UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has named the next rounds of winning cities in the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge. Winning cities, of which half have now been selected, will be awarded with resources and technical support to help achieve ambitious climate goals.
Mayor Bloomberg joined Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto in West End Overlook Park on October 21 to announce Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington D.C. as the latest of winning cities. Just last week, in Los Angeles on October 17, Bloomberg joined Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) President Rhea Suh at the Griffith Park Observatory in recognizing Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and Portland as the second set of selected cities for the Climate Challenge. These cities join Seattle and Atlanta, which were announced in September.
“The response to our Climate Challenge was overwhelming,” said Bloomberg. “Cities all across the country put forward thoughtful and innovative proposals. Selecting the ones with the most ambitious goals – and the most realistic plans for reaching them – was not easy. With Washington asleep at the wheel, cities need to step up in the fight against climate change – and these cities are leading the way,” added Bloomberg.
The District is designating curbside space for ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft at locations across the city — an effort to reduce the number of vehicles that stop to pick up and drop off passengers in bike lanes, crosswalks and travel lanes.
The District Department of Transportation is adding the pickup and drop-off zones at five entertainment hot spots where visitors are dependent on the services to get around. Those sites are the nightlife hub of 14th and U streets, the National Zoo and Georgetown in Northwest, the Wharf waterfront development in Southwest and Union Market in Northeast.
The 24-hour-a-day zones will also be used for commercial loading, officials said. They are expected to go live later this year, following a public comment period and the installation of signs.
On Tuesday, Lyft offered a glimpse of its brand-new self-driving car. It’s a Ford Fusion hybrid sedan with technology designed and built by the ride-hailing company’s in-house team of autonomous vehicle engineers. Lyft also announced the acquisition of Blue Vision Labs, a London-based augmented reality startup that uses computer vision to process street-level imagery.
Washington, DC and Ford announced an autonomous vehicle (AV) partnership on Monday, a move the pair hopes will also impact areas such as workforce development.
At a press conference, officials said Ford’s AVs will be tested across the District starting as early as the first quarter of next year, with a goal of deploying a commercial AV service in 2021 that could include ride-hailing and food and package delivery. DC joins Detroit, Miami and Pittsburgh as Ford AV test cities.
“Both Ford and district officials are committed to exploring how self-driving vehicles can be deployed in an equitable way across the various neighborhoods that make up Washington, D.C., and in a way that promotes job creation,” Sherif Marakby, CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, wrote in a Medium post.
The nation’s capital early next year joins a roster of cities across the country where self-driving cars are being tested amid the real-world conditions of everyday commuter traffic.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Monday that Ford Motor Co. will deploy a fleet of up to 10 self-driving, or semiautonomous, vehicles in the city in February as part of the automaker’s nationwide push to test driverless cars. In the city’s pilot program, the high-tech autos will aim to carry passengers and make deliveries across the city by 2021, officials said.
Supporters of self-driving cars say the artificial intelligence that controls them will remove human errors that cause accidents.