Posts tagged transportation.
Excellent city design helps older and disabled folks, too. Especially good to think about as Americans get older. Btw, the EPA, USDOT, and the FHWA all have excellent resources on adapting infrastructure for better communities.
Who else benefits from the Dutch cycling infrastructure?
Nice direct cycle paths for wheelchair/handbike/adaptive bike users instead of being forced on sidewalks with badly placed utility boxes and dangerous ups-and-downs of ada curbs (or worse, lack of them).
After months of drought, companies that ship grain and other goods down the Mississippi River are being haunted by a potential nightmare: If water levels fall too low, the nation’s main inland waterway could become impassable to barges just as the harvest heads to market.
Any closure of the river would upend the transport system that has carried American grain since before steamboats and Mark Twain.
These are the type of impacts that folks like me try to help manage. There’s no perfect way to analyze or predict the effects of climate change, but there are ways to discuss the issues with the public and politicians. Mainstream articles like this support the reasoning for adapting our cities (and economies) to environmental harms. The article explores the economic and local impacts from a drought stricken Mississippi. Many, many people depend on a steady flowing river for their livelihoods.
Of course, grumpy me, I have a pretty big quibble with this piece. Ideally, the journalists would have discussed how all those financial losses they discussed are covered by insurance. I feel the article misleads, most likely by accident. Yet one has to wonder - with all that focus on shipping goods, why skip discussing safety nets?
It’s true, the goods will be re-routed by other means of transportation - train or tractor trailer. And, as the article points out, there will be unrecoverable economic losses if the Mississippi becomes impassible for a month or so.
To me, that’s the real nut of the story. They pull some great quotes from industry execs on estimated losses. In fact, one economist is quoted as saying there could be something like “$7 billion” in losses - a scary number. I don’t think it’s true. The execs don’t mention that most of their losses are covered by insurance contracts and government subsidies, which have perils built into them. I think that’s really where they should have poked and prodded their interviewees, double checked their figures.
Why? Because, if the Mississippi becomes too unreliable for shipping, insurance companies will have little incentive to continue to insure those goods. That’s when shit hits really hits the fan. When shippers extract their goods from the Mississippi and choose to haul on land either by rail or truck. The costs to local communities that depend on these barges will be utterly devastating.
New Jersey Transit’s struggle to recover from Superstorm Sandy is being compounded by a pre-storm decision to park much of its equipment in two rail yards that forecasters predicted would flood, a move that resulted in damage to one-third of its locomotives and a quarter of its passenger cars.
That damage is likely to cost tens of millions of dollars and take many months to repair, a Reuters examination has found.
The Garden State’s commuter railway parked critical equipment - including much of its newest and most expensive stock - at its low-lying main rail yard in Kearny just before the hurricane. It did so even though forecasters had released maps showing the wetland-surrounded area likely would be under water when Sandy’s expected record storm surge hit. Other equipment was parked at its Hoboken terminal and rail yard, where flooding also was predicted and which has flooded before.
Among the damaged equipment: nine dual-powered locomotive engines and 84 multi-level rail cars purchased over the past six years at a cost of about $385 million.
Toughest bridge in the world. This is how strong we need to build all our infrastructure!
Regional planning. Very sexy intro to how your living situation could be improved.
Back to School: Peter Calthorpe at PennDesign - “Reflections on Urbanisms - New, Traditional, and Global”
This is a true game-changer. The arctic is doomed.
The voyage highlights how China, the world’s no.2 economy, is extending its reach to the Arctic which is rich in oil and gas and is a potential commercial shipping route between the north Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
The icebreaker Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, arrived in Iceland this week after sailing the Northern Route along the coast of Russia.
Expedition leader Huigen Yang, head of the Polar Research Institute of China, said he had expected a lot more ice along the route at this time of year than the vessel encountered.
“To our astonishment … most part of the Northern Sea Route is open,” he told Reuters TV. The icebreaker would return to China by a route closer to the North Pole.
He said that Beijing was interested in the “monumental change” in the polar environment caused by global warming.
Penn Station, a low, dank place. I go through here a few times a year. Every time I want to escape as quickly as possible, even if it means surfacing on the wrong street.
Jim O’Grady spends time in Penn Station so that you won’t have to — but now you may want to. Read more of his tips here.
Just back from a two week adaptation workshop in Budapest, where I did some good things and, err, some unmentionable things. Pretty town. Terrible food. Fantastic wines. Hungary is former soviet state, and it shows. Deteriorating, clunky trains are straight out of the 1950s and made in the USSR, though they run pretty strong and regular. Many streets are recently repaved and cobbled, but buildings are clearly crumbling - many still have shrapnel scars from WW-II. The Danube river is a toxic mess and not a soul dared swim in it. Tourism is way up, and everyone speaks English, even the old timers, which is quite the surprise considering the geographic location. And the city is ultra cheap - medium-fine dining was less than 10 bucks WITH wine and service. “Ruin bars” in the Jewish triangle were just fantastic. Ruin bars are bars setup in old buildings that were falling apart, creating a disorienting bifocalled experience of old world charm and Eurotrash. George Soros is investing millions in educational and non-profit institutions. I suspect that, within 15 or so years, Hungary will be more than an important cross-roads for EU eastern development. The catch is culturally (in my short observations), Hungarians do not seem to be very ambitious - indeed, quite passive. They seem to be just going through the motions of every day life in a dull, tedium induced trance. Otherwise, well worth visiting.
This is a boat lift.
Designed by Scottish architecture firm, RMJM, the Falkirk Wheel is boat lift in central Scotland that connects two canals. Previously 11 locks were required to connect the canals which differ in height by 24 meters. The inner rings rotate at the same speed as the larger axis in order to keep the boat and water from tipping over. The Wheel can make a full rotation in eight minutes.
One of the big deals that ExxonMobil has announced in the past year involves access to the Russian Arctic, where it is partnered with a Russian firm to access many billions of dollars worth of reserves involving big investments ExxonMobil would make north of the Arctic Circle. Why is that oil accessible? It’s because sea ice is melting in the Arctic. Global warming may, in fact, unlock enormous opportunities for oil companies.As ExxonMobil attacked global warming publicly, geologists working within ExxonMobil were examining how a warmer Earth — resulting from global warming — could create new business opportunities for ExxonMobil. (via nprfreshair)