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Talking Headways Podcast: A Positive Vibe For Chicago TOD

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On this week’s podcast, Yonah Freemark of the Metropolitan Planning Council (you may know him from The Transport Politic) shares the scoop on transit-oriented development in Chicago.

In a recent post, Yonah writes that in order to break the pattern of slow growth but ever-increasing demand, more development should happen near Chicago’s extensive transit system. We talk about why growth isn’t happening in transit-rich neighborhoods and what needs to happen for development near transit to make a difference.

Which strategy is better, expanding transit or developing near transit? And will state efforts to finance transit expansion with special taxes on real estate pay off?

Find out what Yonah has to say and let us know what you think.

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Talking Headways Podcast: The Missing Middle

podcast icon logoThis week on the podcast, Dan Parolek of Opticos Design talks about their new website themissingmiddle.com, which explores housing types between high- or mid-rise buildings and single-family homes that cities don’t make much anymore.

We get into Austin’s development code, Cincinnati’s walkable neighborhoods, and how people are often worried by the phrase “density,” then surprised by density designed well.

Why are developers and bankers scared of “missing middle” housing forms like duplexes? And how come we don’t build rowhouses parcel by parcel anymore?

Join us in the middle and find out.

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Talking Headways Podcast: Welcome to the Fresh Coast!

podcast icon logoThis week I chat with Jeramey Jannene of Streetsblog Network blog Urban Milwaukee.

Jeramey discusses freeway teardowns, freeway expansion, the new bike-share system, the transit funding situation in the city, the city’s streetcar plans, and the city’s really high weighted density.

And we talk about water. Milwaukee is becoming the “Fresh Coast,” an innovative place for studying a really precious resource. Jeramey talks about how the Great Lakes Compact gives Milwaukee leverage over other cities, the innovation of the first greywater street in the United States, and the amazing water-based innovation cluster that has popped up in the city.

So join us in the Freshwater Capital of the World.

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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.