Quick takes

* Not too surprisingly, a King County, Wash. study by Larry Frank’s team at UBC finds that people walk if there’s something to walk to (particularly retail and transit) and a way to walk there. “The study showed that transit use and walking are ‘highly synergistic.’ Transit use was highest in locations where walking was most prevalent, and the choice to walk was highest where buses and trains were most convenient and efficient.”

* In an article on how “the hot construction market has fueled NYC’s hybrid inclusionary-linkage program”:http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/23/realestate/23cov.html, the Times mentions that churches in Brooklyn are looking to the linkage fees to do “air rights housing deals”:http://www.cnu.org/about/index.cfm?formAction=project_view&templateInstanceID=789, a concept CNU awarded in the 2004 Charter Awards:

bq. [D]eals are being considered by churches in central Brooklyn that “flourished in one era and now have a lot of underutilized property” — rectories or schools. If they build affordable housing on their property and finance it by selling air rights, they will also help their members. “Their angst was that their congregants were being priced out of their neighborhoods…” [said Michael D. Lappin, president and chief executive of the Community Preservation Corporation].

* Two notable citations for TDM publicity go to (1) GetDowntown, the Ann Arbor downtown chamber of commerce’s TDM program, for its May “Curb Your Car Month”:http://www.getdowntown.org/cycm (i.e., commuter challenge month) slogan of “go on a low-car diet” and (2) Cleveland’s RTA for this ad message:

* The NY Times editorial page on Monday “called for higher gas taxes”:http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/24/opinion/24mon1.htm. Higher revenues would be used to expand low-income tax breaks, scrap gas guzzlers, fund new mass transit, and sponsor clean energy research, and markets would react to higher pump prices by pushing price pressure upstream to producers. (How’s that for alliteration?)

bq. The government must capitalize on the end of the era of perpetually cheap gas, and it must do so in a way that makes America less vulnerable to all manner of threats — terrorist, environmental and economic. The best solution is to increase the federal gasoline tax, in order to keep the price of gas near its post-Katrina highs of $3-plus a gallon. That would put a dent in gas-guzzling behavior, as has already been seen in the dramatic drop in the sale of sport-utility vehicles… “We know that the days of unlimited, inexpensive gasoline are over,” William Clay Ford Jr., chairman and chief executive of the Ford Motor Company, said last week. So be it. Cheap gas is no longer compatible with a secure nation, a healthy environment or a healthy economy – if ever it was. The real question is whether we should continue paying the extra dollar or two per gallon in the form of profits to the Saudis and other producers, or in the form of taxes to the United States Treasury, where the money could be used to build true energy independence.

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