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Baltimore named the 12th most energy efficient city

Baltimore was ranked No. 12 on a list of cities that make the best use of their resources and use less energy.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranks 34 of the most populous U.S. cities and ranks them according to how well their policies and actions advance energy efficiency. Baltimore was cited for its low transportation energy consumption per capita, shipping freight via rail and sea, and the city's goal to reduce energy consumption by 15 percent by 2015. 

Boston came in at No. 1, followed by Portland, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Austin.


Slate study says Baltimore drivers are the fifth worst in the nation

Baltimore recently cracked a Top 5 list, but don't cheer just yet—this list ranked cities with the worst drivers.

Slate/s Brian Palmer analyzed the years between traffic accidents, automotive fatalities, automotive fatalities that involved alcohol, and number of pedestrians struck by vehicles to come up with the list. Baltimore came in at No. 5. Miami came in a No. 1, followed by Philadelphia, Hialeah, Hawaii, and Tampa, Fla.

Palmer notes that Baltimore's traffic report card was weighed down by the sheer number of accidents that occur in the city per year, saying “Baltimoreans just can’t keep from running into each other.”

You can read the full article and see Palmer's data here.

Royal Caribbean cruise ship returns to Baltimore

USA Today reports that Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas cruise ship has beaten the heat, and returned to Baltimore Harbor this past week.
 
Royal Caribbean's Executive Vice President for Operations, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, tells USA Today  “we're back, and we're ready to provide loyal service to Baltimore city."
 
The Grandeur makes its return to the Harbor after six weeks of intensive repairs, prompted by a serious on-board fire in May. 
 
Royal Caribbean's Grandeur return comes just in time.  Carnival Cruises, a rival cruise line, recently announced it will end all services in Baltimore in 2014, due to the city's new, stricter anti-pollution policies.
 
Read more about Royal Caribbean's return to Baltimore here.
 

Baltimore named one the best cities to live without a car

A recent study published in CreditDonkey, a financial education website, ranked Baltimore among the best cities to live practically car free.

The website used three factors to determine the rankings: the percentage of people who commute to work using public transit, gas prices and commute time. 

Baltimore ranked ninth, ranking higher than Portland, Ore., but preceded by Los Angeles, Calif. According to CreditDonkey, Baltimore’s public transit system, including subway, light rail and buses, makes it easy for residents to get around the city and to and from the suburbs.

The top three cities to live car free were New York, N.Y., San Francisco, Calif., and Washington, D.C.

See the full list here.

Baltimore and DC High School Students to Debate Transportation Issues

It's another contest between Baltimore and the nation's capital. 

This time, it's a battle of wits between high school debate teams in each city on how the federal government should invest in transportation infrastructure.

The session will be conducted by the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues, writes the Transportation Research Board. The event takes place Jan. 16 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. 

You can read more about it here

Port of Baltimore Gets Cargo Boost Due to Sandy

Sandy has wreaked havoc on transportation all throughout the East Coast. 

Last week, we featured a link to a story on how cruise operations were disrupted at the Locust Point terminal due to the superstorm. 

Now, it seems that the storm has provided a temporary boost to the port, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal.

Cargo ships are bypassing New York and New Jersey due to Sandy. "Maersk Inc., the world's largest container-shipping company, has begun diverting its cargo to Halifax, Canada, Baltimore and Philadelphia," the Journal writes.

The story does note, however, that the Port of Virginia in Norfolk is the biggest beneficiary. You can read the entire story here. (A subscription is required.)



Hurricane Sandy Disrupts Port of Baltimore Cruise Service

Maryland residents who seeking refuse from the massive Category 1 hurricane that is pummeling the East Coast were out of luck this week. Flights out of BWI were cancelled and the Maryland Transit Administration is suspending light rail, subway and bus service.

And cruise passengers leaving out of the Port of Baltimore saw their vacation plans disrupted. 

"Passengers who boarded the Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas at the Port of Baltimore Friday evening looked forward to a five-night cruise to Bermuda," writes WBAL TV. "Instead, they left Baltimore five hours late for a ride to the lower Chesapeake Bay near Cape Henry, Va. The excursion became a 'cruise to nowhere' making no stops," the story says. The article was picked up by MSNBC.com. 

WBAL Radio Hosts Chat With BmoreMedia Writer Dara Bunjon

Last month, local food blogger Dara Bunjon wrote an extremely popular story that highlighted dining destinations on the Charm City Circulator Banner Route.

Mary Beth Marsden of 1090 AM WBAL Radio asked Bunjon how she got the idea for the story and to name some of the highlights of her culinary tour on wheels. The journey took her from Locust Point to the Inner Harbor. You can listen to the interview here

Bunjon authors the Dining Dish blog and is the Baltimore Dining Examiner for Examiner.com 

Environmental News Site Names Baltimore "Ideal" Travel Destination

A website that covers environmental news has recognized Baltimore as its destination of the week.

Mother Nature Network says Baltimore -- once a "victim of Rust Belt decay -- is now an "ideal East Coast destination."  The article highlights eco-friendly retail outlets, LEED-certified hotels and restaurants that serve dishes sourced from local farms.

"Like other aged East Coast cities such as Philadelphia and Boston, Baltimore has walkable historic sightseeing routes," Mother Nature Network writes. "These, coupled with the city's parks, markets and user-friendly transit options, make it a good addition to low-impact travelers' East Coast itineraries."

You can read the rest of the story here.

"Great Migration" Exhibit Coming to Baltimore

A new exhibit chronicling the "Great Migration" of African Americans from the South to the North will make a stop in Baltimore's Penn Station following a stint in DC.

From the source:

Amtrak is opening a new exhibit at Washington's Union Station to recount the history of the "Great Migration" of Southern blacks moving to the North early in the 20th century.

Between 1915 and 1970, about 6 million African Americans moved from the South to the North. Many left behind rural farm lives for job opportunities in industrialized cities. Many made the journey by passenger or freight train, which provided the connection for Amtrak.

Read the full story here.

Carnival Cruise Lines Extends Baltimore Deal

Carnival Cruise Lines recently agreed to a deal that will keep it operating from the Port of Baltimore.

From the source:

Carnival Cruise Lines will continue to offer cruises year-round from the Port of Baltimore.

The line agreed to an extension, which was announced Monday and is effective Aug. 31, after the current two-year contract ends.

Read the full story.

BWI Setting Records

Even in a down economy, traffic through BWI remains robust.

From the source:

Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is reaching passenger records despite the rough economy.

Data released Wednesday showed the airport marked its best first half of the year and 12-month period in its history.

BWI chief executive Paul Wiedefeld says 10.9 million travelers used the airport during the first half of the year, setting it on a path to exceed 22.5 million passengers this year. The airport has set monthly records in 13 of the past 14 months.

Read the whole story here
.

City Officials Address Grand Prix Traffic Concerns

Baltimore residents are understandably concerned about the logistical impact of the upcoming Grand Prix, and last week the city sought to allay some of the fear.

From the Sun:

The city's transportation director, Khalil Zaied, and his aides outlined a detailed plan for gradually shutting down streets in the area between the Inner Harbor and Camden Yards in the days leading up to the series of races from Sept. 2 to Sept. 4.

The event, the first of its kind in Baltimore, has involved the extensive reconstruction of some downtown streets much to the chagrin of many residents and commuters. But city officials say the event, which they expect will draw more than 100,000 visitors during a normally slow weekend, will more than make up for whatever aggravation it has caused.

Read the full story here
.

Port of Baltimore Still Going Strong

Michael Dresser at the Baltimore Sun reports on a recently released report indicating strong 2010 numbers for the Port of Baltimore.

From the source:

"From 2004 through 2008, the port handled more than 30 million tons of cargo each year, setting a record of 33 million tons just before the bottom fell out of the economy in late 2008. Tonnage fell by a third, to 22 million tons, in 2009 the port's lowest total this century.

The downturn proved short-lived, however, as the port handled 32.8 million tons in 2010, its second-best year. And 2011 is off to a healthy start, said James J. White, executive director of the port administration."

Read the full article here.

Fitch gives high marks to Maryland Transportation Authority bonds

Buying bonds to fix up Maryland toll roads, bridges and tunnels is apparently a safe investment.

That's according to Fitch Ratings Ltd., which assigned a AA- rating to the Maryland Transportation Authority's series 2010 transportation facilities projects revenue refunding bonds.

The bonds are secured by the net revenues of three bridges and three toll roads and two tunnels. Fitch assigns a AA rating to investments that have a very low default risk. "They indicate very strong capacity for payment of financial commitments," Fitch states.

You can read more about the bonds here in the Kansas City Star

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