Richard Risemberg | 1 Mar 03:59 2012
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March Issue of Sustainable City News/New Colonist

 

The March issue of Sustainable City News, the publication formerly
known as The New colonist, is online and available now at:

http://www.sustainablecitynews.com

Included in this issue are the following articles:

New Horizons, New Dangers for "Safe Routes to School"

Since its inception as a pilot project in Marin County in 1994, the
Safe Routes to School program has grown into a national phenomenon.
What seems at first to be a single-issue program instead has proven
itself to be one of the strongest and most broadly-accepted
mechanisms for introducing elements of sustainability to communities
throughout the country. However, at the same time that Safe Routes to
School is reaching towards new heights, it is also being threatened
at its very core.

Dreamworld: Oil, the GOP, and the Housing Crash

Early last month, GOP Presidential candidate and current darling of
the right Rick Santorum swaggered into the realm of economics when he
blamed the Great Recession on nothing more than high oil prices.
(Perhaps this was an effort to pander to the "drill-baby-drill"
constituency, or the "bomb, bomb, bomb bomb Iran" fanatics, or some
other tinfoil-hat demographic.) Quoth he.... [Features J. H. Crawford
of Carfree Cities.)

Crystal Bridges: Wal-Mart's Lesson to Itself

If you haven't heard of the Crystal Bridges Museum, it's a world-
class collection of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas--the
hometown of Wal-Mart. In fact, it was assembled by Wal-Mart fortune
Heir Alice Walton. The collection is housed in a landmark building by
Boston-based Moshe Safdie, and is a work of art in itself....

Pugs in the City: an Interview with Linda Lombardi

To learn about urban dogs and their people, I turned to Linda
Lombardi, author, blogger and pug enthusiast, who told me what her
city has to offer our four-footed furry friends. Lombardi's life is a
testament to her fascination with animals, beginning with her early
years, when she played with plastic creatures instead of dolls.

Plus our blog, services, and twelve years of archived articles.

Find it all at http://www.sustainablecitynews.com

Enjoy!

Rick

--
Richard Risemberg
http://www.bicyclefixation.com
http://www.SustainableCityNews.com
http://www.rickrise.com

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J.H. Crawford | 1 Mar 16:45 2012

The economics of fossil fuels

 



Hi All,

Fossil fuels are even worse than you know from an economic
standpoint. This article is rather long but worth at least
a quick skim. Some of the numbers are really scary:

http://www.treehugger.com/energy-policy/true-cost-fossil-fuels.html

A few nuggets:

That report’s lead author, the late Dr. Paul Epstein, told me in an interview that “Between the land disturbance, the mountaintop removal, the processing ... and the combustion, we estimate that this is costing the American public somewhere between a third to half a trillion dollars in health costs and deaths.”

In fact, coal is so economically disastrous that the mainstream journal <http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.101.5.1649>American Economics Review found that the electricity generated from coal actually does more damage to the economy than the electricity is worth.

According to Ratigan’s calculations, the price of gasoline is around $10 too cheap per gallon when all unaccounted-for costs are included. Other projections put the figure even larger. And there are a wide range of estimates of the <http://thinkprogress.org/green/2011/09/29/332378/economists-coal-is-incredibly-costly/>“true” cost of coal: Depending on how you factor in the costs of climate change, it could be between a few additional cents per kWh to a whopping ¢26.89 extra per kilowatt hour­the <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=External_costs_of_coal#cite_note-13>high-end estimate from the Harvard study. By way of comparison, the average American paid ¢11.54 per kWh on their <http://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/index.cfm?page=electricity_home#tab2>residential electric bills last year.

(BTW--I recently switched to wind power, which added a whopping 2 cents per kWh to my bill. If the 27 cent figure is correct, then everybody could switch and the country would save huge amounts of money.)

They conclude that some form of carbon tax is the only short-term
way to go. I agree.

Best,

J.

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mailbox-WdiPhmTxsBdBDgjK7y7TUQ@public.gmane.org
http://www.carfree.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/carfreecities
Video channels:
http://vimeo.com/jhcrawford/videos
http://www.youtube.com/user/CarfreeCities

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Richard Risemberg | 3 Mar 18:20 2012
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Urban freeways as "expenseways"

 

Yet one more data point on how freeways destroy tax base:

http://tinyurl.com/72v5lww

Rick
--
Richard Risemberg
http://www.bicyclefixation.com
http://www.SustainableCityNews.com
http://www.rickrise.com

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    Richard Risemberg | 4 Mar 17:52 2012
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    NYT's Friedman: "take the Subway"

     

    The link goes to my comment on his article, which is not too bad really:

    http://tinyurl.com/7uork6g

    Rick

    --
    Richard Risemberg
    http://www.bicyclefixation.com
    http://www.SustainableCityNews.com
    http://www.rickrise.com

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      Jym Dyer | 4 Mar 19:32 2012

      Re: NYT's Friedman: "take the Subway"

       

      > The link goes to my comment on his article, which is not
      > too bad really:
      http://tinyurl.com/7uork6g

      =v= But ... but ... Newt Gingrich says subway-riders are all
      highrise-dwelling eeleetists.

      =v= This is an odd article, with Hal Harvey extolling the
      "efficient natural gas turbine" that, incidentally, supplies
      power in the parts of the Bay Area where he lives and works.
      A truly expert analysis must consider the continent-wide grid,
      which is mostly the coal plants he faults. It's the classic
      problem of not seeing the forest for the trees, which allows
      an elite (the non-subway-riding variety) to feel virtuous
      about recharging plug-in cars in San Francisco even though
      it consumes electricity that could go for other uses. Those
      other uses end up relying on coal, or worse.

      =v= I might be a little oversensitive about this because, until
      very recently, San Francisco actually got its peak-use energy
      from dirty diesel-burning backup generators that were located
      next to the city's African-American neighborhoods (which are
      also right alongside the Interstate, of course). 20 years ago
      I was working with environmental justice groups to shut these
      plants down, and my girlfriend worked for Mr. Harvey, who would
      drive his EV to work and plug it in during peak hours because it
      was so durned important to have it topped-up for demonstration
      purposes.

      =v= Amory Lovins has been invaluable on the energy-efficient
      front for decades, though his group has gotten a bit too
      accommodating towards cars that are supposedly eco-groovy
      in recent years. Honestly, it's the Russian editor who has
      the best energy-efficiency advice in the whole article!
      <_Jym_>

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        Richard Risemberg | 5 Mar 16:55 2012
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        Freeways & cities

         

        Another excellent article from the Atlantic Cities, on how freeways
        crush urban cultures & economies, and a few ideas about what to do
        about it:

        http://tinyurl.com/7pcw3qp

        Rick
        --
        Richard Risemberg
        http://www.bicyclefixation.com
        http://www.SustainableCityNews.com
        http://www.rickrise.com

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          Karen Sandness | 5 Mar 17:10 2012
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          Re: NYT's Friedman: "take the Subway"

           

          Shintaro Ishihara, the governor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, is an excessively "business-friendly" xenophobe, but the last time I was in Japan, I saw him give a televised news conference. One of the reporters asked him what he was going to do about traffic congestion in the central part of the city. His suggestion was that more people should take the subway, which is exactly what I would have said.

          At least non-impoverished people in Tokyo do take the subway, the commuter trains, and the buses and by and large don't believe that this is beneath them. In Minneapolis, I find that snobbery is one of the biggest obstacles to improving transit. The suburban right-wingers think of transit as something that only poor people, especially dark-skinned poor people, ride, so in line with their belief that poor people should suffer as much as possible, they are loath to improve it. Regrettably, I can only be car-lite here, not car-free, but people are astonished when I tell them that I fill the gas tank only once every four to six weeks.

          Richard, you may recall that when I was in Los Angeles for a conference in 2001 and we met for dinner, you put me on the bus back to my hotel. When I mentioned this to one of the local attendees the next day, he was horrified that I had taken the bus at night and even seemed surprised that I had survived the adventure. But in fact, the experience was not frightening at all, unless one considers the presence of dark-skinned people to be inherently frightening.

          The longer I live, the more I'm convinced that racism lies behind much of both the suburbanization and the auto-centricity of America.

          In transit,
          Karen Sandness

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            Richard Risemberg | 5 Mar 17:24 2012
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            Re: Re: NYT's Friedman: "take the Subway"

             


            On Mar 5, 2012, at 8:10 AM, Karen Sandness wrote:

            > Richard, you may recall that when I was in Los Angeles for a
            > conference in 2001 and we met for dinner, you put me on the bus
            > back to my hotel. When I mentioned this to one of the local
            > attendees the next day, he was horrified that I had taken the bus
            > at night and even seemed surprised that I had survived the
            > adventure. But in fact, the experience was not frightening at all,
            > unless one considers the presence of dark-skinned people to be
            > inherently frightening.
            >
            > The longer I live, the more I'm convinced that racism lies behind
            > much of both the suburbanization and the auto-centricity of America.

            I myself don't doubt it for a second. I once took a bus home from a
            party at a friend's house in hyper-liberal Silverlake. I had my arm
            in a sling, and my friend offered to drive me home to "keep me safe'--
            though he'd had a good bit of booze during the party. he was worried
            about predatory Latino immigrants--apparently forgetting that I am
            one myself, just a pale one.

            Needless to say, the bus ride was convivial, pleasant, and safe.

            I have friends on all sides of the political spectrum, and I hear
            racist crap from all of then. Especially as regards travel of public
            transport--which is actually far safer than driving.

            The trains in LA do, however, attract riders from higher economic
            classes. And I have even sat next to a Beverly Hills matron dripping
            with diamonds on the rapid bus through that glittery city. So there's
            some hope.

            Bicycles are really starting to take off here, including with Martha
            Stewart types, another odd but very real reason for hope.

            After all, it's the middle and upper classes who drive the most and
            keep pushing freeways through poor folks' neighborhoods.

            Rick
            --
            Richard Risemberg
            http://www.bicyclefixation.com
            http://www.SustainableCityNews.com
            http://www.rickrise.com

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              J.H. Crawford | 5 Mar 18:23 2012

              Re: Re: NYT's Friedman: "take the Subway"

               


              Karen said:

              >The longer I live, the more I'm convinced that racism lies behind much of both the suburbanization and the auto-centricity of America.

              I'm more and more of the opinion that this is true. The only good news here is that it appears that most people in the younger generations have gone beyond racism, at least if the behavior of school kids in NJ is any barometer. I often see them in mixed-race groups.

              The decimation of black neighborhoods in the 50's and 60's by "urban renewal" (i.e., the demolition of black neighborhoods) and the construction of urban "interstates" against the will of their leading promoter, Dwight Eisenhower, were acts that were effectively and probably intentionally racist.

              I wish I were not so often ashamed of my nation.

              Best,

              J.

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              mailbox-WdiPhmTxsBdBDgjK7y7TUQ@public.gmane.org
              http://www.carfree.com
              Twitter: http://twitter.com/carfreecities
              Video channels:
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                Steve Atlas | 5 Mar 22:21 2012
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                Re: Re: NYT's Friedman: "take the Subway"

                 

                I've lived in Baltimore County, MD for 8 years (and in Columbia, MD for 20 years before that). One big benefit is that I can walk to a local bus that operates 20 hours most days. Neither my wife nor I have had problems (except once when there was construction and the bus was detoured) People are usually friendly, regardless of their race or ethnicity. We appreciate the convenience and frequency of service. I've found that the fear of doing something new is often worse than the reality. As I research more U.S. cities and vacation spots, I am encouraged that so many of them make it possible for visits to enjoy a weekend without ever having to drive or rent a car.

                Steve

                 
                Steve Atlas
                Resources for Individuals and Families who are concerned about
                America's continued dependence on automobiles
                http://carfreeamerica.org;
                http://www.pubtrantravel.com,
                e-mail: steveatlas45-/E1597aS9LQAvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org;
                (410) 663-0217

                ________________________________
                From: Richard Risemberg <rickrise-ihVZJaRskl1bRRN4PJnoQQ@public.gmane.org>
                To: carfree_cities <at> yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Monday, March 5, 2012 11:24 AM
                Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: NYT's Friedman: "take the Subway"


                 

                On Mar 5, 2012, at 8:10 AM, Karen Sandness wrote:

                > Richard, you may recall that when I was in Los Angeles for a
                > conference in 2001 and we met for dinner, you put me on the bus
                > back to my hotel. When I mentioned this to one of the local
                > attendees the next day, he was horrified that I had taken the bus
                > at night and even seemed surprised that I had survived the
                > adventure. But in fact, the experience was not frightening at all,
                > unless one considers the presence of dark-skinned people to be
                > inherently frightening.
                >
                > The longer I live, the more I'm convinced that racism lies behind
                > much of both the suburbanization and the auto-centricity of America.

                I myself don't doubt it for a second. I once took a bus home from a
                party at a friend's house in hyper-liberal Silverlake. I had my arm
                in a sling, and my friend offered to drive me home to "keep me safe'--
                though he'd had a good bit of booze during the party. he was worried
                about predatory Latino immigrants--apparently forgetting that I am
                one myself, just a pale one.

                Needless to say, the bus ride was convivial, pleasant, and safe.

                I have friends on all sides of the political spectrum, and I hear
                racist crap from all of then. Especially as regards travel of public
                transport--which is actually far safer than driving.

                The trains in LA do, however, attract riders from higher economic
                classes. And I have even sat next to a Beverly Hills matron dripping
                with diamonds on the rapid bus through that glittery city. So there's
                some hope.

                Bicycles are really starting to take off here, including with Martha
                Stewart types, another odd but very real reason for hope.

                After all, it's the middle and upper classes who drive the most and
                keep pushing freeways through poor folks' neighborhoods.

                Rick
                --
                Richard Risemberg
                http://www.bicyclefixation.com
                http://www.SustainableCityNews.com
                http://www.rickrise.com

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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