Can We Learn from China’s Stimulus?

As our own economic-recovery package moves through Congress, Streetsblog Network member Stimulus Bike looks at the massive stimulus spending on transportation being rolled out in China, which was analyzed in a recent New York Times article. Much of China’s money is going to high-speed rail, according to the Times:

3015770446_12d50b9a09.jpgStill on the bike in Beijing. Photo by Laura Conaway.

China will spend $88 billion constructing intercity rail lines, the
highest priority in the plan. It spent $44 billion last year and just $12 billion as recently as 2004, said John Scales, the transport coordinator for China at the World Bank….

Feng Fei, the director general of industrial economics at the policy research unit of China’s cabinet, the State Council, said that steep increases in railroad investments would create lasting benefits. The goal is to slow China’s dependence on personal cars and imported oil, to reduce air pollution and to relieve the annual shortage of seats on trains during Chinese New Year, when millions of people visit their families, he said.

Stimulus Bike also makes the point that despite the recent rise of the car in China, the nation’s people still rely heavily on bicycles for transportation. Obviously, the differences between our nations are many, but can we take some lessons from China’s vision for the future of mobility?

Speaking of bicycles as transportation, here are some hopeful signs on that front from elsewhere around the network: According to Pennsylvania blog Walk and Bike Berks County, a township planning commission in Denver, PA, is calling for developers of a new shopping center to provide "bicycle racks around the parking lot to accommodate …families who rely on bicycles for transportation." Kudos to the planning commission for recognizing that families can rely on bicycles for transportation.

Also, in Detroit, M-Bike.org notes that the city’s new mayor, Ken Cockrel — a cyclist who is committed to a green agenda — has fundamentally changed the city’s attitude toward bikes for the better. Cockrel came to office after the previous scandal-plagued mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, resigned. He’ll be running for election in a special primary this spring, and it sounds like he’s got a good shot at the livable streets vote.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Freight Rail, Streetcars Are Tops in U.S. DOT’s TIGER Chase

|
The Obama administration today announced the winners of $1.5 billion stimulus in highly competitive stimulus grants under the program known as Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER. Southeastern and midwestern freight rail projects were the day’s biggest winners, with urban streetcar projects also making a big splash. Freight rail in Chicago, where the CREATE […]

Making the Connections on Stimulus Spending

|
Lots of news from the Streetsblog Network today, some good and some not so good. Design New Haven has a thought-provoking piece about a recent argument from the Congress for the New Urbanism on how to target stimulus funding : According to the CNU, priority stimulus funding should be given to projects that enhance connectivity […]

Final Stimulus Bill Slaps Transit Riders in the Face

|
The final tally is in, and we now have a breakdown for transportation funding in the stimulus bill that President Obama will sign, barring some unforeseen turn of the screw. Via Transportation for America: $29 billion for highways and bridges $8.4 billion for transit $8 billion for high-speed rail $1.3 billion for Amtrak To compare […]

Lots of Work to Be Done in the New Year

|
As Inauguration Day gets closer, talk on the Streetsblog Network is turning back to the stimulus bill being pushed by the new administration. On Saturday, President-elect Obama once again talked to the nation about how he wants to pump federal dollars into infrastructure spending. And once again, while he singled out roads and bridges as […]

Onward to the Senate

|
Yesterday was a good day on Capitol Hill for the Streetsblog Network, as an amendment to the stimulus bill allocating $3 billion for public transit was passed by a voice vote on the floor of the House. Transbay Blog reminds us, though, that it’s no time to rest on our laurels: One chamber down, one […]

LaHood Talks Up Cities and Transit

|
Today on the Network, more uplifting commentary from Ray LaHood. Posting on his (still unfortunately-named) "Fast Lane" blog, the transportation secretary sings the praises of America’s cities as innovative economic centers, and pledges support for urban transportation systems and transit-oriented development. Photo: gravitywave/Flickr Because of the release of stimulus funds, cities will soon be humming […]