reasons why
4. Next steps
5. Afterword: Why one per cent?

1. The One Percent Solution Continue reading

The Dead Freeway Society

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

The Strange History of Portland’s Unbuilt Roads
by Sarah Mirk Photos by Jason Kinney
Source: The Portland Mercury –

Scattered all over Portland are artifacts of a city that could have been. Bikes rush down a concrete ramp on the west side of the Hawthorne Bridge that 40 years ago originally connected to an expressway instead of grass. Tiny Piccolo Park off SE Division was the site of homes demolished to make way for the pylon of an unbuilt freeway. These vibrant sites are tombstones. We are a city of dead freeways.

While other American cities have built, built, built, Portland’s freeway history is boom and bust: massive road projects were planned, mapped, and sold as progress by one generation, then killed by another. When current transit planners visit from exotic Houston and DC to admire Portland’s progress, what they are really admiring are the roads not built—freeways erased from the maps decades ago.


The offices of Portland City Hall did not always boast bike maps. The city striving to become the nation’s greenest still bears the signature of America’s most famous car-centric transit planner.

Sixty-six Septembers ago, a Portland city commissioner invited the powerful (and, these days, infamous) transportation planner Robert Moses to come to Rose City and write its road construction plan. Moses, a freeway mogul whose most lasting legacy is the massive byways slicing apart New York’s boroughs, brought a team of men and holed up for two months in a downtown hotel. After exploring the city and crunching numbers, the men whipped up an 86-page blueprint for Portland’s future.

It was in this plan that Portland was first divided by the inky lines that would eventually become I-205, I-84, I-5, I-405, and Highway 26. It was Moses’ men who first drew the Fremont Bridge onto a photo of Portland. In white ink, they imagined the freeway to be a suspension bridge running across the river and down into the current Overlook neighborhood. But they also imagined a lot more.

To modernize and meet the demands of a growing economy and expanding population, back in 1943 Moses argued that Portland must surround itself with freeways—an inner ring carrying traffic through the city with another freeway ring encircling its outer limits.

“Every citizen of Portland has a right to be proud of the fact that this community is prepared, while there is still time, to face the future with unclouded vision,” wrote Moses.

In 1956, the US Congress passed the Federal-Aid Highway Act, promising the federal government would cover 90 percent of the costs of all new freeway construction, kicking off a freeway construction boom in Portland and around the nation. The last electric light rail company in Portland went out of business the day after the region’s first freeway was built in 1958.


In late August, just over I-405 from Portland State University, Shawn Granton stood on an orphaned section of the South Park Blocks. The measly chunk of lawn and the Southwest neighborhood around it was cut off from downtown when the freeway plowed through the area in the mid-’60s. The freeway was part of an urban renewal plan, Granton explained to a dozen gathered cyclists. It removed an entire block of high-density apartment complexes—the kind the city now wants to build downtown under its modern urban renewal policy that awards developers tax breaks as an incentive.

“Freeways become big walls in cities and divide neighborhoods,” said Granton, who has led his dead freeways bike tour of the city for three years. In shorts and sunglasses, he shouted over the thunder of the freeway. The grassy nub on the south side of the freeway was left intact as a compromise after neighbors complained about the removal of a block of parkland.

In 1964, the Oregon State Highway Division put out a helpful pamphlet on how to remove people whose homes would be demolished by the construction of I-405. “Relocation in Action” follows one Miss Crosby, age 63, who lives on a $100 monthly welfare check and whose diverse, mostly lower-income apartment building is about to be leveled to make way for the road. Like everyone else in the building, she is nervous about finding a new home. All turns out well in the end, of course: a helpful highway employee helps Miss Crosby secure an apartment in the Northwest Towers, a 13-story “modern, fireproof” building near downtown.


Jumping on the federal government’s desire to pick up 90 percent of the tab, the city and state tore out a path for I-84 through the Eastside and for I-5 through North Portland. The Fremont Bridge went up—white, just like Moses imagined. This was a glorious age of freeways. Construction rolled forward with few roadblocks.

“The I-5 through North Portland had a huge impact, but the people had no voice,” says Val Ballestrem, education manager of the Architectural Heritage Center, who wrote his master’s thesis on Portland’s anti-freeway movement. “There were some people living in the path of I-5 who got together, met with city officials, and were told, ‘There’s nothing you can do.’ And they just gave up.”

“There was no requirement at that time to do an environmental impact study for big projects like this,” explains Metro Planning Director Andy Cotugno. “City and business thought it was a great idea and the neighborhoods that got impacted had no rights at that time.” A photo of the construction shows a street lined solely with empty porches—the homes behind them had already been razed.

By the time Portland wrote up a (failed) bid to host the 1968 Olympics, planners had built enormously on Moses’ vision for a freewayed Portland. The map printed inside the glossy yearbook-sized Olympic sales pitch includes not just the freeways we know today, but also the Mount Hood Freeway running up SE Division, Laurelhurst Freeway along 39th Avenue, the Sellwood Freeway, Prescott Freeway, and a mile-long freeway tunnel running under the West Hills.


But 10 years later, everything had changed. The Mount Hood Freeway, Laurelhurst Freeway, and others were erased from the planned map of Portland’s future. I-205 had been whittled down from a planned eight lanes to six—its extra space being designated for a public transit right-of-way that just last week finally became the much-celebrated MAX Green Line. Portland had essentially reversed direction in one short decade, while nearly every other major American city was still gung ho about the roads ahead.

The first freeway to dissolve was Harbor Drive. Built in 1942, the wide slab of asphalt ran over what is today Tom McCall Waterfront Park, now where tourists and idyllic children roam with ice cream, Barack Obama spoke, and once a year the Oregon Symphony shoots live cannons in a performance of the 1812 Overture. In the ’50s and ’60s, the freeway, streaming with big-finned cars, was featured on postcards promoting a modern Portland. By 1975, it was gone.

“There was a shift in local government in the late-’60s. It went from a good-old-boy network to a much younger generation of politicians,” explains Ballestrem. Urban planning historian Gregory L. Thompson wrote that when one young politician arrived in Portland in 1973, the politico noted that everyone had a copy of anti-freeway handbook Rites of Way tucked into their hip pocket.

When the state began buying up land next to Harbor Drive to widen the waterfront freeway in 1968, a citizen alliance against the expansion found open ears at city hall and the governor’s office. Old-school traffic engineers said closing the freeway would be a disaster, but Governor Tom McCall, Mayor Neil Goldschmidt, and County Commissioner Don Clark heard the citizens’ opinion that most car traffic could be rerouted to the city’s newly built freeways, like the I-5. Throughout the summer of ’69, Portlanders organized “consciousness-raising picnics” to rally people against Harbor Drive. Three years later, a governor’s task force declared that the low-traffic, 30-year-old road should be ripped out and replaced with a park.


Riding high from the Harbor Drive victory, environmentally minded politicians and Portlanders took on the next freeway foe. Money was in the bag from the federal government to build a freeway like North Portland’s I-5, which would cut through Southeast to aid suburban commuters. This Mount Hood Freeway would have been four city blocks wide for the entire length of SE Division. The highway commission had already started buying up the right of way and tearing down old homes along Division when opposition started picking up steam.

Unlike I-5, though, the neighborhood had legal channels for their protest. Not only were the freeway planners required to write up an environmental impact statement for the project, but also Portland was in the midst of a major downtown revitalization effort.

“You connect the dots. You had a freeway that would create more sprawl at a time [when] we’re trying to do things to recapture downtown,” says Metro’s Cotugno. “In the process it would divide a community. Why should the inner-city neighborhood just roll over to produce a suburb?”

Neighbors worried about air pollution and the neighborhood filed a suit against the freeway, using the environmental impact statement to argue that the freeway’s site was poorly chosen. Meanwhile, Oregon bigwigs pulled strings in Washington, DC. The alternative transit-minded politicians scored a big win in August of 1973: Congress changed national law to allow regions to kill planned highways and put almost all the federal money set aside for those projects into non-freeway transit projects instead.

Soon after, a judge decided in favor of the anti-freeway neighbors. If the state wanted to build the Mount Hood Freeway, the judge said, they would have to restart the nearly decade-long planning process. In fall 1974, Governor McCall officially informed the federal government that his state would be “deleting” the Mount Hood Freeway. Instead, $23 million of the $165 million freeway pricetag would go into building the region’s public transit system.


The Mount Hood Freeway’s $165 million budget looks like pennies compared to the costs of our current freeway projects. Oregon and Washington are currently embarking on the largest single transportation project in the region’s history. If the states’ transportation departments get their way, the current six-lane I-5 bridge to Vancouver will become a 12-lane, $4.2 billion bridge called the Columbia River Crossing (CRC). Unlike the freeway projects of old, light rail and a better bike path are included in the CRC design. But there are many parallels. Modern environmental groups like Coalition for a Livable Future say the 12-lane bridge will increase traffic and promote sprawl. Some of the old-time activists who organized the anti-Harbor Drive picnics are these days attending rallies against the CRC.

“It’s another one of these roads that’s being espoused as ‘We have to have it in order to make everybody’s lives easier,'” says Ballestrem. “But it’s going to do the same thing that all these other big roads did. Building a bigger road is just going to encourage driving the automobile.”

Out of the national network of 43,000 miles of interstate freeway built with federal dollars in the 20th century, Metro’s Andy Cotugno says only about 25 freeway projects did not get built across the entire country.

Then and now, Portland’s pioneering spirit has always taken the road less traveled.

Historic postcards provided courtesy of local know-it-all Dan Haneckow ( Much of the historic information in this piece is from Gregory L. Thompson’s article “Taming the Neighborhood Revolution: Planners, Power Brokers, and the Birth of Neotraditionalism in Portland, Oregon” (Journal of Planning History).

# # #

The Road Not Taken

– Robert Frost (1874–1963).

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Climate change imperils 3,351 coastal cities worldwide (Two-thirds of which in the Global South)

Why have we pegged the action program of the New Mobility Agenda to (a) the ongoing process of climate emergency and the unbearable destruction of our planet and cities that goes with it and (b) to the imperative need to get large scale improvements in the two to five years directly ahead? For this reason . . .

UN-Habitat: Few coastal cities to be spared by climate change

All too soon, the harsh reality of climate change is upon us and the facts are becoming common place. But at a time when over 50 percent of humanity lives in urban areas, UN-HABITAT’s new State of the World’s Cities Report 2008/9: Harmonious Cities sets out to determine which cities are in danger and which communities might well be drowned out.

In the 20th century, sea levels rose by an estimated 17 centimetres, and global mean projections for sea level rise between 1990 and 2080 range from 22 centimetres to 34 centimetres. The low elevation coastal zone – the continuous area along coastlines that is less than 10 metres above sea level – represents 2 per cent of the world’s land area but contains 10 per cent of its total population and 13 per cent of its urban population.

There are 3,351 cities in the low elevation coastal zones around the world. Of these cities, 64 per cent are in developing regions; Asia alone accounts for more than half of the most vulnerable cities, followed by Latin America and the Caribbean (27 per cent) and Africa (15 per cent). Two-thirds of these cities are in Europe; almost one-fifth of all cities in North America are in low elevation coastal zones.

Concerned about the prospect of large scale devastation, in his foreword, Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations states that, “Cities embody some of society’s most pressing challenges, from pollution and disease to unemployment and lack of adequate shelter. But cities are also venues where rapid, dramatic change is not just possible but expected.”

Aimed at policymakers and planners, the new UN report warns that few coastal cities will be spared.

In the developed world (including Japan), 35 of the 40 largest cities are either coastal or situated along a river bank. In Europe, rivers have played a more important role in determining the growth and importance of a city than the sea; more than half of the 20 largest cities in the region developed along river banks. Quoting a report by Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the authors note that the populations of cities like Mumbai, Shanghai, Miami, New York City, Alexandria, and New Orleans will be most exposed to surge-induced flooding in the event of sea level rise.

In Asia, 18 of the region’s 20 largest cities are either coastal, on a river bank or in a delta. 17 per cent of the total urban population in Asia lives in the low elevation coastal zone, while in South-Eastern Asia, more than one-third of the urban population lives there. Japan, with less than 10 per cent of its cities in low elevation zones, has an urban population of 27 million inhabitants at risk, more than the urban population at risk in North America, Australia and New Zealand combined.

The report points out that by 2070, urban populations in cities in river deltas, which already experience high risk of flooding, such as Dhaka, Kolkata, Rangoon, and Hai Phong, will join the group of most exposed populations. Also, port cities in Bangladesh, China, Thailand, Vietnam, and India will have joined the ranks of cities whose assets are most exposed. Major coastal African cities that could be severely be affected by the impact of rising sea levels include Abidjan, Accra, Alexandria, Algiers, Cape Town, Casablanca, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Djibouti, Durban, Freetown, Lagos, Libreville, Lome, Luanda, Maputo, Mombasa, Port Louis, and Tunis.

An assessment of the vulnerability of Alexandria, the most important economic and historic centre along the Mediterranean coast (the cities of Alexandria, Rosetta and Port Said) suggests that, with a sea-level rise of 50 cm, more than 2 million people would have to abandon their homes, 214,000 jobs would be lost, and the cost in lost property value and tourism income would be over US $35 billion, which does not include the immeasurable loss of world famous historic, cultural and archaeological sites.

Researchers studying the impact of climate change on Dhaka predict that the city will be affected in two major ways: flooding and drainage congestion, and heat stress. The elevation of Dhaka ranges between 2 and 13 metres above sea level. This means that even a slight rise in sea level is likely to engulf large parts of the city. Moreover, high urban growth rates and high urban densities have already made Dhaka more susceptible to human-induced environmental disasters. With an urban growth rate of more than 4 per cent annually, Dhaka, which already hosts more than 13 million people, is one of the fastest growing cities in Southern Asia, and is projected to accommodate more than 20 million by 2025. The sheer number of people living in the city means that the negative consequences of climate change are likely to be felt by a large number of people, especially the urban poor who live in flood-prone and water-logged areas.

The report points out that Lagos, with a total population of nearly 10 million inhabitants, lacks adequate infrastructure to cope with flooding. “Normal” rainfall brings flooding to many areas of the city, largely as a result of inadequacies in sewers, drains and wastewater management. Any increase in the intensity of storms and storm surges is likely to increase such problems, as much of the land in and around Lagos is less than 2 meters above sea level. Many low-income settlements are built in areas at high risk of flooding (many on stilts), largely because safer sites are too expensive.

Observing the worrying prospects for cities facing climate change, in her forward, Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UNHABITAT, calls on cities and national governments to address these challenges and opportunities by adopting innovative approaches to urban planning and management that are inclusive, pro-poor and responsive to threats posed by environmental degradation and global warming. She continues to say, ‘From China to Colombia, and everywhere in between, national and local governments are making critical choices that promote equity and sustainability in cities. These governments recognize that cities are not just part of the problem; they are, and must be, part of the solution.’

# # #


Kolkata: Old buses and trucks banned from city streets (Is this really the way to go?)

The Bengal government has acted to implement the High Court’s decision to check road accidents and cut down pollution levels. Vehicles more than 15 years old to be taken off Kolkata’s streets. Local environmentalists cheer. World Streets is not quite so sure. The ban applies to about 2,500 buses, 500 mini buses and 6000 taxis, roughly one fourth of the total number in the city. We invite discussion and updates. (Kindly read Comments below for more.)

1. Finally, Bengal govt drives out Kolkata’s old wheels

Source: IBNLive.

Kolkata: Ten years, 14 hearings and 10 extensions of deadlines — that’s what the Bengal government has taken to implement the Calcutta High courts decision to check road accidents and cut down pollution levels.

Vehicles more than 15 years old will now be taken off Kolkata’s roads from July 25.

The ban would apply to about 2,500 buses, 500 mini buses and 6000 taxis, roughly one fourth of the total number in the city.

“I know that the public will face difficulties once the illegal vehicles are seized. But we can’t help. Despite repeated reminders the operators have not replaced the old vehicles,” says Bengal’s Transport Secretary, Sumantra Choudhury.
In the past few days, many accidents killed several people on Kolkata’s roads.

In many cases it was found the vehicles were old and that the owners were resorting to illegal means to keep them running. Yet private transport operators have threatened to oppose the ban

“All unions are uniting to protest against this decision. We have no other alternative,” says President, Bengal Bus Syndicate, Swarnakamal Saha.

The state government is also impressing upon bus operators to do away with the commission system for staff on ticket sales and replace it with monthly incentives in an effort to clamp down on rash driving.

Transporters say replacing old buses with the new is a long process and withdrawing large number of buses will create havoc and public discomfort in the days to come.

# # #

Source 2:
Green activists happy, vehicle owners worried over ban order

Source: Thaindian News,

Kolkata, July 20 (IANS) The city’s green activists have welcomed with a sigh of relief the Calcutta High Court (HC) judgement banning commercial vehicles, registered on or before January 1, 1993, from plying in the metropolis. But for thousands of bus and minibus owners, the order Friday came as a shock as they claimed that about 80 percent of commercial vehicles will be off the roads once the judicial directive comes into effect March 31, 2009.

“The judgement is very unfortunate for thousands of bus and minibus owners and many other people who are directly or indirectly involved in this profession. We are planning to move the Supreme Court soon after getting a copy of the High Court order,” Sadhan Das, West Bengal Joint Council of Bus Syndicate (WBJCBS) general secretary, told IANS.

He said about 70 percent of the total vehicles plying in Kolkata and its three adjoining districts – South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas and Howrah – are commercial.

“If these vehicles are banned due to the age factor, the total public transport system would collapse. Commercial vehicles can only be banned if they are not maintaining the standard pollution norms, according to the Environment Protection Act,” he said.

The Calcutta High Court banned commercial vehicles registered on or before January 1, 1993 from Kolkata and its outskirts. All auto rickshaws would also have to convert either to compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) mode. All autos with two-stroke engines have to be phased out by the year-end.
The HC judgement came following a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a green crusader Subhash Dutta in March 2007.

“We have called representatives from all commercial vehicle organisations and will hold a meeting next week to take the final decision. We are hopeful of getting justice from the Supreme Court,” said Swarnakamal Saha, Kolkata Metropolitan Bus and Minibus Association member.

He said: “About 15 lakh (1.5 million) vehicles, of which over 80 percent are commercial, ply across 1,450 km of total roads in the Kolkata Metropolitan Area (KMA).”

But green activist Dutta is gung-ho over the judgement.

“It’s a very good judgement to reduce the city’s pollution level but we, the green activists, now will have to ensure that the order is carried out properly. The judgement covered most of the major points of the litigation such as ban on old commercial vehicles and using adulterated fuel,” Dutta told IANS.

He said that the average speed of cars in Kolkata is only 5 km per hour.

“A two-member committee will be formed soon to monitor the situation and find out if the order is being carried out properly,” he said.

# # #

World Streets has serious reservations concerning this kind of shotgun approach. The intentions are excellent, the ardor is real, but is piecemeal action really the best way to deal with this issues. We ask and invite you to respond. (Thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up.)

Pedal Power (to the People)

Pedal Power, a new Canadian film about the phenomenal growth of city cycling produced by a Cogent/Benger Productions team under the direction of Christopher Sumpton and will be viewed for the first time today, September 24th, on national television in Canada ( , 8pm). Repeating:Friday September 25, 2009 at 10 pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld.

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Honk! Concepts Run Wild at Dutch-American Bike Slam

Remember our New York and Dutch friends and their New Amsterdam Bike Slam and invitational event announcement and article of 19 August ( Well they did it and the following article from today’s New York Times tells the story.

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Bogotá’s Ghost Bike

Nicole Cañón, a 10-year old student on her bike ride to school, was run over by a bus and, when thrown to the street, was killed by a taxi. As if this were not enough, both drivers of bus and taxi escaped, leaving the child on her deathbed with no one to take responsibility.

Ghost bike ceremonies as memorials and calls for action

By Carlos Felipe Pardo, ITDP country director, Colombia

As of last Friday, Bogotá now has its own 9-11 to remember. Though it is of much smaller scale, it is equally tragic. Nicole Cañón, a 10-year old student on her bike ride to school, was run over by a public transport bus and, when thrown to the street, was killed by a taxi. As if this were not enough, both drivers of the bus and the taxi escaped, leaving Nicole on her deathbed with no one to take responsibility.

Continue reading

"A gasoline tax is win, win, win, win, win — with no uncertainty at all."

These are the words of Thomas Friedman, and while we do not need to follow him exactly down his favorite (inevitable) “high tech will save us all” energy trail, they are sufficiently pithy, timely and to the point that they are worth a scan in our context here. (Appears here especially for our non-US readers to give them a taste of the present level of the debate in the US, which as the illustration shows is something really worth weeping about.)

Real Men Tax Gas

By Thomas L. Friedman

Source: International Herald Tribune, Monday Sept. 21st, 2009

Do we owe the French and other Europeans a second look when it comes to their willingness to exercise power in today’s world? Was it really fair for some to call the French and other Europeans “cheese-eating surrender monkeys?” Is it time to restore the French in “French fries” at the Congressional dining room, and stop calling them “Freedom Fries?” Why do I ask these profound questions?

Because we are once again having one of those big troop debates: Do we send more forces to Afghanistan, and are we ready to do what it takes to “win” there? This argument will be framed in many ways, but you can set your watch on these chest-thumpers: “toughness,” “grit,” “fortitude,” “willingness to do whatever it takes to realize big stakes” — all the qualities we tend to see in ourselves, with some justification, but not in Europeans.

But are we really that tough? If the metric is a willingness to send troops to Iraq and Afghanistan and consider the use of force against Iran, the answer is yes. And we should be eternally grateful to the Americans willing to go off and fight those fights. But in another way — when it comes to doing things that would actually weaken the people we are sending our boys and girls to fight — we are total wimps. We are, in fact, the wimps of the world. We are, in fact, so wimpy our politicians are afraid to even talk about how wimpy we are.

How so? France today generates nearly 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear power plants, and it has managed to deal with all the radioactive waste issues without any problems or panics.

And us? We get about 20 percent and have not been able or willing to build one new nuclear plant since the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, even though that accident led to no deaths or injuries to plant workers or neighbors. We’re too afraid to store nuclear waste deep in Nevada’s Yucca Mountain — totally safe — at a time when French mayors clamor to have reactors in their towns to create jobs. In short, the French stayed the course on clean nuclear power, despite Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, and we ran for cover.

How about Denmark? Little Denmark, sweet, never-hurt-a-fly Denmark, was hit hard by the 1973 Arab oil embargo. In 1973, Denmark got all its oil from the Middle East. Today? Zero. Why? Because Denmark got tough. It imposed on itself a carbon tax, a roughly $5-a-gallon gasoline tax, made massive investments in energy efficiency and in systems to generate energy from waste, along with a discovery of North Sea oil (about 40 percent of its needs).

And us? When it comes to raising gasoline taxes or carbon taxes — at a perfect time like this when prices are already low — our politicians tell us it is simply “off the table.” So I repeat, who is the real tough guy here?

“The first rule of warfare is: ‘Take the high ground.’ Even the simplest Taliban fighter knows that,” said David Rothkopf, energy consultant and author of “Superclass.” “The strategic high ground in the world — whether it is in the Middle East or vis-à-vis difficult countries like Russia and Venezuela — is to be less dependent on oil. And yet, we simply refuse to seize it.”

According to the energy economist Phil Verleger, a $1 tax on gasoline and diesel fuel would raise about $140 billion a year. If I had that money, I’d devote 45 cents of each dollar to pay down the deficit and satisfy the debt hawks, 45 cents to pay for new health care and 10 cents to cushion the burden of such a tax on the poor and on those who need to drive long distances.

Such a tax would make our economy healthier by reducing the deficit, by stimulating the renewable energy industry, by strengthening the dollar through shrinking oil imports and by helping to shift the burden of health care away from business to government so our companies can compete better globally. Such a tax would make our population healthier by expanding health care and reducing emissions. Such a tax would make our national-security healthier by shrinking our dependence on oil from countries that have drawn a bull’s-eye on our backs and by increasing our leverage over petro-dictators, like those in Iran, Russia and Venezuela, through shrinking their oil incomes.

In sum, we would be physically healthier, economically healthier and strategically healthier. And yet, amazingly, even talking about such a tax is “off the table” in Washington. You can’t mention it. But sending your neighbor’s son or daughter to risk their lives in Afghanistan? No problem. Talk away. Pound your chest.

I am not sure what the right troop number is for Afghanistan; I need to hear more. But I sure know this: There is something wrong when our country is willing to consider spending more lives and treasure in Afghanistan, where winning is highly uncertain, but can’t even talk about a gasoline tax, which is win, win, win, win, win — with no uncertainty at all.

So, I ask yet again: Who are the real cheese-eating surrender monkeys in this picture?

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Source: International Herald Tribune, Monday Sept. 21st, –

* Image thanks to: You of course recognized the slightly modified painting of great sorrow of the French academic painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau, coming in this version from Remarkably farsighted those French.

Navigating Chengdu’s traffic: Part I

A 2008 China Today article notes that Chengdu ranks fourth among China’s cities in terms of car ownership, surpassing that of larger cities—and, if hearsay proves to be true, by now Chengdu is third. It has certainly become noticeably more stressful and time-consuming to travel from point A to point B in the four years I’ve been here. Continue reading

World Streets One-Click Key Sources Search – Worldwide

Have a question about sustainable transport projects, techniques, applications, institutions, anywhere in the world? Say about BRT in Delhi, public bikes in Mexico, carsharing in Austria, or anything else that falls under the sustainable transport/new mobility agenda? Planning a trip to a city and want to check up on what is going on there so that you get off with a running start? So now what?

Turn to Google most likely. Not bad — but let us see if we can offer you a more efficient way to carry out your search.

* First try our Collaborative Search Engine

Over the course of the past year the members of our worldwide network have helped us to piece together an inventory of and working links to an impressive number of groups, programs and sources leading the way in this area, and as of today if you look on the left menu of the section (a bit down) entitled Key Sources, Links and Blog, you will see are 156 are already listed. (For the visual effect we list them below, but to be useful of course you really have to click down to that section of the site.)

This is a wonderful collection of sources on our subject, and if you first click to and from there start asking your questions, you will see what these specialist groups and sources have to offer on your topic. It will be a fraction of what you get with a full Google search, but much more closely honed given that these are the leading edge groups working in these area.

Have and candidates who are port of this leading edge and who should be included in our combined search engine. Please let us know and we can add them.

156 Key Sources, Links and Blogs you may wish to check out for your project

Active Transportation Alliance * African Community Access Programme (AFCAP) * Alliance for Biking & Walking * Association for European Transport * Bakfiets Cycle News * Better Transport (UK) * Bicycle Design * Bicycle Fixation * Bicycle Partnership Program * Bike-sharing Blog * Brazilian Pedestrian Association * Brookings Institute * C40 – Large Cities Climate Leadership * California Center for Innovative Transportation * Campaign for Better Transport * Carsharing US * Center for Neighborhood Technology * Centre for Science and Environment * China Dialogue * Cities for Mobility * CitiesACT (Asia) * Citistates Group * City CarShare * City Fix * City Mayors * CityRyde * CityRyde (USA) * Ciudad Viva * CIVITAS * Clean Air Initiative (CAI) * Climate Alliance of European Cities * Climate ark * Clinton Climate Initiative * Community Transportation Association of America * CROW – Technology Platform for Transport & Public spac * ELTIS * ELTIS case studies * Embarq – Center for Sustainable Transport * Embarq – WRI * Energy Foundation * EPOMM – European Platform on Mobility Management * EUROCITIES mobility * European Federation for Transport & Environmen * Feet First. * * Forum for the future * Friends of the Earth (Transport) * Frixo traffic reporting * Gehl architects. * Global Alliance for EcoMobility * Global Environment & Technology Foundation * global Transport Knowledge Partnership * Go For Green * Google maps bike there * Gotham Gazette * Green 2009 * Green car congress. * Greenstreet Sweden * Grist * GTZ * Guardian Transport * I Bike T.O. * I Walk to School * IBSR – L’Institut Belge pour la Sécurité Routière * IEEE * IFRTD * INRETS (France) * International Downtown Association * International Federation of Pedestrians (IFP) * International Transport Forum * International Walk to School * ITDP – China (photo library) * ITDP – Institute for Transportation & Development Policy – * Japan for Sustainability (JFS) * Key NewMob definitions * Knoogle combined search of all following blogs and sources * KonSULT * Land Transport Authority – Singapore * Livable City * Livable Streets Network * * Mobility Magazine (South Africa) * Network Musings * Next American City * One Street * Oxford Transport Network * Pan Africa Bicycle Information Network * Parisar (India) * Partners for Public Spaces (PPS) i * Perils for Pedestrians * Planetizen * Polis * Practical cyclist Blog * Prevention Institute * Reconnecting America * Regional Community Development News * Reinventing Transport * Safe Kids * Safe Routes to School * Shared Space.Institute * Shrinking Cities * Sightline Institute * Smart growth america * Smart Growth Online * Social Data * * STPP * Street-Films * Streets Alive * Streetsblog (NYC) * Sustainable Cities Net * Sustainable Connections * Sustainable Development Gateway * Sustainable Energy Africa * Sustainable Urban Transport Project * Sustran – Global South Forum * The Commons * The Idea Factory * The Nation – Transportation * The PEP – Transport * Health & Environmen * the transport politic * Tne Infrastructurist * Transaid * Transition Towns * Transport Research Knowledge Centre * Transportation Alternatives * Transumo * Treehugger-transportation * UITP * Urbamet * Urban Buzz * Urban Design * Urban Design and Planning * Urban Land Institute * Urban places and spaces * Urban Transport Issues Asia * Urban Trransportation Monitor * Value Capture News * Velo Mondial * Victoria Transport Policy Institute * Virginia Tech Transportation Institute * Walk & Bike for Life * Walk to School (UK) * Walking School Bus * Wash Cycle * Where * WHO – Transport and Health * Wiki on Sustainable Transportation * Wikipedia entry (for comment) * WiserEarth (WE) * World Business Council for Sustainable Development * World Changing * World Resources Forum * World Resources Institute * Worldwatch Institute * Wuppertal Institute

* Again that’s You may wish to bookmark it.

“Take a ride where the drivers aren’t rude to you… ” BRT comes to Joburg (And then what?)

‘Have you heard of this BRT in Joburg? Are we going to get this thing in Cape Town?’ Xoliswa Mtshali is dusting my office bookshelves, moving copies of MOBILITY magazine around and looking at the photographs of TransMillenio in the latest issue. She’s spent the last week or so – like most other people in South Africa – watching news footage of the country’s first-ever BRT, Rea Vaya, which launched on 1 September. And friends of hers who live in Soweto have told her that the bus service is like nothing they’ve ever encountered before.

‘It’s cheap – not expensive like taxis. The music is not loud, they say. You can know when the bus will arrive… The bus doesn’t have to wait to be full before it goes…’

But the best, according to Xoliswa: ‘The drivers, they are not rude to you!’

As we’re talking, another ‘BRT update from Rea Vaya’ lands in my in-box. Today, talk is around emissions standards, and how the bus service will continue despite security threats. And the ruling-party ANC has criticized Soweto Taxi Services for allegedly intimidating taxi owners who support the Bus Rapid Transit system. Last week two passengers were injured by taxi gunmen, and a high-profile taxi leader was murdered.

Rather prosaically, Rea Vaya – which means ‘we are going’ in Sotho – is introduced on its website thus:

“In order to deal with the increasing transport problems faced in Joburg today, the City is pleased to introduce the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit System.

“The Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT) is designed to provide a high quality and affordable transport system, which is fast and safe.”

And that’s exactly what it’s doing – but the impact of this is difficult to translate to anyone who’s used to quality public transport. Transport writers, engineers and officials are flying from all over the country to take a ride on the longest-awaited bus in South Africa’s history – returning with DVD upon DVD of photographs of every tiny detail, including the pedestrian paving and signage. There’s a festive, and slightly disbelieving air to it all, astonishing to anyone for whom timetables are old hat.

Adventurous travellers to the African continent boast of taking the ‘local transport’, but to everyday commuters with a deadline, this is nothing worth writing home about: waiting three-quarters of an hour for a minibus-taxi to fill up, never knowing when a minibus will arrive, dodging gun-toting drivers who’ve been known to kill in order to maintain their routes…

Rea Vaya’s website – which offers a fraction of the information something like Transport for London’s does – is a 21st century dream for South Africans with access to the net: route planners, timetables, maps, updates, photographs of work in progress.

Phase 1A is a 25km route from Soweto into central Joburg, with 20 stations en route. The full phase 1 will include seven routes of 122 km, 150 stations, and trunk, complementary and feeder services.

Sadly, when Cape Town does finally does get its first phase of the BRT (which as yet does not have a name), the route will go nowhere near the township where Xoliswa lives. The first route will travel between Cape Town airport and the central city. There is talk that perhaps in 20 years or so, in phase who-knows-what, Cape Town’s south peninsula might find itself on the BRT route – taxi-industry-negotiations permitting.

But to Xoliswa and other hopefuls: ‘The passengers will want it. We are the ones who must decide.’

For more information, visit

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By Gail Jennings, Mobility Magazine, Cape Town, South Africa.
Gail writes about issues such as social and environmental justice, energy and climate change, community-based projects, non-motorised transport, and edit Mobility Magazine (a quarterly transport publication for the southern African public sector).

Transaid: Emergency Transport in Northern Nigeria

Transaid is an international development organisation that seeks to reduce poverty and improve lives in Africa through creating better transport. Here is a partnership transport project they are working on in Northern Nigeria.
— Sustainable development and social justice? Think Africa! —

Transaid has been working as part of the PRRINN project in Northern Nigeria to help improve immunisation coverage for women and children in the states of Yobe, Jigawa, Katsina and Zamfara.

Transaid’s role has been to advise on appropriate management of the Ministry of Health’s transport to ensure adequate healthcare reaches those most in need. This project has now been expanded in three of the four states to cover all primary healthcare for mother’s, newborn babies and children (MNCH) extending the reach and impact of Transaid’s vital work.

The Problem
In this part of Northern Nigeria, less than 6% of children are fully immunised against life-threatening diseases and rates of newborn, maternal and child mortality are some of the highest in the world. Over 500,000 women die in pregnancy every year. A woman in sub-saharan Africa has a 1 in 13 chance of dying in pregnancy or childbirth, compared to a 1 in 4,000 risk in the industrialised world*.

The millennium development goals which have been put in place to reduce extreme poverty aim to reduce child mortality by two thirds, maternal mortality by three quarters and to achieve universal access to reproductive health by 2015. Efficient and effective transport has a key role to play in the delivery of health services and is a vital link to enabling these goals to be realised.
*Statistic taken from ‘Maternal Mortality: Africa’s Burden. A Toolkit on Gender, Transport and Maternal Mortality’, vs4-04-2005

The Process
Transaid is providing technical assistance in relation to the transport elements of the project. Through the initial PRRINN project we have already begun to implement a transport management system to help improve health service delivery. We are also working with project partners and the government at state level to establish solutions to the problem of accessing health facilities in emergency pregnancy cases.

Plans are being developed for an emergency transport system to be put in place using members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers NURTW) to take patients for a small fee. This has already proven to be successful following a pilot in Jigawa state. We are also looking at the viability of other low-cost modes of transport such as the motorcycle and bicycle ambulance to improve access to emergency healthcare in hard to reach areas.

The PRRINN-MNCH consortium led by Health Partners International, Save the Children and Grid Consulting, the State Ministry of Health in Katsina, Yobe and Zamfara. (Jigawa state is not included in the MNCH project)

The Results
The overall aims of the whole project are to improve antenatal care for women and the number of births attended by skilled medical personnel. The project also aims to increase immunisation levels so that 60% of children under one year old are fully immunised by 2012, decreasing the number of cases of life-threatening illnesses such as measles. It is hoped that health centres will serve 50% more women and children through better functioning and rehabilitated systems (including transport). The increase in trained staff at health centres and hospitals will also ensure greater accountability and responsiveness to patients and a more joined up approach to management at all levels.

The new PRRINN-MNCH project will improve the quality and availability of all maternal and child health services including antenatal and postnatal care, safer deliveries, care for newborn and young children, better nutrition and increased routine immunisation. Using Transaid’s transport management system vehicles will also be better managed and scheduled, increasing vehicle availability for emergency pregnancy transfers.


(If you want to know more about Transaid’s work in Nigeria please follow this link:,-increasing-access-to-healthcare-for-mothers-and-children,-prrinn—mnch-update-%E2%80%93-april-2009

Bringing World Streets to China: A collaborative effort

World Streets is strongly committed to working with all those concerned in China to advancing the sustainable transportation agenda in their cities and surrounding regions. What a wonderful challenge for international collaboration and exchange on our topic, and it strikes us that this is an excellent occasion to initiate and deepen this collaboration. An important event can lead the way. Let’s look at this together.

First steps:

The 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China falls on Oct. 1, barely two weeks away. World Streets wants to be there to celebrate this important event and to become a useful partner for sustainable transportation and sustainable cities in China for the many years ahead.

For various technical reasons, World Streets is not able at present to share our information and leads with our Chinese colleagues. So, to find our way into this new partnership out first step was to start by asking a few of our mainland Chinese friends by email, phone and Skype what they think. This we did and this is what they have told us:

For various internal reasons they told us some internet connections on the mainland are currently being filtered. Which means that it can happen that people in universities, home, internet cafes, and even government agencies are unable at present to access

This situation is not going to last forever; however, if we wish to be a good source of information and inspiration for our Chinese colleagues, we need to work our way around this.

Now there are work-arounds for this, namely sites ARE accessible via proxy sites or for those with access to VPNs (virtual private networks), but essentially this means either a few extra steps are needed to access the information. While this is useful for some for now, it is (a) only available to ‘net-savvy surfers. More than that however it is (b) a “back-door approach” which is hardly appropriate to the real, broad and deep collaboration and exchange that is appropriate in the face of the challenges ahead..

Intermediate adaptation:

Now that we have a feel for what is going on, our next step has been to take a template from our New Mobility Agenda series ( and to see how we might quickly refit it to make at least a portion of our content available by other means. If you go to you will see how this looks so far.

The advantage as it stands is that it gives the reader a clue and short summaries of all the articles that are housed in our archives and current editions: but unfortunately for now, not the full text. Still, we have a start.

Longer Term:

The permanent fix, we are advised, will be to approach the responsible regulatory agency, the Ministry of Information (see, and register with them so that access to Streets will not longer be blocked. We are hopeful that some of our Chinese colleagues will work with us on this.

An option, we are advised, is to create a new .cn domain name and blog — but we hope this is to be avoided if possible since the job of uploading the hundreds of articles and tools housed in the present site to yet a new website is a formidable and time consuming task.

World Streets in China:

In closing, we might add that the steady progress that is being made of late in the quality of machine translations to and from Chinese and English has been very impressive. Our Chinese friends tell us that this is a handy way to find out at least the gist of any given article or piece, but there is of course nothing like a fine human translation. Still . . .

Our hope will be to do much better than this and to find Chinese partners in order to do with World Streets in China what we are presently accomplishing with our first non-English sustainable transport daily, Nuova Mobilità — for and with our Italian colleagues and in Italian. N/M is our working model or template for what we are hoping to do in other countries and languages. Because the simple reality is that if something is to get read every day by busy planners, agencies, local government, transport operators, researchers, activists and others concerned, the odds are that if it is not in their first working language it just will not get read.

Beyond this the Italian editors not only translate, but also adapt and provide context and commentary for the Italian reader on the articles they select for publication. And that is not all. The journal also functions as a turntable for swapping ideas articles and dialogues between planners and others concerned within Italy itself.

In short, the traffic is not at all one way. These are living streets.

And there you have our hopes for World Streets in China.

[Comments, corrections and refinements as always warmly welcome, You can leave them simply by clicking the Comment tag below.]

# # #

Curious to get an idea of the quality of the Chinese language translations? You may care to try the hardest translation test of all. Click to translate, say, this article into Chinese in Google Translate — — and then simply reverse the process and translate the Chinese text back into English. Again, this is a terrible text, but have a look and see if the machine works to the extent that you have some reasonable idea of the original. (And bear in mind please that this two-round process significantly magnifies what may be small glitches. But if you really want to know, if you are genuinely curious it can be a genuine help. At least it is to us and to a number of our bilingual Chinese colleagues.)

Home Location , Smart Growth and Sustainable Transport: Changing Patterns

A significant key to sustainable transport resides in our land use. And what more important land use decision than where we chose to live, the place in which we start or end the lion’s share of our personal travel each day? In this article our guest Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute sheds judicious light on claims and counter-claims of Smart Growth, as true in Delhi, Moscow or Cape Town as in North America.

Honk! Park(ing) Day is September 18th, 2009 . (And World Streets invites you to park yourself next Friday)

What’s a simple, cheap, highly visual, and eminently practical way to demonstrate some of the advantages of finding alternatives to our existing car-heavy culture? If you’re Rebar, a San Francisco art and design collective, the answer is PARK(ing) Day. Go for it!

– by Robert Moskowitz, Santa Monica, California

PARK(ing) PARK(ing) Day is an annual, full day, global event that encourages artists, activists, and ordinary citizens to “take back” part of their local car-oriented infrastructure by temporarily transforming conventional metered parking spaces into public parks.

The idea is so simple, it’s brilliant. For the price of a parking spot, concerned citizens can grab possession of some prominent public square footage, and create a 3-D “diorama” about urban life as it could be lived, once we all become less dependent on individualized transportation systems.

Intended strictly as a non-commercial project and promoted as a way to tap into individual and collective creativity, Park(ing) Day has become an engine of civic engagement, critical thinking, unscripted social interactions, human generosity and interpersonal play.

Providing temporary public open space . . .one parking spot at a time.

The practice of seizing control of metered parking space and turning it to other uses dates back at least to the 1930’s, when citizens of Oklahoma City played cards in parking spaces to protest the installation of those new-fangled instruments of Fascism: parking meters!

The idea was re-conceived in 2005, and quickly implemented when several members of Rebar seized control of a single metered parking space and ingeniously began using it as a public park. For maximum impact, they choose to do this in an area of San Francisco notably short of publicly accessible open space. The goal was simply to demonstrate that paying the metered price for a public parking space enables one to control that precious urban real estate for recreational purposes, at least for a short while.

According to Rebar, as much as 70% of San Francisco’s downtown outdoor space is dedicated to cars, trucks, busses, trolleys, and other forms of transportation. In comparison, much less space has been set aside for people. The Park(ing) Day movement started out as an effort to creatively explore how urban public space is currently allocated, and how it could be used differently. Rebar was curious to learn what people might do with that space, once given the opportunity.

Since then, PARK(ing) Day has become a worldwide phenomenon, supported, controlled, and advanced by independent groups of artists, activists and citizens.

PARK(ing) Day 2008 included more than 500 “PARK” installations in more than 100 cities on four continents. This year, the project continues to expand to urban centers across the globe, including first-time PARK installations in South Africa, Poland, Norway, New Zealand and South Korea.

PARK(ing) Day participants have also broadened the scope to fulfill a range of unmet social needs. “From public parks to free health clinics, from art galleries to demonstration gardens, PARK(ing) Day participants have claimed the metered parking space as a rich new territory for creative experimentation, activism, socializing and play,” says Blaine Merker of Rebar.

In San Francisco, Rebar will deploy its “PARKcycle” – a pedal-powered mobile park, capable of delivering public green space where and when it is needed. “This year we’re going to outfit the PARKcycle with a new type of park. We are keeping the details secret, but we’ll be out pedaling around and visiting other PARK(ing) Day installations around the city,” says Rebar’s Teresa Aguilera. “If you live or work in San Francisco, keep your eyes open for a twenty-two foot long park pedaling through the streets. It will be hard to miss.”

To help make the dream a reality, Rebar has found support from several non-profits, including The Trust for Public Land, the Black Rock Arts Foundation, and Public Architecture, that share the collective’s values and concerns about urban space. The growth and dissemination of PARK(ing) Day ideas and literature, such as the posters accompanying this article, would not have been possible without their support.

Basic Rules for a PARK(ing) Day Installation

Rebar encourages adaptation and “remixing” of the basic “park in a parking space” concept that characterizes Park(ing) Day, and especially encourages participants to consider going beyond the standard combination of grass, bench, and shade. Park(ing) Day parks have been used to examine and address a wide range of other needs in local urban contexts.

However, Rebar encourages adherence to a few simple rules, if only to preserve the original spirit and intent of the celebration. They include:

1) Non-Commercial Sensibility. Everyone who participates in PARK(ing) Day and uses its name must agree not to include any advertising and not to sell or in any way promote any commercial goods or services in or around their temporary park. The only exception is the free “Mark your PARK” poster from Rebar’s website (, which includes a space for commercial organizations and merchants to insert their business names or logo. No other form of advertising is permitted in or near a Park(ing) Day park.

2) Give Credit To PARK(ing) Day, by including the following on all websites, press releases, flyers and other promotional materials: “PARK(ing) Day was originally created in 2005 by Rebar, a San Francisco-based art and design studio, as an experimental exploration in repurposing public space.” Although not the original inventor of the concept, Rebar does have rights to the “PARK(ing) Day” name and logo.

The term “PARK(ing) Day” is a registered service mark of Rebar Group, Inc., which grants free rights to the name for use in any non-commercial capacity related to PARK(ing) Day events, provided proper credit is given.

3) Waiver of Liability. Participation in PARK(ing) Day is open and undertaken at your own risk! Participants are acting independently of Rebar Group, Inc. and its owners, employees, officers, directors, members, volunteers, agents, assignees and partners, none of whom are liable for their actions. Rebar asks participants to please download and read their disclaimer/waiver of liability

Participants in PARK(ing) Day can, and probably should, connect with others around the world, and “register” their PARK by adding their PARK to the 2009 Map ( Rebar says this will help increase the number of visitors at your park, because on PARK(ing) Day people like to tour local installations in their neighborhoods.

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About the author:

Robert Moskowitz is a business consultant, author, and time management “guru” who has founded two non-profits, worked as a Senior Consultant for Hill and Knowlton, helped develop several Internet startups, and won an Emmy for his work on a Public TV series about personal finances. He has written extensively on topics ranging from aging to investment, the Internet, marketing, business management, and more. He writes: “I am here cause I feel in my bones we’re living profligately on the planet and we need to find a formula for establishing quality of life without destroying the environment. Obviously, sustainable development and new modes of transport are key ingredients in such a formula.”

Reminder: Sustainable development is a personal combat. Peter Newman is back at the wheel.

There is something deeply personal, non-institutional, non- administrative that lies at the core of our uphill combat for sustainable development in all its necessary varieties and forms. In the heat of the day to day action one can lose sight of this, and that is a fundamental error. And then, even if we lose pace a bit, something happens and we gain sight of this again. For example, only yesterday . . .

We had a very personal reminder about this yesterday morning, when we received a note from our long time friend and respected colleague Peter Newman, announcing his return to action after a brush quite literally with death. I have asked for and received his permission to share portions of his note with you here.

Let me make a brief and hopefully final report on my health…

I am pleased to say I started back at work today officially (I managed to sneak in a bit last week). I started the day as the keynote at the national Clean Air Society conference on ‘Clean, Green Cities Beckon…’, then went to the ABC studio to do an interview with the BBC on Australian cities (against my self-imposed ban on media work but this was not entering a highly charged debate, it was explaining our research). Then after a time at CUSP with my research team I went home for a short nap before going to hear Sam play in the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra which was extremely enjoyable. I think it was the kind of day that represents what I hope I can still do well, at home and work, but without too much stress.

I actually feel so much better than I did before and probably should as I had 2 cm deep accumulated bleeding on my brain. The medical evidence is that I am over the hematoma but the brain on the left side was rather distorted and will take 6 months or so to move back into the space. This means I need to be careful and not over-stress myself – which is just learning to live sensibly really. Its easy to forget sometimes what it was like on July 10th when I was a whisker away from a major seizure.

I want to thank everyone for their emails and letters of support. I feel very privileged to know you all.

Peter Newman

Professor of Sustainability
Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute
Curtin University
Perth, Australia 6160


We have long said that sustainability is an uphill struggle, that it is an intensely personal enterprise, and that we need every pair of able and willing hands on our side if we are to create a new majority for sustainable development and social justice, and all that goes with it.

So welcome back Peter. Go slow, go wise and go very far. We need you.

Eric Britton

* For more on Peter’s contributions a good place to start is his Wikipedia entry which you can find at

More on North American Carsharing 2009

  Roy Russell, founding Chief Technology Officer of Zipcar, read yesterday’s feature article on carsharing in North America and immediately wrote to add his experience, thoughts and views on this to further round out the big picture on carsharing in the US   . (Additional comments are as always warmly solicited.)
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2009 North American Carsharing Update

This article is part of our series of updates on carsharing status, problems, projects and plans from members of the New Mobility Agenda’s World Carshare program. Why so much attention to a mobility form that will never account for more than a percent or two of all trips in our cities? Simple. Carsharing is one of the vital keys to sustainable transport.

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