Quotes of the week

“Much too much in love with the automobile, North American planners usually strip off some major features before they consider implementation here. For example, the consideration of full network implementation. What we call BRT here amounts to false advertising. Sometimes, cities do little else than add the word “rapid” to existing service.”

What Bus Rapid Transit Is and What It Isn’t

“Seen this way it becomes immediately clear that most of what gets billed as BRT in the US doesn’t cut it: a single BRT line doesn’t, nor does a system where standard 40′ buses can barely transport more than 50 people at a time, nor a system where buses get stuck in traffic or where buses linger at stops until a long line of cash payers has entered through a single door of a bus.”

What Bus Rapid Transit Is and What It Isn’t

“To make the bus system complete and efficient, the impacts on the existing streets and the existing traffic are heavy, and in many older cities just not practical because there simply isn’t enough space.”

What Bus Rapid Transit Is and What It Isn’t

“We now know that our addiction to the car was one of the greatest urban mistakes of last century. Weaning ourselves off this addiction is now one of our greatest challenges.”

Imitate to Innovate: Vitoria-Gasteiz Shows How Cities can Address 21st Century Challenges

“Over the past few weeks in London we’ve seen outrage over the death of yet another cyclist. In all six of the deaths this year, the incidents involved a collision with a lorry. The problem is obvious: trucks and cars should not use the same lane of traffic as bicycles. The solution to this problem is also simple: separate the modes of transport.”

Imitate to Innovate: Vitoria-Gasteiz Shows How Cities can Address 21st Century Challenges

“It was obvious to see how a combination of traffic calming measures and separated bike paths create a city that is vibrant, safe and beautiful.”

Imitate to Innovate: Vitoria-Gasteiz Shows How Cities can Address 21st Century Challenges

“Heiko Balsmeyer from VCD told me how the city worked to get local politicians on board so that consensus on important decisions could be reached. It was a process of open communication about the widespread benefits of new ideas.”

Imitate to Innovate: Vitoria-Gasteiz Shows How Cities can Address 21st Century Challenges

“It’s a continuous lifelong project for us to appreciate our surroundings, whatever they may be.”

Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman

“I paused at a highpoint overlooking a vast floodplain. In the distance I could see the superhighway, straight and fast, raised in its arrogance on concrete pillars. That was the road I had been on, but I was happier now that I had found a less efficient secondary road, one that meandered to explore new things.”

Through Dust and Darkness by Jeremy Kroeker

“Turning to the guidebook for Iran, I picked it up and held it, heavy in my hand. I leafed through the crisp, glossy pages, looking at pictures of mosques and mountains that I would never personally see. I sighed and took it out to the balcony, where I looked through it some more. It seemed ridiculous to carry this thing any farther, but I found it hard to let go.”

Through Dust and Darkness by Jeremy Kroeker

“A yellow raft of taxis carried me downstream towards a strange quarter of the city, where the only thing I recognized was that familiar need to mitigate somehow the degree to which I had sabotaged my life.”

Through Dust and Darkness by Jeremy Kroeker

“With no guidebook, this seemed as valid a reason as any to choose a direction.”

Through Dust and Darkness by Jeremy Kroeker

“They had no vacancy when I arrived, but for four dollars they let me sleep on the roof beneath a billboard that read, ‘Roadster Diner — There goes my heart.’ The hostel catered mostly to fake reporters, a handful of actual reporters, and a menagerie of squinty people who thought they were spies.”

Through Dust and Darkness by Jeremy Kroeker

“So many people have died in this region over the years. The more I thought about it, the harder it became to distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys. Such terms require extensive qualification. Perhaps they don’t even apply.”

Through Dust and Darkness by Jeremy Kroeker

“Everyone seemed on edge that night, and not just because of the weather. The thunder sounded too much like their worst fears for the city. In the morning, I noticed many bloodshot eyes.”

Through Dust and Darkness by Jeremy Kroeker

“The press called it organized emptiness. One paper even published a blank photo frame on the front page where a picture of the new president out to be.”

Through Dust and Darkness by Jeremy Kroeker

“Dejected we drove straight to the nearest McDonald’s.

‘This is the equivalent of chicks having chocolate after getting dumped’ added Sean.”

Through Dust and Darkness by Jeremy Kroeker

“My mom will never be in the ranks of eight-by-ten-clutching, armchair-directing, aggressively hustling stage mothers who haunt every waiting room in show business. Hers is a different kind of support. From her I get ownership of my own life and the confidence to go my own way.”

Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe

“The local people lived in plank or log homes roofed with corrugated steel or wooden boards. Many were decorated with vividly painted shutters and sported elaborate carved trim around the windows, like nursery rhyme gingerbread hoses.”

Lost in Mongolia by Colin Angus

” ‘Are they Russian?’ I asked.

‘Of course they are Russian,’ Bolor replied. ‘Do you think we buy our guns from China?’

He turned from what he was looking for in the cabinet. ‘And the Americans,’ he added, rolling his eyes, ‘they charge too damn much.’ ”

Lost in Mongolia by Colin Angus

“I had been able to find that tiny, camouflaged sack, yet two men and a bright yellow raft had disappeared off the face of the planet.”

Lost in Mongolia by Colin Angus

“After finishing my breads, curiosity got the better of me, and I started timing the cuckoo calls on my watch — forty-five seconds, ninety seconds, seventy seconds, eighty-eight seconds — there was no pattern. I was disappointed in the birds.”

Lost in Mongolia by Colin Angus

” ‘Is Russian. Is good!’ Shagga grunted, as he patted the dashboard.”

Lost in Mongolia by Colin Angus

“Chris said the word ‘Russia’ slowly, as if to underscore the bureaucratic hell we were entering.”

Lost in Mongolia by Colin Angus

“Finally they left. I drifted off to sleep as the train entered Mongolia, somewhere in that sandy, desert darkness.”

Lost in Mongolia by Colin Angus

“A richly patterned rug led down the corridor to our compartment. Inside two friendly Mongolians sat on one of two large settees that were separated by a small wooden table. The settees doubled as bed, and above were two more beds. Linens lay neatly folded at the end of each settee.”

Lost in Mongolia by Colin Angus

“Inside the crates were maps, thousands of them. In the top right corner of each one, printed in red, was the Russian word секрет. Secret.”

Inside the Secret World of Russia’s Cold War Mapmakers

“Very few academics have seen them, let alone studied them. Whatever stories they have to tell are hidden in plain sight.”

Inside the Secret World of Russia’s Cold War Mapmakers

“Improving the infrastructure, especially high-speed rail, will be critical. According to Zhang Gui, a professor at the Hebei University of Technology, Chinese planners used to follow a rule of thumb they learned from the West: All parts of an urban area should be within 60 miles of each other, or the average amount of highway that can be covered in an hour of driving. Beyond that, people cannot effectively commute.”

As Beijing Becomes a Supercity, the Rapid Growth Brings Pains

“This year there were 18 mass shootings in April, 39 in May, 41 in June, and 34 so far in July — and the month isn’t over yet. The theater shooting was Louisiana’s 8th this year. There have been 10 in Ohio, 14 in California and 16 in New York.

Will anything change? Probably not. The Charleston shooting did produce a fruitful national conversation — not on guns, but on the symbolism of the Confederate flag, which the shooter adopted as a banner of his racist beliefs. It took 150 years and a national tragedy for the country to reach something like a consensus on the meaning of a battle flag.

‘Those who live in America, or visit it, might do best to regard [mass shootings] the way one regards air pollution in China: an endemic local health hazard which, for deep-rooted cultural, social, economic and political reasons, the country is incapable of addressing,’ The Economist wrote in response to the Charleston massacre. ‘This may, however, be a bit unfair. China seems to be making progress on pollution.'”

There have been 204 mass shootings — and 204 days — in 2015 so far

“1.24 million people are killed in traffic accidents every year, with more than 90 percent of these deaths occurring in low and middle-income counties. Traffic-related incidents are the eighth-leading cause of death worldwide, and the number 1 leading cause of death for those between the ages of 15-29.”

Five Ways to Save Lives with Urban Design

“‘The thing you say you want — every cyclist to stop at every stop sign — you really don’t want that,’ Morgan Fitzgibbons, one of the protest’s organizers, told SF Weekly. ‘You’re going to destroy traffic in every neighborhood that has a heavy dose of cyclists.'”

This Is What Happened When Bicyclists Obeyed Traffic Laws Along The Wiggle Yesterday

“‘SFPD has a citywide goal of dedicating 50 percent of traffic citations to the five violations that have caused the most traffic deaths in San Francisco,’ Chris Cassidy, an SF Bike Coalition spokesperson, wrote in a statement. ‘When Park Station is way behind on meeting its own safety goals, that’s hardly the time to divert precious enforcement resources away from the deadliest traffic violations.’

By strictly obeying the law, bicyclists expected to demonstrate the downsides of current policies — and what drivers would have to contend with if Park Station clamps down.”

This Is What Happened When Bicyclists Obeyed Traffic Laws Along The Wiggle Yesterday

“The biggest impediment to changing cities in the United States is not the physical realities of New World urban structure, but in our habits of thought.”

-Straphanger by Taras Grescoe

“Why the modernization of the Soviet Union started with the hanging of chandeliers beneath the earth I didn’t know. But I did know that when I was underground I felt free.”

-Alexander Kaletski quoted in Straphanger

“Being stuck in Moscow traffic is the modern version of waiting in a Soviet breadline — a limbo apt for the rueful contemplation of the failure of systems.”

-Straphanger by Taras Grescoe

“By 1931, the newly ascendent Stalinist leadership had decided that the disurbanists’ plans were semi-fanatical nonsense, and declared cities — and with them subways — the key to the communist future.”

-Straphanger by Taras Grescoe

“Beneath the billboards and Bentley dealerships of the new Moscow, the old Stalinist gears keep turning. And the Metro may be the one space where you can still find a semblance of the value system the Soviet system claimed to embody.”

-Straphanger by Taras Grescoe

“The twentieth century provided ample evidence that dictatorships can build impressive transportation systems. In the twenty-first, the challenge is to build good transit in democracies, with real buy-in from the public.

In the end, Muscovites don’t favour their Stalinist Metro because it is filled with hammers and sickles and other symbols of a discredited ideology. They ride it because it is fast, cheap, and gets there where they want to go with comfort and dignity.”

-Straphanger by Taras Grescoe

“I watched the Virgil of Shinjuku as he rushed to catch the 8:36 to Omiya, becoming one black suit among hundred. In my mind, he had already transformed into one of his own blue flow lines curving around red and white dots.”

-Straphanger by Taras Grescoe

“In Russia, which accounts for two-thirds of Europe’s road fatalities, on hundred people die in automobile accidents everyday.”

-Straphanger by Taras Grescoe

“Land use rules and urban grow boundary laws based on German models were on the books as early as 1919, even before zoning became widespread in the United States and Canada. Modern North American zoning laws work in broad strokes, aggressively separating residential, commercial, and agricultural uses, virtually guranteeing long commutes to the mall and the office. In all but the most exclusive areas, Japanese zoning allows bakeries, tofu factories, driving schools, public baths, and other small businesses to operate in residential neighbourhoods. Light industry zones have been grandfathered into factory districts. According to planning historian Sorensen, these high-density, mixed-use central areas help ensure that Tokyo has the most sustainable pattern of regional development among any of the world’s megacities.”

-Straphanger by Taras Grescoe

“But the basic problem is that SEPTA doesn’t have stable financing,” Vuchic said. “What we really need is a gasoline tax, like they have in Europe, where fifty percent goes to urban transportation. It would improve Philadelphia immediately.

-Straphanger by Taras Grescoe

“Riding bikes and using transit saved the family a lot of money, which didn’t surprise me. According to a Brookings Institution study, transit-proximate households in the United State devote only 9 percent of their income to transportation, compared to 25 percent for the car-dependent.”

-Straphanger by Taras Grescoe

“Canada remains one of the few nations in the developed work to lack a federal program to fund large-scale urban transit projects.”

-Straphanger by Taras Grescoe

“‘To use public transport,’ Noboru Harata of the University of Tokyo told me, ‘is to know how to cooperate with other people, how to behave in public space.'”

-Straphanger by Taras Grescoe

“For us the neighbourhood hero was not the mafioso with the big motorcycle and the flashy clothes, but the young man who played sports and read books and rode around on an old bike.”

– Enrique Penalosa quoted in Straphanger by Taras Grescoe

“Gibb said Metro’s major problem was keeping up with market demand. ‘There’s all these millenials who want an urban environment, and we’re nowhere near being able to meet their needs.'”

-Straphanger by Taras Grescoe

“Canada remains the only G7 country with no high-speed rail at all.”

-Straphanger by Taras Grescoe

“The result is that the current 18.4-cent-per-gallon gas tax brings in less revenue in absolute terms than it did 20 years ago — thanks to more efficient cars and a dip in vehicle miles traveled — and the shortfall is even bigger in relative terms because of inflation. So transportation funding is squeezed, and passage of a comprehensive transportation bill has been stymied by Congress’s inability to find a new funding mechanism.”

The Senate passed a surprisingly good transportation bill

“The bill authorizes a total of $350 billion in spending over six years. That’s almost $100 billion more than what the gas tax is projected to bring in over that time. The first three years of additional funding, just under $47 billion, will be raised through a series of other revenue increases and cuts to spending on other programs, such as reducing dividends paid by the Federal Reserve to member banks and selling off a portion of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. For the latter three years, no additional funding source is specified to cover the authorized spending. Congress will have to come up with another $50 billion or so between now and then, and it’s not clear where it will come from.”

The Senate passed a surprisingly good transportation bill

“The Safe Streets Act was wrapped into the transportation bill. The act is essentially a federal version of ‘Complete Streets’ laws that are becoming more common at the state and local level. It would require that transportation projects receiving federal dollars consider all users, not just drivers. ‘You don’t necessarily have to build a sidewalk or bike lane, but you have to consider all users of the road,’ explains Dodds. ‘You have to ask if people will be walking, biking, or taking transit. Will there be handicapped users? Until now that wasn’t a requirement.'”

The Senate passed a surprisingly good transportation bill

“Now, with foreign immigration to suburbia and suburban-style Sun Belt cities like Las Vegas, increasing suburban poverty, young people driving less, and Baby Boomers aging into disabilities and out of driving, Republicans have reasons to embrace complete streets.”

The Senate passed a surprisingly good transportation bill

“In the decade from 2003 through 2012, more than 47,000 people died while walking on our streets. That is 16 times the number of people who died in natural disasters during in the same ten years … In 2012, pedestrians accounted for nearly 15 percent of all traffic deaths, up 6 percent from 2011 and representing a five-year high.”

The Senate passed a surprisingly good transportation bill

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s