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TheCityFix Picks, May 27: Bike Sales, Car-Free Streets, Expanding Parisian Metro Lines

Paris metro is poised to grow by 200 km (125 miles) in new lines. Photo by Phil Hilfiker.

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

U.S. bike- and gas-powered scooter sales were up 9 percent and 50 percent, respectively, in the first quarter of 2011, as compared to that of 2010.

Montreal city official Michel Bissonnet unveiled the city’s 2011-2012 plan for expanding cycling infrastructure, which includes $10 million worth of investments coming this summer.

Honda announced plans to increase its motorcycle production capacity in India by 150 percent. India is the world’s second largest motorcycle market, behind China.

Seattle launched a new ride-sharing website, Zebigo.com, that employs a unique approach to matching up preexisting vehicle owners with prospective passengers.

Capital Bikeshare—the Washington, D.C. bike sharing service touted as North America’s largest bike sharing system—announced expansion plans to include upwards of 40 new stations in 2012.

Paris officials plan to invest €20.5 billion (US$29.5 billion) on 200 kilometers (125 miles) of new metro transit lines in the greater city area. The project is expected to reach completion by 2025.

Quality of Life

Babies born to mothers living in areas heavily concentrated with freeways and main roads are associated with early births and low birth weights, indicates a new study by Professor Adrian Barnett from Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

Large American cities are the safest they’ve been in 40 years, according to the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report. Across the nation, both property crime and violent crime are down, with property crimes 2.8 percent lower than last year, and violent crime 5.5 percent lower.

The League of American Bicyclists released their annual Bicycle Friendly State (BFS) rankings, which includes a categorical rundown for each state. Washington State is at the top of the list.

Transport for America released Dangerous by Design 2011, their annual report on pedestrian safety. The report compiles data fact-sheets for all 50 states and offers solutions for curbing pedestrian deaths.

Environment

Tianjin, China’s $607 million eco-city is entering its third year of development, with plans for a 2018 completion. The city will feature solar and geothermal energy, 50 percent recycled or desalinated water, and utilize waste heat from a nearby power plant.

Achieving ambitious vehicle emission levels and fuel efficiency standards will lead to state-wide economic growth and rises in employment for California, a study by a U.C. Berkeley researcher found.

EPA’s new car labeling system is in effect, requiring auto dealers to display the government-standardized labels highlighting greenhouse gas emissions and smog ratings, as well as fuel efficiency-related monetary savings.

Those interested in assessing the sustainability of neighborhoods found support this week with the release of A Citizen’s Guide to LEED for Neighborhood Development. The free-to-download guidebook was developed by the NRDC in conjunction with U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED standards.

Chinese energy consumption is projected to grow annually at 4 to 5 percent until 2015, and lessen to 2 to 3 percent until 2020, according to recent statements from the Energy Research Institute.

Public Space

Portland city officials and business owners coordinated an agreement to make the city street of SW Ankeny car-free for the summer months.

New York City issued 48 percent more cyclist tickets than last year, according to NYPD data. So far in 2011, 13,843 tickets have been written with the principle violations of running red lights, riding on sidewalks and riding against traffic.

Controversy regarding the impact of disabled parking passes on congestion-priced parking systems grew with the release of “The Price Doesn’t Matter if You Don’t Have to Pay: Legal Exemption as an Obstacle to Market-Priced Parking,” an academic paper by Michael Manville and Jonathan Williams.

Whether your passion is mixed-use urban areas or culinary explorations, Frommer’s list of the World’s Top 12 Cities for Street Food is sure to engage an appetite.

Technology and Innovation

London expanded its network of EV charging stations by 150 new stations, bringing its city-wide total to roughly 400. By 2013, the city hopes to have increased their number of charging stations to 1,300.

Toyota unveiled the first in its new family of personal hybrid vehicles under the Prius nameplate with the Prius v, a hybrid wagon/crossover.

Less than two weeks after assuming office, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel opened up the city’s data portal, offering data sets on city information, including building permits and tax financing documents.

 

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