Amsterdam plans to appoint the world's first "bicycle mayor" this summer. The semi-official post will advocate for cycling concerns to city hall and community groups. "We need to keep promoting bike culture, to show that bikes are amazing," said Maud de Vries, co-founder of CycleSpace, an organization that advocates for bikes.
New York City's free Wi-Fi network, known as LinkNYC, is already coming online, and the city expects to replace 500 pay phones with smart kiosks by midsummer. The kiosks' connectivity will generate ad revenue to pay for themselves and will also allow for streamlined communication throughout the city.
Jersey City, N.J., will spend $300,000 over five years to help a parks coalition plant 5,000 trees. Separately, the free OpenTreeMap app will enable residents to identify and keep a record of trees and learn about needed maintenance.
Nature and health are linked, and there's a lot we can do to improve both, writes David Suzuki, an author and environmental expert. "[C]onnecting with nature is beneficial for physical and mental health. Caring for ourselves and the biosphere would pay many times over in improved health and happiness," he writes.
The Bay Area Bike Share program in San Francisco has announced plans for an expansion that will add another 1,500 bikes to the current 700 in the area. The first phase of the three-phase expansion will add 34 stations and 350 bikes to Berkeley, Emeryville and Oakland city centers.
Traditional methods for gathering public opinion research, such as telephone polling, are no longer effective, writes Adam Davis. City researchers are using online surveys and social tools to gather information that's demographically and statistically more accurate.
An improved training program has led to significantly higher retention rates for dispatchers in Grand Junction, Colo. Brett Loeb, administrative supervisor for the Regional Communication Center, said setting small, frequent goals is a better approach to training. He worked on prioritizing training goals, with a focus on teaching dispatchers to accurately identify a caller's location.
Emergency dispatchers are "the true first responders" but often go unnoticed and are underappreciated, says Martha Ellis, communications manager for the Escondido Police Department in California. She often reminds dispatchers that calls may become public later, which increases the pressure.
“Sometimes you have to be stern and raise your voice to get [callers] to focus, but it doesn’t always sound good,” she says. “It might sound ... rude. Sometimes it’s a matter of life and death. If I can’t get you to focus, I won’t be able to help your child or husband or wife.”
The Gonzales, La., City Council approved a budget for the next fiscal year with 2% pay raises for 145 city employees. The raises will help cover a $50 increase in monthly health insurance premiums.
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