Bicycle Barometer: Bike Or Ride Train To Work?

Bicycle Barometer by Richard J. PopeThe Bicycle Barometer by Richard J. Pope is doing more than just tracking the weather to determine the best way to get to work each day – it’s also receiving information about his local rail station (open/close, delayed) and the amount and type of precipitation. Mr. Pope made the Bicycle Barometer from an old clock he found at a flea market and he’s posted information on his site so DIY’ers in the UK can build their own. [OFTCC via Neatorama]


Cat Rides Under A Train For 1700 Miles. Travels On Intercity Train 85 Times Further Than Average American.

Polly the train riding cat.Polly the cat took a 1700 mile trip in the underbelly of an intercity train in the UK. From This is Plymouth:

“A missing Plymouth cat belonging to a retired train driver has been rescued from an inter-city train – after stowing away in the undercarriage for 1,700 miles.

Polly the tabby, who had a badly-broken leg, is thought to have climbed on board the high speed express near her home in Plymouth. She then spent two days trapped under the front carriage as the train thundered between the West Country, London and South Wales.

The two-year-old was discovered when train manager Emily Mahoney-Smith heard her miaowing when the train stopped briefly on its way to Cornwall.”

Polly did lose a leg out of the deal but thanks to her microchip, she will be reunited with her family in Plymouth.

Per capita, Americans travel 20 miles/per year on intercity trains so Polly basically kicked our collective non-train riding butts times 85 in just two days. Yes, she lost a leg but that’s because she made her trip riding under an intercity train. Imagine how far Polly could’ve gone on the train if she had her own seat. [This is Plymouth and Abroath via Neatorama]


Chicago’s Parking Meters Will Charge $6.50/Hour In 2013. Chicagoans Should ‘Stick It To The Man’ By Using Mass Transit Instead.

Parking meter in Chicago.I know I’m not the only one who hates driving into the big city only to be tethered to a parking meter. Parking meters remind us each time that we should’ve taken the bus, subway or train. If the parking rates are reasonable, we look past the inconvenience and continue to drive into the city.

Chicago is different. Currently, their downtown parking meter rates are the highest in the country at $5.75/hour and they’re going up in 2013 to $6.50/hour. The city is not benefiting by the increased rates but Jubbling will. Hopefully the new higher rates will discourage more people from driving into downtown Chicago and encourage them to travel by bus or train. [CBS Chicago]


How Do You Motivate Southern Californians To Ride A Mass Transit? Make It A Party Train To Vegas And Hangover Aid Back.

X Train from Las Vegas Railway Express, Inc. - Party Train

“If you party really hard, it sucks driving back,”
Current ‘Bro’ and future rider of the LA to Las Vegas Party Train

The Las Vegas Railway Express, founders of the X Train, hope SoCal residents will be making their trips to Vegas via rail instead of wheels in 2013. They’re pressing all the right buttons to generate interest in their LA to Las Vegas X Train “party train” and they’re even tapping into the aspects that are Jubbling. From LVRE’s website:

“And we have our green hat on too… Five year cumulative cars eliminated on I-15 – 4,461,600… Five year cumulative CO2 reduction from cars taken off the I-15 – 1,085,061,120 pounds. So all in all, the X Train is a pretty good deal for Las Vegas and you only have to wait another year for it all to begin.”

Good luck Las Vegas Railway Express. If your X Train party on rails hits it big – you will have proven that adding dancing and booze to mass transit is the key to increasing ridership. Get ready to ditch your rides car-huggers of Southern California. [Seattle Times]


Portland’s NO Off-Street Parking Apartments Leads To More On-Street Parking – Not Fewer Cars.

On-street parking clogged neighborhood.You’d think in-city apartments built with easy access to mass transit and without parking garages would discourage car ownership but that’s not happening in Portland – there’s just too much free parking on the neighboring streets. In a study put together for the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, 72% of the apartment residents surveyed (with and without off-street parking) owned a car. Of the car owners, 64% make their daily commute by biking, walking, riding mass transit or carpooling/ridesharing to work.

There’s a great quote in the study from the car owners:

“A common trend in this study is that people are reluctant to get rid of their vehicles. One of the questions the survey asked was what amenities would reduce the respondent’s need for motorized vehicle ownership. Many people stated that there were no amenities that would reduce their need for a vehicle.”

And the quote is coming from mass-transit riding – bicycling – walking Portlandians!

Convincing people to live car-free may be a mistake. Encouraging people to drive less is probably a better way to go. [Oregon Live]


Chicago’s Greenway Self-Park: Should A Parking Garage Ever Be Considered Earth Friendly?

Greenway Self-Park ChicagoGrid Chicago has an interesting article on the Greenway Self-Park which has been self-labeled as “Chicago’s first earth friendly parking garage.” What the … earth friendly parking garage? Its developer, Friedman Properties, did build some eco features into the parking garage that include lighting that auto-dims in sunlight, electricity-generating wind turbines (that may or may not work), it’s built with locally sourced materials and it has a green roof to mitigate runoff. They even incorporated a VW Bug with green leaves spewing from its exhaust in their logo. All good but should a parking garage ever be considered earth friendly?

I don’t want to hate on Friedman Properties too much because they tried to build a more eco / environmentally / sustainable parking garage but judging by the article’s comments, most people aren’t buying it and they’re seeing right through the thin green label.

That’s why we think FP needs to strip away the green from their logo and in the future, refer to their garage as earth friendlier versus earth friendly. Self-applying the earth friendly label is always risky – trying to apply it to a 715 space parking garage is just plain foolish. [Grid Chicago}