Animation of the upcoming Transbay Transit Center (aka Grand Central of the West) that just broke ground on Wednesday.
What makes a great city? That was one of the many questions that the visionary former mayor of Bogotá Colombia, Enrique Peñalosa, asked a packed auditorium in San Francisco last night. How do we define a good city, what is our criteria? What makes an urban environment desirable and livable, and how do we judge the quality of life? What is socially and environmentally sustainable?
In response to this greasy problem the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is now taking action. They have begun the SF Greasecycle program, which collects waste vegetable oil from City restaurants for FREE and recycles it into biodiesel. Nearly all of San Francisco’s city vehicles already run on biodiesel, but soon they will be able to use biofuel made from used cooking oils provided by our local restaurants.
More people than ever are now using mass transit in the United States. Ridership on trains, buses, ferries and subways is at record levels, according to a survey just released by the American Public Transportation Association. Their study reports that:
“…despite falling gas prices and an economic recession, increasing numbers of Americans took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation in 2008, the highest level of ridership in 52 years and a modern ridership record, and a 4% increase from 2007.”
A recent study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health found a strong correlational link between “active transportation” (defined as the percentage of trips taken by walking, bicycling, and public transit) and obesity rates in 17 industrialized nations. It appears that the more we sit on our butts and drive automobiles, the fatter we all become.