When I was in New York City a couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to get together with Nolan Levenson, a Macalester graduate who now works at the NYC Department of Transportation. We met near his office on Water Street in lower Manhattan to talk about ways the City of Saint Paul might apply some of New York’s successful Complete Streets implementation tools, then took a brief tour of the Wall Street area. What he showed me provided convincing evidence that it doesn’t have to take many years and a lot of money create a more walkable, bikeable, livable city, even when streets are narrow and budgets constrained.
A lot of the treatments I saw were not fancy or aesthetically pleasing, and frankly, could use a facelift, having been in place for some time. Even so, they’re still effective in making the area safer and more comfortable for walking, while retaining parking spaces and one or two lanes of traffic. Using simple, inexpensive ingredients — mainly paint, giant planters, and cheap, bendable, plastic bollards — the streets have been reconfigured by expanding sidewalks and bumpouts, creating new plazas on vacated streets, and tucking tiny parks and playgrounds into triangular spaces at intersections that used to be concrete eyesores.
We first looked at some examples of expanded sidewalks and bumpouts, essentially taking what used to be the parking lane and turning it into additional areas for walking. The spaces are defined with painted edges, plastic bollards, and planters as well where space allows. The bollards are flexible to prevent damage to cars or trucks if they graze them, and generally cost about $50-100 a bollard, including the base which is screwed into the pavement. The cost of paint is minimal, but would of course vary, depending on how much of the surface is covered. Throughout lower Manhattan, the standard treatment for pedestrian areas consists of white lines and bollards along the edge, blue patterns on a reddish background within the walkway, and large planters at major crosswalks and around plazas. The cost of planters is about $300-500 apiece.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will release its landmark synthesis report this weekend. The IPCC reports are the most comprehensive, authoritative consensus on climate change. However, the cut-off date for literature for each Assessment Report was in 2013 , so it’s worth taking stock of recent scientific advancements and climate-related events that have occurred since then.
Check out nine findings that illustrate how the trends documented in the IPCC continue to take a toll, and in some cases, may be underestimated.
In order to save the Amazon, it's not enough for deforestation to stop; areas that have been denuded also need recuperation. A Brazilian research scientist has released a report with the World Wildlife Fund that suggested actions to curb the effect of humans on the world's largest rainforest.
Global change systems are evolving all around us. But is there a way to strengthen them and speed the pace of transformation to address critical issues of health, climate and poverty? In Milan last week a dozen people met for a day and a half to explore innovative frameworks to answer that question. They left with enthusiasm and a belief that the new approach holds great promise that they want to test on some specific issues.
The reasons oil prices started sliding in June were hiding in plain sight: growth in U.S. production, sputtering demand from Europe and China, Mideast violence that threatened to disrupt supplies and never did.
The Pennsylvania DOT today announced the initial winners of a new statewide competitive grant program specifically for multimodal projects and the impressive list shows just how much demand there is at the local level for these types of innovative projects.
This question is at once lofty and ordinary, addressing one of the most pressing sustainability challenges of our times and one of the most routine. How to get to and from home to work, school or market is simple enough, but to do it reliably, affordably, and sustainably for billions of people is a challenge society has not yet solved.
Climate change presents an unprecedented challenge to the productivity and profitability of agriculture in North America. More variable weather, drought and flooding create the most obvious damage, but hot summer nights, warmer winters, longer growing