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Actually, Apple’s shiny new office park isn’t that cool.

There’s been much high-profile gushing over the spaceship-in-Eden–themed campus that Apple spent six years and $5 billion building in Silicon Valley, but it turns out techno-utopias don’t make great neighbors.

“Apple’s new HQ is a retrograde, literally inward-looking building with contempt for the city where it lives and cities in general,” writes Adam Rogers at Wired, in an indictment of the company’s approach to transportation, housing, and economics in the Bay Area.

The Ring — well, they can’t call it The Circle — is a solar-powered, passively cooled marvel of engineering, sure. But when it opens, it will house 12,000 Apple employees, 90 percent of whom will be making lengthy commutes to Cupertino and back every day. (San Francisco is 45 miles away.)

To accommodate that, Apple Park features a whopping 9,000 parking spots (presumably the other 3,000 employees will use the private shuttle bus instead). Those 9,000 cars will be an added burden on the region’s traffic problems, as Wired reports, not to mention that whole global carbon pollution thing.

You can read Roger’s full piece here, but the takeaway is simple: With so much money, Apple could have made meaningful improvements to the community — building state-of-the-art mass transit, for example — but chose to make a sparkly, exclusionary statement instead.

[…]

If you build bike paths, cyclists will come

PEDAL POWER

If you build bike paths, cyclists will come

6 Nov 2014 8:11 PM

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Science says you should keep babies away from ledges and going bald is upsetting. The latest from the Journal of Duh: More people ride their bicycles when infrastructure makes it easier and safer to get around on two wheels.

The Obesity Society just publicized results of a study by University of North Carolina researchers examining how the development of the Minneapolis Greenway — an intercity system of bike freeways connecting the places where people live and work — affected commuters’ habits over a decade.

In short, folks who live near the off-road trails switched to cycling to work at a higher rate than people who don’t. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of U.S. bike commuters has increased 60 percent over the last 10 years. The shift to pedal power in Minneapolis has been even more pronounced: Bicycling among workers who live within three miles of the Greenway shot up 89 percent during the decade of data.

The study, led by TOS veep Penny Gordon-Larsen, is framed in terms of public health: “Active commuting” is associated with healthier hearts and weights; thus these findings support building bike-friendly transportation infrastructure as a useful instrument in the anti-obesity toolkit. Moreover, promoting cycling by adding bike lanes and bike paths contributes to other health-related advantages of urban bike-ability. As we’ve written about before, some research indicates that biking becomes safer as more people hop on their two-wheelers. Heck, bicycle-crazy Portland saw zero bike fatalities in 2013. Oh, and bicycle traffic jams don’t pollute the air we breathe, either.

So really, it’s not riding a bike that’s hazardous to your health.

Source:
Study Shows Bicycle-Friendly City Infrastructure in U.S. Significantly Increases Cycling to Work by Residents, Which Can Improve Health of Locals

, The Obesity Society.

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