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Monday News Roundup

Jan 10, 2011

Portland is Building a 700-Foot Bridge for Pedestrians and Cyclists (Treehugger)
The City of Portland is working to build a new bike and pedestrian bridge over I-5 to connect the historic Lair Hill neighborhood with the South Waterfront District. The bridge will span approximately 700 feet.

Gleneagles Community Center Regulates its Temperature With Thermal Mass (Inhabitat)
The Gleneagles Community Center is a prime example of the potential the thermal mass process holds in storing energy inside a building. The tri-level community center relies on large overhangs, cast-in-place concrete floor slabs, tilt up concrete walls, radiant floors and a ground source heat pump to maintain a constant temperature inside the building.

California’s Slow Speed Amtrak Trains See Ridership Gain (Planetizen)
The article focuses mostly on the San Jose/Oakland to Sacramento/Auburn Capitol Corridor line, the nation’s third busiest Amtrak line, noting it’s main competition: Intestate 80. The route now boasts the ‘highest on-time performance rate’, key to its 10.6% ridership increase over prior year.

Do roads pay for themselves? Nope (U.S.PIRG)
Highway advocates often claim that roads “pay for themselves,” with gasoline taxes and other charges to motorists covering – or nearly covering – the full cost of highway construction and maintenance. They are wrong.

Old Rail Engine Repurposed as Giant Trash Inhaling Machine (Inhabitat)
This old rail engine was assigned to be scrap until Indian Rail engineers decided to use it to clean up the tracks instead. It’s been fitted with a massive suction pipe that sucks up all of the garbage in its path much like an elephant trunk inhaling peanuts. It’s already begun its mission, making Mumbai a slightly cleaner city to live in.

China’s Energy Efficiency Increases 20% in 5 years (Treehugger)
Ah, China. It’s the giant emissions-belching, renewable energy-investing behemoth that everyone loves to analyze from their armchairs. Yes, it’s the number one emitter of greenhouse gases. But it’s also dumping more money into cleantech than anyone else.

Can public transit boast peace and quiet (The Globe and Mail)
New Jersey’s “Quiet Commute” program is causing a lot of noise – in the form of angry, librarian-esque shushing. The local transit authority launched “quiet” train cars in September, expanding the program earlier this month.

Energy Efficiency a Booming Biz (Planetizen)
Stephen L. Cowell, an energy efficiency expert, says that while other careers are sputtering the business of creating savings by reducing energy consumption is going gangbusters.

Chicago Puts Roads On A Diet (Planetizen)
Lawrence Avenue in Chicago’s Lincoln Square ballooned over the years to 4 lanes. Putting the street on a “road diet” will make it friendlier to pedestrians.

Zombie Minimalism (Planetizen)
Minimalism, long declared dead, rises from the grave to lumber on, writes Sam Jacob. Can it be stopped?

What makes a city smart – video? (Time)
Prominent U.S. Mayors discuss what is needed to build intelligent cities that can compete in the global economy.