Cities declare war on cars as more auto bans stop traffic

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New York City fired the latest salvo in the war against automobiles Wednesday.

 The City Council passed a $1.7 billion plan that will fundamentally change how the citizens of the Big Apple bike, bus, and walk through Manhattan, Queen, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island. The five boroughs in the next five years will see the building of 250 miles of protected bike lanes, 150 miles of dedicated bus lanes and create additional pedestrian plazas.

Two weeks ago, San Francisco unveiled a $604 million project to ban cars from their busiest thoroughfare, Market Street, where a half-million pedestrians walk on what is one of the most dangerous streets for traffic accidents, executive director of Walk San Francisco Jodie Medeiros recently told Curbed San Francisco

“It’s a war on cars, number one, bottom line,” Car Coach and automotive industry expert Lauren Fix told FOX Business. “It’s what’s called a road diet, restricting roads to force people to use mass transit, which is horrible! It’s filthy, never not on time, not in the U.S. at least, and it’s not safe. The city allows pan handlers and drug addicts to sleep on the trains and beg for money. I’ll take an Uber or a cab before I take public transportation.”

Continue reading… “Cities declare war on cars as more auto bans stop traffic”

We pit the Uber Copter vs. public transit in a race to JFK — here’s who won

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One is a bumpy, deafening and slightly nauseating way to get to John F. Kennedy Airport — the other is public transportation.

The Post put Uber’s new helicopter shuttle to JFK to the test, racing the car-sharing company and its chopper from Midtown to the hub against old-fashioned New York City Transit — which proved three minutes swifter at a sliver of the price.

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Four years in startups

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Life in Silicon Valley during the dawn of the unicorns.

The first time I looked at a block of code and understood what was happening, I felt like a genius.

Depending on whom you ask, 2012 represented the apex, the inflection point, or the beginning of the end for Silicon Valley’s startup scene—what cynics called a bubble, optimists called the future, and my future co-workers, high on the fumes of world-historical potential, breathlessly called the ecosystem. Everything was going digital. Everything was up in the cloud. A technology conglomerate that first made its reputation as a Web-page search engine, but quickly became the world’s largest and most valuable private repository of consumer data, developed a prototype for a pair of eyeglasses on which the wearer could check his or her e-mail; its primary rival, a multinational consumer-electronics company credited with introducing the personal computer to the masses, thirty years earlier, released a smartphone so lightweight that gadget reviewers compared it to fine jewelry.

Technologists were plucked from the Valley’s most prestigious technology corporations and universities and put to work on a campaign that reëlected the United States’ first black President. The word “disruption” proliferated, and everything was ripe for or vulnerable to it: sheet music, tuxedo rentals, home cooking, home buying, wedding planning, banking, shaving, credit lines, dry-cleaning, the rhythm method. It was the dawn of the unicorns: startups valued, by their investors, at more than a billion dollars. The previous summer, a prominent venture capitalist, in the op-ed pages of an international business newspaper, had proudly declared that software was “eating the world.”

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The Big Apple is getting tough on biased AI

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New York City has a new law on the books demanding “algorithmic accountability,” and AI researchers want to help make it work.

Background: At the end of 2017, the city’s council passed the country’s first bill to ban algorithmic discrimination in city government. It calls for a task force to study how city agencies use algorithms and create a report on how to make algorithms more easily understandable to the public.

Rubber, meet road: But how to actually implement the bill was left up for grabs. Enter AI Now, a research institution at NYU focused on the social impact of AI. The group recommends focusing on things like making sure agencies understand the technology better, and providing a chance for outside groups to look at algorithms.

Why it matters: The federal government has fallen way behind in setting up rules or guidance for AI. What happens in New York could lead the way for the rest of the US.

Via Technology Review

 

Flying taxi to travel from Boston to New York in 36 minutes

A private transportation company seeks to offer a new form of travel connecting Boston and New York in under an hour.

Boston-based Transcend Air Corporation is developing the Vy 400, a six-seat, vertical take-off and landing aircraft. “It takes off and lands straight up and down,” the company said of the aircraft’s design. “This means we don’t need runways and airports. We’re able to depart and arrive right in major city centers.”

The company says the prototype can travel more than 400 miles per hour – three times faster than traditional helicopters – cost less to operate and offers a quieter ride than a helicopter. Continue reading… “Flying taxi to travel from Boston to New York in 36 minutes”

Urgent-care facilities are surging in popularity nationwide

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They are popping up in many neighborhoods, replacing former bank branches or closed supermarkets, and they’re bringing a new script to medical care.

Urgent-care facilities are a hybrid between the local doctor’s practice and the hospital emergency room.

Urgent care is now an $18 billion industry, with some 8,125 centers around the country, making it a small but growing part of the overall $3.4 trillion medical spending in the US in 2017.

The industry has a projected annual growth rate of 6 percent, or about 400 to 500 new facilities a year, according to the trade group Urgent Care Association.

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Illegal drone use over New York City is steeply rising

Drone Racing Event Held On New York City's Governors Island

Within a single year, illegal drone sightings in New York City have increased by 68 percent.

When New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo vowed to establish the state’s first drone-testing corridor, this is probably not what he had in mind. New York City has seen an increase in illegal drone use of 68 percent from the first three quarters of 2016 compared with the same period in 2017.

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Could congestion pricing finally work for New York City ?

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Worsening traffic in New York City is a personal inconvenience, an environmental blight, and an economic drag—possibly to the tune of $20 billion. That’s the latest projection by the Partnership for New York City of how much the metro area stands to lose for each the next five years, if nothing is done to unjam cars.

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Neglected New York City phone booths converted into communal libraries

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A phone booth with a new purpose.

The days of the phone booth may be numbered in New York City: with the flood of smartphones, vandalism and lack of maintenance, it may be time to re-think how else they might be used. Local architect John Locke’s proposition is to convert them into communal libraries or book drops, complete with brightly coloured shelving, much like your bricks-and-mortar institutions…

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