Environmental News Highlights – September 15, 2021


White House announces target of 20 percent aviation emissions reduction by 2030 – The Hill

Ida Damage Shows Need for Infrastructure Funding, Lawmakers Agree, But Divides Persist on Bills – AP

FAA Awards $100M to Develop Next Generation of Sustainable Aircraft Technology – FAA

Biden must appoint a climate justice champion to address fracked gas – The Hill (Opinion)


A Guide for Covid-19 Risk in Your County – New York Times

Pre-flight COVID testing drastically reduces risk of infection: study – The Hill


Lake Mead corridor option removed as I-11 public meetings continue – Las Vegas Review-Journal

Massive rail project at Port of Long Beach remains stalled as officials wait for federal approval – Long Beach Post

A Climate-Friendly Shift In Transportation Planning Would Bring Economic Benefits Too, A New Report Says – Colorado Public Radio


ETAP Podcast: Lower Rolling Resistance Cuts Emissions – AASHTO Journal

Report: CT not meeting emissions goals; Transportation to blame – Connecticut Mirror

Chevron to sell test batch of sustainable aviation fuel to Delta Air – Reuters

AG Healey Settles With School Bus Company Over Unnecessary Idling at New Bedford Schools; Launches Public Information Campaign to Curb Illegal Idling – Massachusetts Attorney General (Media release)


How Can Transit Deliver Urban Equity and Sustainability? – Government Technology

Black people are about to be swept aside for a South Carolina freeway – again – Washington Post

Matthew Tejada is keeping the EPA’s eyes on environmental justice – Grist

To Have or Have Not: When transformative mobility options are beyond the reach of underserved populations Thinking Transportation podcast


Getting Manufacturers to Help Pay for Recycling – CityLab

Floating Wetlands Planned for Inner Harbor to Revive Urban Ecosystems, Clean Water – Maryland Matters

‘Sink this project’: Emails show concern of environmental review on machine-gun range – Cape Cod Times


Lessons from the Rise and Fall of the Pedestrian Mall – CityLab


Scooter companies push back against proposed permit system in D.C. – Washington Post

UDOT grants Logan $4.1 million for pedestrian underpass – Herald Journal

Groundwork Jacksonville Breaks Ground On Emerald Trail – Resident Community News

Developers Offer Mobility Services to Lure Car-Free Renters – CityLab

Achieving sustainable cities: The link between Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) and road safety – MarketScreener

Pittsburgh Looks at New E-Scooter Rules After Complaints – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Exposure to traffic noise linked to higher dementia risk – British Medical Journal

Connecticut Launches Campaign to Alert Residents of New Pedestrian Laws – Connecticut DOT (Media release)


Racial Equity Addendum to Critical Issues in Transportation – TRB

Predicting, Managing, and Preparing for Disasters Like Hurricane Ida – National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine


Notice of Competitive Offer for Solar Energy Development on Public Lands – Bureau of Land Management (Notice)

Port Access Route Study: Northern New York Bight DHS (Notice of availability of draft report; reopening of the comment period)

Air Plan Limited Approval and Limited Disapproval, California; Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District EPA (Final rule)

Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC) Air Climate and Energy Subcommittee Meeting – October 2021 – EPA (Notice of public meeting)

FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance and Mitigation Planning Regulations – FEMA (Final rule)

FY 2021 American Rescue Plan Additional Assistance – FTA (Notice of Funding Opportunity)

Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, and Wild Bird Protection Act; Receipt of Permit Applications Fish and Wildlife Service (Notice of receipt of permit applications; request for comments)

Safety Program for Surface Mobile Equipment Mine Safety and Health Administration (Proposed rule; request for comments)

Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the Berth III New Mooring Dolphins Project in Ketchikan, Alaska – NOAA (Notice; issuance of incidental harassment authorization)

Floating Cabins – Tennessee Valley Authority (Final rule)

Connecticut DOT Raising Awareness about New Pedestrian Laws

The Connecticut Department of Transportation’s Office of Highway Safety has launched a new campaign to raise awareness about a new statewide pedestrian safety law that goes into effect on October 1.

[Above photo Of Asylum Street in Hartford, CT, via Wikimedia Commons]

Dubbed the Pedestrian Rules campaign, it seeks to educate residents about how that new pedestrian safety law expands the circumstances under which motorists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at marked and unmarked crosswalks not controlled by traffic signals or police officers.  

Currently, a driver must yield to a pedestrian, slowing or stopping as necessary, if the pedestrian has stepped off the curb or into the crosswalk. Under the new law, a driver must slow or stop as necessary if the pedestrian:

  • Is within any portion of the crosswalk.
  • Steps to the curb at a crosswalk’s entrance and indicates intent to cross by raising a hand or arm to oncoming traffic
  • Indicates intent to cross by moving any body part or extension of a body part into the crosswalk entrance, including a wheelchair, cane, walking stick, crutch, bicycle, electric bicycle, stroller, carriage, cart, or leashed or harnessed dog.

As under existing law, motorists who fail to yield at a crosswalk when required are subject to a $500 fine, the Connecticut DOT said.

Meanwhile, the act of “dooring” will also become illegal in Connecticut on October 1. That new law prohibits a person from causing physical contact between a vehicle door and moving traffic by (1) opening the door, if the moving traffic is traveling at a reasonable speed with due regard for the safety of people and property, or (2) leaving it open longer than needed to load or unload passengers.

“Across the country, we are seeing increased pedestrian fatalities and injuries,” said Joseph Giulietti, commissioner of the Connecticut DOT, in a statement.

“Nationally, we saw an unprecedented 55 percent increase in pedestrian deaths between 2009 and 2018,” he added. “And although we are seeing a small recent decrease, pedestrian fatalities recorded in 2018 and 2019 have not been this high since 1990.”

According to preliminary estimates released in June by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrian fatalities in 2020 totaled 6,205 – the same as 2019, the agency noted. Yet agency data indicates that the 2019 number is 44 percent higher compared to pedestrian fatalities recorded in 2010.

“This new pedestrian safety law is an important step to keep everyone safe, and ultimately save lives,” added Giulietti.

Concurrently, various states across the country are achieving significant reductions in pedestrian fatalities.

For example, while a report issued by the Governors Highway Safety Association in March showed pedestrian fatalities trended up in the first half of 2020, the report also noted how several state-directed efforts are successfully improving pedestrian safety.

That report found that pedestrian fatalities during the first half of 2020 declined in 20 states and Washington D.C. compared with the same period in 2019. Meanwhile, nine states – Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina – witnessed double-digit percentage and numeric declines in pedestrian fatalities in the first six months of 2020 compared to the same six-month period in 2019.

Based on analysis of 2017-2020 data, Arizona has experienced two consecutive years of declining pedestrian fatalities, while Delaware and Kentucky have experienced three consecutive years of declining pedestrian deaths.

GHSA’s report noted that most pedestrian fatalities occur on local roads, in the dark, and away from intersections – suggesting the need for safer road crossings and increased efforts to make pedestrians more visible through improved lighting and other countermeasures.

Kansas DOT Seeks Input on EV Charger Unit Placement

The Kansas Department of Transportation recently issued a request for information or RFI in advance of a request for proposals to install electric vehicle charging (EV) stations along the most traveled state highways.

[Above photo of an EV charging station by the City of Olathe, KS]

Through this RFI, the Kansas DOT said it seeks to receive input from “industry stakeholders and potential applicants” to help develop program criteria for awarding funding toward the installation of EV charging equipment to ensure “continuity of travel” across the state for travelers and commerce alike.

The agency added that it already has identified approximately 12 preliminary locations for the installation of Direct Current Fast Charging stations producing 50 kilowatts or more of power to improve public access to charging stations every 50 miles along primary corridors. Funding their installation would come from the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust, which made approximately $2 million available to Kansas for EV charging infrastructure needs.

“We want to work in partnership with the private sector to expand EV charging stations,” noted Kansas DOT Secretary Julie Lorenz in a statement. “This RFI is the first step in that process.”

This effort by the agency reflects the impetus of an executive order issued by President Biden on August 5 for 50 percent of all new passenger cars and light trucks sold in 2030 to be zero-emission vehicles, which includes battery-electric, plug-in hybrid electric, or fuel cell electric vehicles.

That dovetails with a plan also initiated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Environmental Protection Agency on August 5 to mandate an 8 percent annual increase in fuel efficiency for passenger cars and light trucks between model-year 2024 and 2026.

Shoshana Lew, executive director of the Colorado Department of Transportation, recently offered some state-level perspective on how to manage this transition to EVs – noting in a recent Environmental Technical Assistance Program or ETAP Podcast that state DOTs will play a “critical role” in helping electrify the nation’s transportation system.