Author Archives: Micheline Maynard

The Best American Cities For Bicycle Commutes

Best Bicycling Cities

I’ll bet you’ve notice more people commuting to work by bicycle over the past few years.

I just moved away from one of America’s best cities for bicycle commutes — Ann Arbor, Mich. — but I now live next to another one of the best, Tempe, Ariz. They’ve both college towns and that seems to be an attribute of many of the nation’s leading bicycling cities.

Take a look at this wonderful Bloomberg graphic on the top places where people get to work on two wheels. Is your town on it? What will it take to land your town on it?

 

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Filed under bicycling, cities

Presenting: The Curbing Cars Podcast

From Tucson to Kansas City, Denver to Detroit, it’s been a busy summer for transportation news.

Here, in our inaugural Curbing Cars podcast, Mark Remillard and I look at some of the stories he’s covered. They include:

Tucson’s new light-rail system, the Sun Link.

The Denver-based study showing that more bikes can actually be good for city safety.

The challenge posed to cities by parking craters.

Take a listen, and share it with  your friends.

Would you like to hear more episodes of the Curbing Cars Podcast? Take our survey.

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Filed under bicycling, bike sharing, cars, cities, Curbing Cars, public transportation, Rail, urban planning

See Tucson’s Light Rail System In Action

Our Mark Remillard recently told you about Tucson’s new light rail line — the second such system in Arizona. (Phoenix also has light rail.)

Based on your reaction via Twitter, we know that came as a surprise.

So here’s a look at the new Sun Link in action, via the Arizona Daily Star. Ride the entire route in three minutes. We’re definitely looking forward to hopping on board.

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Filed under public transportation, Rail

Welcome To Our New Intern, Mark Remillard

For the past year, Curbing Cars has been delighted to showcase the talents of young journalists, like Matt Varcak and Adam Rubenfire. Now, we welcome our first summer intern, Mark Remillard. mark-remillard

Mark isn’t your typical intern. He’s already a familiar voice in Phoenix, where he’s a full-time reporter at KTAR, the premier news radio station. Mark just graduated from Arizona State University, where he was a student in one of my business journalism classes.

Look for regular posts from Mark over the summer. But first, let’s hear from him.

“Hello everyone! My name is Mark Remillard and I’ll be this summer’s intern here at Curbing Cars and since I’ll be writing a lot of this website, I wanted to make a quick post to introduce myself. Continue reading

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Filed under Curbing Cars, student stories

Thanks For Making Our EBook Number One!

Curbing Cars (Cover)We’re kicking off the week with some splendid news from Amazon.com. Over the weekend, Curbing Cars: America’s Independence From The Auto Industry ranked as the number one ebook in the Automotive category.

We appreciate your support, and look forward to discussing all our findings with you. We’re fascinated by the drop in driving, and why Americans are turning to a broad spectrum of transportation rather than just rely on cars.

You can find the book here on Amazon and on Apple iTunes.

Meanwhile, here’s the column that Robert Trigaux wrote about the book in Friday’s edition of the Tampa Bay Times. The debate over roads versus light rail is a vivid one in Tampa, the biggest American city without a significant public transportation system.

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Filed under book, Curbing Cars, public transportation

The Recession From Which We May Never Recover

My parents went through the Great Depression. They were thrifty, to say the least, and we were recycling before we knew what the term meant. Curbing Cars (Cover)

Now, we and our children have been through another seminal economic event. Some call it the Great Panic, others the Great Recession.

No matter what you call it, the economic meltdown of 2007-2009 changed a lot of attitudes in the United States, including the way some people feel about the role of automobiles in our lives.

I look at the impact of the recession on driving in our new ebook. While it may not be the top factor why people are “driving light,” it’s definitely one of the considerations that plays into how they view cars.

The changes these consumers made during the worst of the recession have become permanent parts of their lives. Even as the stock market soared in 2013 and 2014, and as some economists declared that America had recovered (statistically at least), the feeling that all could be lost at any moment still resounds in a number of corners.

Read more about the economy and how it changed peoples’ attitudes in this excerpt from the book in Forbes.

You can buy Curbing Cars: America’s Independence From The Auto Industry at Amazon and Apple now.

 

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Filed under book, Driving, economy

EXCERPT: What Will It Take To Get You Back Behind The Wheel?

Millions of people are driving less, and some are even giving up their cars all together. In our new eBook, Curbing Cars: America’s Independence From The Auto Industry,  published Tuesday by Forbes, I make some suggestions on how the auto companies can play a role in the new transportation reality.  Curbing Cars (Cover)

One idea: create a new Model T, a car that that can appeal broadly to the public, and yet be affordable and efficient. That’s critical, given that the average new vehicle now costs around $33,000. Parking, repairs, insurance and maintenance all add up to the expense of owning an automobile.

Here’s what I say in an excerpt on Forbes.com.

“There’s an opportunity for some smart company to build the next car for the masses. There is certainly a precedent for doing so. The original Model T put the car within the reach of the American middle class for the first time, and as cheaper used versions became available, the demographic got pushed down even further to the working class.

From 1910 through 1930, the automobile industry attracted new customers and auto sales boomed. But then there came a 15-year period in which auto sales stalled, first because of the Great Depression, and then because cars weren’t available during World War II.

What happened to revive the American car market? Prosperity returned, of course, but there was also a successor to the Model T that put millions of people into cars they could afford: the Volkswagen Beetle. It was a global, not just American, phenomenon and caught buyers’ attention for a number of reasons. Continue reading

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Filed under book, cars, Curbing Cars

Out Now: The Curbing Cars EBook, Published By Forbes

Curbing Cars (Cover) Curbing Cars: America’s Independence From The Auto Industry is the result of our Kickstarter-funded project looking at why people are driving less. You can buy it now from Amazon.com, on iTunes and other sites where eBooks are sold.

Check back regularly as we post our analysis and predictions about the historic shift in attitudes among Americans about their transportation needs.

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Filed under book, Curbing Cars

In Boston: Get On A Bike, And Call Me In The Morning

Photo courtesy of The Hubway

Photo courtesy of The Hubway

Many people ride bicycles for health reasons. Now, in Boston, doctors have begun prescribing bike rides to improve the health of low-income residents.

According to the Boston Globe, the city-run program, called “Prescribe-a-Bike,” allows doctors at Boston Medical Center to prescribe low-income patients with a yearlong membership to Hubway bike sharing program, for only $5.

For the $5, patients can ride bikes as many times as they want for 30 minutes or less at a time. They also will get a free helmet, said an announcement from the city and the medical center.

There are nearly 900 Boston residents are already enrolled in an existing subsidized Hubway membership. City and hospital officials are hoping the new program enrolls another 1,000 residents, the Globe said. Continue reading

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Filed under bicycling, bike sharing, cities

Could Paris’ Battle Against Smog Spread To Other Cities?

The Eiffel Tower, before and after the Paris smog. Photo via StrangeSounds.org

The Eiffel Tower, before and after the Paris smog. Photo via StrangeSounds.org

By Adam Rubenfire

Dangerously high pollution levels this past week prompted officials in Paris to take some drastic measures to curb the city’s smog problem.

The most radical measure came Monday. About half of the city’s cars were forced off Parisian streets when the French government announced that vehicles with even-numbered license plates would not be allowed to drive within the limits of the city or its suburbs.

Taxis, carpools, and commercial electric or hybrid vehicles were exceptions to the rule, which, combined with favorable weather conditions, appeared to alleviate the smog that consumed the Paris skyline, according to the BBC.

Although thousands of individuals faced ticketing for violating the ban — some less cooperative motorists even had their cars impounded — there was an upside for commuting Parisians. All forms of public transit were free of charge from Friday through Tuesday.

The 100 percent discount on fares cost the region four million Euros a day ($5.5 million), according to online publication The Local.

Loosening the turnstiles and taking automobiles off the roads may seem extreme, but car free streets are the norm in some communities around the globe.

Continue reading

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Filed under cities, public transportation