Watercooler: It’s a cool, cool, cool summer

Well well what a week! We were busy this week launching a slew of new projects – check out Fitzgerald, Nerd Bus and bikeplanner.org. While all those projects were coming together, we kept abreast of news from the outside world. With this staff that never shuts their traps, in our fine city that never sleeps, there was a lot of chatter about what was going on in the outside world.  Here’s what we were chatting about.

+ More Subways! Better Buses! More MetroNorth branches! Better intra-island LIRR service! A subway to the sea! BRT over the Tappan Zee! A subway to LaGuardia! Better crosstown buses! Sleeker trains! Better fare collection! Do you have better ideas on how to improve transportation in the NY / NJ / Connecticut region? Submit your ideas for good ways to spend the approx $25 billion in transpo funds coming to the region on the NYMTC’s new ideas websitevia NYMTC

+ Corporations are exploiting the loophole in Sao Paulo’s ban by commissioning murals and then surreptitiously slipping their logos into themvia adage

Can you spot the embedded logo?

+ Ever wonder just how many people are biking over a given bridge? Check out PDX’s bike counter on the Hawthorne Bridge. Where will you like to see a bike counter in your city?  Voice up in comments! via streetfilms

+ Easy access: Simply dial 1-888-907-6886 to find out how your representatives are voting on bills and raising campaign money. You can also be connected with your lawmakers’ Capitol Hill offices or get details on where to vote on Election Day. Call on Congress is another great project from the Sunlight Foundation.

+ The commuter transit tax break not only is coming back, it’s going back in time, to retroactively cover expenses from the period the tax had elapsed and not been renewed. Thank you very much Senate Finance Committee. Now give us a Nerd Bus and we’ll be happy. via APTA.

+ Web designers – check out the cicada principle, coined by Alex Walker, for getting organic looking repeating patterns. via designfestival

+  Are there more cost effective ways to determine usability than by doing traditional user testing? Devan Goldstein sure thinks so. Two processes, expert review and heuristic are taking designers Beyond User Testingvia alistapart