Train through Austria

I like Austria. I like the idea of Austria. I wonder what it would be like to live here as more than a tourist.

One condition I look at is air quality. For me an AQI of 45 is high. It means I start to have a breathing problem.

One of the disappointing things is that while other cities are much worse, even Zürich is at or exceeding these levels. These are the levels where a visible smog begins to form. Eugene has these levels and surprisingly places like Salzburg also had these levels. It makes me wonder if this is in someways an accepted norm. My dad ended up in the hospital when I was in 6th grade for the in ability to breath when Frankfurt am Main had an inversion layer one Summer.

So I find it sad that these places that I think of as clean also face smog. It makes me wonder where it comes from. There are many more cars now than there were when I was a kid. Are cars by and large the major contributors? Or are there other factors?

As a thought experiment how expensive does travel, especially air and car travel, need to get to reduce the volume to the point that travel becomes as prohibitive as in the 1810’s? If horses were as valuable and part of the transportation cycle. electric trains are interesting as long as we thing about the source of the electricity, and the plastic on the inside of the cars.

In a systemic way if travel costs go up then what does that mean for tourism industry? If those industries collapse or shrink in size does the labor force move to farming? Facilitating tourism as a profession provides how much livelihood relative to what other options?

Capture of smog is hard via photos.

Industrial smog through manufacturing is not underestimated. But how many of the things manufactured currently would fall out of production with a reduction in travel?

In some sense it is not just the reduction in carbon emissions, rather it is a whole slew of gases and plastic compounds related to modern industrial processes and consumer centric design.

Sidewalk shade

While in Switzerland, one of the things I have appreciated has been shade on the sidewalk.

Building casting shade.

Shade is provided by a combination of trees and buildings, but what is interesting is that as crooked as the streets may be, there always seems to be some part of the sidewalk in the shade. This seems to stand in stark contrast to how sidewalks and road withstand are managed in the USA. One interesting component is perhaps the building height. Here in Switzerland the buildings are three to four floors above ground. Yet there seems to be plenty of sky, light, trees, and sidewalks in the shade. The shade factor is not something I’ve really seen considered in walkability scores for US property and city planning.

Shaded sidewalk.

Traffic circles & crosswalks

A Swiss crosswalk

One of the things that has irritated me quite a bit about crosswalks in Eugene has been their placement relative to intersections. If a driver is supposed to yield to pedestrians, then crosswalk should be extended away from a traffic circle, so that a stopping or yielding vehicle that stops for a pedestrian also does not at the same time I impede traffic in the traffic circle. The crosswalk in the image shown allows for a full bus length between the crosswalk and the traffic circle.

Staying fit

I’ve been checking out Apple fit while traveling in Europe. It has been very motivational. One night I went for a jog, another for a brisk walk just for the sake of closing rings.

I have found I get more steps in if I plan a reasonable distance between waffle sellers, ice cream shops, and French fries sellers.

Long Bike Rides

I'd like to do a Bike ride from Eugene, to Bend, OR via Willamette Pass on 58 and then return to Eugene via McKinnzie Pass on 126. 289 miles in total. Here is a map: . The thing is I will need water. When I did my trip from Sisters to Eugene a few years ago water management was my issue during the ride (as well as fruit acquisition).

Here are some links for Hydration systems I am gathering information on: