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 |  Dec 08 2011, 10:41 AM

A Detroit area disabled mother of six, LaWanda Flake, fed up with unreliable public transportation in her neighbourhood and no car, decided to do something about it.

So she posted an ad on Craigslist looking to trade her house for a vehicle. As crazy as that sounds, Flake’s home was actually a foreclosure property that she’d bought for just $3,600 even though the city had evaluated the dwelling at some $96,000.

After responses to the ad in which she was offered cars such as a 1996 Bentley Brooklands and even a Corvette, Flake settled on a used 2006 Chevy Uplander minivan with 85,000 miles on the clock. The vehicle, worth around $6,000 was traded for her four-bedroom house.

For Flake, the idea behind the swap wasn’t to profit, but to result in an outcome that was beneficial to both parties, as a result she now has a vehicle to get around, and the family that sold her the van now have a decent home to live in and one in which they’re happy to perform upgrades that Flake wanted to do but couldn’t.

Since the deal took place, Flake has been able to find another house to live in, this time a three-bedroom property that she got thanks to a $4,000 land contract. Smart thinking.

[Source: Detroit News]

 

 |  Nov 08 2011, 3:00 PM

When it comes to living car-free, there are some cities that make it easier to get around than others. And 24/7 Wall St. has put together a list of the top 10 U.S. cities to live in if you don’t have a car.

Using a series of “walkability” factors, this list was populated by how close people could access amenities if they didn’t have a car. These daily conveniences included such things as groceries, shopping, schools and entertainment options that were nearby and within easy reach on foot or by bike. As well, urban areas that have a highly developed public transit system ranked higher, as did communities that have a well-established bicycle community.

To compile the list, 24/7 Wall St. looked at the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. Factors that came into play included neighborhoods that provided public transit, how often public transit came to these neighborhoods and the number of jobs that were reachable within 90 minutes or less by public transit. Also factored into the results was each city’s “walk score,” which represents how accessible amenities are for residents that have to hoof it.

Hit the jump for the list of cities that made it onto the top 10. You’re in for a few surprises:

Continue Reading…

 |  Mar 14 2011, 10:55 AM

On your way to work this morning, did your eyes almost pop out of your head when you saw how much gas was? It’s getting so high that many of us have had enough and are taking to public transportation in record numbers. In fact, in a study released by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the way that this trend is going to continue, Congress had better think ahead by  investing long term in public transportation.

The APTA has done its homework. They say that once gas prices hit $4 a gallon, 670 million passenger trips could be expected (10.8 billion trips per year). And if that price jumps to $5 a gallon, expect about 1.5 billion passenger trips (11.6 billion trips per year). And, we know you don’t want to even think about it, but what happens when gas gets to $6 a gallon? You can expect the number to soar to 2.7 billion passenger trips (12.9 billion trips per year). That’s a lot of extra trips for public transit to take.

“The volatility of the price at the pump is another wake up call for our nation to address the increasing demand for public transportation services,” said APTA President William Millar.  “We must make significant, long-term investments in public transportation or we will leave our fellow Americans with limited travel options, or in many cases stranded without travel options.  Public transit is the quickest way for people to beat high gas prices if it is available.”

And the exodus from cars to public transportation has already begun. Across the US, public transit systems are already seeing large ridership increases. Obama’s Administration’s transportation authorization blueprint and proposal will increases public transit investment by 128 percent over the next six years and helps the 46 percent of Americans who do not have access to public transportation. But will it be enough?

If you think more needs to be don, you can let Congress know that  there needs to be more transportation options by going to publictransportation.org or text TRANSIT to 86677 and join the “I <3 (heart) transit campaign.”

[Source: PR Newswire]

 |  Jul 21 2010, 5:25 PM

New proposals like a London-style “congestion charge” and highway tolls for special lanes that would move faster are being floated both in Canada and the United States, as major cities grapple with traffic problems and infrastructure that wasn’t meant to deal with an increasing number of cars.

An article in the Chicago Tribune details how a government-sponsored panel concluded that new strategies, involving tolls on key expressways, involving fees on certain lanes during peak demand periods, may be necessary to discourage cars from driving into the city, and collect revenue from drivers willing to pay a premium to for the privilege of driving.

Minneapolis and Orange County, California have both implemented similar schemes, while Toronto, Canada’s largest city, with a population of 5.6 million people is also debating the whether to enact road tolls to discourage drivers in the downtown core.

The key element in all of this is public transit. Toronto has a fairly comprehensive system, that is expensive and fault, but the choice of many due to convenience, and the high costs of owning a car. London’s charge is similarly successful, by making those who can afford it pay the charge, while most people who wouldn’t have driven previously continue to take the subway.

[Source: Chicago Tribune]