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    Really, Larry? How could you “understand” the Koch’s viewpoint opposing mass transit? Please do elaborate. Only in America are you forced to have a car when mass transit offers immediate transportation at a reasonable price without increasing C02 and making a bad situation even worse. I’ll tell you, Larry, Americans … most especially southern Americans, are considered the village idiot in the eyes of the international community.


    Larry Littlefield

    What if the private sector had built the interstates to begin with?

    Consider this. The greatest cost of the roads is the land they sit on, which was generally NOT paid for by gas taxes. That was the state and local responsibility. Private companies would have sought to limit that expense — by building fewer lanes and using them more intensively.

    Given the tolling technology available at the time the number of exits would have been fewer.

    Put it together and you’d get roads that were only used by buses, trucks, and the motor vehicles of the rich at peak hours. And thus communities that were tightly clustered around the limited number of exits. Just like the “railroad suburbs” that predated suburban sprawl — and are now the most valuable suburban communities.


    Larry Littlefield

    Frankly, it’s a little offensive.

    Obama pandered by coming out against carbon taxes and other taxes on energy use, starting out when he was a candidate. And didn’t do anything about infrastructure and fossil fuel dependency for eight years. You’d think that even climate change deniers would be upset about one side effect of cheap gas — the collapse of domestic fossil fuels production and more dependence on imports from the Middle East.

    I though we’d get something better when, as a candidate, he did say that in the long run the only way to save money on oil is to use less oil.

    Now it’s time to leave the stage. No one is going to enact any of his priorities — that only lasted his first two years. It would be better for him to keep quiet during the campaign, the way other Presidents have, or push the candidates to align their own plans with reality for a change.


    Alexander Vucelic

    Its usually because the buyers get all sorts of guarantee and Crony favour ing rules plus they end uo being heavily regulator and the final death is DRIVERS are always too cheap to pay the real economic cost of using the interstate.

    But Even these ‘failed provatizatikne are better than tax taxpayers having an ever in reading burden.



    Hmm, I’m seeing different info:

    they have the average at 48c.

    Edit: Ah! Looks like my map just includes the federal tax! Makes sense.


    Herbie Markwort

    Sorry, not remotely in the ballpark. Pennsylvania is the only state with a 51.6¢ tax. The average is 30¢.



    Why do you suppose Obama and the cronies are trying to get ahead of the trend in transportation? The point is to control the agenda and parcel out the juicy deals to the cronies. Obama has become very predictable. Move against coal after so many companies are bankrupt (but expand exports). Ban the keystone pipeline after it was cancelled. Transportation proposal just before everyone has figured out how expensive the highway boondoggles really are. Give the banking interests an inside position in milking local economies with inflated infrastructure costs, which is the point of the “expanded TIFIA loan program and infrastructure bank, both of which leverage limited funds with
    private investment to complete projects that would be impossible with
    only public money.” The economical thing to do is transfer money from the highway construction budget to public transportation, but of course that is not on the agenda.



    Oil has never been cheaper. To not adjust the gas tax now for inflation (via a surcharge or whatever) seems ridiculous. But if a compromise is needed, how about a surcharge that slides according to the cost of oil? As the cost of oil rises, the surcharge drops in cost. This still adds some revenue needed to keep infrastructure in good shape while reducing the swings in gas prices.



    Although I guess both the Skyway and the Indiana Toll Road have completely redundant free routes, so they’re not as elastic as other routes without redundancies would be.



    That’s a good point, but each of those deals mentioned undervalued the asset to make a deal palatable to investors. Privatization deals like that sell the future to pay for today. I agree that drivers need to start shouldering the cost of infrastructure if they want to continue their lifestyle, but I haven’t seen any examples of road privatization working.


    Joe R.

    In my opinion self-driving cars, while not a panacea, will change a lot of things for the better. The model of car ownership will go down the toilet since you’ll be able to call up a car (and pay for it) only as needed. End result is the need for parking will drop dramatically. That can only benefit cities. The driverless cars will be pretty much fully utilized throughout the day, so they won’t need parking either, only loading zones. At night they could just drive themselves someplace fairly remote and park there.

    Once most cars are fleet vehicles, simple economics should take care of the pollution problem. In fact, they’ll probably want to go to electric from the start since TCO is lowest, even if initial purchase price might be a little higher. EVs are not an issue for a fleet operation. When one vehicle is running low on charge, it finishes the last trip, takes itself out of service, and drives itself to a charging station. So you have mostly EVs. That means the need for gas stations in NYC mostly disappears. Again, that’s good because you end up with more land, and gas stations really aren’t desirable businesses to have around.

    Obviously the need for the DMV, road policing, and a legal framework to deal with collision damage is gone. Again, a big plus.

    The major downside I’m seeing here is will we start configuring our streets just so these self-driving cars can get around quicker? Or will we restrict them to ~20 mph on most surface streets? And will self-driving cars lead to more sprawl?

    I’m somewhat optimistic but less so than you. I think any city as large and as dense as NYC needs a viable subway system. If nothing else, a subway serves as a redundant second network mostly immune to weather.


    Alexander Vucelic

    successful ?

    I’d define succesful as eliminating the burden. Interstates are a massive drain on taxpayers.

    Better to gube ’em away to some Crony and let drivers finally pay the full cost of the highways. Might Be nice to Collect property taces on them also

    Tolls are a wonderful thing



    I clicked through the link provided by the chart above, and it links to a report advocating self driving cars, which has the same chart, but with costs per mile, as opposed to per gallon, based on a 24.8mpg car. (it’s on page 41).

    ‘Oil security’ is actually ‘oil imports’ on the source chart. I’m not sure if that’s applicable anymore, given our domestic overproduction. (We’re actually running out of places to store all the excess oil right now).

    Pollution and climate change are given as 1.9c, and 2.3c/mile, respectively.

    Congestion is a weird one, as in real life it’s more of a binary thing than a linear thing: until you get some critical mass of cars on the road, there’s no congestion, and each additional car has ‘no’ cost. At some point however, you cross the threshold and you get traffic. Either way, congestion is best handled via congestion charges, not through a per gallon or per mile tax.

    Accidents are at 2.4c, and as the report shows, are decreasing every year, and will eventually approach zero wit hthe implementation of driverless cars. Noise 0.1c,

    So leaving congestion and oil imports out of it, we get a $1.66/gallon externality tax. (Note, leaving everything in you get $3.24/gallon, not 3.40; I don’t know why the chart in this article is off).

    So, out of those externalities, oil imports solved themselves, pollution and climate change we’re taking care of using CAFE standards and EPA regulations (getting stricter all the time). Congestion should be dealt with where/when it’s a problem, Accidents will be decreased by better tech. Overall, I’m optimistic!



    Do you have any examples of successfully privatized interstates in the U.S.? I admittedly am a bit ignorant on this topic, but I do know that the privatization of the Chicago Skyway and the Indiana Tollroad indicate that this is much easier said than (successfully) done.


    Joe R.

    If you apply that $3.40 per gallon estimate of external costs you come up with pretty interesting numbers. If the average American drives 13,476 miles per year ( ), and their cars average 17.2 mpg ( ) that’s a $2,664 external cost per vehicle, or over $5K for an average household with two cars.

    Since this proposal is DOA anyway, why didn’t Obama at least ask for a tax which would cover all the external costs? $200 per barrel sounds about right. It wouldn’t stand a chance of passing, but it might finally get people talking about the enormous costs of auto dependency. Right now those costs are the elephant in the room.



    Though the Federal gas tax has been fixed since 1993, the state gasoline taxes have gone up in most places since then. Most states are in the 50c-ish range per gallon at the moment, on top of the federal tax.


    Alexander Vucelic

    better solution Is Eliminate subsidies for oil industry and privatize the interstates.



    If gas tax hads been index-linked in 1993 (when it was last raised), it would be 30c/gallon now, not 18.4c/gallon.



    > An unnamed administration official told Politico the plan would
    > help shift the nation’s transportation policy out of the Eisenhower era.

    Actually, no… in the Eisenhower era, people understood that the gas tax is a user fee associated with road maintenance. Nowadays, people want their roads maintained for “free” — i.e. hidden away in the general budget — while they enjoy “cheap” gas at the pump.

    Obama’s proposal would be unlikely to bring dedicated road funding back to even what it was in the Eisenhower era.


    Angie Schmitt

    Yeah I understand that. Turnpike bonds. State money still. There are a small fraction federal but pretty much nil.


    Randy Majors

    These statistics don’t seem to tell the whole story. For one, its better to look at decades rather than the whole 1970-2010 timeframe. The writer hints at this: “The net gain of housing in walkable neighborhoods as a fraction of total net housing gain by decade has increased from just 0.3% in the 1970’s to 10.7% in the 2000’s.”

    Second, housing being located in dense neighborhoods does not necessarily equate to walkable. Just look at some of the supposed top cities…some of them are among the most pedestrian un-friendly/un-safe, and driver-centric cities in the nation.

    I’d love to be able to see the data behind this to slice it different ways. (links are broken)

    Nevertheless, it is absolutely true that city planning needs to become much more pedestrian focused.



    Haha fair. It’s some pretty obscure trivia!



    Yeah , that’s true! I was writing the comment on my phone while walking, and forgot. It’s been a while since i’ve thought much about Portsmouth!



    Point of Clarification: The Shoe-Steels were a semi-pro team. The Portsmouth NFL team was the Spartans, now the Detroit Lions.



    Not surprised in the slighest. While there was a lot of sprawl built between 1970-2000, the development in past 16 years in Miami’s urban core has been nothing short of insane.


    Doug Wedel

    Density is the problem, not the cars.

    I seriously want to quote this line. It’s hilarious.

    I also want to quote your idea that high rises ought to be on the periphery of suburbia instead of the other way around.


    Doug Wedel

    I agree. That’s called quaxing. It is often a question of learning how. Saying you need a car to shop is a myth long held by car culture, that has long ago been debunked. Even beds, large screen tv’s, etc, can be transported across town by bike.



    Or we could lower speed limits and require improvements to cars (lower clearances, better design for protecting peds in the event of a crash).

    But, hey, victim blaming might also work!



    Air quality predictions were for outside Boston, not in Boston itself. Which is why Somerville is getting the extension, and not Boston.



    The map and his website appear broken. Any updated links? Thanks!


    Patrick Miner

    Pittsburgh desperately needs more rapid transit facilities, and less highways.


    Julius Swerving

    Just a point of factual clarification:

    “The money will primarily come from taxpayer subsidies, in the form of
    direct government investment, government loans, and tax-advantaged
    bonds. Those subsidies would encumber future budgets, eating up money
    that could be used in the future for education, health care, and other

    The first part of this statement is generally true, if by “taxpayer subsidies” you mean the state and federal gas tax dollars allocated to ODOT. The second half is completely false. The law expressly prohibits what is being suggested here. If ODOT spent state or federal transportation dollars on education, health care, etc., it would be violating The Ohio Constitution, as well as Title 23 of the United States Code, respectively.


    Julius Swerving

    The vast majority of the Opportunity Corridor is being funded with bonds issued by the Ohio Turnpike. The debt service on the bonds is being repaid with turnpike tolls.

    There are many reasons why ODOT would not use federal funds (there may actually be some on the project, but not sure), but the most obvious reason is that there are no federal funds to be had.


    Julius Swerving

    “The really crazy thing about this project, if I remember right, is that
    it will not receive any federal government grant money.”

    ” Instead, the federal government funds will be a loan, that must be
    repaid by the State of Ohio, and that money will most likely come out of
    the general fund, not fuel taxes or other types of user fees.”
    -Largely incorrect. A TIFIA (federal) loan will be paid back by ODOT with a mix of state and federal funds. None of the money will be paid out of the state’s general revenue fund. ODOT receives very little funding from the GRF, and those funds are restricted for other uses.



    You really think so? I’d think the creation of Brickell as a neighborhood of residential high rises aligns with this 1970 to 2010 time frame. Remember that the chart is looking at change. New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia obviously have a lot more walkable housing, but during this time frame the proportion of housing in the walkable neighborhoods has undoubtedly declined. Many old walkable cities are only on the cusp of turnaround from the declines of the 70s through 90s, and in cities like Chicago they’re nowhere close.



    really surprised that Miami came out on top, which suggests that they are also counting garden apartments in unwalkable neighborhoods as walkable.


    Angie Schmitt

    He actually does that. It’s not all that variable.


    Ben Ross

    The 1970-2010 period combines three eras. (1) 1960-74 was the suburban apartment boom period, when new multifamily housing rarely added walkability (think suburban garden apartments), and could even subtract from it by replacing urban blocks with modernist superblocks, (2) 1975-95 era of sprawl, and (3) the rebirth of urbanism since 1995. Trends were very different in these 3 eras, so it’s much better to look at the decade-to-decade changes.


    Robert Puentes

    Right. We lay out some of the financing here: A tale of two states: Comparing PPPs in North Carolina and Ohio ( Most problematic is who shoulders the risk; in this case the private partner gets paid irrespective of how many drivers use the road.


    Alex Brideau III

    I agree that you’re a bit off base with your criticism of AnoNYC’s original comment. AnoNYC does not appear to be favoring either candidate, and is just stating that it’s too soon to consider Clinton the nominee, which is a very commonsense opinion and aligns with your postings noting that the voters still need to decide.


    Alex Brideau III

    I dunno. Don’t the Dems split up their delegates proportionally? If the next few states keep Sanders and Clinton neck and neck, the race may prove to be more interesting than planned. It seems the press I’ve read is predicting that Clinton’s nomination is inevitable, but they said that last time too, so I’m not convinced.

    In any case, it’s not my battle to fight, but it may prove interesting to watch from the sidelines, as the GOP primary season has been.


    Angie Schmitt

    The $300 million Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland also no federal money essentially. All state/local money, all the state money borrowed. I don’t get why we wouldn’t be trying to match these funds 4-to-1 with federal funds, except that I guess Kasich and the politicos wanted to do them quick and they wanted to do it their way.



    I’m not here to persuade you or anyone else. I just write the truth. Bernie hasn’t missed anything. Considering the “commanding lead” Hillary enjoyed previously (which she lost) and some of the games Hillary’s campaign played, as well as the bias of the state Democratic Party (including refusing releasing the raw data for scrutiny), I think Bernie did rather well being down only two delegates (he may have actually won, but we’ll likely never know). And as a result of that “close call”, and maybe in response to the contempt many people (Democrats & Independents) feel towards Hillary, Bernie picked up $3 Million in new campaign contributions. Not a bad consolation prize for 2nd by a nose. This is far from over. And again, ALL I AM ADVOCATING FOR is that we let the process continue and see what happens. Let the PEOPLE VOTE and express their desires. Then we’ll see whether we get a real convention or not?



    What, because if there’s no place for people to park their BMW’s it must be a ‘project’?



    You’re not versed in the art of persuasion, are you? In any case, try to remember back to 2008. Remember the exciting Democratic nomination battle where Obama would win a state then Clinton would win a state. In fact, it wasn’t very exciting at all- demographics were destiny. The same principle will play out here- IA and NH are two of Sanders’s strongest states by not winning IA he missed his chance to reshape the race in his favor.



    I went to Google maps to see if it would help, but it is worthless. They load so much unwanted garbage onto the map site that it is impossible to see anything.

    This intersection was constructed in the 1920’s and had an excellent balance of stores and residences. It was very walkable when I moved in in 1970. I live about 3 blocks away in a completely R-1 area, but I it was very common for me to walk to these stores.

    Back then, the intersection was dangerous and seedy, but I was young and rather large, so it did not bother me. In the mid 1970’s, the city put in protective zoning for this part of Hollywood and the improvement was fantastic. Then, the corrupt developers moved in and deterioration set in again.

    After the subway station was open and the Metro Aprts were built on top, crime became a serious problem and the area was much less walkable because they closed down the stores to make room for development. While I can walk to Ralphs, I tend to drive for the reasons you mention. Also once gets inside the R’s complex, it is safe.

    The only thing the TOD brought was crime. After years of fighting, we stopped a TOD and they built a reasonable size PetCo and Marshalls rather than $110 Million monstrosity.

    All the good things of which you speak were here decades before the TOD came. We did not have “color” in that we had one of the city’s oldest “dirty bookstores,” but as far as I know, it never caused any problems.

    If we had had a nice L shopping Center with plenty of parking where the built the Metro Apts, that would have been good. The merchants need the parking — the reality is that they cannot survive based on foot traffic. If foot traffic would do it, 75% of the Metro retail would not be vacant after 12 years.

    The US Bank is a training bank and the flow of customers is low — I think that is probably good for a training bank. It reduces the stress on the newbees so that they can learn without oo much pressure.



    No I’m not off base. You (and others) go blathering on and on about this and that when you just need to let the (voting) process happen and see how people vote. And the candidates and their campaigns needs to get their message out on the issues. And the PEOPLE must demand more from their candidates. The rest is just people like you either talking for their own ego or a lot of people trying to shape and influence the outcome. Those who post “the first two primaries/caucusses don’t count, Bernie doesn’t stand a chance” are a good example. But the same goes for those who insist that Bernie is “going to win” when again we’re very early in the process.

    And frankly, Bernie stands no chance to make change unless OTHER Progressives are voted in along with him. How many of you can actually name your Congressman and their stances on a number of crucial issues? Is there someone “better” who should be in their seat?

    And I don’t care as much as who voted before, traditionally turnout has been ridiculously low. I want to know who is going to turn out this time and how do we get more people to turn out to demand better government?


    Fay Nissenbaum

    Chief Suhr laughed when I asked why dont police set an example by signaling turns? The blinker is the one safety device that informs us pedestrians which way a two ton rolling machine is going, and yet vision zero, the police, and seemingly most drivers, act like they’re giving information to the enemy. Using turn signals is not a policy suggestion to have meetings about – it’s the law (CVC2217). But the law is useless if the police consider it a mere politeness.



    The answer is different, station location is very specific to the region or city. But most importantly, insuring the station is actually useful.

    TOD fails, particularly around commuter rail stations, if they assume that every trip is going to be made on that train. Riding the train isn’t practical to get groceries, go to the post office or dry cleaner. Or any of the trips you make multiple times a week. The train station itself is irrelevant. You need to build a good neighborhood. And that really means the stuff within a 10-15 minute walk needs to be useful. It sounds like in this case, the .75 mile radius sucks. Outside of the train station.

    Transit is important. But you can’t build a neighborhood assuming every trip requires transit. The on the ground experience within 10-15 walk of the station is most important. But the destination for the neighborhood is not the train. It is the amenities. There needs to be a useful nucleas of activity.

    My neighborhood, and many other ones close to commercial districts work because there is a nucleas of useful stuff that many people live in quick walking distance to. This works for people in cars too. That is why malls are popular. One trip for lots of stuff. But instead of thinking mall and parking lot, the design needs to assume people on foot are making multiple stops. And they are coming from close in.



    Yes, and if rocks were apples, then I would go to a gravel pit to make a apple pie.

    The entire point of fix rail transit is SCALE. Beyond 5 mi radius, it won’t work. Take out a piece of paper and diagram it for yourself.