Bike advocates concerned over Toomey’s proposal to cut funding

abc27news – excerpt

HARRISBURG – A proposal by U.S. Senator Pat Toomey to eliminate funding for crosswalks, bike paths and safety routes to save money for road and bridge repairs has local advocates concerned that corners will be cut – literally.

Steve Doster of Pennsylvania Mission Readiness said the people who enjoy paths such as the Capital Area Greenbelt may not be able to without the federal funding from the Transportation Alternatives Program. He said 12 percent of all Pennsylvania commuters are powered by cardio.

“In my mind, that makes walking and bicycling a legitimate form of transportation,” Doster said.

Doster and others around Harrisburg are scratching their heads over Toomey’s proposal to eliminate TAP funding. Congress is scrambling to extend MAP-21 and the Highway Trust Fund as well as pass a new Federal Transportation Bill.

The funding is set to expire this fall and experts believe money could run dry by December.

Toomey wants to reserve federal funding for national infrastructure and says that the money should be spent on roads and bridges…

ABC27 will seek to ask Toomey if he supports a proposal by Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) to raise the nation’s gas tax 12 cents, another key issue of the Federal Transportation Bill…  (more)

Bike lanes vs. bike paths: Where you ride may make a difference in the pollution you breathe – science roundup

By Susannah L. Bodman :  oregonian – excerpt

When you think of the hazards of commuting by bike or just the occasional ride alongside traffic, what may come first to mind are collisions, driver vs. bicyclist road rage, and maybe even that special bit of hazing called “rollin’ coal.”

Actually, relating to the later, having a driver intentionally blast a plume of smoke in your face is not the only time you may need to worry about what’s coming out of the tailpipes around you.

study published online in advance of the Aug. 15 issue of the journal Science of The Total Environment tested the potential exposure of cyclists to two kinds of traffic-related air pollution, or TRAP, based on where they might ride.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health used mobile monitoring stations to test the air quality along five bike routes in the Boston area, with the routes categorized into three types: bike paths, which were separated from traffic; bike lanes, which ran adjacent to traffic; and designated bike lanes, which were shared by buses and bikes.

They tested for two main components of TRAP: black carbon and nitrogen dioxide.

The result?

The researchers found that bike lanes have significantly* higher concentrations (33 percent) of both key pollutant types than bike paths, but that designated bike lanes had a significantly higher concentration than the paths only for nitrogen dioxide…

In other science news (for the week ending June 28, 2014):

Speaking of nitrogen dioxide and air quality, data from NASA’s Aura satellite is showing that overall air quality in the United States is improving. The satellite measures nitrogen dioxide, which comes from gasoline and coal combustion, as a proxy for overall air pollution. Factors that may be contributing to the improvement include more efficient technology and stricter air quality regulations. (Side note: The next time you hear someone pooh-pooh NASA and what the agency does for us in exchange for the funding it receives, you can point to this: air pollution monitoring.) (Smithsonian Magazine)(more)

This pretty much coincides with the science we have been following. Air quality has improved due to a number of technological breakthroughs. Most scientists point to the use of natural gas instead of coal as a major improvement. Regardless, air quality is improving.

Fisherman’s Wharf statue accident points up delays in ambulance response time

By Noelle Walker: ktvu – excerpt

… Police responded in a minute and a half, firefighters followed a minute after that and assessed the boy’s medical needs.

“In this case there were not any advanced life support measures that were performed.” said SFFD Medical Director Clement Yeh. “It was recognized early on that this boy needed to get to the hospital.”

But of the 16 SFFD ambulances on duty that day in addition to private ambulances, only one was available. At the time of the call, the vehicle was at Stanyan and Oak, 4.5 miles away from Fisherman’s Wharf.

It took the ambulance 13 minutes to arrive, three minutes longer than the fire department’s response time goal.

“We are always trying to improve our care, but the nature of this case was really tragic.” said Yeh.

The question that remains: would three minutes have made a difference? Shelton died at the hospital four hours after the accident.

“Whether or not it would have made a difference, I think based on that information in this particular case, it probably would not have.” said Talmadge.

While the fire department’s goal response time is ten minutes, the average response time is 12 minutes… (more)

We agree with the Fire Chief that emergency responders should have priority in street design decisions. Wider free-flowing streets should be preserved. We oppose SB 1193 that would legitimize SFMTA’s street diet pilot projects. SF should not deviate from the current state design standards.