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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Connecting Columbia by bike

      One of the  features of Columbia that attracted and retains many of us in Columbia are the biking paths that provide biking enthusiasts with a traffic free way to enjoy this activity as recreation.  But what if the paths could be designed and utilized as an alternative means of local transportation?  Some communities, such as Seattle, have created these biking venues.  To make this a reality will take some new visions for our community.  Tomorrow night Jennifer Toole will be addressing these issues in a discussion at Slayton House.  The following is the description of that event:

Hear Jennifer Toole – a nationally-recognized expert in bicycle and pedestrian planning and design on April 25, 7:30PM, at Slayton House as part of Columbia’s Community Building Speakers' Series*

A revolution is occurring across the country and that is a good thing! Cycling is on the rise and more and more communities are making investments to make cycling easier and safer. 
Come hear Jennifer Toole describe innovative communities across the US and how they are making way for bicycling. Last year we heard from Gil Penalosa about what’s going on in European cities. Now – on April 25 - come learn about communities in the US and their successes creating greenways, safe bike lanes, and other changes that make these communities more livable, enjoyable, and more economically competitive.
Jennifer Toole is the lead consultant for the Connecting Columbia project and founder of Toole Design Group.
The Twitter hashtag for this event is #CASpeakersSeries.

More About Our Speaker

Jennifer Toole is a national leader in multi-modal planning and design. She established Toole Design Group –a planning and engineering firm that specializes in bicycle and pedestrian planning and design. The firm is nationally-recognized for this expertise and has worked on bicycle planning, design, and implementation projects throughout the United States. This national experience is complemented by substantial local knowledge and experience in the Baltimore-Washington region. The firm’s body of work also includes national guidelines for bicycle and pedestrian facilities.  The firm has offices in Silver Spring, Boston; Seattle, and Madison. 
Toole, a Columbia resident, has been involved in several national publications, including the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Guide to the Planning, Design and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities, and AASHTO Guide for Development of Bicycle Facilities. Jennifer has authored content for the Federal Highway Administrations Coursebook on Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation, and Safe Routes to School Programs. Toole has served on many boards and associations including three terms as the President of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals. In addition, she has volunteered her time and expertise to organize Walk to School Day at her children’s elementary school in Columbia.
Jennifer Toole has a Bachelor degree (Cum Laude) in Environmental Design in Landscape Architecture from North Carolina State University (1990). She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planner (AICP) and the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).


Want to know what will happen if the Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Health Care legislation?  This AP report has some information:

Business can't and won't take care of America's 50 million uninsured, but for the majority with coverage, here's what experts say to expect:
- Workers will bear more of their own medical costs as job coverage shifts to plans with higher deductibles, the amount you pay out of pocket each year before insurance kicks in. Traditional workplace insurance will lose ground to high-deductible plans with tax-free accounts for routine medical expenses, to which employers can contribute.

- Increasingly, smokers will face financial penalties if they don't at least seriously try to quit. Employees with a weight problem and high cholesterol are next. They may get tagged as health risks and nudged into diet programs. - Some companies will keep the health care law's most popular benefit so far, coverage for adult children until they turn 26. Others will cut it to save money.
- Workers and family members will be steered to hospitals and doctors that can prove to insurers and employers that they deliver quality care. These networks of medical providers would earn part of their fees for keeping patients as healthy as possible, similar to the "accountable care organizations" in the health care law.
- Some workers will pick their health plans from a private insurance exchange, another similarity to Obama's law. They'll get fixed payments from their employers to choose from four levels of coverage: platinum, gold, silver and bronze. Those who pick rich benefits would pay more. It's an approach that Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the GOP budget leader, also wants to try with Medicare.
"Employers had been the major force driving health care change in this country up until the passage of health reform," said Tom Billet, a senior benefits consultant with Towers Watson, which advises major companies. "If Obamacare disappears ... we go back to square one. We still have a major problem in this country with very expensive health care."

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