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The Urban Transportation Report Card

11:30 AM EDT on August 20, 2007

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Transportation Alternatives has teamed up with cycling advocates from Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle to issue the Urban Transportation Report Card (PDF), which rates these cities' progress on greening their transportation systems. The report notes that transportation accounts for 20-60% of carbon emissions in major U.S. cities, so it is very encouraging that in each city the most significant growth occurred in bicycling, with Chicago registering an 80% increase in cyclists from 1990-2000.

The report also sites areas where these cities need improvement; the following recommendations were made for New York:

The Mayor’s plan calls for new pedestrian plazas in each neighborhood in the city but lacks a comprehensive set of initiatives to improve pedestrian safety.  The City continues to promote driving among municipal employees by distributing thousands of parking permits to employees annually and turning a blind eye to parking permit abuse.  City workers drive at two times the rate of other professional employees in New York City.  Finally, many of the details of PlaNYC are yet to be hashed out or institutionalized within government, and the completion deadline is not until 2030, many mayors from now.  The plan sets no firm targets for mode switching, i.e. what percentage of trips the City would like to see by car, bus, subway, commuter rail, bicycling and walking.  It still remains to be seen when and exactly how these ambitious and much needed plans will be implemented.

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