Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Norman Mineta: U.S. Needs High-Speed Rail

In a video interview with the website The Railist, former U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta touted the economic benefits of bullet trains and warned that the United States is rapidly falling behind other nations in developing a high-speed rail infrastructure.

Here is the video:

Video: Building the Chevy Volt

Video of the new plug-in electric hybrid Chevrolet Volt being built from start to finish at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant in Michigan, United States of America.

And today General Motors announced they are adding 1,000 jobs in electric vehicle development. These will be engineers and researchers based in Michigan who will help develop hybrids into electric vehicles with extended range, like the Chevy Volt.

And it has been a good week for GM on the awards front, as the Volt was named 2011 Motor Trend Car of the Year.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Video: D.C.'s First Curbside Charging Station

Here is video of D.C.'s unveiling of its first curbside electric vehicle charging station at 14th and U Streets Northwest. That's a Chevy Volt being juiced up and driven by outgoing Washington Mayor Adrien Fenty.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pictures: Metropolitan Branch Trail

The 8-mile Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT) runs from Union Station in D.C. to Silver Spring, Maryland. As opposed to the popular Capital Crescent Trail, which runs from Georgetown to Bethesda, the MBT is lightly used, at least if the trip last Sunday on a brisk fall afternoon is any indication.

But the trail is one of the best kept secrets in our nation's capital. Much of it runs parallel to the CSX, Marc Commuter Line, Amtrak and Metro Red Line tracks northeast of Union Station. There are plans to connect the MBT to the seven Metro stations along the trail, and also to eventually connect the MBT to the Capital Crescent Trail, Anacostia Trails System and the East Coast Greenway.

There are long stretches of the MBT that run along lightly-used streets through historic neighborhoods like Brookland and Takoma Park. There are plenty of signs directing bikers such as the one pictured above, so you won't get lost while riding around the residential areas of Northeast Washington.

Here are pictures of the MBT.

The Capitol Dome can be seen in the distance and the New York Avenue Red Line Station can be seen just to the left of the Metropolitan Branch Trail.

The MBT is a smooth ride heading away from Union Station.
These trail lights are solar powered and use LED lighting.

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

The MBT runs right through the Brookland-CUA Red Line stop

Capital Bikeshare station next to Catholic University of America

Wonder where your trash goes? Well, if you live in the District it ends up at the Fort Totten Solid Waste Transfer Station. Basically the big landfill you see above.

The trail goes through historic residential neighborhoods such as this one.

A wide bike lane in the Fort Totten neighborhood of D.C.

The MBT runs through the city of Takoma Park, Maryland, just across the District line.

Takoma Park

Takoma Park

A Metro train passes on its way to Silver Spring.

The historic Silver Spring B&O Railroad station

Thursday, November 18, 2010

D.C.'s First Electric Car Charging Station

Our Nation's Capital is doing its part to ensure that the charging infrastructure will be in place for the electric vehicles rolling out of dealer parking lots soon.

Drivers of the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, Tesla Roadster and Model S, CODA and the Ford Focus Electric will already have one charging station in The District. Last Tuesday the city's first EV charging station was unveiled by outgoing Mayor Adrien Fenty, Department of Energy Undersecretary Cathy Zoi and District Department of Transportation Director Gabe Klein. It is located at the Franklin D. Reeves Center near 14th and U streets Northwest.

The station was built thanks to a $15 million Department of Energy grant that will make possible 4,600 charging stations around the country.

Click here for more pictures from the event.

More news headlines:

Philadelphia Eagles to Power Stadium with On-Site Renewable Energy
The Philadelphia Eagles has plans to power Lincoln Financial Field with a combination of on-site wind, solar and dual-fuel generated electricity, which would make it the world’s first major sports stadium to convert to 100-percent on-site renewable energy.

Task force seeks new Metro structure
A joint task force has determined that Metro's governance structure is outdated, lacks accountability and has "contributed to its decline."

Expanding pedestrian and bike safety to the whole District won’t be easy
On Monday morning, District Department of Transportation Director Gabe Klein sat at a dais at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments boardroom, next to the Dutch ambassador and other Netherlandish dignitaries. They were there to talk about how their country makes it easy to bicycle, before mobile workshops that would assess D.C.’s bike friendliness.

National Mall restoration moves forward
The heads of the Interior Department and National Park Service signed a final plan for the restoration and improvement of the National Mall on Tuesday, setting the vision for the 684 acres known as America’s front yard.

Potomac River report cites farms and forests
Here's what the troubled Potomac River needs to get healthy, according to a report released Thursday by a group devoted to protecting it: more forests and farmland to filter toxic rainwater.

Bus improvements coming soon
Electronic displays at bus stops, more dedicated bus lanes, bus priority at traffic signals, a new express bus route, and more improvements are all on the way, according to representatives from DDOT and WMATA.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bike Sharing in the Capital

I'm addicted to the Capital Bikeshare. So far I've used the bright red shiny bikes to have lunch in U Street and Georgetown, deposit a check at the credit union in McPherson Square, go to the gym in Golden Triangle and visit the dentist in Dupont Circle. According to my rental history log on the Capital Bikeshare website, my shortest trip was three minutes and my longest trip was 27 minutes, so I met the 30 minute time limit before the meter starts running. Therefore, my only bill so far has been the $50 annual introductory fee, which has since been raised to $75 for new members.

Here is a good video about how to use Capital Bikeshare:

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