Here are some great satellite images from Honolulu, Hawaii; Long Beach, California; Los Angeles, California; Mazatlan, Mexico, Oakland California; Tacoma, Washington; and Vancouver, British Columbia. Enjoy!
Among my many ponderings about cycling and bike commuting, one topic that bugs me on a semi-annual basis is why I am not eligible to get a lower auto insurance rate for commuting to/from work so often by bicycle? In calendar year 2013, I bike commuted 73 times to work or 33% of the time, while in 2012 my bike commutes accounted for 40% (or 87) of my work commutes. Given the greatly reduced time, mileage, and wear/tear on the car as a result of bicycling to and from work, why don’t I qualify for some sort of discount from my auto insurer? Yes, I have asked them in the past.
The same holds true for health insurance. Shouldn’t those of us who practice a healthier lifestyle be rewarded with lower rates or some sort of discount? It would be one thing to only ride now and then to work, but when it equates to 20 percent or more of your total commutes, there should be an “x” factor built into the actuarial tables which rewards those who cycle to and fro. Granted, some type of substantive proof would be necessary, but a notarized document from an employer could suffice. The HR Department where I work certainly is aware of my bike commuting.
It seems to me, if there were a 5% or 10% discount on auto insurance rates for being a consistent bike commuter, overall ridership and safety produced from the corresponding increase in cyclists would be beneficial to all. Growth in ridership would also contribute to improved health and fitness in the community, which should drive down health care expenditures, which should (in a perfect world) lead to lower health insurance rates.
There may be some examples of discounts already being offered here and there around the country, but it is hardly universal and certainly is not marketed extensively like good driver, good student, multi-policy, and other available discounts. To me, it is long past time for the insurance industry to shift gears and start pedaling some innovative and new ideas for those of us in the cycling community. If it does not embrace such an approach, then perhaps state regulators should consider requiring such an option be made available.
Who in their right mind would “plan” to store radioactive nuclear waste within one mile of 20% of the world’s freshwater supply? Apparently, there are some people in Canada who think that’s a sane notion.
This storage facility would be situated across Lake Huron from Detroit’s freshwater intake location and upstream from Toledo, Cleveland, Erie, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Hamilton, Toronto, Oshawa, Kingston, Montreal, and Quebec City. Even the most minuscule error could taint the drinking water for all these urban centers for decades. Doesn’t anyone recall what happened earlier this year in Charleston, West Virginia when a non-radioactive chemical pollutant that got into that city’s water supply?
This has to be the stupidest idea ever put forth since the dawn of time. Given the geographic enormity of Canada, why doe this have to be located in such a vulnerable location.
One would hope the regulatory bodies in Canada would toss the idea aside as ludicrous, but in today’s money-centric world, who the hell knows? If you are opposed to this insane plan, please speak up and quickly! Here are some pertinent organizations:
- http://glc.org/ – Great Lakes Commission
Above and below are both photographs and/or artist’s renderings of some of the graceful and stylish bicycle bridges that can be found in Denmark. While these bridges may not have the dynamic boldness of those posted previously from the Netherlands, they are sleek, artistic, handsome, and functional in their own right. Particularly likable is the way these bridges fit aesthetically into their surroundings without being overpowering. Enjoy!
For those out there that think Detroit’s a lost cause, the magnificent Dequindre Cut Greenway is an example of why you are wrong. Constructed along an abandoned below-grade rail corridor, the 1.35 mile greenway links some of Detroit’s coolest features – including the scenic 2.5 mile long RiverWalk, the vibrant Eastern Market, and the trendy Villages. Combine those with a world-class greenway for cyclists and pedestrians and some seriously hip graffiti artwork and you have the recipe for a Midwestern version of New York City’s High Line or Atlanta’s Belt Line.
Kudos to all those individuals and organizations involved in making the Dequindre Cut a post-industrial success story that truly is “a cut above” most other nonmotorized trails.
The twin-tube 4,200 foot long PortMiami Tunnel is scheduled to open to traffic in May of 2014. Under construction since 2010, the $1 billion public-private partnership project will extend Interstate 395 under the Government Cut shipping channel separating Watson Island and Dodge Island thus linking the Port of Miami (a.k.a. PortMiami) with the city’s mainland highway network.
The highway tunnel is designed to provide a continuous fixed link (rather than a drawbridge) which allows port related traffic, including heavy truck traffic and cruise-related traffic, to avoid clogging downtown Miami streets. In 2013, Miami saw more than four million passengers pass through its cruise ship terminals, which makes it the busiest cruise port in the world.
Some of the best seaport images yet, come from East Asia. Enjoy!
I had the opportunity to visit Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts in mid-March. Here is a list of eleven planning-related lessons I took away from visiting these two dynamic cities.
- Preserve, protect and celebrate your community’s history.
- A varied blend of historic structures and new edifices is visually intoxicating.
- Savor and build upon the benefits derived from being home to institutions of higher education.
- Cultural diversity and inclusiveness makes a community much more vibrant.
- Accessible mass transit and bike sharing systems are wonderful things.
- Denser urban development can be softened by rich and varied public spaces.
- The removal of an ugly freeway can reawaken once forlorn areas.
- The heart of the city can be a great place to raise a family.
- Pedestrians, bicyclists, transit, and cars can successfully and safely coexist.
- A thriving city requires thriving neighborhoods – you cannot have one without the other.
- A compact and walkable urban core is far more preferable to a sprawling mess.
Spring Morning Commute
By Rick Brown
Wheels spin round and round
Traversing the paved terrain
They roll in cadent unison
Along the paved bike lane
Fresh air breezes past me
As fragrances abound
Spring charms once dulled senses
As my wheels spin round and round
Songbirds serenade me
With their musical delights
A cavalcade of sweet tunes
To start the day off right
One pedal before the next
While shifting gears in time
In constant, subtle harmony
A soothing, recurrent rhyme
Away from the congestion
Through canopies of bliss
My wheels roll ever onward
Cloaked in the morning mist
Freed from harried schedules
As the wheels spin on and on
To enjoy keepsake moments
Amid the day-breaking dawn.