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Posts Tagged ‘Environment’

Flickr photo from sidewalk flyingOcean City recently announced that it will quit recycling to save $1 million a year. Maryland’s favorite (hmm, only) seaside getaway is set to produce yet more trash courtesy of the boardwalk’s overpopulation of tattooed dudes with bellies spilling over fire-emblazoned trunks. Truck loads of Bud Lite bottles, baked bean cans, empty Trasher’s buckets, ice cream-smeared cups, and Menthol Lite butts are slated to be incinerated in Chester, PA, supposedly producing “green energy.” If you consider acrid black smoke to be environmentally friendly, you should all cheery about this one.

OC’s Public Works honcho Richard Malone was not very upbeat about his decision, in fact he suggested that “you can hardly imagine” how the decision burned him from the inside, according to the Baltimore Sun. (more…)

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Iffy logo, great idea

Iffy logo, great idea

The Purple Line is a great concept that has been poorly promoted. The low-budget Web site helpfully points out that “existing roads are highly congested, and commuting times continue to increase [and] existing east-west bus services are unreliable and slow.” Hey, people! We Washingtonians may relish the great radio stations that are born out of the ubiquitos traffic snarls, but my guess is that no one likes a car commute that is on average 30 minutes , and often nears 2 hours.

And while all we see in the ‘burbs are seas of car traffic, Washington, D.C. commuters love public transport. We take more public transportation trips than any metropolitan area aside from New York City.  It’s just darn near impossible to take from one side of the suburbs to the other. [Speaking of NYC, unscientific surveys show that their radio stations are way inferior to ours–more pop oriented–because people in New York listen to iPods on the subway. Luckily, WKYS 39.9 and DC101 won’t lose any listeners because you can get radio on light rail]

According to the project’s Web site , the new 16-mile east-west rapid transit line would connect the major central business districts and “activity centers” of Bethesda, Silver Spring, Takoma/Langley Park, College Park/University of Maryland, and New Carrollton. It would be either light rail or bus rapid transit and would take 3-5 years to complete, opening in 2012 at the earliest. It will not be cheap. However, experts call the project “competitive” which it unfortunately must be to compete for scarce transit funding. According to the Washington Post,

“State officials say their ridership and travel-time projections, as well as the estimated cost of up to $1.75 billion, would make the Purple Line competitive with transit proposals from across the country when it vies for a limited pool of federal transit funds. Projects are judged primarily on cost-effectiveness, or whether they would save enough people enough time to be worth the investment.”

Estimates are that Purple Line will take 68,000 trips per day. And think of the economic benefits of attracting some of the 35% of DC residents who don’t own cars to come spend money in Maryland–like at South Indian cuisine mecca Woodlands , in Langley Park.

Have your say at the MTA feedback site here.

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We know Washington, DC loves to call itself a “world city” (U Street does have a lot of ethnic food joints) but today was a globally-cool day for our nation’s capital. Today, the innovative SmartBike program kicked off. As the Washington Post crowed, “Today the city will join the ranks of Paris and Barcelona with the launch of the first high-tech public bike-sharing program in the United States, forcing such cities as San Francisco and Chicago to look here to see chic alternative transportation in action in America.

The city-wide biking coop, owned by Clear Channel, is a great alternative to DC’s notoriously expensive cabs and snarled gridlock. For $40 a year, you can rent bikes any time at 10 self-service locations by swiping your membership card. 120 cars off the streets (or more likely, off the lately-horrendous Red Line) may not ease traffic but it’s a promising start for a city historically suspicious of mass and alternative transit.

Capital Bikeways features a mash-up map showing SmartBike pick up locations and bike routes through DC.

Now it’s time for Baltimore’s murky city planners to step up to the plate. A bike share program would be a great way to shuttle ourself between our Calvert street block and parking-scarce Federal Hill, avert ever-present traffic snarls down St. Paul. An eco-friendly program like BikeSmart could also help hungover Hampden hipsters (a worthy cause, no?) sweat out last night’s Golden West margarita by pumping over to take in a film at the oldster Senator in Belvedere Square… Sheila Dixon may not be too interested in that last idea.

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Maryland's energy-cool quotient may soon rival Denmark's

Maryland's energy-cool quotient may soon rival Denmark's

Rejecting President Bush’s call to greenlight offshore oil drilling, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley endorsed wind farms 12 miles off the coast of Delaware and Maryland, the Baltimore Sun reports today. Ocean City and Rehobeth beachgoers would barely see the 40 foot-high turbines–especially during our smoggy summers, noted John Hughes, Delaware’s secretary of natural resources and environmental control. 150 turbines would generate enough electricity to power 600,000 homes–that’s nearly all of Baltimore City–with zero emissions and minimal impact on marine life, according to Malcolm Woolf, director of the Maryland Energy Administration.

Yay for Maryland! Baltimore City is also getting more hybrid buses which means (in addition to less carbon output and particular emissions) our streets will be quieter.

Soon we may be as energy-cool as Denmark’s Samso island. As Elizabeth Kolbert reported in the New Yorker the other week, turbines on and offshore here generate so much energy the residents  sell it to the mainland. It’s worth noting their offshore turbines are giant–195 feet tall with spinning blades 120 feet long.

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Hey, check out my dad on tv. He’s at the state legislative hearings on energy conservation. He says, “selling more electricity means we’re going to burn more coal and have more pollution.” Yeah conservation!!

Click here to view the clip (at top right of the page).

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