Norway Stops Malling
On Jan. 8, Norway banned the construction of large shopping centers outside
cities for five years in an effort to reduce automobile pollution and revive
ailing downtowns. The ban covers any construction or expansion of shopping
centers with more than 33,000 square feet of retail space if the developments
are in areas that would require most customers to travel there by automobile.
The Most Fashionable
On Sept. 22, 1999 Paris will again ban cars from the city center for a day,
and Mayor Jean Tiberi is urging other European capitals to follow suit. Paris
was one of 35 French cities to shut out cars for a day last year-although only
60 km (35 mi) of the city's 1,600 km (1,000 mi) of roads were indeed closed.
Some critics attacked the event as a publicity gimmick, saying car-mad France
actually lags behind some other industrialized countries in the use of public
Cars Make Good Eatin'
Searching for food-filled coolers and backpacks, Yosemite National Park's
black bears bashed and clawed their way into 1,103 vehicles last year, nearly
six times as many as in 1993. But Yosemite's bears are nothing if not
discriminating car shoppers; they have learned to zero in on models that make
particularly easy targets. Lately, Honda and Toyota sedans are the makes of
choice. Once a bear strikes paydirt with a particular model, word quickly
spreads. One night, park ranger John Stobinski saw a bear score a cache of
food by breaking into a red Ford Windstar van. For the next few nights, all
the red Windstars were hit, food or no food. The penalty for bears that cause
a large amount of damage to cars is death. Bear "2061," for example,
was hitting up to six cars a night and teaching the ropes to her two cubs, who
later struck out on their own. All three received the maximum sentence -
-The Wall Street Journal
A Vintage Idea
The city of Bordeaux, France, now has some 20 bicycles at City Hall for use by
elected officials and department heads. "Very often, officials or
bureaucrats go about Bordeaux by car, contributing to the rise of pollution in
the city," said Deputy-Mayor Alain Juppe. "They will have at their
disposal bicycles...to take them to other public offices." The mayor was
quick to clarify that he would not give up his official Renault, although he
would try to "be an example as often as possible," by getting around
by bike. The operation is a complement to downtown Bordeaux's monthly
"Sunday without Cars."
The Ultimate Penalty
In December 1998, a Beijing couple were riding home late one night; the wife
perched on the handlebars as her husband pedaled through the cold night.
Suddenly, a drunk driver in a Citroen bore down on them, killing the wife,
mother of a seven-month-old, and paralyzing the husband from the waist down.
The driver was found guilty of murder. After a higher court denied his appeal,
the driver was shot to death. In Beijing, sources report that drivers have
been more courteous toward bicyclists of late.
Life in the Fast Lane
On the theory that New York City's sidewalks are the equivalent of other
cities' superhighways, New York magazine is proposing the creation of
Experienced Pedestrian Only (EPO) lanes. "Like HOV lanes on the
interstates, EPO channels would speed workbound commuters on their way,
allowing Mall of America escapees to do their slow-paced thing without driving
the rest of us insane," the magazine enthuses. An intriguing idea,
particularly if we could expand the EPO lanes into those inefficient CAR
-New York Magazine
Junkyard in Paradise
In most of wide-open America, thrown-away cars are just that - out of sight
and out of mind in a junkyard on the outskirts of town. Not so in land-poor
Kauai, Hawaii. The island's only approved wrecking yard shut down four years
ago. Since then, desperate car-owners have been lining highways, parks and
dead-end streets with inoperable junkers. Local officials estimate as many as
5,000 trashed autos rust in peace on Kauai, one for every 11 of the island's
-The Wall Street Journal
Birthing Bike Activism in
US and South African activists organized the first-ever Critical Mass ride in
Africa on December 28, 1998. Riding reconditioned bicycles, many of which were
donated and shipped from NYC by members of T.A. and the Institute for
Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), scores of cyclists from
townships and suburbs rode 10 miles from Soweto, through downtown
Johannesburg, and converged on the steps of City Hall. Their demands: bike
lanes and signage on major commuting routes; bike access on commuter rail
lines; and legislation to protect cyclists from increasingly out-of-control
Even more cyclists turned out for the second ride on January 30, and future
rides are scheduled for the last Saturday of every month. The ride heralded
the formation of the Bicycle Transport Coalition of South Africa (Bike TRaC),
South Africa's first national bike commuter advocacy organization. For more
info, visit www.itdp.org.
Spain, the Smother Country
The government of Spain is poised to amend traffic laws to improve safety for
cyclists, but cyclists complain they're being overprotected. Under the
proposed rules, helmets will become mandatory, cyclists will have to wear
reflective clothing, and a number of roads will be closed to bicycles.
the latest news on this subject.