Lester Brown: Reclaiming the Streets

strong>By Lester R. Brown

Lester Brown

Lester Brown founded the Earth Policy Institute and Worldwatch Institute

Cars promise mobility, and in a largely rural setting they provide it. But in an urbanizing world, where more than half of us live in cities, there is an inherent conflict between the automobile and the city. After a point, as their numbers multiply, automobiles provide not mobility but immobility, as well as increased air pollution and the health problems that come with it. Urban transport systems based on a combination of rail lines, bus lines, bicycle pathways, and pedestrian walkways offer the best of all possible worlds in providing mobility, low-cost transportation, and a healthy urban environment.

Illinois creates Midwest High Speed Rail Commission

From Green Right Now Reports

The Illinois Senate today voted unanimously to create the Illinois and Midwest High Speed Rail Commission to help guide the development of high speed trains in Illinois and neighboring states. The vote by this one body is sufficient to create the commission, which will recommend the best government-private structure for designing, building, financing, operating and maintaining a high speed rail system.

The new passenger rail, which is being seeded by stimulus money, is expected to first connect Chicago with St. Louis, with trains that could go up to 220 miles per hour. At that speed, the travel time between the two cities would be just under two hours, making train travel a much more competitive option.

Greener city buses clear the air, but choices aren’t always clear

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

You’ve heard the saying, “it’s easy being green.” Maybe sometimes. But not always, and not if you’re the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) agency, which finds itself tangling with a green dilemma.

DART, which serves Dallas and 11 other cities in the region, has been planning to replace its aging bus fleet with 537 shiny new buses. It’s a great opportunity to go green with the entire fleet.

But after taking bids this fall and updating the research, the agency members are locked in debate over what type of buses are “cleaner” and which ones make the most sense environmentally and economically. The answer is not readily apparent. Like potential car buyers on the threshold of a dealership showroom, the bus-buying members of DART find themselves puzzling over the new technologies and old perceptions.