In a Global Health Emergency, the Bicycle Shines

 Author Laura Laker

Speaking in Parliament in London earlier this year, Chris Boardman, the former Olympian cyclist and the walking and cycling commissioner of Manchester, said: “Pick a crisis, and you’ll probably find cycling is a solution.”He was talking about climate, health and air pollution, but he also might as well have been talking about coronavirus.As Covid-19 rages, almost half of the world’s population is under some form of restricted movement. In a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus, people must stay home, aside from strictly limited essential trips for food and medicine and a daily outing for exercise. We all need to comply with restrictions to bring this life-threatening virus under control. I believe the best way to keep a safe distance from others when we do move is by walking, and cycling.

Many experts view cycling as a safe way to avoid crowded public transportation systems — and the citizens in a number of world cities appear to agree. In New York, cycling spiked by 52% over the city’s bridges after social-distancing protocols were put in place. In Chicago, bikeshare use doubled in early March. In Dublin and London, advocates are offering support to new riders who are taking to the streets in droves.
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Why the Bus Got So Bad, and How to Save It

Out of Darkness, Light Rail

Author Laura Bliss January 17, 2020

In an era of austere federal funding for urban public transportation, light rail seemed to make sense. Did the little trains of the 1980s pull their own weight?

When San Diego opened its light rail system in 1981, Mayor Pete Wilson declared it “a good idea whose time has come again.’” The bright red train cars, known as “the Trolley,” harked back to the urban railway that spanned 165 miles across metropolitan San Diego until 1949. As in so many North American cities, that streetcar system was ripped out as the automobile era dawned.

But the San Diego Trolley was built with a different spirit and purpose than its predecessor. It was light rail. And from San Diego, the new mode would spread across North America. Far cheaper to build than a subway, faster than a streetcar, and perhaps more alluring than a bus, light rail was seen as the answer to congested highways, growing populations, and civic fantasies of a dozen U.S. cities in the 1980s and early ‘90s.

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