Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Most Dangerous Cities to Drive in the US!

Following the trend on "The most walkable" cities in the US and Brazil, I saw this today and decided to share.

No surprise for us, Florida is the most Dangerous place to drive in the US. We found out the hard way when we lived in Hollywood and later in Tampa, it's no joke, aggressive drivers at it's worse. Not to mention it is the least friendly place for pedestrians. I am not joking, we had cars speeding up to shoo us out of the way inside Grocery store's parking lot's marked crossing lanes. I almost got ran over more than once, freaking animals I tell you.

One surprise to me was to find out Florida is dangerous because of retired New Yorkers, who never drove before, because their state has a great mass public transportation system. When they arrive in Florida, there are no options, these older folks are forced to learn how to drive at an advanced age and you have what you have, complete chaos.

Older New Yorkers learning how to drive among recently arrived immigrants. Many immigrants were probably riding a donkey a month before they washed into the Florida beaches looking for a better life. You are just not likely to see Florida like highways in the hills of Colombia or in and around Haiti or Cuba.

Most of these immigrants are not granted drivers licenses, and there is NO public transportation available, so they have no option but to buy that old used Buick and start driving along the New York grannies, the drunk Spring Breakers ( from all over the country ) and the tourists from all over the world who are used to different traffic rules and also people from countries without a driving tradition such as many places in Europe.

MAYHEM, pure and simple, a very combustible and dangerous situation.

After living and driving in UBBER civilized New England we were in for the shock or our life time. Not to mention the infamous Florida speed traps that are the lifeline of many dusty little southern towns ( entire budgets ) scared all over the sunshine state. D

Don't even get me started on the rednecks favorite past time, speed traps!!! UGH!!!

I have to say, Oklahoma caught me completely by surprise. I had no idea it's such a dangerous place to drive, people drive super fast in Oklahoma with the ever inviting wide open spaces.  Besides that, the only thing that comes to my mind it's the generalized drinking and driving that I witnessed when I went to school in Oklahoma. But come on! That was 1989, and I was in High School. I just assumed all Americans drank themselves silly like that... :)
NO! You tell me, did people drink and drive like crazy in High School in your home states? Was that a sign of the 80's, or does it still happen?
I don't remember a large percentage of Irish last names in Oklahoma either...ok, just kidding... :)
Hey Sarah, do you have any idea why Oklahoma city and Tulsa would show such high fatality numbers? :)

15 Dangerous Cities for Driving

The 14th-most dangerous driving city: Birmingham, Ala.
The 14th-most dangerous driving city: Birmingham, Ala.
There are many ways one could gauge the danger of driving in a particular city, but this list uses the cities with the greatest number of vehicular deaths as a barometer of the danger level. U.S. cities with a population of 150,000 or more were up for consideration, using the most recent motor vehicle crash data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System and General Estimates System.

One particular region of the country, the South, is overrepresented, and within that region one state in particular sticks out like a panhandle: A full one-third of the cities in this list are in Florida. Why does Florida rank so badly? Some blame the high proportion of New York City expats—some driving for the first time in their lives — foreigners, tourists driving in unfamiliar territory, and senior citizens, not to mention spring breakers, who may have compromised vision or reflexes. Los Angeles didn’t make the most dangerous list, but had the most total fatalities overall, at 293. The city that’s the most dangerous for pedestrians, according to the data, is Pittsburgh, accounting for more than 50 percent of total fatalities.

Here are the 15 cities that ranked the worst

15. Oklahoma City, Okla.
Population: 551,789
Total fatality rate per 100,000 population: 13.41
Total fatalities: 74
Percentage of fatalities that were pedestrians: 13.5

14. Birmingham, Ala.
Population: 228,798
Total fatality rate per 100,000 population: 13.55
Total fatalities: 31
Percentage of fatalities that were pedestrians: 15.2

13. Tulsa, Okla.
Population: 385,635
Total fatality rate per 100,000 population: 14.00
Total fatalities: 54
Percentage of fatalities that were pedestrians: 18.5

12. St. Petersburg, Fla.
Population: 245,314
Total fatality rate per 100,000 population: 14.27
Total fatalities: 35
Percentage of fatalities that were pedestrians: 28.6

11. Jacksonville, Fla.
Population: 807,815
Total fatality rate per 100,000 population: 14.36
Total fatalities: 116
Percentage of fatalities that were pedestrians: 13.8

10. Lubbock, Texas
Population: 220,483
Total fatality rate per 100,000 population: 14.97
Total fatalities: 33
Percentage of fatalities that were pedestrians: 15.2

9. Memphis, Tenn.
Population: 669,651
Total fatality rate per 100,000 population: 15.08
Total fatalities: 101
Percentage of fatalities that were pedestrians: 11.9

8. Jackson, Miss.
Population: 173,861
Total fatality rate per 100,000 population: 15.53
Total fatalities: 27
Percentage of fatalities that were pedestrians: 18.5

7. Chattanooga, Tenn.
Population: 170,880
Total fatality rate per 100,000 population: 16.39
Total fatalities: 28
Percentage of fatalities that were pedestrians: 17.9

6. Salt Lake City, Utah
Population: 181,698
Total fatality rate per 100,000 population: 16.51
Total fatalities: 30
Percentage of fatalities that were pedestrians: 26.7

5. San Bernardino, Calif.
Population: 198,580
Total fatality rate per 100,000 population: 17.12
Total fatalities: 38
Percentage of fatalities that were pedestrians: 15.8

4. Little Rock, Ark.
Population: 189,515
Total fatality rate per 100,000 population: 17.94
Total fatalities: 34
Percentage of fatalities that were pedestrians: 26.5

3. Augusta-Richmond Co., Ga.
Population: 194,149
Total fatality rate per 100,000 population: 19.57
Total fatalities: 38
Percentage of fatalities that were pedestrians: 15.8

2. Orlando, Fla.
Population: 230,519
Total fatality rate per 100,000 population: 19.95
Total fatalities: 46
Percentage of fatalities that were pedestrians: 10.9

The most dangerous city to drive in: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The most dangerous city to drive in: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

1. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Population: 183,126
Total fatality rate per 100,000 population: 22.39
Total fatalities: 41
Percentage of fatalities that were pedestrians: 24.4

On the safer end of the spectrum, here are the 10 cities with the least fatalities per 100,000 population:

Arlington CDP (census designated place), Va. (0.48)
Vancouver, Wash. (1.23)
Moreno Valley, Calif. (1.57)
Rochester, N.Y. (1.93)
Spokane, Wash. (1.98)
Lincoln, Neb. (1.99)
Aurora, Ill. (2.33)
St. Paul, Minn. (2.50)
Omaha, Neb. (2.51)
Jersey City, N.J. (2.90)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Most Walkable Cities in the US!

I found this report on the most walkable cities in the US and thought you guys would enjoy it.
If there is one thing I love about a city is having the option to live "car free", Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil are definitely cities I know you can live without a car, and my biggest surprise was reading Meredith's Blog and finding out Brasilia can also be a "car free" city, I didn't even knew they had a subway system.
I have heard Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre are also pedestrian friendly and Curitiba is supposed to be one of the best, and actually a model for smart urban planning copied around the world.

America's Most Walkable Cities, 2011

By Jason Notte, The Street
August 3, 2011

Living within a quick drive of work, the store, school or public transportation is nice, but only having all of those items a few blocks away makes your neighborhood "walkable."
The people behind Walk Score, a Seattle-based service that rates the convenience and transit access of 10,000 neighborhoods in 2,500 cities, have spent the past four years judging the distance between residents and amenities and ranking places based on the results. That "walkability" led to the first set of rankings in 2008 and the use of those rankings by more than 10,000 cities, civic organizations and real estate groups in the years that followed.
Walk Score's ideal neighborhoods have either a main street or public space at the center, enough people to keep public transit running frequently and a good mix of housing and businesses. Parks and other public spaces make up a large part of the equation, as do amenities designed around pedestrians, nearby schools and workplaces and "complete streets" designed for pedestrians, cyclists and transit.
"Very often, you'll see a good pedestrian design with sidewalks and crosswalks that make a city more accessible and walkable," says Josh Herst, chief executive of Walk Score. "Even in cities that on the whole aren't that walkable, there are neighborhoods that are great places to walk."
A CEOs For Cities study based on Walk Score data insists that a walkable neighborhood adds an average $3,000 to a home's selling price. And University of British Columbia professor Lawrence Frank found that residents of walkable neighborhoods tend to be at least seven pounds lighter than their counterparts in more sprawling areas.
Here's a look at Walk Score's Most Walkable Cities of 2011 and the amenity-packed neighborhoods that made the difference:

5. Philadelphia
Walk Score: 74.1

Any tourist who's seen Independence Hall and stopped into a Wawa for Tastykakes and directions can tell you that the city's most walkable neighborhoods in Center City, the Old City and along the riverfront near Penn's Landing are some of the easiest to navigate in the country. What locals probably won't tell the average cheesesteak-chomping out-of-towner is just how easy it is to get around South Philly and its surrounding neighborhoods.

Philadelphia City Hall in America's 5th most walkable city.
Photo: flickr | bengrey

Except for the extreme northeast, southwest and northwest corners of the city, much of Philadelphia's fairly easy to get around. About 95% of the city is easily accessible by means other than a car, but it's just a matter of doing so.
There's no shortage of cars in this town, and the city's conflicted relationship with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority may have something to do with it. Septa's bus, subway, light rail and commuter rail services handled 327.6 million passengers this year, including travelers taking the airport line right into Center City. That's great and all, but it's still less than the ridership of a Boston MBTA that covers a city nearly one-third Philadelphia's size.

4. Chicago
Walk Score: 74.3

The city's broad shoulders aren't nearly as important as its broad sidewalks and bus and subway options when it comes to walkability.
The city's restaurants, theaters, shops and other amenities are closer and more accessible the nearer one gets to Lake Michigan. Lake View and Wrigleyville or West Town and Wicker Park are great place for living car free. Stray too far west or south, however, and you'll end up in the 4% of Chicago neighborhoods that need an automotive assist.

Chicago skyline in America's 4th most walkable city.
Photo: flickr | Bryce_edwards

The Chicago Transit Authority helps level the extremely wide playing field with buses and trains that helped roughly 515 million riders get through the city last year. That includes the throngs of tourists and business travelers flying into O'Hare and Midway and taking CTA trains into the city. Another 70.5 million riders who take the commuter rail in from the suburbs each day make a strong argument to keep the car under wraps until the snow stops falling.
The town can still be a mixed bag when it comes to getting around, however. If you're barhopping or looking for good Italian beef in Old Town, Lincoln Park or Near North Side, you won't have to stray far. If you're trying to make it to a play in Pilsen after a barbecue in New City, however, it's a crapshoot.

3. Boston
Walk Score: 79.2

Residents of the Back Bay, Beacon Hill, the South End and Fenway who feel they weren't built for cars can sleep soundly knowing their neighborhoods weren't either.
It's easy to get to just about any point in this city without ever sitting behind the wheel of a car because the city's first residents needed it to be that way. The winding streets Mayor Thomas Menino calls "cow paths" were often just that. The city's Colonial-era survival was based on its density, residents' proximity to goods and services and the ability to get those goods home without carrying them a great distance.

Boston skyline in America's 3rd most walkable city.
Photo: flickr | Manu_H

"Cities that were largely built in World War II and post-World War II were built with the car at the center of them," Herst says. "When you think about cities like Boston and New York City, at least at the center of them, they were built into meaningful metropolises before the car."
The oldest subway system in America has helped make it easier for Bostonians to get from place to place, but T riders disenchanted with the aging system might prefer pulling cattle. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority moved more than 373 million riders through its light rail, commuter rail, ferries and buses last year, with 149 million of those riders taking a subway that has had portions running since 1897.

2. San Francisco
Walk Score: 84.9

Walk Score considered it the most walkable city in America back in 2008 and it probably still would be if more New Yorkers weren't paying exorbitant sums for shoeboxes in SoHo or "lofts" with a few hundred feet on the Lower East Side.
There hasn't been a whole lot of change since then, which is just how residents who've tried to minimize car-related change like it. San Francisco's compact, concise layout didn't take the car into consideration when it was incorporated in 1850 or after it was rebuilt following the 1906 earthquake. Even while the rest of America was having a love affair with the car during the 1950s, local protesters were busy stopping freeways from running through town.

S.F.'s 'Painted Ladies' in America's 2nd most walkable city.
Photo: flickr | Paul Lowry

As a result, 17 of its neighborhoods rank among the top 150 most walkable in the country, with Chinatown and the Financial District sitting behind only New York's TriBeCa, SoHo and Little Italy. Only 1% of the city lives in areas dependent on cars.
This has made the city's mass transit especially vital. Despite the expense and lack of deals for monthly passes, the Bay Area Rapid Transit subway system carried more than 100 million passengers last year and the San Francisco Municipal Railway took on another 209.5 million. That doesn't include other commuter rail and bus service from Silicon Valley and elsewhere that added more than 20 million riders to the mix. San Francisco might want to consider clamoring for a walkability recount.
"The margin is very small," Herst says. "Both cities are very walkable and we're calling on our community to vote for the city they think is more walkable to help break the virtual tie."

1. New York
Walk Score: 85.3

Manhattan's 16 miles long and two miles wide and has been walkable since the days when the only other transportation option involved an animal. Densely packed areas such as Brooklyn's Fort Green, Park Slope and Carroll Gardens and Bay Ridge, Queens' Sunnyside and Astoria/Long Island City and the South Bronx, University Heights and Fordham neighborhoods in the Bronx are giving Manhattan a run for the money thanks to tightly packed areas that are only increasing in density.
"New York's narrow move past San Francisco in the 2011 ranking is largely a result of updated census data," Herst says. "There are more people living in more walkable neighborhoods in New York."

N.Y.'s Central Park in America's most walkable city.
Photo: flickr | ZeroOne

The Metropolitan Transit Authority is feeling every bit of that growth, too. Last year, the MTA moved more than 3.2 billion riders with its buses and subways, with more than two-thirds of that total riding the rails. That doesn't even count the 81 million commuter rail riders taking the Metro-North, another 95 million on the Long Island Railroad, 4.3 million on the Staten Island Railway and millions more coming in on New Jersey trains.
Not only is the overwhelming majority of New York eminently walkable, but only 2% of all New Yorkers live in neighborhoods that require owning a car.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Same Sex Marriage in the USA

Originally Posted at Forbes


Personal Finance 

It’s Time To Stop Fighting About Same-Sex Marriage
Aug. 4 2011

Six states and Washington, D.C. allow same-sex marriage. But 13 others permit civil unions or domestic partnerships.
The nationwide campaign to legalize same-sex marriage is the civil rights battle of the 21st century. Opponents are going to lose. So like trial lawyers who settle cases on the courthouse steps, they should abandon this wasteful fight.
Same-sex marriage is here to stay. Six states and Washington D.C. allow it. Another 13 states (see map, above) permit “domestic partnerships” or “civil unions” to provide gay couples with varying degrees of rights.
Yet under the current system, marrying does not put same-sex couples on equal financial footing. Whether they are concerned about health insurance, taxes, property ownership or being parents together, planning for a gay couple poses special challenges. My recent article for Forbes magazine, “Married, With Complications,” provides a rundown of practical issues.
Under federal law, same-sex married couples aren’t getting all the legal benefits that opposite-sex married folks enjoy. They aren’t entitled to each other’s Social Security benefits, can’t sponsor each other for citizenship and aren’t covered by the law that protects a spouse’s right to a company-sponsored retirement account, for example. Yet like heterosexual couples they take on the financial burdens that come with marriage, including the obligation each spouse has to support the other if one loses a job, becomes disabled or runs up big medical bills not covered by insurance.
The gross inequities are reminiscent of earlier battles, which led to passage of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote (1920);  the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education that segregated schools are unconstitutional (1954), and another high court case — aptly named Loving v. Virginia — that abolished state laws against interracial marriage (1967). Have we learned nothing from our own history?
If you think some arcane, antiquated law is to blame for today’s civil rights violations, guess again: the groundwork was laid during the Clinton Administration, in the federal Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 (DOMA). It defines marriage as a “legal union between one man and one woman.” In 40 states there are mini-DOMA laws, meaning that state law or the Constitution bans same-sex marriage. Ironically, in eight of these states politicians reached quirky compromises that still permit domestic partnerships or civil unions.

This state of disunion can wreck havoc with the lives of same-sex couples, says Virginia F. Coleman a lawyer with Ropes & Gray in Boston. One issue is how to get out of a marriage if state law requires residency and you either are no longer a resident of the state where you married or never have been one. Most courts have refused to grant divorces in such circumstances. Problems can also arise with enforcing rights to child custody and alimony, Coleman notes. DOMA says that states can disregard the marriages of same-sex couples (and presumably all the commitments that go with it), even if they got legally married in another state.
Various lawsuits challenging DOMA are winding their way through the courts. But even if they succeed in overturning the federal law, states will still be left to their own devices and the trouble will persist. To end it, we need a constitutional amendment prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.
It’s not just the politicians who are holding us back. A more profound problem is the people who elected them. They range from religious zealots to folks who understand the civil rights issues but have admitted to me privately that they “have trouble getting used to the idea” of same-sex relationships.
Where some people see controversy, forward-thinking advertisers have identified business opportunities, as noted in my post, “Same-Sex Weddings Inspire Creative Ad Campaigns.” It includes a slide show that Forbes staffers put together, of ads that appeared around July 24, when the Marriage Equality Act took effect in New York. On that day, 659 same-sex couples picked up licenses in New York City and 484 tied the knot at marriage bureaus.
At the time my husband and I were in Vermont, visiting our son Jack, 14, at sleep away camp. I happened to be standing outside the dining hall when the news was read aloud during breakfast — a daily camp tradition. Following the announcement that same-sex marriage is now legal in New York, campers and counselors broke into cheers.
Their reaction speaks volumes about what’s ahead. Starting in nursery school, Jack has had classmates who came from families with two mommies or two daddies. He doesn’t see any reason why same-sex couples should not be able to get married. If we don’t put an end to the huge civil rights violations, his generation certainly will.

Posso ser seu amigo? - Can I be Your friend? (Legendado)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Metrô São Paulo-São Paulo/Subway


Sao Paulo's integrated Metropolitan Transportation system

HERE you can see more videos and pictures of Sao Paulo's subway and metropolitan train systems.

HERE you can find maps and more information on the Sao Paulo subway system and it's plans for future expansions.

Sao Paulo is changing very quickly. Faster than I can keep up with, principally the subway system.
In recent years, the subway has expanded into many new neighborhoods and if you ask me, there is a lot of redundancy.
In my opinion, there are some areas of the city that needed subway much before the areas where they are expanding into right now. For example, Barueri (Alphaville), Osasco, Guarulhos ( International Airport ), Santo Andre, Sao Caetano do Sul e Sao Bernardo do Campo ( MY BIRTH PLACE :) ) are all large cities in the Sao Paulo metropolitan region that needed subway right now, so the hundreds of thousands of motorists from these cities that drive into Sao Paulo everyday for work could leave their cars home and take the subway, these large cities alone probably dump around 1 million cars in the city of Sao Paulo everyday, that is a top priority if you ask me.
But the mentality is still taking the buses out of the street ( which is also a good idea ), so they are building subway to replace the bus, not the car, at least not yet.
They haven't been focusing on forcing car drivers to take the subway yet. A must if my opinion.
Having said that, I have to admit that they are doing a fantastic job with the new subway lines.
Super modern, clean and efficient is their trade mark.
Paulistanos have always been super proud of their subway, people won't litter and their are cameras everywhere, so even if they do behave badly, they will get in trouble.
The subway in Sao Paulo is squeaky clean, super safe, fast and reliable, the proud and joy of our city.
It's not an accident or a coincidence, there is a lot of hard work and very well paid employees.
I have friends who graduated from Law School and gave up their law careers for a great paying, stable job at Sao Paulo's subway. They are considered a state company, so the retirement benefits are also very attractive.
Public workers in Brazil retire with their full pay, or 100% of their current salary and receive premium health insurance for life and have a super powerful union.
It sure beats any job in the private sector.
Now elected the BEST SUBWAY SYSTEM in the AMERICAS. How awesome is that?
So I decided to post a short video to give you a sneak peak of Sao Paulo's awesome subway system.