>Illegally parked bicycles have always caused problems on Marie-Theresien-Straße —such as those which get parked over the street crossing guide system for the blind (!) or which get knocked into the pedestrians’ paths by the wind or what have you, but because banning bikes from the street would not be possible, the city had to rethink the solution. Hence, additional new racks for 300 bicycles, possibly more to follow. There are plans in the works for a new bike stand ordinance, which stipulates a certain number of spaces offered from businesses, figured out according to the number of employees they have. The ordinance should go into effect by the summer.
Innsbruck is also looking into a city rental bike system. Vienna and Salzburg already have CityBikes (in German), which can be borrowed from certain points throughout the city. One can obtain a bike at any station with ATM or credit card. The prices are extremely reasonable — the first hour is free, the second hour costs one euro, and then it rises somewhat.
Thirty-one windmills are planned for the Italian side of the Brenner mountain range, on the Sattelberg and the Sandjoch, right on an important route over the Alps for migratory birds. In migration periods, up to 5,000 birds fly over every hour. There is worry that several species of birds which reside in the area too will be affected.
Research has determined that the windmills are a massive danger for migratory birds (I am not up on the latest research findings here — I have heard opposing arguments from environmental groups in the past), therefor the regional environmental office has criticized the construction of windfarms there. However, Tirol can only offer its opinion in this case; the decision to build them or not will come solely from Italy.
Meanwhile, the catastrophe in Japan has several European countries re-thinking their commitment to atomic energy. Austria itself has no nuclear plants, but does get some of its energy from those in neighboring countries. Austria does have the advantage of hydro-electric power, what with all those rushing mountain streams. This too has recently been in the news because of a new 167-page document outlining the various criteria to be met when seeking permission to build one. Tirol, certainly in the lead in ecological matters, is far from perfect, but I commend it for its efforts.