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  1.  

    BBnet3000

    He may be underestimating based on just limiting it to mobility devices, but if people have trouble walking a long distance they can get a legitimate handicapped placard.

  2.  

    Ben Fried

    First sentence was left over from an earlier draft. Thanks for catching.

  3.  

    Moses von Cleaveland

    No mention of 6he NY Times article regarding high-speed rail?

  4.  

    kenney.sleater

    well thank god hipsters are moving into these poorer areas and gentrifying them…soon they will get their fair share of transportation resources….now poor people will only hafta worry about mental health issues, substance abuse problems, dysfunctional single parent families..etc.

  5.  

    jarendt

    Some people are able to walk without a mobility device but cannot walk far because of illnesses like arthritis, COPD, and cancer. About 7% of the population has difficulty walking a quarter mile.
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/disability.htm
    Yes, abuse is rampant, but designating the proportion of people who can use disabled spaces and the number of spaces based on need for a mobility device doesn’t match up with all the varieties of mobility limitations people have.

  6.  

    Jack

    Only about 2.5% of the population uses a mobility device. Of that 2.5% only .5% use a wheelchair/scooter. Stats taken from: http://dsc.ucsf.edu/publication.php?pub_id=2&section_id=4

    Statistics show there is rampant abuse of disabled placards. Yet there is very little being done to address the issue. Requirement of all paying at meters does not address the overall issue. It merely masks the problem by simply removing a location where abuse can occur. Rest assured those that were committing fraud at meters will continue to do so at Walmart, Costco, Target, the Mall, the Grocery Store, the Post Office, etc.

    ADA regulations require about 2% of parking spaces in a large parking lot to be designated as disabled parking. Finding a disabled parking space becomes very problematic for the 2.5% mobility device users when you have 20% of the population willing to use the 2% of designated disabled parking spaces.

    You may have masked the issue at pay meters. But you have done nothing to address the real fraud/abuse of disabled placards.

  7.  

    Alex Brideau III

    “Since 2002, tax increases to support public transportation have won twice as often as they lost in Missouri. … [I]n Missouri, [ballot initiatives to fund transit] fail almost as much as they win.”

    I’ve re-read this a few times, and these statements appear to contradict each other. Can the author offer some clarification?

  8.  

    Alex Brideau III

    “In some parts of the city, cars with placards would occupy 20 percent or more of the on-street parking.”

    Imagine if this article looked at Downtown Los Angeles. We’ve got that 20% beat, hands down.

  9.  

    Coffee Partier

    Taxes seem to be a dirty word yet no one can find alternatives to pay for things we need. Perhaps we should take a page from the Frank Lunz program and change the word ‘Taxes’ to ‘Revenues’.

    Let’s try it.

    “Last night, Missourians decided overwhelmingly to accept a ballot initiative that would have raised the sales revenues by three-quarters of a cent to pay, almost exclusively, for roads they need. It was the largest revenue increase in the state’s history.”

    I don’t know about you but I feel better already.

  10.  

    anon_coward

    NYC the drivers get a lot more bloodthirsty in the lower income areas, at least outside of manhattan. i don’t know why, but it’s like they are trying to prove how important they are and everything belongs to them

  11.  

    tony365

    LA is giant grey Traffic car centric shit-hole thats insanely expensive, and has lots of terrible ”fast and furious” jerks who think that movie is real. even in “”moneyed hoods” I see asshole’s in sports cars driving 50mph + on residential streets. This is a f-ing joke of a city.

  12.  

    davistrain

    So it’s not just the US–even in “social-democratic” European countries, “He who has the gold makes the rules.”

  13.  

    2UrbanGirls

    If there were a more equitable distribution of resources throughout the entire city, complete streets, etc. minorities aka low-income constituents wouldn’t be at such a great risk.

  14.  

    voltairesmistress

    Years ago I lived as an exchange student with a conservative German family. The father explained to me why poorer sections of the town (18,000 people) lacked streetlights and had sand-packed alleys or cobblestones, while the wealthier ones had lights, asphault, and sidewalks: the wealthier deserved more services and infrastructure because they paid more taxes: this was “fair.” I think this explains pretty well why there’s a direct relationship between the quality of walking environments and pedestrian fatalities: politicians deliver goods to the socially powerful, because they fear retribution, need their votes, and hear their voices. In addition, the wealthier one is, the more time someone in the family has to contact political officials or advocate for services. The poorer one is, the less time one has to devote to non-economic welfare issues, and the less likely one’s voice will be listened to when one does ask for improvements to the neighborhood. This study showing an almost one to one relationship between pedestrian fatalities and a neighborhood’s concentration of impoverished residents seems to prove this.

  15.  

    GetHubNub

    This is a racist sounding article and shouldn’t have been posted.

  16.  

    ladyfleur

    “Expanding roadway capacity” is considered sustainable and “extensions to transit lines” isn’t? That in a nutshell is what’s wrong with traditional transportation policies. What are they thinking?

  17.  

    Patrick Kennedy

    Funny thing about this statement: “The program is designed to encourage planning and foster growth and development in and around historic downtowns and Main Streets, infill areas, and along passenger rail lines and at stations,”

    If you look at the focus areas from the call for projects, it’s all highway side: http://www.nctcog.org/trans/sustdev/landuse/BestSouthwestTransportationCommittee_PM_06.18.09.pdf

  18.  

    C Monroe

    Her lottery winning for low income housing is exactly what the Chicago HUD office has as a program. It is giving vouchers to low income residents to live in ultra luxury Lake Shore apartments. This hurts the image of HUDs whole low income program. Why should a middle class working person help a lower income working class to be able to live in a apartment that the middle class person could only dream of?

  19.  

    Justin

    Jeff’s constant use of “Von Spreckelsen” was just so lol. I could not get enough of it. I just kept laughing each time he mentioned it, just sounded and seemed sooo funny, ahh Von Spreckelson! xD

  20.  

    Susan Wheeler-Deichsel

    Argh indeed tirpakma.

  21.  

    aslevin

    Based on stories from friends and friends-of-friends, BWB is definitely a thing. I suspect it’s an extra-problem for younger AA and Latino men who get stopped for trivia because cops want to stop young men of color.

  22.  

    therealD

    Yeah that is san Antonio. Not Austin I travel between both all the time. Its sunken part of 35 right by downtown near San pedro.

  23.  

    tirpakma

    Argh – yet another version of the proposed downtown streetcar route published here . . . with no scale to alert readers / viewers to the limited area
    that would have been served (1mi radius) or the numerous stops planned
    (more than 15) for the projected $280m system.

    The map also fails to highlight the existing rail right-of-ways that more
    or less encircle the downtown area and could connect the main sports
    arena (2 miles east), the airport (6 miles north) and numerous other
    key sites with downtown.

    The proposed streetcar route was a component of VIA’s 2011 long-range plan
    for 29 miles of (major) road-based light rail – which appears to ignore existing and more direct rail right-of-ways (and established rail / traffic crossing points) as well as less busy alternate surface streets.

    Approximately $17.2m was reportedly spent by VIA in staff time and meetings for the now shelved downtown streetcar plan. In Quebec in 2008, $12.2m
    launched an eight electric mini-bus program that is now in its 6th year
    of operation and which serves more than half of the projected annual
    ridership of San Antonio’s proposed streetcar project across a similar service area.

    Perhaps a commitment to trackless electric public transport (and distributed
    solar power generation) three years ago or more could have lured the Tesla gigafactory to San Antonio (and away from Reno)?

    Regardless, at least San Antonio now has the opportunity to improve sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, and waiting facilities across the public transport system with the remaining funds. There’s also the chance to take over the downtown riverboat lease (expiring in October 2015) to make this a
    viable form of public transport. . . along with adding (for now) an airport BRT and expanding and converting to electric the existing trackless downtown ‘trolley’/ minibus system.

  24.  

    Guest

    Argh – yet another version of the proposed downtown streetcar route
    published here . . . with no scale to alert readers / viewers to the limited area
    that would have been served (1mi radius) or the numerous stops planned
    (more than 15) for the projected $280m system.

    The map also fails to highlight the existing rail right-of-ways that more or less encircle the downtown area and could connect the main sports arena (2 miles east), the airport (6 miles north) and numerous other key sites with downtown.

    The proposed streetcar route was a component of VIA’s 2011 long-range plan
    for 29 miles of (major) road-based light rail – which appears to ignore existing and more direct rail right-of-ways (and established rail / traffic crossing points) as well as less busy alternate surface streets.

    Approximately $17.2m was reportedly spent by VIA in staff time and meetings for the now shelved downtown streetcar plan. In Quebec in 2008, $12.2m launchedan eight electric mini-bus program that is now in its 6th year of operation and which serves more than half of the projected annual ridership of San Antonio’s proposed streetcar project across a similar service area.

    Perhaps a commitment to trackless electric public transport (and distributed
    solar power generation) three years ago or more could have lured the Tesla gigafactory to San Antonio (and away from Reno)?

    Regardless, at least San Antonio now has the opportunity to improve sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, and waiting facilities across the public transport system with the remaining funds. There’s also the chance to take over the downtown riverboat lease (expiring in October 2015) to make this a
    viable form of public transport. . . along with adding (for now) an airport BRT and expanding and converting to electric the existing downtown trolley system.

  25.  

    Guest

    Argh – yet another version of the proposed downtown streetcar route
    published here . . . with no scale to alert readers / viewers to the limited area
    that would have been served (1mi radius) or the numerous stops planned
    (more than 15) for the projected $280m system.

    The map also fails to highlight the existing rail right-of-ways that more
    or less encircle the downtown area and could connect the main sports
    arena (2 miles east), the airport (6 miles north) and numerous other
    key sites with downtown.

    The proposed streetcar route was a component of VIA’s 2011 long-range plan for 29 miles of (major) road-based light rail – which appears to ignore existing and more direct rail right-of-ways (and established rail / traffic crossing points) as well as less busy alternate surface streets.

    Approximately $17.2m was reportedly spent by VIA in staff time and meetings for the now shelved downtown streetcar plan. In Quebec in 2008, $12.2m launched an eight electric mini-bus program that is now in its 6th year of operation and which serves more than half of the projected annual ridership of San Antonio’s proposed streetcar project across a similar service area.

    Perhaps a commitment to trackless electric public transport (and distributed
    solar power generation) three years ago or smore could have lured the Tesla gigafactory to San Antonio (and away from Reno)?

    Regardless, at least San Antonio now has the opportunity to improve sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, and waiting facilities across the public transport system with the remaining funds. There’s also the chance to take over the downtown riverboat lease (expiring in October 2015) to make this a
    viable form of public transport. . . along with adding (for now) an airport BRT and expanding and converting to electric the existing downtown trolley system.

  26.  

    Guest

    Argh – yet another version of the proposed downtown streetcar route
    published here . . . with no scale to alert readers / viewers to the limited area
    that would have been served (1mi radius) or the numerous stops planned
    (more than 15) for the projected $280m system.

    The map also fails to highlight the existing rail right-of-ways that more or lessencircle the downtown area and could connect the main sports arena (2 miles east), the airport (6 miles north) and numerous other key sites with
    downtown.

    The proposed streetcar route was a component of VIA’s 2011 long-range plan for 29 miles of (major) road-based light rail – which appears to ignore existing and more direct rail right-of-ways (and established rail / traffic crossing points) as well as less busy alternate surface streets.

    Approximately $17.2m was reportedly spent by VIA in staff time and meetings for the now shelved downtown streetcar plan. In Quebec in 2008, $12.2m launched an eight electric mini-bus program that is now in its 6th year of operation and which serves more than half of the projected annual ridership of San Antonio’s proposed streetcar project across a similar service area.

    Perhaps a commitment to trackless electric public transport (and distributed
    solar power generation) three years ago or smore could have lured the Tesla gigafactory to San Antonio (and away from Reno)?

    Regardless, at least San Antonio now has the opportunity to improve sidewalks and waiting facilities across the public transport system with the remaining funds. There’s also the chance to take over the downtown riverboat lease (expiring in October 2015) to make this a viable form of public transport. . . along with adding (for now) an airport BRT and expanding and converting to electric the existing downtown trolley system.

  27.  

    chekpeds

    After all they want a smaller government… Let’s give it to them and some !

  28.  

    chekpeds

    I wish the highway trust fund would dry up and surface transportation be returned to city and states , with the accompanying budget. Then, and only then, New York City and many other cities where – soon- 80 % of the US population will live, will cease to be hostage to policies dictated by Texas, Arkansas, Montana or North Dakota. It would make the road lobby work 50 times harder, and let local users dictate where transportation funding goes.
    What’s wrong with that ?

  29.  

    Bolwerk

    Hopefully, but their chances might be well better than 50%. They they weren’t play-with-their-own-poop crazy these days, they’d probably have it in the bag.

  30.  

    DD

    Vitter wouldn’t be in charge of the transit funding, it would be the Banking committee, so probably Shelby if Republicans take charge.

  31.  

    94110

    Republican plan seems simple: if they control both houses, defund transit and walking completely. If they don’t, democrats have to take the heat for raising taxes.

  32.  

    Alex Brideau III

    “when the GOP controls both chambers of Congress”

    Don’t you mean “when the GOP *might* control both chambers of Congress”? Or have I missed an election?

  33.  

    thegreengrass

    Seems responsible.

  34.  

    Southeasterner

    The idea that a Republican controlled Senate and House are going to support current transit and programs like TIGER is utter nonsense. The long term bill that will largely be molded by Vitter is going to be a disaster for transit agencies and will be a clear shot in the head not the foot. Fox will push Obama for a veto and recover some transit funding but it will be nothing like we have today. Guaranteed.

    Tanya, you should interview Vitter and hear what he has to say about Transit, that would be the real story :-)

  35.  

    94110

    For what it’s worth, passenger rail in Santa Cruz is likely a non starter (despite being legally required). Positive Train Control, level boarding, millions of dollars (in a smallish population area) for improved bridges, and when all that is done where does it leave pedestrians and bicyclists? All those bridges are single tracked with no room for both a train and a trail.

    It would also be difficult for a train to beat a bike in trip time along that corridor.

  36.  

    Cristie Glasheen

    The velomobiles (The Elf) that they build out of Durham, NC are ~$5,500 – some cyclists pay that much for a good road bike. Plus, prices may come down over time.

  37.  

    John Z Wetmore

    The height limit for trees under the power lines is probably more like 15 feet, which isn’t really enough for shade trees. Particularly since they need to cut them shorter than that to allow for growth between trimmings. Major blackouts have been caused by high tension lines shorting out on trees that got too tall, so the power company will probably be pretty strict about the height limit.

  38.  

    Eddie Roth

    The Service Employees Union International in Missouri, which represents low wage workers, supports Amendment 7 because it works a break through change in state transportation policy: For the first time Missouri will have a dedicated source of state funding that is available for transit and other bike/ped/ADA accessible urban transportation. That’s why the Citizens for Modern Transit, the leading transit advocacy group in St. Louis (and the organization from which Mr. Shrout retired) also endorse Amendment 7. The Amendment also has been endorsed by the Kansas City Star, the Springfield News Leader and the Columbia Tribune, along with St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay (for whom I work) and Kansas City Mayor Sly James.

  39.  

    Joe R.

    Well, it’ll be a grid of mostly non-stop bike paths, so conceptually it’ll be similar. Not sure how far people in Houston will need to ride in order to make useful trips, so you might be right about it being used mostly for recreation. The climate in Houston isn’t exactly conducive to biking, either, for at least the hottest 4 to 6 months of the year. Still, if these increase bike mode share even to 1% or 2% in a city like Houston, which is now downright hostile to cycling, they will have proved their worth as far as I’m concerned. Houston will never be another Amsterdam, or even another NYC, when it comes to bikes. It’s just too hot and too spread out for that to happen.

    I should also note that as a velomobile network these would function great. The distances involved aren’t too great at all for velomobiles. Of course, you have that pesky cost issue to solve. Few people are going to spend $10K on a velomobile. I’m also sure 99% of the people in Houston don’t even know what a velomobile is.

  40.  

    Joe R.

    It’s only people driving who throw stuff at cyclists, knowing the cyclist probably can’t catch them.

  41.  

    lop

    Given the scale involved the proverbial last mile is closer to ten miles, longer than most people bike except for recreation, which is probably what these paths will be used for. It won’t demonstrate that bikes are good for transportation, but reinforce that they are used mainly for recreation in car dominated cities. It’s not at all like the viaducts you want to run over the sidewalks of every major street in the city.

  42.  

    Bruce Wayne

    Will people cycling in the opposite direction still be able to throw coffee on you?

  43.  

    0paul0

    Toronto, Ontario has the Finch Hydro Corridor Bike Trail. It follows powerlines. It’s about 15 km long, so far. I’ve biked it and I found it to be workable, but not as scenic as Toronto’s wooded ravine trails. Trees along a trail are nice both for shade and because they slow the wind. Also, power lines are typically located away from business districts, and business districts are often where cyclists (and everyone else) wants to go, so powerline trails don’t constitute a complete trail network. Bike lanes on major streets are also essential.

  44.  

    Joe R.

    This is freakishly like the idea of bike superhighways I’ve proposed in NYC, except of course Houston has plenty of room at grade for them. I really hope this gets built. It would be a great demonstration of the utility of high-speed bikeways helping to make bicycles as transportation viable. I’ve little doubt once these are built, they will foster development of supplementary on-street bicycle infrastructure to go the proverbial last mile.

  45.  

    Streetsblog Network

    Thanks for a more complete explanation. We did link to your full announcement in the story.

  46.  

    Brent Hugh

    “The Missouri Bike Federation came out in favor because it would represent the state’s first dedicated funding for biking and walking, and the state promised funding for a number of trail projects.”

    Since your summary of our position seriously distorts it, let me point people to our full article on the subject:

    http://mobikefed.org/2014/07/mobikefed-endorses-amendment-7

    And our full multi-year coverage of this issue as we have been in the middle of coordinating the statewide effort to fully incorporate biking and walking into MoDOT’s funding, planning, and policies:

    http://mobikefed.org/tags/missouri-transportation-funding-initiative

    If I might explain our position in greater detail:

    1. Amendment 7 changes the Missouri Constitution to allow state funding of bicycle, pedestrian, and transit projects–for the first time in history.

    This is by far the most significant issue. Spending of state road fund dollars on biking, walking, or transit has literally been prohibited by the state constitution for the better part of a century. Missourians bike and walk about half the national average, and the constitutional prohibition on spending is the one single most important reason why.

    Amendment 7 represents the first opportunity we have had in a generation to change this.

    2. Amendment 7 puts the emphasis on safety, creating better transportation options such as biking and walking, and maintaining, rather than expanding, our state’s highway system.

    It doesn’t go all the way that many of us would like, but it still represents major, major progress for Missouri in all of these areas. See our summary of the state’s new transportation plan that incorporates these elements here:

    http://mobikefed.org/2014/02/modot-adopts-new-long-range-plan-missouri-transportation-tax-proposal-passes-first-hurdle-0

    3. There are in fact not just a couple of “trail projects” but some truly major investments in biking, walking, and transit–including over $100 million in pedestrian and nonmotorized transportation improvements in St Louis, incorporation of regional Gateway Bike Plan elements in all road & highway projects in the St Louis region, over $150 million in transit for the Kansas City area, $60 million for bike/ped in the Kansas City area, funding for transit in all parts of the state, funding for sidewalks & sidewalk improvements on MoDOT roads in numerous cities around the state, funding for competitive nonmotorized grant programs in a large number of the rural areas of the state, a step up in the degree of accommodation for biking & walking on all state road projects, etc etc etc.

    In short, this is a tremendously huge step up from the previous state road fund investment in bike, ped, and transit: $0.

    Plus, MoDOT relies on a decentralized regional transportation partner planning system to determine local and regional project priorities. Up until now, most of these 29 committees around the state have concerned themselves with roads and highways only. The lead-up to Amendment 7 is the first time most of these committees have worked to include bike, ped, and transit representatives and projects in any degree at all (again, the constitutional restriction on spending). This full incorporation of biking, walking, and transit into the state’s transportation system and planning will accelerate and improve if Amendment 7 passes.

    4. Turning to a general revenue funding source for transportation is changing the conversation about transportation priorities in a fundamental way.

    Unlike most Missourians (90%, to be exact), I am a great proponent of a major gas tax increase. But it’s worth considering the flip side of that: If your system is funded by fuel tax revenue, then the self-preservation interest of the system is all about maximizing fuel tax revenue.

    You end up with a system of perverse incentives, where nobody wants to reduce vehicle miles traveled, improve fuel efficiency, or encourage non-motor-vehicle modes of travel because those all cannibalize the system and diminish its funding.

    And let’s face it: Much of the resistance to funding bike & ped projects comes because the source of the funding is the fuel tax. “From cars for cars.” This is an argument you can have time and time again, but you’re never going to win it in a final way. Much of the irrational hatred for bike/ped funding we see coming from certain members of Congress stems from this attitude, irrational though it may be.

    Once general revenue is paying for the transportation system (as it is to a huge degree with the federal transportation system now–though no one seems to realize it), the whole tenor of the conversation changes.

    When a tax comes from everyone, it puts tremendous pressure on everyone involved to ensure that it benefits everyone. Having been in the middle of that conversation in Missouri for the past several years–even just looking forward to the potential broad-based tax rather than fuel tax to fund transportation–I can tell you that this isn’t just imaginary. It really does change the basic assumptions of everyone involved in a *very* fundamental way.

    Where when fuel tax is funding the system, the suspicion is always that you are trying to ‘steal’ some of the fuel tax for some ‘other’ use. With general revenue funding for transportation, that argument is turned exactly on its head–to our benefit.

    More:

    http://mobikefed.org/2014/07/mobikefed-endorses-amendment-7
    http://mobikefed.org/tags/missouri-transportation-funding-initiative

  47.  

    ChristopherJK

    I have to wonder if it would be possible to plant trees that only grow 20-30 feet and thus do not interfere with the high level wires on these utility corridors. That would create shade for bikers without interfering with the utilities.

  48.  

    The Overhead Wire

    It says in the report that grade separation is a proxy for speed and reliability

  49.  

    DAVE c

    Yes America needs this and many more bikeable bridges too. If we pass this up, it will take another generation before we get a new bike bridge.

  50.  

    Jame

    That’s a good point, although it doesn’t seem like biking is super popular in Africa (not much infrastructure, particularly in the urban areas). It is probably something a little different related to perhaps being immigrants.