Bicycling will Increase with Good Infrastructure

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Our Thursday green news brings you the latest on green architecture, climate change, energy and communities:

bicycling infrastructure, bike path

Photo courtesy of Ornickarr Greenbarrow via Flickr

  • Bicycling will increase with good infrastructure: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of U.S. bike commuters has increased by sixty percent over the last ten years. Now a new study confirms that more people would ride their bicycles instead of other forms of transportation if there was good infrastructure to make it easier and safer. The Obesity Society recently published results of a study conducted by researchers from the University of North Carolina, who studied how the development of the Minneapolis Greenway (an intercity system of bike freeways connecting the places where people live and work) affected commuters’ habits over a period of a decade. The results indicated that residents who lived close to the off-road trails switched to cycling to work at a higher rate than people who lived farther. The switch to bicycling in Minneapolis has been even more evident: the number of working residents living within three miles of the Greenway who switched to bicycling  increased to 89 percent during the decade of the study. As the study leader Penny Gordon-Larsen explained bicycling in terms of public health: “Active commuting is associated with healthier hearts and weights; thus these findings support building bike-friendly transportation infrastructure as a useful instrument in the anti-obesity toolkit. Moreover, promoting cycling by adding bike lanes and bike paths contributes to other health-related advantages of urban bike-ability.” For example, bicycle-crazy city of Portland recorded zero bike fatalities during 2013.
  • Possibly the greenest solar farm ever:  UK-based solar farm operator Primrose Solar is now partnering with company Solarcentury known for its bumblebee-friendly solar farms, to built a new very Eco-friendly solar farm. The partnership aims for a holistic approach to responsible solar farm development. As Frans van den Heuvel, CEO of Solarcentury, explained their initiatives: “Our responsible approach to building solar farms, together with Primrose Solar’s continued investment over the lifetime of the project, is really going to make Southwick solar farm an environmentally robust site. Our waste and energy management programme will see a number of new initiatives employed during the build that we’re looking to roll out across all of our future sites.” The new 48MWp solar farm, which should generate enough electricity for about 11,000 homes, should feature some of the following approaches: 1. a full ecological site survey; 2. wildlife and habitat management plan; 3. planting of wildflowers and pollinator habitat between panels; 4. grazing of land during spring and fall to ensure land use for both food production as well as energy; 5. use of solar and biodiesel generators during construction; 6. permanent composting toilet facilities for construction and maintenance staff, and more. Primrose Solar is also working with local schools to arrange on-site visits and learning sessions about the benefits of renewable energy.
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