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The Dividends of Car-Free Parenting

11:01 AM EST on February 3, 2011

Today's highlights from the Streetsblog Network, roundup-style:

The Financial Payoff of Car-Free Parenthood: On Carfree with Kids, a mother reflects on how foregoing car ownership helped her family achieve important financial goals: buying a house, setting up an emergency fund and paying for daycare for two kids. Author Dorea recalls a fateful decision her family made years ago when their truck died and they decided not to replace it. Now, as the family raises two young children, Dorea says she can't imagine how they would make ends meet with the added expense of a car. Add financial security to the list of benefits of a car-free lifestyle.

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Portland Gears up for Bike Signalization: Officials at the Portland Bureau of Transportation are asking the state of Oregon for support in a plan to expand the use of bike signals at the city's intersections. PBOT plans to install signals that will display red, yellow and green bicycle figures, in order to avoid confusion among drivers and pedestrians. This technique is used in California and Europe to clarify who has the right of way, according to Jonathan Maus at Network blog Bike Portland. (They're also in use in New York City.) "Providing an exclusive signal display recognizes the differences between motor vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians, and it separates bicycles from conflicting movements," said Peter Koonce, street lighting manager with PBOT. Koonce said bike signals have been used to prevent "right-hook" crashes and other types of collisions. The signals are already at work in six city intersections, Maus reports.

Fact-Checking Car "Warriors" in Seattle: In Seattle earlier this week, motorists and transportation reformers met to trade remarks about the so-called "War on Cars," or, in other words, the city's measures to make the streets work better for everyone who uses them. The good folks at Network blog PubliCola have taken the time to fact-check some of the claims made by auto supremacists. Opponents of bicycle, transit and pedestrian reforms, for example, charged that bike lanes are unsafe, that climate change will be solved by electric cars and that diet is wholly to blame for the obesity epidemic. PubliCola blogger Erica C. Barnett has taken the time to refute each argument. You never know when her points might come in handy in your discussions.

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