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With this success behind him, the mayor turned to the problem of public transportation.

hirashin

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Dear native English speakers,
Would (a) and (b) have almost the same meaning?
(a) With this success behind him, the mayor turned to the problem of public transportation.
(b) After this success, the mayor turned to the problem of public transportation.

Thanks in advance.

Hirashin
 

hirashin

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Here's the original text. I'd be glad if you'd read through it and give some comments.  

The Miracle of Curitiba

Have you heard of Curitiba? It’s a city in Brazil that has drawn attention from around the world for its innovative approach to the environment.
-1-
The city of Curitiba in the southern part of Brazil had a population of 1.8 million as of 2010, making it the seventh largest city in the country. Curitiba is home to a large number of Japanese immigrants. In fact, there is a replica of Kyoto’s famous temple Kinkakuji there, together with a traditional Japanese garden.

This city has attracted the world’s attention as a city with a sustainable ecology. In the 1960s, Curitiba had a population of 600,000 and, like many other large cities, was suffering from common urban problems. The problems ranged from traffic congestion and poor public transportation to a lack of parks and green space. But Curitiba has solved many of these by adopting excellent city planning. In 1964, Curitiba’s city council held an open competition to invite ideas for solving its environmental problems. An architect by the name of Jaime Lerner and his colleagues won the top prize. Their ideas proved very effective. In 1971, Lerner became mayor and began to take drastic measures to make the city a better place to live.

-2-
“The most important part of any city is its citizens,” Lerner declared. “We must do whatever we can to make Curitiba a city that puts the needs of the people first.” He began to carry out a series of progressive reforms. In the first of these, he had cars completely banned from the busiest downtown street, which he made into a permanent pedestrian zone. His goal was to transform Curitiba into a walkable, car-free city and improve the quality of life of its people.
Next, three sections of the pedestrian-only roadway were planted with flowers and trees and lined with benches. Coffee shops, florists, and newsstands began to open all along the street. As a result, it became a pleasant and popular meeting place.
People from every department of the Curitiba city government worked together on this project, completing it during the summer vacation in only seventy-two hours. However, not everyone supported the project. When shopkeepers returned from their vacations, they got angry and claimed that the changes would hurt their business. This led to protests by the shopkeepers. Some of them decided to drive into “Flower Street,” as it was now known, and turn it back into the roadway it had once been. But when they tried to drive into the street in their trucks, they found four hundred children and their parents happily drawing pictures everywhere.

-3-
The shopkeepers didn’t stay angry for long. Those who had at first opposed Mayor Lerner’s policy soon found that their sales were increasing. Far from being bad for business, Flower Street improved their profits as more and more people began to come to this green and pleasant space. Shopkeepers from other parts of Curitiba, anxious to repeat this success in their own areas, began to ask the mayor to create “Flower Streets” in front of their shops, too.
As the original Flower Street was extended, it attracted larger and larger crowds of people. Now renamed November 15th Street, it has become a symbol of the city and is the pride of its citizens.
With this success behind him, Lerner turned to the problem of public transportation. The main street in Curitiba consisted of three parallel highways. The mayor made the one in the center into a two-lane roadway for buses only. Then he had individual buses connected to make longer buses that could hold up to 270 passengers each.

-4-
The dedicated bus lane helped Curitiba to end rush-hour traffic jams. But Lerner and the city council wanted to do even more. They launched a comprehensive plan that would completely transform the city.
First, they bought some riverbed areas, together with land along the river that easily became flooded. All of these were turned into parkland, greatly increasing the amount of green space in the city. As of 2011, Curitiba’s park space per person was greater than that of any other major city in the world, with the single exception of Oslo, in Norway.
Next, Lerner and his team tackled the problem of waste. The city started an environmental education program to teach residents how to dispose of their garbage in more eco-friendly ways. A popular part of this program involved people receiving vegetables in exchange for whatever recyclable waste they turned in.
After Lerner retired as mayor, his planning policy was carried on by his successors. In the 1990s, Curitiba’s sound approach to city planning and environmental management began to be recognized. The city has been given several environmental awards, including one from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Today, as far as the environment is concerned, Curitiba is considered to be one of the most innovative cities in the world.
 
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