Friday, November 25, 2011

#occupywallstreet is working!

Sens. Udall, Bennet propose amendment to overturn Citizens United ruling | The Raw Story: "Democratic Sens. Tom Udall of New Mexico and Michael Bennet of Colorado introduced a constitutional amendment on Tuesday that would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission"

'via Blog this'

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bipartisan agreement to continue the appalling waste of #autosprawl

(Photo (cc) by Flickr user scot63us)
Boehner to Unveil 5-Year Transpo Bill Thursday | Transportation Nation: "(Washington, D.C) House Republicans will unveil a five-year transportation and highway bill Thursday that matches Senate Democrats in highway funding levels, according to a member of Congress familiar with the bill."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Railvolution Builds Communities One Tweet at a Time | Our Voices

Portland's streetcar continues to make the city a model for transportation planning. (photo by James Bruckbauer)
Railvolution Builds Communities One Tweet at a Time | Our Voices: "“Towns need to be transit-friendly to attract talent. It’s no longer an option.”
Those were the inspiring words spoken by Washington D.C.’s Mayor, Vincent Gray, at the Railvolution conference that I attended in the nation’s capitol last month. The conference helps advocates and planners have a better strategy for making their communities the most livable, transit-friendly places possible."

'via Blog this'

Save money, lose weight, go #carfree

Car Lite | Corybantic: "On September 30th I logged into my insurance’s website and “garaged” my car. This was the incentive I needed. Since that day my car hasn’t moved. As of March 18th, I have lost 32 pounds and saved over $994."

'via Blog this'

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Americans spend USD 1/2 Trillion/year on gasoline

The Peak Oil Crisis: The Energy Trap | Falls Church News-Press Online: "The Energy Trap study found cases in which more than 50 percent of a family's income was going into paying for and fueling the car. What is most alarming is that 30 years ago the spike in gasoline led to a 12 percent reduction in the demand for gasoline as consumers drove less, switched to smaller cars, and sort of adhered to the 55 mph speed limit that had been put in place to save gasoline. It is now more than three years since the $4+ price spike of 2008 and demand has only fallen some 3 percent."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

We Pay More to Drive Than We Spend on Taxes | Moneyland |

We Pay More to Drive Than We Spend on Taxes | Moneyland | "By the time the costs of gas, insurance, tolls, parking, and car payments are added up, the average American family spends more on driving than on health insurance or taxes. And for the bulk of society—those who use cars every day to commute, drop the kids off at school, and run errands—it seems impossible to trim the high costs of transportation in any substantial way."

'via Blog this'

Monday, October 24, 2011

Poor people are ground under the wheels of the auto system, while billions are wasted on autosprawl and energy wars.

Today, there are a number of families in MD, VA and DC that are struggling to perform common tasks that most of us take for granted because of a lack of transportation. Imagine trying to get to work, taking your child to a doctor, or caring for an elderly parent…all without a car. Some families must rely on several modes of public transportation, taking multiple buses and/or subways to get to one destination, or must inconvenience others by asking for a ride. This is a seemingly unending challenge for those who are motivated to achieve financial and personal independence, resulting in exhaustion and frustration. By donating your car to Vehicles For Change, you can transform lives by increasing access to better employment, and improving the self confidence and self esteem necessary for success.  VehiclesforChange

Saturday, October 22, 2011

More evidence. Cars choking the economy.

Can highway spending ever be fair? - The Washington Post: "A few things stand out here. Low-population states such as Alaska, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota receive much more in federal aid than they pay in — Alaska gets $4.99 back for every $1 it contributes. But notice what’s striking. Every single state now gets more federal highway aid than it pays in gas taxes. Even Texas. There’s not a state in the union where federally funded highways “pay for themselves.”"

'via Blog this'

Friday, October 7, 2011

Streetsblog Capitol Hill » TTI: Mass Transit Saved Drivers 45.4 Million Hours Last Year

Streetsblog Capitol Hill » TTI: Mass Transit Saved Drivers 45.4 Million Hours Last Year: "Last year, the D.C. region ran away with the dubious honor of Most Congested Metro Area. D.C. area drivers wasted 74 hours and 37 gallons of fuel sitting in traffic last year, which would have cost about $100 over the course of the year. But the gasoline cost is just the tip of the iceberg."

'via Blog this'

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Highway system an albatross on the neck of the economy

Business groups want multiyear highway funding extension to prevent “billions” in delayed projects | Texas on the Potomac | a blog: "The U.S. government spends roughly $50 billion a year on transportation projects through the Highway Trust Fund, which is funded mostly through the 18.4-cent-per-gallon federal tax on gasoline sales. The U.S. Congressional Budget Office projects the trust fund could run dry by the summer or fall of 2012 because it has spent more money than it has taken in; higher prices at the pump and a weak economy have caused gasoline sales to drop."

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Can #transit be revived? Signs of life in Washington

Guest blogger Deputy Secretary John Porcari: Creating jobs, opportunity through transit investments - Welcome to the FastLane: The Official Blog of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation: "Transit literally connects people with opportunities. It connects them to jobs, to school, to the grocery store. It connects customers to businesses. For many Americans and American businesses, it’s an absolute lifeline.

But in many places, that lifeline is crumbling. If we're going to be honest with ourselves, we have to acknowledge that our major transit systems were built and paid for by our parents and grandparents. The American Jobs Act would provide $9 billion for thousands of jobs repairing bus and rail transit systems. Once Congress passes the Act, that money will go out quickly and easily into the economy, creating jobs and helping get our transit systems up to speed."

'via Blog this'

Friday, September 23, 2011

10 ways colleges encourage students to ditch their cars - Campus Overload - The Washington Post

10 ways colleges encourage students to ditch their cars - Campus Overload - The Washington Post: "4) Eliminate bus fares. Remove any hurdle standing between students and public transportation. This year, Old Dominion University in Virginia paid a flat fee to the region’s mass transit system so that students, faculty and staff with a university ID can ride for free on buses, the new light rail and even a ferry that runs between Norfolk and Portsmouth."

'via Blog this'

Friday, September 9, 2011

Federal "capital-only" rule cripples transit funding

Reauthorize and Revitalize: The Transportation Bill Needs More Than Just an Extension | Public Advocates: "Let me explain. There are two types of transportation expenses: capital costs and operations costs. Historically, transit agencies could spend federal dollars on either of these expenses, depending on their local transit needs. But in the 1990s, Congress imposed restrictions that limited the use of federal dollars to capital projects only, forbidding transit agencies from using such funds to operate their fleets. This change in law has led to a structural imbalance in funding. Communities can no longer afford to operate the expanded transit infrastructure they’ve built over the years."

'via Blog this'

Friday, September 2, 2011

The formation of the tea-party a sign of weakness

For a hundred years the oil industry has run rough-shod over the US economy. The wasteful autosprawl system was deceitfully forced upon an unsuspecting public. The successful streetcar system was methodically dismantled.

As businesses, workers, and consumers began to choke on the congestion, pollution, and massive subsidy, the oil industry needed ways to maintain political power. They cobbled together a coalition based on an eclectic collection of social issues, racism, and general corporate power.

This is all falling apart. The tea-party was a desperate attempt to renew it.

Now, mayors and city councils recognize that the autosprawl system is killing their communities economically. Businesses want to locate where employees are not drained by auto expenses, where people can get to work easily, and where goods can be shipped efficiently.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Altavista residents get more free bus rides courtesy of anonymous donor | The Republic

Altavista residents get more free bus rides courtesy of anonymous donor | The Republic: "ALTAVISTA, Va. — Residents in Altavista are getting a free ride.

An anonymous donation to the Altavista Community Transit System will provide free rides for residents through September.

Assistant Town Manager Dan Witt tells the News and Advance ( ) that an earlier donation from the same person allowed residents to ride the bus for free all summer. Witt says he doesn't know who the donor is, but they are a resident of the town.

Rides normally cost 50 cents."

'via Blog this'

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Many urban dwellers still lack option to live without a car - Greater Greater Washington

Many urban dwellers still lack option to live without a car - Greater Greater Washington: The Washington region has gotten a "solid return" on its transit investment, but many carless households still lack good access to transit and many more, even in urban areas, don't have a realistic option to live car-free if they wanted to, according to a Brookings Institution report.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Oiligarchy using fake fiscal "crisis" to force people back to cars

Nearly 80 Percent of Public Transit Systems Forced to Implement Fare Increases or Service Cuts Due to Flat or Decreased Local and State Funding: "Washington, DC- Public transit systems are faced with implementing new service cuts and fare increases on top of cuts and increases enacted during the past budget cycle, according to a new study released by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Nearly eighty percent of public transit systems have already implemented fare increases or service cuts in 2010 or are considering them for the future because of flat or decreased local and/or regional funding."

Monday, August 15, 2011

“For some, Baltimore life is sweeter with no car” – with quotes from yours truly « sidewalkperspective

“For some, Baltimore life is sweeter with no car” – with quotes from yours truly « sidewalkperspective: "while I am concerned about the environment and wanted (at least on some level) to “make a statement” about our car-centric culture, the decision to sell my car was mostly an economic one. I simply could not afford it at the time, whatever my other, higher-minded reasons were.

Today, I probably could afford a car, but why bother? The only thing I wish I could do that I currently can’t do is go to my Mom’s house whenever I want and stay as long as I want. Fortunately, I have a wonderful and understanding mother who doesn’t mind driving a mile to pick me up from the bus stop. (Sometimes I bike that extra mile. And sometimes, she comes to me and spends money in the city. Being car-less means it’s harder to do anything – among them, spending money – outside the range of public transit. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing.)

Really, think about it: What are the things that you currently do that you have to drive to? And are those things all that important? For me, they really weren’t. And I think a lot of people, were they to ask themselves that question, would reach the same conclusion."

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Auto-system is economically unsustainable

Transportation: The high cost of underinvestment - "How is this possible? The calculation is based on all the expenses incurred by poor roads, bridges and transit systems. For instance, each year these deficiencies mean an extra $97 billion in vehicle operating costs, $32 billion in travel delays, $1.2 billion in safety costs and $590 million in environmental costs.

As the transportation system worsens, the costs increase markedly. Without greater investment, the average household stands to lose about $7,000 in household income each year within a decade, according to the report."

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Invest in sustainability and justice - #publictransit

MassTransit » Blog » The Value of Sustainability: "APTA President William Millar said, “We need to keep pushing that investment in transit is just that, investment, it’s not spending.” With Washington being “a bigger zoo than usual,” it’s only going to get worse as everyone will be trying to push their programs and agendas through with all of the cuts, he said.

King County Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond, also the APTA chair for the Sustainability Committee, said the workshop is about how the value of sustainability is being measured and delivered. “It’s not enough to just believe in it, there needs to be some substance behind that.”

Romel Pascual, deputy Mayor for the Environment, city of Los Angeles, said sustainability is a world issue, but much of the action is at the local level. He stressed, “Transportation is always at the cutting edge of sustainability environmental justice.”"

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Some Baltimoreans have given up their cars -

Some Baltimoreans have given up their cars - "'I do not miss owning a car at all,' he said. 'Selling it was one of the best decisions I ever made, and really it changed my life for the better.'"

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Zipcar's Impact On How People Use Cars Is Enormous | Fast Company

Zipcar's Impact On How People Use Cars Is Enormous | Fast Company: "Zipcar debuted in Baltimore a year ago. The company has since gathered feedback from the new Zipcar drivers there to determine exactly what happens once car sharing is introduced in a city. As it turns out, the effects are rather drastic, seriously curtailing both car ownership and car use, while pumping up how often people take public transportation."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tell Maryland: Support Mass Transit, Not a New Six-Lane Highway |

Photo credit: Seneca Creek State Park in Montgomery County, MD, courtesy Flickr user Anosmia
Environment Petition: Tell Maryland: Support Mass Transit, Not a New Six-Lane Highway | "A proposed 4-6 lane Maryland highway would cross over 50 acres of wetlands and forest, threatening rare plants, trout spawning grounds, and a major state park. This petition asks the Montgomery County Department of Transportation to consider mass transit options instead."

Transit Alternatives to Mid-County Highway Extended

Friday, July 15, 2011

Stop the Tarsands

Will North America be the new Middle East? | Grist: "“The ever-increasing amounts of heat-trapping gases humans are emitting into the air put tremendous pressure on the climate system to shift to a new, radically different, warmer state, and the extreme weather of 2010-2011 suggests that the transition is already well underway.”"

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Corporate media refuses to even mention "climate change"

After Story on Monster Heat Wave, NBC Asks “What Explains This?” The Answer: “We’re Stuck in a Summer Pattern”! | ThinkProgress: "The southwest is in an uber-hot drought, but the NY Times says no dots to connect to global warming — a story Climate Central’s Andrew Freedman also criticized. Similarly, no dots for the Arizona wildfire story or the Dust Bowl story. And TP Green’s Brad Johnson noted that last week’s “CBS News piece on 2011′s extreme weather ignored global warming.”"

Monday, July 11, 2011

Act now to stop the tarsands pipeline

Invitation : Tar Sands Action: "To call this project a horror is serious understatement. The tar sands have wrecked huge parts of Alberta, disrupting ways of life in indigenous communities—First Nations communities in Canada, and tribes along the pipeline route in the U.S. have demanded the destruction cease. The pipeline crosses crucial areas like the Oglalla Aquifer where a spill would be disastrous—and though the pipeline companies insist they are using ‘state of the art’ technologies that should leak only once every 7 years, the precursor pipeline and its pumping stations have leaked a dozen times in the past year. These local impacts alone would be cause enough to block such a plan. But the Keystone Pipeline would also be a fifteen hundred mile fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the continent, a way to make it easier and faster to trigger the final overheating of our planet, the one place to which we are all indigenous."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Exclusive: Oil Industry Forms New Astroturf Group To Manipulate 2012 Republican Primary In Iowa | ThinkProgress

Exclusive: Oil Industry Forms New Astroturf Group To Manipulate 2012 Republican Primary In Iowa | ThinkProgress: "Rather than being a grassroots organization, the Iowa Energy Forum is a slick, new creation of the oil and gas industry. The group is financed by the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association representing Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Transcanada, Shell Oil, and other oil industry heavyweights."

Friday, June 10, 2011

CapitalClimate: Summer 2011 Heat Records Crushing Cold Records by 13 to 1

CapitalClimate: Summer 2011 Heat Records Crushing Cold Records by 13 to 1: "After narrowly exceeding cold records in May, U.S. heat records in the first 9 days of June have outnumbered cold records by an eye-popping ratio of 13 to 1."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

TheSpec - Walkability and the new urbanism

TheSpec - Walkability and the new urbanism: "Leinberger says demand for homes in urban, walkable neighbourhoods is outstripping supply in most United States cities and that for the first time since the suburbs became king in the 1960s, housing values there have fallen below those of their urban counterparts.

The same trend is evident in Canada’s biggest cities of Toronto and Vancouver, he says, and is likely inevitably coming to other metro areas. While cities are thriving and growing, suburbs have grown more congested, less green, even more car-centric and been pushed further out into the hinterland."

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Gas and Oil Party wants to suppress voting

The Republican Threat to Voting - "Less than a year before the 2012 presidential voting begins, Republican legislatures and governors across the country are rewriting voting laws to make it much harder for the young, the poor and African-Americans — groups that typically vote Democratic — to cast a ballot."

Friday, April 22, 2011

Raising Baltimore - Walkability Compromised in Southeast Baltimore

No crosswalk signal at Aliceanna and Wolfe — a very busy intersection
Raising Baltimore: "I am writing to ask you to stand up for neighborhoods and walkability in Baltimore City — to move Baltimore forward as a progressive, walkable city that is safe and hospitable to residents, businesses, and visitors — instead of taking us backward to a far less enlightened time when cities were designed only around the needs of the car.

As you know, in November, the Baltimore City Council adopted a 'Complete Streets' initiative, which binds the city to consider ALL users in transportation and planning decisions — this means, as you know, that decisions about our streets should consider the needs of walkers, bikers, and transit riders, NOT just automobiles."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

US business is much more than fossil-fuel industry

Daily Kos: US Chamber, Biggest Front Group for Fossil Fuel Industry, Has No Idea What's About to Hit Them: "The time to strip away that respectability has come, and it starts today in DC. But it doesn't end here. Across the nation, a campaign to get businesses to declare 'The US Chamber Doesn't Speak for Me' has begun to make real progress--thousands and thousands of small businesses have already signed up to say they can speak for themselves, thank you--and that they're nimble enough capitalists to deal with a planet that runs on wind and sun. It's not just small companies either--Apple Computer has quit the chamber, and local chambers of commerce from Seattle to New York have broken their ties with the US Chamber."

Monday, April 18, 2011

US is not broke, just not collecting corporate taxes

Blog | US Uncut: "While millions of Americans pay their taxes this weekend, many have begun to wonder why those who profit most off a system of public services in America pay so little to maintain it. In fact, the Government Accountability Office reports that 83 of the top 100 US companies use tax havens to dodge taxes."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

U.S. History - the deliberate destruction of the streetcar - Chomsky

Public Transport shut down for private gain. Notes & Chomsky on National City Lines, the demise of the streetcar.: "The private sector operated in parallel: 'Between 1936 and 1950, National City Lines, a holding company sponsored and funded by GM, Firestone, and Standard Oil of California, bought out more than 100 electric surface-traction systems in 45 cities (including New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, Tulsa, and Los Angeles) to be dismantled and replaced with GM buses... In 1949 GM and its partners were convicted in U.S.district court in Chicago of criminal conspiracy in this matter and fined $5,000.'"

Thursday, March 24, 2011

DC City Council member: Let students ride transit fare-free

Biddle said teachers have told him that some students miss school at the end of the month because the family doesn’t have train or bus fare.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Endgame Approacheth - Death by Car

Endgame Approacheth - Death by Car: "HSBC has calculated what would happen to energy consumption by 2050 given plausible forecasts for economic growth and assuming no constraint on resources, or that humans carry on using energy in the “taken for granted” way they do at the moment.
[D]emand in China, India and other emerging markets soars, but there is also quite considerable growth from advanced economies too. The big picture is that with an additional one billion cars on the road, demand for oil would grow 110%, to more than 190 million barrels per day. Total demand for energy would rise by a similar order of magnitude, doubling the amount of carbon in the atmosphere to more than three and a half times the amount climate change scientists think would keep temperatures at safe levels." Jeremy Warner The Telegraph via Death by Car

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Should Transit Be Free? | Car Free Baltimore

Also, auto user fees don't even pay the full
 construction and maintenance costs of roads
 (this statement probably wouldn't have fit on her back).
Should Transit Be Free? | Car Free Baltimore:

  • "Reduction in operating costs (fare collectors, payment system terminals would be abolished)
  • Increased ridership
  • Broader demographic groups would ride because of convenience and low barriers to entry
  • The environmental, social and health benefits (positive externalities) of each new transit rider would more than compensate for lost fare box revenue
  • More political power/representation due to massive increases in ridership"

Monday, March 7, 2011

the world is changing faster than we know

How will America handle the fall of its Middle East empire? – Telegraph Blogs: "America’s global interests are under threat on a scale never before seen. Since 1956, when Secretary of State John Foster Dulles pulled the plug on Britain and France over Suez, the Arab world has been a US domain. At first, there were promises that it would tolerate independence and self-determination. But this did not last long; America chose to govern through brutal and corrupt dictators, supplied with arms, military training and advice from Washington.
The momentous importance of the last few weeks is that this profitable, though morally bankrupt, arrangement appears to be coming to an end. One of the choicest ironies of the bloody and macabre death throes of the regime in Libya is that Colonel Gaddafi would have been wiser to have stayed out of the US sphere of influence. When he joined forces with George Bush and Tony Blair five years ago, the ageing dictator was leaping on to a bandwagon that was about to grind to a halt."

Monday, February 21, 2011

Attn: Dictators, the more you kill, the sooner you go down.

Gaddafi's hold on Libya weakens - Africa - Al Jazeera English: "'Gaddafi's guards started shooting people in the second day ... when they killed two people, we had more than 5,000 at their funeral, and when they killed 15 people the next day, we had more than 50,000 the following day,' he said, adding 'the more Gaddafi kills people, the more people go into the streets.'"

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Book review: Antonia Juhasz's THE TYRANNY OF OIL — Transition Voice

Book review: Antonia Juhasz's THE TYRANNY OF OIL — Transition Voice: "Since the US passed the peak of its domestic oil production in 1970 and then suffered the indignity of the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973-4, policy wonks and advocacy groups alike have presented no shortage of sensible plans to start breaking America’s dependence on oil.
But every attempt to implement a rational energy policy has failed because because the major oil companies didn’t want America to start using less of their product. And everybody knows that Big Oil owns Washington."

Friday, February 4, 2011

Gasoline Tax - ACT for Transit

Gasoline Tax: "The current economic crisis requires us to use tax dollars more efficiently than in the past. Maryland is in a position to do that with strategic investments that bring out the full value of our existing transit lines. The Purple Line will offer fast, frequent transit between the Washington suburbs that Metro already connects with D.C. The Red Line, connecting with existing Metro and light rail lines, will make Baltimore once again a city where living without a car is convenient as well as affordable. MARC will be an all-day transit service, not just a commuter railroad. Through these investments, we will create a far more efficient transportation system, one that no longer forces commuters onto overcrowded and overpriced highways. At the same time, by encouraging transit-oriented development, we will reinvigorate our economy and rebuild the livable communities that our citizens yearn for."

Friday, January 28, 2011

Time to admit it -- auto system does not work

Credit: Submitted by Alicia Renee
Prince William Parkway became a parking lot during the snow.

Nightmare commute stretched until dawn for many drivers | InsideNova: "Because of the volume of cars on the road and those stalled due to road conditions, VDOT trucks couldn’t get to where they were going in a timely fashion.

Morris said in 25 years with VDOT, she’s never seen anything like it before – even considering last year’s blizzards – and called 66 a parking lot."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Business group feels the U.S. is not moving quickly enough toward disaster

On Our Radar: U.S. Chamber Backs Expansion of Fossil Fuels - "The top energy official at the United States Chamber of Commerce, the powerful lobbying group, urges lawmakers to focus on expanding fossil fuel energy production, not “high-cost energy sources” like wind and solar."