Transportation News Roundup

Ooh…transportation news on a Friday. No better way to end a week.

Transit

Bicycling and Walking

  • Safe Routes to School reports. The Safe Routes to School National Partnership recently released a report that focuses on reducing pollutants and carbon emissions by increasing bicycling and walking habits.  The report concludes that changing the habits of 20 percent of the children living within two miles of school to get them to walk or bicycle to and from school instead of being driven would be the equivalent of taking 60,000 cars off the road each year, preventing the emission of over 350,000 tons of carbon dioxide and 21,500 tons of other pollutants.
  • Bicycles of the future?  Yamaha recently unveiled their new PAS City-C hybrid electric bicycle which uses an electric motor to provide assistance while accelerating, climbing a hill, riding in the wind, or carrying heavy loads.  Yamaha’s model is similar to other increasingly popular electric bicycles being sold in select Twin-Cities bike shops.  Another recently unveiled electric bicycle dubbed The Grasshopper” has a compact foldable frame and rechargeable battery that stores energy generated by pedaling and regenerative braking.
  • Crime on the Midtown Greenway? Eh, Just Stay Off It at Night, Says Minneapolis Police Force. Recent incidents of crime on the Midtown Greenway have led to the Minneapolis Police Department advising cyclists to “avoid the greenway after dark, if that’s possible.” We couldn’t help but wonder…are there many (any?) examples of a police force asking drivers to avoid a major road at night because of crime? Aren’t there other solutions to combatting crime?

Development

  • Optimism undaunted on rail line to Duluth.  Despite an estimated price tag of $500 million and no guarantee that federal funding will cover 80 percent of the project, officials remain optimistic about the Northern Lights Express’ future.  Plans for the high-speed 150-mile line are receiving growing attention due to promising opportunities for job creation and economic development.
  • Could high-speed rail run from here to Chicago?  Ridership on the Empire Builder, Amtrak’s most-popular long distance route, grew nearly 10 percent in the 2008 fiscal year, which ended in September. Increasing ridership levels over the past six consecutive years are prompting advocates and legislators to reexamine the important role passenger rail could play in a 21st century transportation system.  In 2002, estimates showed that a high-speed rail line linking St. Paul and Chicago would cost $1.86 billion to construct, with Minnesota financing $400 million.  In addition to Amtrak’s growing popularity, interest in the project stems from Congressman Jim Oberstar’s influence as chairman of the U.S. House Transportation Committee and President-elect Barack Obama’s declared support for passenger rail and infrastructure investments.

 

Full Digest

Roads and Transit

Bicycling and Walking

Development

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