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Friday, October 28 2016 @ 02:26 AM UTC
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EVs: First clarification on impact in cities

Health & EnvironmentFirst clarification on impact in cities

Three key issues my Stanford and Cal students have ferreted out.

Do EV pay their road tax? In California, we pay 3 cents/mile in road taxes. IF an advanced EV gets 5 miles/kwh, that works out to 15 cents/kwh, more than double the average price of electricity in California. TAX THOSE MILES

Even with taxed electricity, EV still cost 30-50% per mile as much as gasoline cars to run. Even a small “rebound effect” (see the June 2000 issue of Energy Policy, which I edited) is important – if the cost of a mile drops by 2/3, then at a rebound of 10% that still means more miles driven. Not a good thing necessarily. Worse if the electricity is not taxed.

Unless the electricity come from a meter that charges during charging according to what CO2 the utility is emitting at that time, its not at all clear what the CO2 balance is for countries with lots of coal (US, Germany).

Plug in hybrids (PHEV) are touted in the US as 120 mpg (<2 l/100 km!) by supporters who assume most of the driving is done with electricity AND then only counting the gasoline. More realistic is that most of the PHEV will be driving at least half or more in the gasoline mode. The net fuel and CO2 savings are hard to estimate, but not big unless the electricity is essentially carbon free.

In the early 1990s Eric and I were at conferences where many cities bragged how they were giving EV owners free parking or free access to bus only lanes. Why? Is the emissions saving worth the likely extra driving? And is it fair as we do in California and DC (and for the time being Stockholm) to offer “green vehicles” free parking, car pool lane privileges, or free access over tolled bridges or congestion pricing cordons?

I just wonder if this is winner—picking all over again? In the US much of our past is about loser-picking!

Lee Schipper, Ph.D
Project Scientist
Global Metropolitan Studies

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Inventor's Bike Folds Into Its Own Wheel

Biking Elsewhere
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Biking in BaltimoreLafayette and Maryland Avenue near where you enter the Jones Falls Trail. Looked very bad when I went by.

There was a firetruck, police and patrol car, caution tape. I said out-loud, “Oh, please don’t let it be a cyclist.”

But it was. I saw a bike. And I saw a cyclist on the ground, face-down, still wearing a helmet. He (?) looked bad. (I certainly didn’t take any cell phone photos because I’m not deranged.) As we headed North, I heard an ambulance in the distance. Given that there was caution tape blocking the scene and that no one on the firetruck seemed to have moved the cyclist, I can only assume the worst, though I hope the worst is not true.
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Paging Baltimore City Police, White Courtesy Phone Please

Biking in BaltimoreThis is a difficult alert to pen as I have a great deal of respect for our Police Department and the fine officers that serve this City. But as outlined in our Bike Master Plan as adopted by City Council:
Training specific to bicycle safety and enforcement is not currently provided at the Baltimore Police Academy and bicycle safety or enforcement issues are rarely mentioned at daily roll call, the venue for new information or updated enforcement instructions. Currently, enforcing laws related to bicycle operations and safety in traffic is not among the department’s highest priorities...

Recommendation 1: Develop partnership with ... Baltimore City Police Department, and the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee to identify and address bicycle-vehicle safety measures through enforcement and new or amended laws.
Measurable Outcome: Convene committee and implement recommendations by 2008.

Recommendation 2: Provide training for Baltimore police officers regarding bicycle safety laws and issues faced by on-street bicyclists.
■ Assess existing bicycle training for police officers and address gaps.
■ Ensure understanding of bicycles as vehicles, how to determine fault in and document crashes, and bicycle-motorized vehicle interaction.
■ Increase number of police on bicycle mounted patrol.
Measurable Outcome: Police Academy curriculum and ongoing training will include bicycle law and safety information by 2007.

Recommendation 3: Identify the most common conflicting movements between bicycle and vehicle users and determine enforcement mechanisms to mitigate these conflicts.
■ Develop counter measures program including training for officers, public service announcements, engineering, etc.
Measurable Outcome: Counter measures program developed and implemented by 2009.

Despite getting a name and contact info to get Recommendation 1 rolling we are not getting any return emails or return phone calls. We have been patient and trying to work within the system to no avail so we are sending out this alert. Our issues are quality of life issues, our issues are for the safety and well being of our children, our issues are supported by the Mayor, something needs to be done!
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Circuit Court bike rack

Biking in Baltimore[From our mail bag:]

I am writing to let you know that the bike rack in front of the circuit court house is COMPLETELY UNSAFE. My bike and I suspect others were stolen on August 3rd, 2009 while I was having breakfast a block away. I reported for jury duty and since I live in Charles Village I always pedal downtown. I choose to pedal most of the year as regular transportation even though I own a motorcycle and a work truck.

The racks around town, I understand, are park at your own risk. However, there is a tremendous false sense of security at that particular one. When the police showed up we looked in the trash can next to the rack and there was another cut heavy duty cable lock there. My lock, I suspect was taken with the thief. I actually chased him, but he was too far away to catch and on two wheels. I believe this person is targeting that rack because people think their property will be reasonably safe with a dozen or so law enforcement officers all around. Big mistake. Also, this thief or thieves have figured out that the theft won't even be reported to police until at least lunch time.

I also wrote the mayor and I sincerely hope something is done to address this. People shouldn't lose their days pay from work to serve jury duty and have their property stolen from a city owned bike rack in front of so many police officers and a circuit courthouse.

- RB
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biking to Hopkins

Biking in BaltimoreWhat will it take for the city to wake up? I have been biking to this campus for 4 years now and have been repeatedly assaulted. Now when it happens I don't even call the cops. Its no use.
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Federal Hill resident seeks approval for wind turbine

Health & EnvironmentLooking to lower her carbon footprint, and offset the rising cost of her BGE bill, Marsha Vitow is endeavoring to become the first Baltimore City resident to install a wind turbine on her roof.

It may seem like a logical next step in a city whose mayor has pushed a "cleaner, greener" agenda. But as eco-friendly as Baltimore is striving to become with extra tree plantings and recycling pickups, Vitow has run into some old-fashioned problems: decades old zoning laws don't account for a wind turbine and some of her Federal Hill neighbors don't want to look at it.

The matter will be decided Tuesday, when Vitow goes before the Board of Municipal and Zoning Appeals for a variance to build above the 35-foot residential height limit. Officials, who routinely approve roof decks, and additions, can't say how it will go.
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Bike Accidents Decline As Ridership Rises

Biking Elsewhere


More bicycles on the road means more chances for drivers yakking on cell phones or gorging on McFood to hit one, right? Wrong.

According to a study by researchers at the University of New South Wales, the number of collisions decreases as the number of bicycles in traffic increases. It sounds like a paradox, they say, but motorists are more likely to drive carefully and respectfully when there are more cyclists on the road.

"It’s a virtuous cycle," says Dr Julie Hatfield. "The likelihood that an individual cyclist will be struck by a motorist falls with increasing rate of bicycling in a community. And the safer cycling is perceived to be, the more people are prepared to cycle."

The researchers say studies in several countries have shown the incidence of motorists colliding with cyclists or pedestrians actually declines as more people ride or walk. The reason, they say, is simple — the more cyclists motorists see, the more aware they are of cyclists in general and more safely they drive. Rising cycling rates mean motorists are more likely to be cyclists, and therefore be more conscious of, and sympathetic towards, cyclists.

The findings run counter to conventional thinking, which holds that more cyclists means more chances for collisions.
While the numbers do increase in absolute terms, a city that doubles its cycling numbers can expect a one-third drop in the per-cyclist frequency of a crash.

When that news gets out, it could create a long-term cyclist friendly cycle: If people perceive biking to be safe, more of them will do it.
More cyclists means better motorist behavior and greater likelihood of communities passing bike friendly laws, further proving H.G. Wells was right when he said cycle tracks will abound in Utopia.

Photo by Flickr user swankalot.

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Bikes ride here

Biking ElsewhereOK, I just really like the picture:
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Your tax dollars at work to sell more cars

Biking Elsewhere"The House has voted to rush an additional $2 billion into the popular but financially strapped "cash for clunkers" car purchase program."

So we have to ask why not a "Cash for beater bike" program? The car industry is not the only industry hurt by the recession and if you want to talk about reducing our dependence on oil and curb global warming nothing works like the bicycle. Riding a bike 1.5 times a week or for 2.5 months out of the year would be the equivalent of trading in a 18mpg clunker for a 22mpg new car. Now if car qualifies for a $3,500 check from Uncle Sam shouldn't a bike used for similar reductions also qualify for a $3,500 check? (Eying the top end bikes at my LBS.) Heck, even a $350 check would help get people to buy a bike and would help ten times the number of people in reducing dependence on oil and curb global warming. Think about this; ten people riding a bike (instead of a car) for just one week out of the whole year is equivalent of one person buying a more fuel efficient vehicle.

Part 2 of this commentary is if the Highway Trust Fund is financially strapped because of a 4.4% decrease in gas tax revenues how is a 20% reduction in the purchase of gas going to help? We need to put an end to the non driving public directly subsidizing the driving public.

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