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TheCityFix Picks, December 31: Light Rail Across N. America, Chinese Car Sales, Pricey Petrol
Are streets open only to bikes the answer to increased bike usage in cities across the United States? Photo by Frank Hebbert.

Are streets open only to bikes the answer to increased bike usage in cities across the United States? Photo by Frank Hebbert.

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

Delhi’s BRT corridor has five cycle stations recently installed near bus stops. City officials hope by placing bike stations near the BRT corridor will discourage use of gas or diesel driven vehicles on roads and encourage use of bicycles among commuters.

Cities across the United States, such as Dallas, Seattle and Washington, D.C., are planning, proposing, studying or building light rail systems. Officials hope to convince citizens steeped in the car culture to turn to mass transit, according to NPR.

Even though Toronto Mayor Rob Ford publicly called Transit City “over,” a revised transit plan from the TTC and Metrolinx, the province’s planning agency, could still include surface rail. Ford wants to deliver subways rather than above ground light rail.

Quality of Life

Car sales and congestion are up in China as automakers struggle to keep up with demand. Sales have been more than 50 percent higher this year than in the American market. The result: traffic jams in Chinese large cities, particularly Beijing.

The Northeast of the United States has seen significant delays on mass transit in the days following the recent winter storm that covered rails and roads in as much as two feet of snow.

Moscow autoists suffer an average 2 1/2 hours stuck in some of the world’s longest traffic jams, yet authorities misspent more than 232 billion rubles ($7.7 billion) in transit funds.

Public Space

New Yorkers continue to debate over the increasing number of bike lanes that continue to grow in number as officials push to transform the Big Apple from an auto-based city into a more bike-based city.

The U.S. city with the highest bicycle mode share, Portland, Ore., could shift from “neighborhood greenways,” streets that have been modified to make cycling more convenient and safe, to bike-only boulevards.

Wyoming is spending $9.7 million dollars to create a series of wildlife-friendly underpasses and overpasses to help antelope and deer cross the road.

Environment

Seoul has started commercial operation of electric buses on a circular route. The city aims to improve air conditions in the South Korean capital with the switch to the all-electric vehicles.

Shell Oil president John Hofmeister looks into the future and sees gasoline prices topping $5 a gallon by 2012 due to increased global demand.

Massachusetts officials have announced a plan to curtail greenhouse gases emitted by homes, cars and businesses in the state by 25 percent below 1990 levels over the next decade.

Technology and Innovation

The transportation world has been “rocked” this year says Wired.com. Check out the the magazine’s top ten transportation trends of 2010.

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology research project funded by Tata, India’s largest automobile company, is looking to use hydrogen from were less than ten in the past two weeks. Production for both is slowly increasing, but if you would like to buy one, get behind the 50,000 already on the list.

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