In the last few days I've come across a handful of great transportation-related stories, ranging from the wonky to the futuristic to the practical.
First, my favorite of the three: The practical. Researchers in Madison, WI decided to quantify the impact of making half of your short trips (like going to the grocery store or a friend's house) by bike instead of driving. The result? Well I think the headline of the NPR story says it all, "Secret To A Long, Healthy Life: Bike To The Store"
The next story (and new blog) comes from my co-worker, Denver Igarta, who earned a Marshall fellowship to study livable streets across the pond. His blog will document his discoveries as he travels to different countries to meet with the residents, planners, and transportation officials who make their streets great places for people - not just automobiles. His most recent story, on the wonkier tip, is about the importance of codifying how we want our streets to function. If you know what the AASHTO guide is (or you want to know) you'll appreciate Denver's recent post.
Finally, bikeportland.org includes an animated video of a simultaneously very small and very big project happening in South Waterfront. The very small? 0.6 mile roadway reconstruction. The very big? Raising the streetscape 14 feet higher, adding new streetcar tracks and bicycle and pedestrian facilities. In the next few years, multimodal access to South Waterfront is going to increase substantially. The Gibbs bike and ped bridge, the new TriMet bridge across the Willamette, and the Orange MAX line will be significant improvements. And then, not too far off in the future, the Eastside Streetcar will connect to South Waterfront to complete the loop. It's looking pretty good in Portland's newest neighborhood.