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Climate, Meet Mobility | Congress for the New Urbanism

Climate, Meet Mobility

Katherine Gregor's picture
www.100places.org

Climate, Meet Mobility

Copenhagen is all about green transport – and Austin should be, too

BY KATHERINE GREGOR

"Make Austin the leading city in the nation in the effort to reduce and reverse the negative impacts of global warming." – Austin City Council, 2007

During my recent climate-action study tour in Copenhagen, I was constantly scouting for good ideas to bring home to Austin. I saw plenty – community-owned wind turbines, a separated bicycle path network serving 150,000 commuters a day, corporate executives aggressively pursuing "green" business profits. But most striking was the simple fact that Copen hag eners have embedded climate action as a value into everyday life. They live in small homes, get around by bicycle or in tiny cars, and have reduced their carbon footprints – and seem darn happy about it. Leading the world by example on climate action clearly has become a source of Danish national pride. It's now central to the wealthy nation's strong "green growth" economy. One of the few Danish words I learned to recognize was klima (climate), because I saw it everywhere: on bill board advertising, in my hotel's energy-conserving policies, in the local newspapers.

Full Austin Chronicle article: http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/story?oid=oid:904803

AttachmentSize
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Katherine Gregor's picture

COP15 - make your voice heard

Sign the UN-sponsored petition here:

http://www.hopenhagen.org/

150,000 bicycle commuters per day!

That's an amazing stat, but not an unbelievable one. In Portland, Metro President David Bragdon told CNU Transportation Summit attendees to position ourselves at the city-end of the Hawthorne Bridge any weekday and we'd see such a steady stream of cyclists that we'd swear we were witnessing a Critical Mass demonstration, not just a regular commuting day in the Rose City. At least 6% of commuter trips in Portland are now by bicycle.

After taking a two-wheeled tour of miles of bicycle infrastructure, I'm interested in any insights you have to share about how Copenhagen officials have inserted their bicycle path network into such a densely settled old city. In Portland, many of the best solutions worked in synch with the Portland's most distinctively urban qualities. The Cycletrack, for instance, is a lane on the important traditional thoroughfare Broadway, but it reserves a special space for bicyclists between parked cars and the curb. The "bike boulevards" were great too – residential streets (parallel to busier commercial streets with heavy auto traffic) prioritized for cyclists. Drivers of cars can only access these streets at certain points and hit stop signs when crossing them on another residential street — you know the old guessing-game that occurs when you approach these crossings on a bicycle in a city. But cyclists enjoy easy two-way access and relatively few concerns about cross-traffic.

We're excited that things are looking up for having David Byrne speak in conjunction with CNU 18 in Atlanta. Thanks for anything you did to get that discussion rolling!

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