EcoMobility Gaining Ground As Cars/Roads Become Too Expensive

Car Ownership Declines in Europe as Cities’ Focus on Walking, Bikes & Public Transit

Cost of Personal Car Ownership Tops $10,000 a year

By Stephen Leahy

CHANGWON, South Korea, Nov 1, 2011 (Tierramérica)

Berlin is a big capital city of a country famed for making excellent automobiles, but it can no longer afford roads and is now moving people by transit, bike and especially through walking.

Berlin is not alone. Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, Bogotá, New York City and other major cities simply cannot afford the cost, the pollution, the noise and the congestion of more cars. They are embracing a new concept called EcoMobility – mobility without private cars.

“EcoMobility is not only walking, cycling and public transportation. It is about these three systems clicking together: connectivity is the key,” Gil Peñalosa, former director of parks and recreation in Bogotá, Colombia, told those attending the EcoMobility Changwon 2011 congress.

The congress on Mobility for the Future of Sustainable Cities was organised by the South Korean city of Changwon and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, an association of local government members from more than 1,220 cities in 70 countries.

“The famous Times Square in New York City is now a permanent pedestrian mall. Who would have believed that could happen just three years ago?” Peñalosa commented to Tierramérica.

“Five years ago who would have thought Paris would have over 22,000 bikes as part of a tremendously successful bike sharing system?” added Peñalosa, who is now the executive director of 8-80 Cities, an NGO based in Toronto that promotes walking, cycling, parks and urban trails to improve the public life of cities.

“We need to build cities around people and not around cars,” he stressed. Continue reading

‘Snow Bomb’ Collapses 100s of Homes in S. Korea – Satellite Pix

More than 1 metre (three feet) last weekend – 50 cm more coming

The heaviest snowfall in more than a century on South Korea’s east coast is causing widespread chaos. Hundreds of houses have collapsed under the weight of the snow. One newspaper described it as a snow bomb. The South Korean government has deployed 12,000 soldiers to rescue stranded residents.

Warmer than normal ocean temperatures are being blamed. This is similar to the warmer Arctic ocean temps in late Dec that contributed to the big snows and cold in North America, UK and parts of Europe.

[Update: Great sat pix from NASA showing the entire eastern half of Korea covered in snow. See also pix of Southern USA blanketed in more record-breaking snow last week]

NASA reports: “The heavy snowfall arrived on the heels of South Korea’s coolest January since the 1960s. The unusual cold might have been driven at least partly by the Arctic Oscillation (AO). A negative phase of the AO lowered temperatures in other parts of the Northern Hemisphere in January 2011.”

See also:

Arctic Defrost Dumping Snow on U.S. and Europe

The Great Groundhog’s Day Blizzard – Worst Winter Storm in 60 Years

Arctic Sea Ice Record – New Satellite Image