TheCityFix Picks, March 4: Rea Vaya Impresses, Transport is Health, Dutch Design Superbus
Is this the bus of the future? Photo via Superbus Project.

Is this the bus of the future? Photo via Superbus Project.

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

A delegation of New York City officials, including Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, was impressed by a recent visit of Johannesburg’s Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system. “Rea Vaya is an extraordinary example of good planning and effective implementation,” said Amanda Burden, the chair of the New York City Planning Commission.

Meanwhile in the Big Apple, there was much debate about NYCDOT’s plans to redesign the crosstown 34th Street thoroughfare with bus-only lanes and more pedestrian plazas.

The Chicago Department of Transportation announced the results of the first-ever bicycle count study conducted in Chicago. The verdict? Thousands of people ride bicycles every day at 26 locations throughout the city. The information will be used to help future bicycle promotion strategies and infrastructure improvements.

Students from four universities—American University in Dubai, Zayed University, Dubai Men’s College and Dubai Women’s College—are gathering ideas for sustainable public transport to present during the 59th UITP World Congress & Exhibition in Dubai on April 10-14.

Quality of Life

Richard J. Jackson, professor and chair of environmental health science at the UCLA School of Public Health, explains why the U.S. federal transportation bill is a health care bill.

Residents in Ann Arbor, Mich. formed a “bike choir,” singing songs like “Mass Ride,” “Thoughtless Drivers,” “Two-Wheel Tango,” “Way-O,” and “Bicyclized Ode to Joy.”

Campaign for Better Transport, a U.K.-based advocacy group, launched the “Save Our Buses” national campaign to protect local bus services, which are facing drastic budget cuts.

Environment

The Scottish government launched a new “carbon calculator” for local authorities to monitor and manage their sustainable transport plans.

Ford Motor Co. expects greater demand for fuel-efficient vehicles as gas prices continue to rise.

China’s legislature voted to adopt a new tax based on engine size to encourage the use of smaller engines to reduce pollution and oil dependence.

Public Space

Chennai, India will soon have three more skywalks, or elevated pedestrian paths, as suggested by the Chennai Comprehensive Transportation Study.

Los Angeles officials have approved a plan that aims to get residents of the notoriously auto-centric city out of their cars and onto bicycles.
The bicycle master plan approved by the City Council Tuesday sets a long-term goal of some 1,680 miles of interconnected bikeways and calls for 200 miles of the new bike paths to be added every five years.

In notoriously car-centric Los Angeles, city officials approved a “bicycle master plan” that sets a long-term goal of creating about 1,680 miles of interconnected bikeways, with 200 miles of new bike paths added every five years.

A new competition, “Network Reset: Rethinking the Chicago Emerald Necklace,” asks architects and other designers to envision a new boulevard system, including streets, parks and other public spaces, for Chicago.

Technology & Innovation

This weekend, hundreds of self-professed “transit nerds” will descend on New York City for Transportation Camp, a two-day “unconference” about transportation and technology.

A Dutch design team is set to spotlight “The Superbus” at  next month’s  Commercial Vehicles Conference in Dubai. The 23-passenger bus is designed to travel up to 250 kilometers per hour on a dedicated “speed track” between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Masdar, the clean energy company, is conducting a pilot project with Mitsubishi to test a fleet of 10 Mitsubishi electric vehicles, known as i-MiEVs, in Masdar City, a planned city in Abu Dhabi.

Carmaker Renault unveiled its latest electric vehicle, the Kangoo Maxi ZE van, while BMW launched a new “‘sustainable mobility’” brand of electric cars, called BMW i, which is also sponsoring MyCityWay, a location-aware mobile app and city guide.

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  • http://thecityfix.com/members/ericaschlaikjer/ Erica Schlaikjer

    Hello Ranjit,

    Thanks so much for your comments. You raise some excellent points that we hope our other readers are also thinking about. We never intended to show that Chennai’s planned skywalks are necessarily a good thing. I myself pointed out some of the limitations and drawbacks of skywalks in this previous post on TheCityFix Mumbai: http://mumbai.thecityfix.com/lofty-idea-skywalks-for-mumbai-pedestrians/. Our weekly “TheCityFix Picks” merely aims to highlight

  • http://thecityfix.com/members/ericaschlaikjer/ Erica Schlaikjer

    Hello Ranjit,

    Thanks so much for your comments. You raise some excellent points that we hope our other readers are also thinking about. We never intended to show that Chennai’s planned skywalks are necessarily a good thing. I myself pointed out some of the limitations and drawbacks of skywalks in this previous post on TheCityFix Mumbai: http://mumbai.thecityfix.com/lofty-idea-skywalks-for-mumbai-pedestrians/. Our weekly “TheCityFix Picks” merely aims to highlight news from the past week. Some headlines are certainly controversial, and we appreciate you for starting a discussion about it!

    Stay in touch,
    Erica Schlaikjer
    Managing Editor
    thecityfix.com

  • http://www.parisar.org Ranjit

    Why are the three skywalks planned in Chennai a good thing? Embarq itself has come out with an assessment of the skywalks in Mumbai and found that (a) they increase the walk-trip length (b) add a huge effort in terms of having to climb and descend stairs (c) create greater space crunch at ground level – since often the structure is built on the existing footpaths and (d) is not used as much by people in any case.

    The skywalks are really intended for one thing only. To get pedestrians out of the way, so that more space can be provided to vehicles and to reduce traffic signals so that vehicles can travel faster and without stopping, thus making the city even less accessible and walkable for pedestrians.