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Archive for the ‘automotive’ Category

“Smart City” has become one of those inane buzzwords that can mean almost anything:

One of Bill Gates’ investment firms has spent $80 million to kickstart the development of a brand-new community in the far West Valley. The large plot of land is about 45 minutes west of downtown Phoenix off I-10 near Tonopah.

The proposed community, made up of close to 25,000 acres of land, is called Belmont. According to Belmont Partners, a real estate investment group based in Arizona, the goal is to turn the land into its own “smart city.”

“Belmont will create a forward-thinking community with a communication and infrastructure spine that embraces cutting-edge technology, designed around high-speed digital networks, data centers, new manufacturing technologies and distribution models, autonomous vehicles and autonomous logistics hubs,” Belmont Partners said in a news release.

Ronald Schott, executive emeritus at the Arizona Technology Council, says the land Gates’ company purchased is in a good spot, in part due to the proposed I-11 freeway, which would run right through Belmont and connect to Las Vegas.

Ex-urban car-centric development is the dumbest city imaginable. But it will have high-speed internet and “autonomous logistics hubs” so there’s that…

 

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The Disney Corporatocracy

Anaheim taxpayers are wondering why their city paid for a $108 million parking garage, but Disney gets to keep all the parking revenues:

They zoom into the six-story concrete structure, carloads of costumed kids, foreign tourists and graying baby boomers sporting Mickey Mouse ears, “Frozen” dresses and “Star Wars” backpacks.

The cash pours in too: Each vehicle pays $20 to park at the Mickey & Friends facility, $35 for a preferred space close to the escalators and elevators. Even if the parking garage fills just half its spaces, it would still generate more than $35 million in annual revenue and easily hundreds of millions of dollars over the life of the structure.

That money all goes to Walt Disney Co. The city of Anaheim, which owns the garage and spent $108.2 million to build it, charges the company just $1 a year for the lease.

More than 20 years after Anaheim agreed to pay for the parking facility as part of Disneyland Resort’s expansion, it has become a symbol of the city’s complicated and increasingly tense relationship with its biggest and most powerful corporate citizen.

 

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In January 2017, Fox News published a how-to video of driving techniques for plowing through crowds of protestors. “Study the technique; it may prove useful in the next four years” they advise. The video features scenes of motor vehicle violence set to the lyrics “Move Bitch Get Out of the Way.”

They silently removed web page today, but the internet remembers:

fox_nazis

 

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As a bicyclist, this makes me extremely nervous. The Tesla Model X has a convenience “feature” whereby the car door opens itself. It is very gee whiz, until this happens:

cardoor

And here is a video taken by a Tesla enthusiast as he discovers this feature:

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nrel

Our transportation system is this country’s biggest energy hog. You might think that the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) would know that better than anyone. But look where the lab is situated, way out on the Denver ex-urbs. This mammoth 1,800-car parking garage was built to accommodate all the employees driving. And boy the NREL is sure proud of their ‘energy-efficient” parking garage. Without a hint of irony they write:

It’s no secret that researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) do cool things — including finding new ways to capture energy from the sun and wind. But there’s nothing cooler than working on a parking garage, right?

The garage generates so much traffic that an entirely new access road had to be constructed to connect it with the I70 highway.

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This would be another “stand your ground” type law, only with cars instead of guns:

The North Carolina House of Representatives approved legislation in a lopsided 67-48 vote Thursday that would shield drivers from civil liability if they collide with protesters.

Opponents say the legislation is unnecessary and may give drivers the false impression they can maliciously run over activists. One Democrat warned it would make the state the butt of jokes about being full of “dumb rednecks.”

But Republican proponents, who sent the measure to the state Senate by a veto-proof margin, say recent encounters between activists and drivers makes the reform both sensible and necessary.

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Mere days after California legislators passed an historic gas tax increase, highway planners are already salivating over using the money to build new freeways:

From Hans-the-Fremont-Traffic-Czar:

“Perhaps the most exciting thing Senate Bill 1 provides for Fremont, Caltrans and all of Silicon Valley is the opportunity to finally get the State Route 262-Mission Boulevard connector between I-880 and I-680 upgraded to a full freeway. The concept being pursued is a below-grade expressway allowing traffic to pass through without stopping at the two signals at Warm Springs and Mohave.

“This corridor is practically congested 24/7 and uncorking this bottleneck should be a welcome relief for daily commuters to Silicon Valley jobs, Silicon Valley’s weekend warriors heading to Tahoe, and increasingly for truckers hauling shiny new electric vehicles emerging from the Tesla Motors factory.

“This project was previously thought as unfundable due to anemic levels of state funding, but SB 1 has changed that. There is now over $500 million available annually for improving congested corridors and freight corridors. I can’t imagine there are many more worthy highway corridors across the state for this investment than 262.”

The gas tax increase was sold as a way to close the maintenance deficit in California’s roads, not to build new highways.

Moreover, the SR-262 is the most useless highway project imaginable. It would blight the commercial district near the $1 billion newly-built Warm Springs BART station, while doing absolutely nothing to improve automobile congestion.

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