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Posts from the Podcast Category

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Talking Headways Podcast: Oklahoma City Shapes Up

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This week on the podcast we’re bringing you the keynote address from the 2015 National Bike Summit, hosted by the League of American Bicyclists. The LAB’s Liz Murphy introduces Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, who talks about how he took his city from being rated as one of the least physically fit to one of the fittest.

Cornett also discusses how people came together after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, and how at one point a business told the city it would not locate there because “they couldn’t imagine employees living in Oklahoma City.” Hear his stories about losing weight, building bike lanes, and getting a second crack at a magazine that had shamed his city years earlier.

Cornett touts Oklahoma City as a place of change, and his speech takes us through all the ups and downs.

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Talking Headways Podcast: Those Roads Won’t Pay for Themselves

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This week we’re joined by Kevin DeGood of the Center for American Progress, who along with Andrew Schwartz recently wrote a report called Advancing a Multimodal Transportation System by Eliminating Funding Restrictions. Sound too wonky? I call it the “Roads Don’t Pay for Themselves Report.”

When approximately 5.5 percent of roads carry 55 percent of the traffic, you would expect them to support themselves. But even with conservative accounting, this report shows that’s just not true, especially in urban areas with larger maintenance costs.

We also get into the concept of “user fees,” national transportation politics, and the prospect of “devolving” transportation funding to the states, which is a hot topic these days.

Take a listen to this week’s pod and please think multi-modally! And if you enjoy the show, give us a review on iTunes or Stitcher, where you can subscribe to get each week’s episode automatically.

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Talking Headways Podcast: We Built This City on Transit and Roads

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Karoliina Korppoo, the lead designer for the new city building game Cities: Skylines, joins me on the pod this week to talk about the game and what makes it so fun to play. Among my questions for her: Why aren’t there any tramways or bike lanes in the game? And do the game designers realize what type of impact these city building games have on future city planners?

We also talk about new features coming in updates to the game as well as all of the changes people can make with the modification tools available. Karoliina also tells us what affects property values, what makes the individual sims smile en masse, and the importance of traffic.

As always, you can find us on iTunes or Stitcher if you’d like to subscribe, and please give us a review if you get a chance.

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Talking Headways Podcast: The Future of Street Lights

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Clifton Lemon and Steve Lawton of LightPlace Advisors join me this week to talk about how lighting is going to change in cities with the advent of the LED. We learn about what fire and light means to humans and why the street light might become one of the most valuable assets a city has.

Clifton and Steve describe a public health angle as well — how the color temperature affects us and why we should be mindful of how many times cities choose to create lighting that is better for driving and cars than walking and people.

We also get into why brighter might not always mean safer when you’re walking at night, as well as how in-ground lighting can improve traffic management in cities.

So please join us for this “enlightening” episode of the Talking Headways Podcast.  And remember, you can subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher.

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Talking Headways Podcast: Cowboys on Light Rail

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Christof Spieler joins me again to continue our discussion of Houston. This time we talk transportation and all the great things Houston is working on. Uptown, home to the highest building in the U.S. outside of a central business district, will soon be getting true Bus Rapid Transit, and people on bikes are now rolling next to the bayous and connecting to Houston’s new downtown protected bike lane.

We talk about the eminent domain powers of railroads, public or private, as Texas looks at high-speed rail, and how Houston was founded with real estate speculation. And in a must-listen segment, we get into what it will take to implement Houston’s bus network reimagining project and how we need to focus on getting more riders on buses across the country. As Christof mentions (and Jarrett Walker has also pointed out), it was hard work, but Houston has mapped the way for other cities to move forward on these issues.

I hope everyone takes a listen — I certainly learned a few things about my former home.

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Talking Headways Podcast: Growing Up and Out in Houston

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This week and next I’m joined by Christof Spieler, a vice president of Morris Architects who serves on the board of Houston Metro, to talk about Houston. Everything is bigger in Texas, including the podcasts.

Christof tells stories about how planning works in Houston, including how Intercontinental Airport was sited during a backroom deal and how people inside the city think about zoning and development. We discuss projects like the “Ashby Highrise,” the growth of roads and sprawl around Houston, and Exxon’s move out of downtown along the region’s newest 170-mile ring road. Yup, 170 miles.

So please join us for part one of the Houston podcast. Next week we’ll discuss high-speed rail in Texas, Houston’s new bike lanes, light rail expansion, and the implementation of the new bus network.

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Talking Headways Podcast: They Took Our Jobs… Downtown!

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This week on the Talking Headways Podcast I’m joined by Joe Cortright of City Observatory to nerd out on employment data and discuss their most recent report, Surging City Center Job Growth. We learn how employment cores for many cities are growing and why this looks like a long-term shift.

Joe also talks about how they measured urban cores, the use of my favorite data tool — On the Map, which includes LEHD job data from the census — and findings from before and after the Great Recession.

Finally, I’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about the transportation impacts of this growth in central city employment. We find out how radial roads affect sprawl and growth, and we look back at some of Joe’s reports that skewer the annual Texas Transportation Institute congestion reports. For the finale, we share opinions about self-driving cars and buses.

Take a listen during your short or long commute.

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Talking Headways Podcast: The Peking Order

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This week on the podcast I’m joined by Dr. Mariela Alfonzo to discuss her recent paper, “Walkability, Obesity and Urban Design in Chinese Neighborhoods,” in the journal Preventive Medicine. The findings on both cycling and obesity might surprise you.

We also discuss how policy change works in Chinese cities and how much power mayors have to make those changes, as well as what motivates them. Perhaps my favorite topic was the Peking Order, or the level of importance assigned to each mode of transportation. Surprisingly, buses are first, but not for the reasons you would think. Join us as we travel east on this week’s Talking Headways.

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Talking Headways Podcast: Green Trippin’

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This week Ann Cheng of the California advocacy group Transform joins me to talk about their GreenTRIP program. Ann is a planner and the former mayor of El Cerrito, as well as one of San Francisco Business Times “40 Under Forty” in 2014. On the podcast she discusses how housing developers can build less parking and more housing by giving residents better travel options through GreenTRIP Certification.

If you haven’t heard of GreenTRIP, it’s a certification process that helps developers eschew massively expensive parking spaces in exchange for car trip-reducing alternatives. It’s an awesome program and after hearing more you’ll want to bring it to your town! Especially since they’ve just released GreenTRIP Platinum Certification.

I was super excited to hear about the Garden Village project in Berkeley, which has zero auto parking, a bike fix-it station, free car-share membership, and two bike storage hooks for each of its 77 housing units.

Listen in and let us know what you think in the comments!

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Talking Headways: Mapping Out Local Transportation Advocacy and Reform

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Mariia Zimmerman of MZ Strategies joins me to chat about her new report on local advocacy for transportation reform called Transportation Transformation. Mariia, former deputy director for the Office of Sustainable Communities at HUD as well as former chief of staff to Congressman Earl Blumenauer, spent a year probing the local transportation advocacy landscape to see what issues people are working on and which regions are the most innovative. Her in-depth case studies look at the San Francisco Bay Area and the Washington DC region.

I asked Mariia about which important issues advocates are focused on, the role of peer exchanges in the advocacy landscape, and how local bloggers fit in. We also discussed what the term “capacity building” actually means.

So take a listen and learn what an inside/outside strategy for policy reform is, why advocates focus less at the state level, and advocacy in the SF Bay Area differs from the DC region.