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Santa Monica Really Wants to Make It Easy for You to Go Multimodal

As part of the GoSaMo campaign, local businesses will be encouraged to put decals in their store windows to show customers and passersby the nearest transit option (all images courtesy of the city of Santa Monica).

As part of the GoSaMo campaign, local businesses will be encouraged to put decals in their store windows to show customers and passersby the nearest transit option (all images courtesy of the city of Santa Monica).

Santa Monica is an embarrassment of riches in many ways. That is especially true when it comes to alternatives to driving everywhere.

And now, the city wants to make it as easy as possible for you to discover how you can go multimodal and take advantage of Santa Monica’s growing network of transportation options.

“It was our goal to make integration between our existing transportation networks seamless with the arrival of Expo,” Santa Monica Mayor Tony Vazquez said in a press release issued Wednesday announcing the launch of the city’s “GoSaMo” initiative.

05096_GoSaMo_Web_Map-02

Maps on the GoSaMo website show visitors what is in the vicinity of the Expo stations and how long it takes to get to the various local businesses by bus, bike, or walking.

“To really address mobility, it had to be about so much more than Expo. We want to make Santa Monica the leading example of pedestrian and transit-oriented lifestyles in Southern California,” he said.

GoSaMo is a multipronged approach designed to get people educated about and interested in the variety of transportation options available to them in the city of Santa Monica.

The launch of the initiative is happening concurrently with perhaps one of the biggest changes to transportation on the Westside since the I-10 freeway opened about a half-century ago: the grand opening of the Expo line extension to Downtown Santa Monica.

The 6.6-mile extension of the light rail, which opens on May 20, will bring passenger trains back to the Westside for the first time since 1953 and there has been plenty of attention paid to the historic moment.

While Expo is the single biggest change to Westside transportation in recent years, GoSaMo is about making sure people are aware of all the other options available to them as well:

“GoSaMo highlights and raises awareness about Santa Monica’s expanded mobility options—three Expo Light Rail stations, six new Big Blue Bus routes on top of its seven Rapid Bus lines, 75 Breeze Bike Share stations, 107 miles of bikeways, 12 new all-way [scramble] crosswalks, new Zipcar additions, and the Colorado Esplanade opening on June 5th in conjunction with the city’s first open streets event, Coast — presented by Metro,” staff said.

Santa Monica’s Strategic Planning and Transportation Manager Francie Stefan put it succinctly at a morning meeting with community members Wednesday: “It’s about options,” she said.  Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Google Patents “Flypaper” to Save Pedestrians By Sticking Them to Car Hoods

Google engineers' newest concept for pedestrians would glue them to the front of cars. Image: U.S. Patent Office

Not the Onion. Image: U.S. Patent Office

The minds at Google have come up with a novel idea to protect pedestrians in the event of a collision with the company’s self-driving cars.

The tech behemoth was awarded a patent this week for what it describes as a “flypaper or double-sided duct tape”-type substance beneath an “eggshell” exterior on the hood of the car. In a collision with a human being, the shell would crack and the person would stick to the adhesive. The idea is that after the initial collision, the flypaper will prevent people from hitting the asphalt or getting run over, which is how severe injuries are often inflicted.

A Google spokesperson told the San Jose Mercury News the patent doesn’t mean the company will go ahead with implementation. Even if the idea works as planned, it’s easy to envision scenarios where it would backfire, like if the car strikes another vehicle or a tree while someone is glued to the hood.

A much more important question for the impending autonomous car future is how these systems will minimize the potential for collisions with pedestrians in the first place. A fleet of robocars won’t need flypaper if they can’t exceed, say, 15 mph while operating on crowded city streets.

Streetsblog USA
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Toward Zero Carbon Transportation: Technology and Institutional Change

Cross-posted from the Frontier Group

As the parents of two teenage boys, my wife and I are required to bore them periodically with stories of how things were When We Were Your Age.

One of those stories relates to food. My wife has often told the kids that she did not know what a whole bulb of garlic looked like until she was in college. In our house, where we use a lot of garlic, that’s almost as unthinkable as growing up without the Internet.

But I can certainly relate. As a child of the ‘70s and ‘80s, “garlic” was a powder that came in a jar, beer was yellow, apples were Delicious, and an heirloom vegetable was a can of peas that had been sitting in the back of the pantry for too long.

Today, of course, the typical supermarket contains a wide array of foods that the average 1970s American did not even know existed. But can a person who grew up learning how to cook from, say, the 1965 edition of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook be expected to make the most of all that bounty?

A similar question can be asked in transportation.  In our upcoming report, A New Way Forward, we review the explosion of new tools and strategies – many of them emerging in just the last decade – that are creating new opportunities to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from our transportation system.

Read more…

Via Streetsblog California
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Bike to Work Day Open Thread

Yes, it should be every day, but it’s still fun to get out and cheer on or be cheered on in recognition of the general awesomeness of riding a bike. Also, Bike to Work Day/Week/Month is a great way to get people to try riding. People don’t want to be left out of the fun, and biking is usually such a quiet, almost invisible activity. Today is a day to get out there and make some great big public celebratory noise about riding a bike.

Below are some photos and some highlights of the goings on around California. Send more photos to melanie@streetsblog.org and we’ll post them here. Read more…

Via Streetsblog California
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Oil Industry Tries a New Tack: Blowing Smoke at CA’s Climate Change Policies

CARE is paying for Facebook ads to get some traction for its faulty reasoning.

CARE is paying for Facebook ads to get some traction for its faulty reasoning. OMG! Dollars are burning!

The major lobby group for the California oil industry has launched a new, and particularly dimwitted, effort to denigrate California’s climate change policies. Californians for Affordable and Reliable Energy, or CARE, one of the Western States Petroleum Association’s front groups (as reported in Streetsblog several years ago), started a new website that purports to show how the state is wasting its money on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

But its thesis makes no sense.

Right up front, the website declares authoritatively that the cost per ton of carbon is $12.80, and that therefore any higher amount paid to remove greenhouse gases from the air is a waste of money. It even provides a handy chart comparing what California pays for greenhouse gas reductions through programs like the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program to the site’s definition of the “actual cost” of that pollution. Its inevitable conclusion: California is wasting huge amounts of money.

Except that the comparison makes no sense. As Bruce Mirken of the Greenlining Institute puts it, “This isn’t comparing apples to oranges. It’s comparing apples to building new orchards.”

The figure of $12.80 reported on the website is, give or take a few cents, the current price paid per metric tonne of carbon by industries that emit greenhouse gases under California’s cap-and-trade system. Cap-and-trade works by putting a cap on total allowable emissions, and then charging industries actual money for the pollution they emit. The price is set by auction, which means it’s driven by demand, and depends on how many “credits” are available for purchase and how many industries want to buy them. It has nothing to do with the actual cost of carbon in our atmosphere—it’s just the current going price, at auction, of the credits.

So it’s a little disingenuous to pretend that California only needs to spend $12.80 per ton to remove greenhouse gases. In fact, more than disingenuous, how about deeply cynical. Evil?

It’s not as if you can go to the store and buy a carbon reduction. Read more…

Streetsblog.net
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More Evidence Bike Lanes Can Be More Efficient Than Car Lanes

www.GIFCreator.me_Rwl3G9_0

Contrary to all those cranky newspaper columns about how every last inch of asphalt needs to be allocated to motor vehicles, bike lanes can actually move more people with less street space than general traffic lanes.

Here’s a good example from Toronto. Biking Toronto reports that while bike lanes take up just 19 percent of College Street, cyclists now account for nearly half the traffic in the peak direction during the evening rush:

Anyone who has biked College St at rush hour knows it’s packed with bikes … but last fall Cycle Toronto went out and counted bikes AND cars, and found that bikes make up 46% of westbound vehicle traffic at College and Spadina!!

That’s good news for air quality, for public health, and for the city’s ability to keep people moving as its population grows. Maybe that helps explain why 86 percent of Toronto residents support greater investment in bike infrastructure, according to a recent poll.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Market Urbanism says compact development should not be limited to locations near existing transit routes. Transportationist considers how tolling some roads but not others can have unintended consequences. And Seattle Bike Blog reports that local advocates packed a city meeting this week to demand an end to delays in implementing the city’s bike plan.

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Today’s Headlines

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Metro Did the Right Thing By Not Over-Parking Expo Line Phase 2

Does Downtown Santa Monica really need more parking? Photo; Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Does Downtown Santa Monica really need more parking? Photo; Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Metro’s Expo Line Phase 2 opens this Friday. Though there is a lot of excitement and praise for the line, the Expo extension from Culver City to Downtown Santa Monica has also received some criticism. Note that Expo Phase 1 weathered its own criticism, and exceeded expectations.

Some critics are suggesting the line could be “doomed” due to a lack of parking. When Angeleno drivers say “parking” they tend to mean “free parking.”

Here’s an example from Laura Nelson’s Los Angeles Times article The Expo Line is finally coming to the Westside, but limited parking raises concerns:

“So how do I get to the station?” Liesel Friedreich, 64, of Pacific Palisades, asked when she learned the downtown Santa Monica station wouldn’t include dedicated parking for transit riders. “Isn’t the point to get more people with more money to ride the train?”

(Nelson’s article is overall a very good read and fairly balanced. She goes on to quote a Metro official stating that “hulking garages and expansive lots can be unsightly, expensive, and ultimately not a tool for encouraging people to stop driving.”)

My first reaction to the Friedreich quote is that it is just not news. Yes, some people are saying this, but the first question for the reporter is: how valid, applicable, or newsworthy is it? Yes, people who never rode transit and who will probably never ride transit regularly will spout off lots of self-serving rationalizations for why they are not riding. If it is not the parking, it could be the time, the frequency, the location, the walk, the homeless people, the noise, or the yadda yadda. As a transit rider (cyclist and pedestrian), I hear these excuses all the time, and I don’t think think they are news. They are a dog bites man story.

But let’s take a look at the assertion that Metro should build parking so “people with more money” will ride the train.

Nelson and Metro call these monied folks “choice riders.” Theoretically this means that there are two big groups of transit riders: poor “captive riders” who have no other transportation choice, and rich “choice riders” who typically drive. Transit expert Jarrett Walker (at minute 26 in this video) calls this false dichotomy the single most destructive fantasy about transit. In real life, people form a broad spectrum, so “When we incrementally improve transit service a little bit – we improve frequency, we get a payoff. We get a ridership improvement.” Walker advises agencies to forget about the mythical “choice rider” and instead focus on the “middle 90 percent.”

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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We Can Do It: A Zero-Carbon Transportation System Is Possible

Cross-posted from the Frontier Group.

The Paris Climate Agreement, approved by world leaders last December, represented a bold commitment to prevent the worst impacts of global warming – a commitment that must now be followed by action.

Meeting the agreement’s target of limiting global warming to no more than 2° C (and ideally no more than 1.5° C) above pre-industrial levels will require the United States to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases by more than 80 percent, and possibly as much as 100 percent, by 2050.

That is 34 years from now. And the clock is ticking.

Can it be done? In March, we joined with Environment America Research & Policy Center to produce We Have the Power, a report that argued that it is possible to repower America with 100 percent renewable energy. And in two weeks, we will release A New Way Forward: Envisioning a Transportation System without Carbon Pollution, which makes the case that America has the tools and strategies it needs to eliminate carbon pollution from urban, light-duty transportation by 2050.

The report explores scenarios by which U.S. metropolitan areas might reduce energy demand for light-duty travel by as much as 90 percent – making it possible to repower our transportation system with clean renewable energy at the same time we eliminate carbon pollution from other areas of the economy.

Ours will not be the first analysis to suggest that decarbonizing transportation is possible. Over the last several years, government agencies, academics, environmental advocates and others have explored a variety of pathways (warning: PDFs) by which we can move toward a zero-carbon transportation system.

Read more…

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Today’s Headlines

  • Op-Ed: L.A. Lacks Housing Affordability Due To Low Vacancy Rates (LAT)
  • L.A. County Seeks Millionaire Tax To Aid Homeless (LAT)
  • Will People (Other Than Train Buffs) Ride Expo Phase 2? (KPCC)
  • Small Walkability Connections Can Help Help Metro Ridership (L.A. Magazine)
    …Does This Apply To the Expo Line? (@StreetsblogLA Twitter)
  • Why Is It So Difficult For L.A. To Keep Sidewalks Clean? (HuffPo)
  • Build Better L.A. Initiative Delivers 10,000+ Signatures (ACT-LA)
  • Azusa TOD Redevelopment Picks Bowling Alley Over Cinema (SGV Tribune)
  • CityWatch Complains About Expo Parking and Expo Complainers
  • Crosswalks and Art Planned For Western Great Street Improvements (Larchmont Buzz)
  • Pasadena Mayor Looks To Ballot Measure To Overturn Earlier 710 Freeway Support (SGV Tribune)
  • Family and Friends Commemorate Upland Hit-and-Run Death (Daily Bulletin)
  • DC Area Has Multiple Incompatible Bike-Share Systems and It’s OK (GG Washington)

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