Post Tagged with: "transportation"

The Long Road to Sustainability

Despite the wealth of news across the United States touting electric vehicles, renewable energy projects, new LEED-certified and zero-energy buildings, and sustainable business practices, the hard truth is that a transformation to a sustainable United States will take a long, long time and a “sustained” effort through multiple generations of leadership. That is the lesson offered by Germany, as described in a well-written article recently appearing on the Energy Bulletin written by Ralph Buehler, Arne Jungjohann, Melissa Keeley and Michael Mehling. As they describe Germany’s success, they note that it has been a 40 year journey where “all levels of government … have retooled policies to promote growth that is more environmentally sustainable.”

There are fundamental differences between Germany and the United

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Will Central Florida’s Sunrail Work?

Commuter rail trainAs a long-time Central Florida resident and lawyer who has worked in downtown Orlando for my entire career, I was personally very excited about the approval of SunRail. I have always enjoyed using public transportation when visiting New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, and have often wondered whether public transportation would work in my hometown. I’ve even experimented with the concept by riding the Lynx bus system for a week, and wrote about it in this blog. But I am a realist when it comes to Orlando and mass transportation. I believe that, although SunRail has the potential for great success over the long term, there are several factors that may keep it from gathering the ridership it needs to be successful in the short term.

First, the factors that have the potential to quickly increase public acceptance and ridership:

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Would You Ride the Bus?

Photo courtesy of Lynx

Orlando – my city – and the surrounding Central Florida area – is at important crossroads with respect to transportation.  The area has grown largely through car ownership, with sprawling suburbs, multiple highways and, at least historically, anemic public transportation options.  To get most anywhere in Orlando requires that you get in a car and drive there, because a car is the fastest option, and in many cases, the only option.  These days, Interstate 4 often is a slow-moving parking lot during work commutes.  If you are traveling to the attractions area (Disney, SeaWorld, Universal Studios, etc.), the stretch of Interstate 4 to get there is crowded more often than it is not.  Like frogs in a pot of water being brought to a boil, most Orlando car drivers are becoming increasingly uncomfortable, without realizing that in the long term, they’re not going to last in their cars.

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