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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Car Exhaust -- or Poverty? Can the two be separated?

Disruptions in organized traffic flow can crea...Image via Wikipedia

Interesting study here positing a link between a new mother's residence, the amount of traffic-generated pollutants in that area, and premature babies and preeclampsia. Having read only the blurb and not the study, can't say for sure, but they don't seem to have had the ability to separate the effect of poverty (which also leads to a plethora of natal health issues).

Although that's a problem from a scientific point-of-view, it's not much of a practical difference, because there is one thing that is true in every city in America: it's the poor who get to live near the busy roads, thick with autosmog. Bad air quality from car and truck exhaust is something that we carefully protect wealthy neighborhoods from.

Just like with the proposed "Salem River Crossing." The object with this boondoggle is provide an even greater subsidy for driving to the wealthy, mainly white commuters in Polk County and beyond by giving them yet more lane miles ---although at the cost of carving a huge chunk out of several NE Salem neighborhoods and turning them into blast zones for a torrent of cars that will zip through, leaving only pollutants, the occasional hubcap, and the odd maimed pedestrian behind. Nobody in ODOT or any of the local governments give a rip about the people in NE Salem, many of whom are Hispanic -- perfect targets, in other words, for yet another sprawl project built atop the homes of the poor, as is the American way.
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Want to stump a Senator?

It's increasingly hard to stump politicians; when they don't know something, they drop back into campaign buzzword blather and drown the question in a torrent of content-free words. But if you want, you can go see Jeff Merkley and ask him why Congress keeps pumping money into propping up carburbia and highways, as if there's no rush to prepare for a much lower energy future. Dollars to doughnuts says you get some kind of non-responsive blather about biofuels, hybrids/ electric cars, "energy independence," and green jobs.

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley
Salem Town Hall Meeting

Monday, June 29, 2009
7:00- 8:00 P.M.

Chemeketa Community College
Bldg 2, Student Center, Rm 176
4000 Lancaster Dr. NE, Salem

This will be Senator Merkley’s first town hall in Marion County.
Bring your issues, questions, and suggestions.

Please join us! Questions: Call 503-362-8102

More bikey wonderfulness

Union Street Railroad Bridge, Salem, Oregon, U...Image via Wikipedia

Summer's here, and we're seeing more riders out on the roads! Check out some of the bicycling events and news in the Salem area! (h/t to Eric L. for this.)

Friday, June 26th
Breakfast on Bikes – East side of Union Street Railroad Bridge
Between 7am and 9am enjoy free coffee, fruit, and pastries on your bike commute! Thanks to Cascade Baking, the Coffee House Cafe, and LifeSource Natural Foods.
For more information, including summer schedule
Sunday, June 28th
Fairview Circuit Races
Bike racing right here in Salem! For complete details see link.
Wednesday, July 1
The Downtown Vision 2020 Bike & Ped Workgroup meets between noon and 1:30pm in the Pringle Community Hall.
Saturday, July 11
Special Bike Commuter and Safe Bicycling Workshop At the Salem Saturday Market. For more information see link.
Sunday, July 12
Trike and Hand Adaptive Bike Clinic Learn about hand-cycles, tricycles, recumbents! There are great bikes for everybody now, and a diamond-frame two- wheeler isn’t right for you, check out some of the options here.

Here’s a story on a three-wheeler club at a retirement community!
Every Saturday between 9am and 2pm
Salem Saturday Market Valet Bike Parking Ride your bike to the market and leave it with the bike valets while you shop! Friends of Salem Saturday Market hosts secure bike parking. Volunteers are also needed. Contact mikebikesu2 [at] gmail [dot] com
Every Sunday at 1:30pm
Salem Bicycle Club Introductory High Wheeler Rides
Check out Club riding! Every Sunday at 1:30 the Salem Bicycle Club offers "high wheeler" rides of approximately 25 miles and few hills. No rider left behind!
Every Thursday at 6:30pm
Salem Bicycle Club Family Rides
Every Thursday the Salem Bicycle Club offers a short ride of 10-12 miles for families. Bring the kids, the tandem, the tag-along!
Throughout July and August
Second annual Bicycle Count Project! Ring your bell at counters when you see them around the city. We still need volunteers! Help gather the data to inform planning, funding, and assessment. Click this to send an email if you're interested.
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