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FEDERAL LOAN PROGRAM CHANGES SUPPORT ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION
-> The federal TIFIA program (Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act: http://1.usa.gov/20W3NwC) provides low-interest loans, lines of credit, and loan guarantees for innovative transportation projects. It leverages other private, federal, and non-federal sources of transportation project funding. Reforms in the most recent federal transportation bill (not yet reflected on the TIFIA website) now make the program a more powerful tool for active transportation projects:
- Lowering the minimum project size for projects involving local governments to $10 million;
- Allowing bundling of segments of a network into one project to meet the threshold;
- Allow State Infrastructure Banks to use TIFIA funds to make financing more available to rural projects;
- Streamlining the application process to lower the application cost and make it easier to apply; and
- Providing up to $2 million in application fee waivers for projects less than $75 million in total cost.
[See the Webinar section for an April 27 webinar discussing these reforms, the details of TIFIA, and how US DOT can help your active transportation project apply for TIFIA financing.]
FHWA PROPOSES PERFORMANCE MEASURES
-> FHWA released a proposed rulemaking Monday outlining new national performance measures to assess travel reliability, congestion, and emissions. (National Performance Management Measures; Assessing Performance of the National Highway System, Freight Movement on the Interstate System, and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: http://1.usa.gov/1NAIBV3) The proposed regulation will be published in the Federal Register this Friday. It calls for an increased level of consistency, transparency and accountability in establishing and achieving targets for performance impacting congestion, system reliability, freight movement and economic vitality, and environmental sustainability. State DOTs will be expected to use the information and data generated as a result of the new regulations to make better informed transportation planning and programming decisions. The new performance aspects of the Federal-aid program would allow FHWA to better communicate a national performance story and more reliably assess the impacts of Federal funding investments.
[See Webinar section for an April 21 webinar to present the details of this proposed rulemaking and an overview of the complete proposal.]
PARIS REDESIGNING MAJOR INTERSECTIONS FOR PEDS
-> Paris is redesigning seven major sites for pedestrians and cyclists. The shift started with the Place de la République—until 2013, it was also a busy road, but now it's a pedestrian plaza planted with trees, lined with benches, and filled with people. The transformation was so popular that the city decided to keep going.
Each of the new designs give pedestrians at least 50% of the space in the square, taking away lanes of traffic even though each of the streets is a major route in the city. In some cases, the designs are based on data. The city is partnering with Cisco and a company called Placemeter, an "urban intelligence platform" that helps quantify how public space is used. With a set of temporary cameras, which count people anonymously, they're able to measure how many people are walking and biking and where cars are at any specific location. Placemeter will work with the city to start testing different scenarios, such as what happens if streets are closed in a certain location for a month, or what happens if benches and chairs go in another place, or what happens if bike lanes expand. http://bit.ly/20OQD4m
NACTO TRANSIT STREET DESIGN GUIDE RELEASED
-> NACTO’s "Transit Street Design Guide" sets a new vision for how cities can harness the immense potential of transit to create active and efficient streets, in neighborhoods and downtowns. It details how reliable transit routes—whether bus or rail—depend on a commitment to transit at every level of design. Developed through a new peer network of NACTO members and transit agency partners, the Guide provides tools to actively prioritize transit on the street, not just accommodate existing service. The "Transit Street Design Guide" is available for purchase (http://bit.ly/1SsKLdI) and will soon be available as an interactive document at http://bit.ly/10b7Wea. (See a preview at http://bit.ly/23Jtx4j) http://bit.ly/1YGySCC
[See the Webinar section for an April 27 webinar introducing the Transit Street Design Guide.]
ECF: DELIVERING CLIMATE-FRIENDLY TRANSPORT VIA CYCLING
-> The European Cycling Federation strongly recommends the European Union include the development and adoption of an ‘EU level strategic document on cycling’ by the end of 2017, and include modal shift through cycling in transport GHG emission modeling. If the EU is to achieve its objective on decarbonizing transport (a 60 % GHG emission reduction by 2050 compared to 1990), it needs to consider a modal shift both in passenger and freight transport. Read the ECF position paper "Delivering Climate-friendly Transport by Shifting to Cycling" http://bit.ly/1WdBbxR
EUROPEAN DECLARATION ON CYCLING, ACTIVITIES & NEW POINT PERSON
-> The informal meeting of EU ministers for Transport adopted a Declaration on Cycling (http://bit.ly/1XI4is7) as a climate friendly transport mode, in Luxembourg in October 2015. Ministers called upon the European Commission, Member States and local and regional authorities to consider several actions. (See details at http://bit.ly/1SjPEUo.) Now the European Commission’s DG MOVE (Directorate General for Mobility and Transport) has appointed its very first "Cycling focal point" person. Read an interview with him: http://bit.ly/1YGmO4p.
THE ABSURD PRIMACY OF THE AUTOMOBILE IN AMERICAN LIFE
-> In The Absurd Primacy of the Automobile in American Life author Edward Humes asks, "Considering the constant fatalities, rampant pollution, and exorbitant costs of ownership, is the car’s dominance a little insane?" Check out the multiple factors and data that for his response: http://bit.ly/23JlKDJ
THE NETHERLANDS TO BAN NEW GAS-POWERED VEHICLES BY 2025
-> Starting in 2025, people in The Netherlands will no longer be able to buy a gasoline or diesel-powered car—even if they want to. By law, only zero-emissions vehicles will be on sale. There is dissent from the political opposition over this plan, but it's surprisingly low-key, given what—in bureaucratic terms—is an incredibly short time frame. The law will be easier to implement considering current the popularity of walking, cycling, and electric vehicles in the country. http://bit.ly/1VvztsF
APHA 1 BILLION STEPS CHALLENGE
-> American Public Health Association challenges us to take and track 1 billion steps by May 31. Join the 1 Billion Steps Challenge to have fun and improve our health. Make walking a habit and you could win a Fitbit Charge HR or a $25 Amazon gift card! Each week APHA will award a $25 Amazon gift card to a lucky participant. Everyone who has joined the challenge or submitted steps during that week is eligible. On May 31 all challenge participants will be eligible to win the grand prize of a Fitbit Charge HR. As of April 10, people have logged 23 million steps. http://bit.ly/1Vj3qwa
BIKE SHARE SYSTEM BUILT SPECIFICALLY FOR VANCOUVER
-> This summer, Vancouver will join the ranks of over 800 cities around the world that have provided the gateway to utility cycling. The City and Vancouver Bike Share are now asking the public for suggestions for the best locations for the docking stations. The "Suggest a Location" page (http://bit.ly/23JAAtP) will be open until early June. http://bit.ly/1VFLTwQ
Check out Vancouver Bike Share while you are in town for Pro Walk/ Pro Bike/ Pro Place September 12-15, 2016: http://walkbikeplaces.org
NEW OSLO HIGH-RISE TO HAVE 100S OF SPACES FOR BIKES—0 FOR GAS CARS
-> When a new high-rise is built in downtown Oslo, Norway, it will include a massive ramp leading cyclists directly into the building, and the plate-glass windows in the lobby will show off bike racks. The building will have parking spots for 500 bicycles, along with bike repair stations, a place to wash bikes, and a shower and a place to change. There will be 10 charging stations for electric cars, but no room for conventional cars at all. http://bit.ly/1Vc6AS5
TRANSPORTATION INNOVATIONS DRIVE LARGER CHANGES
-> Are there ways to help cities adapt to take advantage of opportunities and become more resilient, using transportation as a starting point? A recent Mobility Lab article provides an example of a sprawl retrofit model to show how placemaking and technology would fit together, and several strategies for aspects of land use and transportation planning, including sidewalks. Few (if any) planners specialize in comprehensive sidewalk design. But sidewalks are the new urban-planning frontier, as more and more uses (see article for list of over 25)– including ride-hailing pick-ups and drop-offs – vie for plaza, sidewalk, and curb space. For now, sidewalk space allocation mostly occurs on an ad hoc basis. With every unplanned addition to the sidewalk, cities risk losing the fundamental design purpose: enjoyable, convenient, and safe pedestrian travel. http://bit.ly/1MGkz09
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