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CONGRESS PROPOSES DIRECT LOCAL ACCESS TO FEDERAL FUNDS
-> A bipartisan coalition of 10 lawmakers is supporting the Innovation in Surface Transportation Act (http://1.usa.gov/1xxnZe6), which would help cities, counties, and other local governments directly access federal funding for transportation projects, according to Transportation for America. The proposal, first floated last year, would let local governments compete for at least $5 billion of the $50 billion or so in federal transportation funds allocated to states each year.

Under the bill, local agencies in each state would apply for grants, with a statewide committee selecting winners. The committees could include, for example, local chambers of commerce, active transportation advocates, transit agencies, air quality boards, ports, and others. The bill would make better use of federal transportation dollars for two main reasons:

  • Local governments are more likely than state DOTs to spend the money on cost effective projects. Think transitways and street safety improvements, not highways and flyovers.
  • The process would be designed to reward the most deserving projects by establishing a transparent competitive basis to determine grant winners. [Source: http://bit.ly/1ELQowB]

6 PLACES WHERE CARS, BIKES, & PEDS SHARE ROAD AS EQUALS
-> A woonerf is a street or square where cars, pedestrians, cyclists, and other local residents travel together without traditional safety infrastructure to guide them. Also sometimes called a "shared street," a woonerf is generally free of traffic lights, stop signs, curbs, painted lines, and the like. The basic idea is that once these controls are stripped away, everyone is forced to become more alert and ultimately more cooperative. Through less restraint comes greater focus.

We took a closer look at six places around the world that have woonerfed and emerged better for it... [Source: http://bit.ly/1GT4kVB]

STREET FILMS: EXPLORING THE (WALKABLE) STREETS OF STOCKHOLM
-> Streetfilm’s Clarence Eckerson Jr. met up with a great mix of advocates, residents, and transportation experts to discuss what’s going on in Stockholm (Video: Exploring the Streets of Stockholm 12:58). Sweden is well-known as the birthplace of Vision Zero. There’s much more worth taking away from Stockholm, which in the last decade has implemented congestion pricing, expanded its bike network, and adopted a plan called “The Walkable City” to create streets that work better for public life.

In tandem with the release of this film, I have great news to share: Since some Streetfilms, including this one, can get a bit long, we’ve decided to break them up into bite-size pieces. There are four slices of Stockholm video you can mix and match to reach the masses. [Source: http://bit.ly/1EFkkYG]

REVOLUTIONARY BIKE LANES
-> These projects stretch the imagination in their cities, and with luck, in the way we think about building bike lanes of the future.

  • Tapping into an existing network of underground tunnels could transform how cyclists get around London. Known as the London Underline, the concept simplifies transportation as it moves bicyclists and pedestrians to a dedicated bike path located below the city’s surface.
  • A British architect came up with building a highway in the sky. The rendering shows an elevated bike system that sits above the infrastructure that is already in place for train lines. The Canadian version features a clear enclosure that allows cyclists to ride in all types of weather. It’s similar to a subway, funneling bicyclists into a centrally-located spot that offers a convenient transition back onto city streets.
  • The UK is already trying out this cool concept that uses a solar-enhanced liquid that works to illuminate bike paths at night. The “Starpath” produces a blue glowing light after soaking up the sun’s rays during the day, so it’s a solar-powered material that gives cyclists the light they need when it’s dark... [Source: http://bit.ly/1Gt7P4t]

RAIL~VOLUTION 2015 – LAST CALL FOR SPEAKERS
-> Thursday, March 26th is the deadline for submitting a proposal to speak at this year's Rail~Volution conference. The form takes about 20 minutes to complete. The program is organized into seven baskets including:

  • Beyond Transit: People and Places - focusing on innovations, equity, and changing communities;
  • The Creation of Livable Communities - focusing on communications, partnerships, advocacy, and engagement; and
  • New Ideas: Pushing the Envelope of the Livable Communities Discussion - addressing urgent and timely topics, such as job creation, energy, the economy, new funding strategies, and the next problems we need to solve.

For more details about the program and to access the Call for Presenters form, go to http://bit.ly/1CogQNc. The conference is October 25-28th in Dallas, TX.

ALTERNATIVES TO 93,000 DOWNTOWN PARKING SPACES
-> According to a parking assessment released last year from Central Atlanta Progress, there are over 93,000 parking spaces in Downtown Atlanta. I wondered what else might fit in the area taken up by those spaces. Using these figures, here’s a list I’ve made of things that could fit inside 93,000 parking spaces:

  • 15,000 2-bedroom apartments, or...
  • 23,250 1-bedroom apartments, or...
  • 46,500 micro apartments, or...
  • 930,000 bicycle parking spaces, or...
  • 279,000 3-office cubicles

(See the infographic Sizing up Parking Space: http://bit.ly/1GSvA6M) [Source: http://bit.ly/1BK9qn4]

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