Tag Archives: seattle

Pedaling Toward a Post-Carbon Future

In 2008, according to the U.S. Census, 720,000 Americans commuted to work by bike–43 percent more than in 2000. It would be nice to say that the growth was driven by a concern for the climate, but the main reason is economics. “People bike because it’s fast, cheap, and easy to get around,” says Penalosa, “not because it’s good for the environment.” Christopher Leinberger, a land-use strategist at the Brookings Institution, notes that people who are auto-dependent spend 25 percent of their income on transportation, compared with 9 percent for those who walk, bike, or take public transit.
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Posted in Auto Independence, can bicycles save the world?, Climate Change, Culture, human scale, Livability, Placemaking, Sustainability, transit, Transportation, urban design, urban planning, walkable, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Imagining a City Built for Bicycles

A lot is made, and rightfully so, of the differences between walkable cities and auto-dependent cities, but isn’t there a middle way? Truly walkable cities, like most medieval walled cities and their small town USA descendents, aren’t really cities in the modern context. They can’t accommodate the scale and diversity we now associate with a city. Auto-dependent cities handle scale and diversity just fine, but they disconnect people from the built environment and each other. But what if we built our cities for bicycles? What would that look like? What benefits and drawbacks would this model have?
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Posted in architecture, Auto Independence, can bicycles save the world?, Culture, human scale, Josh Grigsby, Livability, Placemaking, transit, Transportation, Uncategorized, urban design, urban planning, walkable, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Portland Creatives Find New Ways to Work Together

Portland, Oregon—the misty evergreen Shangri-La for the young, the creative, and the progressive—has an interesting problem. Its miles of bike lanes, its rock-bottom rents, its deep vats of craft brews are all far too good. Yes, Portland has actually made itself too attractive. According to one study that compared May of 2009 with May of 2008, Oregon’s unemployment has grown faster than any other state in the country, 3 percent. For large metropolitan areas in the country, Portland has one of the highest unemployment rates, which topped out at about 11.8 percent—even higher than Detroit. To blame, some economists believe, are the large numbers of designers and artists who have been moving there without jobs, dubbed the dubious “young creatives.”
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Posted in Culture, Livability, Placemaking, Portland: City or Scene?, Sustainability, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seattle, Vancouver, and Portland by Rail, Bus, Streetcar, and Foot: Part Three

Portland, like its famed streetcar, is an interesting case. It boasts many of the pieces found in successful cities and some that no other American cities can match. The streetcar. Light rail. Cycle tracks. Skateboard tracks. An aerial tram. Traffic calming. No major downtown arterials. Local music. Local art. Local beer. Great food. Environmental awareness. A history of proactive and progressive decision making. Historic urban fabric. Food trucks. Park blocks. It’s walkable. It’s bikable. There is much to like in Portland, and the hype is not all smoke and mirrors.

But…
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Posted in Auto Independence, Culture, Dispatches, Josh Grigsby, Livability, Portland: City or Scene?, Rants, transit, Transportation, Uncategorized, walkable | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Seattle, Vancouver, and Portland by Rail, Bus, Streetcar, and Foot: Part One

I grew up during the grunge era, with Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder for role models, and the notion that a city could simultaneously spawn and embrace musical icons of social and political dissidence and the bourgeois haughtiness of, say, Frasier Crane, always fascinated me. Seattle was the only major coastal city in the U.S. I hadn’t yet spent time in; I was ready to fall in love. Continue reading

Posted in Dispatches, Josh Grigsby, Rants, Response Pieces, transit, Transportation, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments