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Posts from the Podcast Category

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Talking Headways Podcast: A Shared Space Revolution

On the podcast this week is Robert Ping, executive director of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, who tells us about Pittsburgh’s plans for the largest shared space in an American city.

Robert also discusses why it’s so important to get public officials from different agencies in the same room together to talk about improving conditions for walking and biking. And we wonder why parents are being threatened with arrest just for walking their kids to school, and how getting driven around affects kids’ perceptions of where they live compared to walking.

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Talking Headways Podcast: The City Is a Painting You Walk Into

This week I’m joined by James Rojas of Place It! to talk about art in planning and Latino urbanism. James is an award-winning planner and a native Angeleno, and he tells us about how growing up in East LA and visiting his grandmother’s house shaped the way he thinks about urban spaces and design.

Tune in and hear James discuss the importance of plazas to Latino culture and the history behind them, how people understand place, and why the public planning process works better when you start by tapping into people’s childhoods rather than treating it purely as a problem solving exercise. Enjoy!

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Talking Headways Podcast: The Essential Link Between Transit and Land Use

Think land use is none of a transit agency’s business? Think again. Transit routes serving sprawled-out areas draw fewer riders and cost more to operate than routes serving compact, walkable development.

This week, Brian McMahon and GB Arrington join me to talk about our excellent new report, Linking Transit Agencies and Land Use Decision Making. This is a research report the three of us and a cadre of other researchers recently completed for the Transit Cooperative Research Program (part of the Transportation Research Board).

Even though transit agencies don’t usually control growth and development, land use matters to them, Brian says, and this report can help transit agencies make meaningful contributions to land use decisions. The report includes a tool that transit agencies can use to determine how they can step into the land use planning process and shape it to work well for transit, GB explains.

We talk about success stories from New Jersey Transit, Pace Bus, Cleveland (along the Euclid Avenue BRT), and Portland (the Pearl District), and how developers can be encouraged to build transit-supportive places instead of auto-oriented sprawl. Transit agencies can do this by setting expectations early on, before the planning process gets into the stage of developing individual sites, by which point mistakes are usually too late to change.

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Talking Headways Podcast: Biking and Walking Trends, Benchmarked

Christy Kwan, interim director of the Alliance for Biking and Walking, joins us this week to talk about the alliance’s bi-annual national Benchmarking Report. It’s full of great information and Christy shares how local activists might put it to good use in their communities (and why they might not want their cities to score too well in the rankings).

Among the trends we discuss: the decline in public health according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control, and rising cycling fatalities among senior citizens. We also get into the data collection methods available now and in the future to measure walking and biking.

Christy wraps up with a look at the prospects for walking and biking in some cities, like Atlanta, that might surprise you with their awesome programs. So download the report and see where your city ranks as you listen along.

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Talking Headways Podcast: Measuring Walkability on the Wasatch Front

Muriel Xochimitl, Jon Larsen, and Callie New of the Wasatch Front Regional Council in Utah join the podcast this week to talk about their new interactive story map tool measuring urban street design.

The Wasatch Front Regional Council is the planning agency for the Salt Lake City region. The data-rich map incorporates the walkability research of Reid Ewing and Otto Clement at the University of Utah. My three guests hope the map tool will become a standard way to assess the region’s streets.

Listen in and hear how they developed the walkability tool, why they chose the streets they did, all the intern hours that went into collecting data, and their aspirations for how people will use it.

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Talking Headways Podcast: 100 Years of Cincinnati’s Incomplete Subway

Jake Mecklenborg, a contributor to Streetsblog Network member Urban Cincy and author of Cincinnati’s Incomplete Subway: The Complete History, joins us this week to talk about Cincinnati’s geography, how a subway would be useful, and why there were numerous attempts to build one.

Tune in and learn about the world events that kept pushing back the construction timeline of the subway, and the politics of stopping it. Some parts of the line still exist today, and Jake tells us what’s in store for it in the future.

Join us for a tour through history on the hundredth anniversary of the unfinished Cincinnati subway.

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Talking Headways Podcast: The Indian Transportation Context

This week I’m chatting with Akshay Mani, a sustainable transportation planner who has worked for Cambridge Systematics in the United States and the World Resources Institute’s EMBARQ program in India. Akshay joined us from Chennai to talk about transportation and the growth of Indian cities.

We discuss India’s rapid urbanization and the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, a $20 billion government program for city infrastructure and needed reforms, which ended in 2014. Some of the money went toward roadway flyovers and other car infrastructure, going against India’s National Urban Transport Policy that is supposed to prioritize the movement of people above the movement of vehicles.

India is seeing the effects of sprawl and increased automobile usage, and in the last segment Akshay shares three reforms that would be game changers for the nation as a whole. You won’t want to miss them.

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Talking Headways Podcast: Trinidad, Transit Dates, and Dive Bars

This week I chat with my good friend and Bay Area affordable housing developer Ed Parillon. We talk about transportation in Ed’s original home of Trinidad (which has an early busway) and the American influence on the island starting during the second World War.

Ed tells me about his favorite world city and what he thinks about being a parent in San Francisco. We also discuss how we first met on a “transit date” set up by friends, and why it took so long to build a small multifamily building in San Francisco’s Mission District. Finally, we talk about the disappearance of dive bars in big cities and why they need regulars to keep going strong.

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Talking Headways Podcast: New Tactics for Transportation Ballot Measures

This week we’re chatting with Jason Jordan, director of the Center for Transportation Excellence (CFTE) and policy director at the American Planning Association. Jason tells us how CFTE got started and why ballot measures for transportation have been so successful compared to other types of spending. He also describes scenarios where transportation ballot measures tend to do well and those where they tend to fail.

Political action networks opposed to public investments like transit are getting more sophisticated in their opposition to these ballot measures. We discuss how to combat these new networks, often backed by dark money, and how local champions and coalitions can lead to victory.

You’ll also hear about the measures on the docket for 2016, which is shaping up to be one of the busiest cycles ever for transportation ballot measures.

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Talking Headways: Food Culture, Regional Urban Form, and Mall Memories

This week we’re joined by Kristen Jeffers, communications and membership manager for Bike Walk KC and author of The Black Urbanist blog. Kristen tells me how she got started blogging, what got her interested in urbanism, and how she hopes to inspire others.

We get into a discussion about the meaning of equity, and what it means to be a “national” or “global” urbanist. From there we delve into the differences between regions (including food culture), the retail and service needs of people in downtowns and urban places, and how people’s sentimental memories from the places they shop and visit stay with them and shape their connection to place.

Join us for a fun conversation about regional department stores, hair salons, and more!