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TheCityFix Picks, July 16: Brazilian Bullet Trains, Mooning Amtrak, Toronto Bike Racks
It happens only once a year! Participants flash some flesh at a passing Amtrak train. Photo by Chuck Coker.

It happens only once a year! Participants flash some flesh at a passing Amtrak train. Photo by Chuck Coker.

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

To fight China’s growing glut of cars, cities like Guangzhou have turned to bus rapid transit systems to draw the masses back to public transit, according to this New York Times article.

The president of Brazil announced that a high-speed train linking Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo should be ready in time for the 2016 Olympic Games. If they pick up the speed maybe it will be complete by the 2014 World Cup.

The United States House of Representatives approved the Telework Improvements Act this week. The legislation aims to boost the federal government’s telecommuting program to reduce unproductivity due to inclement weather.

Quality of Life

¡Hagamos San Juan más ‘caminable’! A recently released report lays out in ten steps how to make the Puerto Rican capital a more walkable city. Sí, me parece.

Born out of a bar room bet, the Mooning of the Amtrak, a 30+ year tradition in southern California, had more than 100 individuals beguiling the rail company with their bare backsides.

Environment

As congestion pricing is looking more likely in Chicago, London is considering changing its congestion charge system — in place since 2003 — but not without its share of controversy. Exempting diesel-burning vehicles and not eco-friendly cars tends to irk some folks.

Two studies recently released link air pollution to increased suicide risk for asthma sufferers and an increased risk of heart disease amongst older adults. Face mask, anyone?

Germany, France and Britain called for big cuts in greenhouse gas emissions across the European Union of 20 to 30 percent by 2020. The only possible hindrance is the cost of meeting the carbon-cutting goal.

Public Space

Small steps in Toronto, but good ones. This week brought the inauguration of two converted car parking spaces to a spot for bike racks capable of holding 16 bikes.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will soon have a new source of revenue: apartments. A 60-year-old Muni bus barn will be razed and the land used for housing development.

Technology and Innovation

Low- and zero-emission vehicles had a good week: a Fiat hybrid topped 100 MPG, GM promised long-life batteries, and Yamaha debuted an all-electric scooter.

Got a smart grid solution? Something to do with zero-emissions vehicles or wind-powered buses, maybe? GE is crowdsourcing for a project to drop $200 million on.

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