Friday, January 24, 2014

If only we could be like Hamburg

From The Guardian -- The German city is planning a green network that will cover 40% of the city area, contributing to resilience and allowing biking, swimming and nature watching in the city.

Boris Johnson, don't read this: there's a European commercial hub that promotes bicycling as the main mode of transportation. It is, in fact, embarking on a plan to build a network around bikes and pedestrians, linking car-free roads to parks and playgrounds, from the city centre to the suburbs.

Welcome to Hamburg, an environmental pioneer in the mould of its regional neighbour Copenhagen. Its planned green network will cover 40% of the city's area. "It will connect parks, recreational areas, playgrounds, gardens and cemeteries through green paths", Angelika Fritsch, a spokeswoman for the city's department of urban planning and the environment, tells Guardian Sustainable Business. "Other cities, including London, have green rings, but the green network will be unique in covering an area from the outskirts to the city centre. In 15 to 20 years you'll be able to explore the city exclusively on bike and foot." The green network will even connect animal habitats, enabling critters to crisscross the city without risk of being run over. Perhaps more importantly, the network will absorb CO2 emissions and help prevent floods when inevitable superstorms strike.  [Keep reading ...]

Poster's note:
Excerpt from today's Delaware On-line:
[Governor] Markell proposed spending $1.1 billion on roads over the next five years, $500 million more than currently planned.

What percentage of these funds - if any - will be spent on active and sustainable transportation modes, including real networks that actually connect to common destinations? While DelDOT and DNREC does fund some non-motorized infrastructure through Complete Streets and the Trails and Pathways program, it usually comes in the form of isolated trails and disconnected bike lanes. Hence, the need for Funding Pools and other dedicated sources of steady funding to make real network connections - both on and off the road.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of funds mentioned above will be spent on this kind infrastructure, and promoting more car-dependency. And it's not entirely Jack's doing, either; If any Governor was to spend the kind of money needed to truly green Delaware (or a city in Delaware) with non-motorized infrastructure, odds are he or she would be swiftly voted out of office for "wasteful spending".

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