November 19, 2009
This is an 8-minute version of our 55 minute documentary Beauty and the Bike. The film follows two groups of young women from Darlington and Bremen. Between them, they discover what makes - and stops - teenage girls from cycling. The answer? "It's the Infrastructure, stupid!"
10,000 views in first week!
The full DVD is available from www.bikebeauty.org
The New York Times
By Tara Parker-Pope
December 14, 2009
Is it better to walk a human or to walk a dog?
New research from the University of Missouri has found that people who walk dogs are more consistent about regular exercise and show more improvement in fitness than people who walk with a human companion. In a 12-week study of 54 older adults at an assisted living home, 35 people were assigned to a walking program for five days a week, while the remaining 19 served as a control group. Among the walkers, 23 selected a friend or spouse to serve as a regular walking partner along a trail laid out near the home. Another 12 participants took a bus daily to a local animal shelter where they were assigned a dog to walk.
To the surprise of the researchers, the dog walkers showed a big improvement in fitness, while the human walkers began making excuses to skip the workout. Walking speed among the dog walkers increased by 28 percent, compared with just a 4 percent increase among the human walkers.
"What happened was nothing short of remarkable," said Rebecca A. Johnson, a nursing professor and director of the Research Center for Human Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri's College of Veterinary Medicine. "The improvement in walking speed means their confidence in their walking ability had increased and their balance had increased. To have a 28 percent improvement in walking speed is mind boggling."
Ms. Johnson said that because some people are afraid of dogs, the participants were given the choice of walking with a human or a dog as the companion. Ms. Johnson said the dog walkers were far more consistent in sticking with the program than those who were walking with humans.
"In the human walking group, they were regularly discouraging each other from walking," she said. "Missouri is a hot state. We would hear them saying: 'It's hot today. I don't want to walk, do you?' "
The response from participants in the dog-walking group — and their dog companions — was very different.
"When the people came to the animal shelter, they bounced off the bus and said, 'Where's my dog?"' Ms. Johnson said. "And the dogs never gave any discouragement from walking."
Ms. Johnson said she suspects differences will show up in other areas, like depression and anxiety, although that data are still under review and the final study has not yet been published.
But there were also other subtle indicators of improvement among the dog-walking group. Many people in the dog-walking group stopped using canes and walkers. "They would say, 'Now I'm physically fit enough to take my dog for a walk,"' Ms. Johnson said.
Handy Ways to Find Your Way
A new Google Maps feature - Bike There
Similar to the drive and take transit options you are probably familiar with, Google Maps now offers a bike route option "for a safer, healthier, happier world." Check it out here
Find and Rate Walks / Walking Routes in Austin, TX
It's fresh, faster and easy to use! We've created a new and improved way to train. Map your routes, track your training and socially engage with fellow walkers in ways you never knew possible. 689 walking routes so far Check it out here
by JESSICA VESS / KVUE News
May 20, 2010
The public launch of the car2go program is less than 24 hours away. The small white and blue Smart cars are already rolling through Austin.
Car2go says it will wrap up its pilot program in Austin on Thursday and open service for everyone on Friday.
"I believe it is an essential element or essential compliment to mass transit. As you know, sometimes it is very difficult. People come in from areas far outside the city," said Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell.
The cars first rolled into town in November 2009 when the test phase began.
Over the next six months about 3,000 people registered to participate in the program including 1,200 city employees. It grew quickly. During the pilot phase the cars were rented out more 20,500 times.
"It's no secret Austin is one of those cities that continues to grow. You see more and more condos going up downtown, so they're concerned about growth, congestion and of course the environmental sustainability with emissions," said Nicholas Cole, president & CEO of car2go North America. The cars have designated parking spots scattered across town -- 80 in all. If a car is there, members can pick it up and rent for however long they need. All they have to do afterward is park it back in a designated spot.
Austin is the first city in North America to host this program. The company actually began in Germany. Then started looking at where it could expand. With the success in Austin the company is looking at further expansions.
"This has been truly a learning pilot with the city of Austin which is great. I think you'll see a full roll out going into new cities," said Cole.
The cars are rented on a minute basis - 35 cents for every minute. The cost covers fuel, insurance, parking, maintenance and mileage. There are special rates for hourly and daily rentals.
The program is being recognized for its positive environmental impact.
Thursday morning the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded both car2go and the City of Austin with its 2010 Clean Air Excellence Award for Transportation Efficiency Innovations.
Friday's public launch kicks off with a free event and test drives at Republic Square Park in downtown Austin from 4 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Dare we say it . . . So what about fixing I-35 and MoPAC?
Private company proposes tearing down and rebuilding part of I-35W
Star-Telegram - Thursday, May. 20, 2010
BY GORDON DICKSON
SNAPPatx: Do you wish this WAS a Headline for Austin?
A toll road developer has offered to tear down and rebuild 10 miles of Interstate 35W from downtown to far north Fort Worth to relieve one of Tarrant County's biggest bottlenecks with a combination of toll and nontoll lanes.
"With the new proposed configuration, the project will result in over 1.5 million hours saved annually by moving drivers from congested roads to free-flowing lanes," according to an executive summary of the report released Thursday afternoon.
TxDOT looks at toll lane on MoPac
KXAN NBC 36 Austin
May. 20, 2010
SNAPPatx: Here’s one that is an Austin Headline, what do you think?