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TheCityFix Picks, August 19: Complete Streets, Dangerous Crosswalks, Parks for the People

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed complete streets legislation into law this week, supporting safer streets for "New Yorkers of all ages and abilities." Photo by Emily Raw.

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: integrated transport, urban development and accessibility, air quality and climate change, health and road safety, and communications and marketing.

Integrated Transport

Turkish Transport Minister Gabib Soluk announced that the expected completion of the Kars-Tbilisi-Baku regional railway to connect Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan has been pushed back to 2012.

The Guangzhou bus rapid transit (BRT) system in China reduces CO2 emissions by 86,000 tons annually, indicates preliminary research findings from Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.

Despite near record ridership levels, 71 percent of the U.S.’s large transit systems have cut service since 2010 and roughly half have raised fares.

Winnipeg, Canada is developing a $1.15 million transportation master plan to be released to the public in September. It is scheduled to receive the city council’s vote in mid-October.

The Metropolitan Planning Council released a new proposal for Chicago’s bus rapid transit (BRT) system, calling for 10 bus routes totaling 95 miles.

Urban Development + Accessibility

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed complete streets legislation into law this week. “Complete Streets designs recognize measures that will make streets safer for New Yorkers of all ages and abilities,” Cuomo explained.

The success of Manhattan’s High Line park project has inspired other U.S. cities, including Chicago, Philadelphia and St. Louis, to explore similar redevelopments of their old railyards into public spaces.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published guidelines for states and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) on incorporating livability parameters into transportation plans.

Air Quality + Climate Change

The State of Maine passed historic legislation requiring overall oil consumption reductions of 30 percent from 2009 levels by 2030, and 50 percent by 2050.

U.S. CO2 emissions from the consumption of fossil fuels in 2010 was calculated to be 5,638 million metric tons, an increase of 3.9 percent from 2009—the highest yearly percentage increase since 1988.

A University of California, Riverside professor received a grant to build and test a device that attaches to cars and calculates the real-time particulate matter air concentrations of Southern California’s highways. About 9,000 California residents die prematurely each year from exposure to particulate matter.

CODA Holdings, a California-based lithium-ion battery system developer, signed a Letter of Intent with China’s Great Wall Motor Company Limited to develop new electric vehicles for distribution worldwide. Great Wall is reportedly China’s fastest growing and most profitable automotive producer.

Health + Road Safety

Southern California commuter train system Metrolink received about $50 million in federal and state funding to support a new positive train control safety system.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded $417.3 million to state highway projects targeting roadway safety, road and bridge maintenance, and overall livability.

New data revealed that 80 percent of vehicle-pedestrian crashes in Chicago are at crosswalks, many involving pedestrians crossing the street with the walk signal.

The “Belfast On The Move” transport initiative is underway in the Irish city, with plans for new bus lines, traffic flow adjustments and improved conditions for pedestrians and cyclists.

Communications + Marketing

The Village magazine released the Death Revealer iPhone application to increase awareness road safety awareness in Moscow. The application employs GPS and Google Maps technology to display all information and images regarding road traffic incidents for any particular Moscow location.

The U.S. Park Service co-organized the Parks for the People student design competition to create common design principles for the nation’s parks.

Saris Cycling Group and the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin teamed up this summer to boost bicycling in Madison, Wis. by providing bicycle valet parking services at popular city events.

In an attempt to hinder potential riots, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Chief Spokesperson Linton Johnson declared that it was his idea to temporarily disable station cell phone service.

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