The City Fix Picks, February 18: Sidewalk Rage, China’s Sacked Railways Chief, Global Green Cities
Crowded sidewalks are spurring angry sidewalk ragers. Photo by Andrea Hj,

Are crowded sidewalks the cause of hostile pedestrians? Photo by Andrea Hj.

Welcome back to TheCityFix Picks, our series highlighting the newsy and noteworthy of the past week. Each Friday, we’ll run down the headlines falling under TheCityFix’s five themes: mobility, quality of life, environment, public space, and technology and innovation.

Mobility

Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) and Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) signed a memorandum that will launch a common ticketing system for the city’s public transport system, including bus and metro.

Chief of the Chinese Railways Ministry Liu Zhijun was fired by the Communist Party, raising doubts about the safety, construction quality and financial viability of the massive and growing high-speed rail system he oversaw.

Debate and partisan bickering continue over President Obama’s proposed national high-speed rail program.

Symptomatic of nationwide funding issues for transportation, a Northern California high-speed rail project that residents voted to fund through an increased tax might not reach its envisioned northern terminus; in fact, the railway may not be built at all.

Quality of Life

White and black flight” still plague the city of Chicago, as do economic and development growth concentrated in the suburbs and exburbs.

3.5 million rural Americans have lost access to public transit over the past few years, mostly because of bus and train service cuts.

A report on the Portland Metro area estimates that the region’s extensive trail, greenway and park network saves about $115 million per year in averted health care costs because of the network’s high use (more than 81 million annual bike trips.)

Egypt is one of the few places in the world to de-urbanize in the past few centuries.

A national truckers’ strike that lasted two weeks in Colombia is affecting the price of food and exports.

Environment

A three-day sustainable cities conference, “Global Green Cities,” starts February 23 in San Francisco.

Airline company Lufthansa is delaying the launch of what are expected to be the first commercial airplanes to use biofuel because the fuel has yet to receive certification.

Chile’s new Minister of Energy is committed to renewables, vowing to develop a new national energy strategy.

Xiamen, China will add to its fleet a new batch of environmentally friendly hybrid buses that are at least 25 percent more fuel efficient.

Public Space

New York City has yet to cut back its off-street parking, making it the last city in the four largest Northeastern metro areas to commit to the reduction.

Researchers are looking into “sidewalk rage” that afflicts some hurried citizens and “mental venters” who can’t handle slow walkers.

City councillors in Edinborough, Scotland are likely to approve a plan developed by urban design consultants, Gehl Architects, to redesign the downtown to improve pedestrian mobility.

Technology and Innovation

To deal with millions of plastic bags used every year, Japanese inventor Akinori Ito created a machine that can turn plastic bags into crude oil.

Amtrak plans to extend free wireless Internet on its Northeast and a few West Coast trains this year.

Blogger Yuri Artibise lists his favorite urban inforgraphics ever. It’s an interesting list.

New York City passed three bills this week to open traffic information to the public.

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