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    Robert Johnson

    Interesting that they are considering bike boxes with the failures in Portland. At one point, they doubled crashes in already troubled intersections.



    About time. One way streets should be one-way only for cars.

    On intersection sharrows: Why dont they paint these in the middle of the lanes on the cross-street so they will last longer? Instead, they seem to often end up where the tires from the cars on the cross street wear them away very quickly.


    Andy Chow

    Which allows Google to further monopolizing advertising/search business currently from online to physical.


    Andy Chow

    With all the smart phones and smart features, I still find the most reliable way to get a phone number from an app on my phone to the dialer is to write it on a piece of paper. I have little confidence regarding app designers and that they wouldn’t use the automated system as a ad platform. It may not matter if the retailer is located in a high traffic area with good parking, if they don’t pay Google as much as the their competitors are, they could be losing businesses just because it would be so damn hard to redirect the car.


    Andy Chow

    I am talking about the auto oriented strip malls (which are all over America) that could be losing businesses because it would be a hassle to reprogram the computer.



    put forward a plan to instead reroute I-70 around the neighborhoods along I-270. But state DOT officials have said that would cost twice as much because it would require adding lanes to I-70 and I-270.

    so rather than do it right! We go for the chap, destructive way.



    Are you kidding, Andy? Don’t you realize that it’s the human-driven automobile which essentially killed Main-Street retail? That the only feeble antidote was the indoor shopping mall, which attempted to recreate a dense car-free area but only further destroyed more towns’ downtown areas, and eventually made people realize they just concentrated urban decay?



    Google is not the main pusher of automated vehicles, nor are they the largest research program in the field. They are the company that gets the most press, and interestingly, one of the only companies working on automated vehicles that doesn’t actually need to turn a profit on them in the near, medium, or possibly even long-term. It is highly incorrect to say that Toyota doesn’t like or even doesn’t have automated vehicle research programs. One would need only Google their activities in the field to see otherwise. The article makes a very valid point based on hundreds of years of data. Increased speed of travel has lead to increased sprawl, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Imagine a world where lower-speed automated shuttles take you from a suburb to a high-speed transit connection, that gets you to work in SV in under 45 minutes. Don’t you think a lot of people would choose to live where the space is more open and the housing costs are cheaper?


    Alex Brideau III

    True. And judge if you will, but my five year old and I ride in traditional and “peer” taxis with a certain frequency, albeit for fairly short, low-speed trips. FWIW, I’ve found that Uber / Lyft / Sidecar drivers tend to follow safer driving practices than their medallioned counterparts.



    Google is not the only one working on automated vehicles.



    What’s most galling to me is that a $1.8 billion highway project like this can lumber through on “inertia” but to get money for a comparably-priced transit project cities have to beg, borrow, and steal, not to mention fight the crazies who jump up and down screaming about how it will ruin “the character of the neighborhood. Or what about simple bike and pedestrian infrastructure? I hear people complain about that all the time, even things as simple and cheap as curb bulbs. Of course the people who allocate the money are mostly baby boomers who can’t imagine not being able to drive and park everywhere they go.


    Alex Brideau III

    My hunch is that by the time they get into wide use, driverless cars would/could receive in-vehicle advertisements that would allow the occupant to reroute their vehicle to an advertiser’s location with a simple press of a button or touchscreen.


    Alex Brideau III

    I think it makes more sense to segregate driverless cars from driver-controlled cars, regardless of their occupancy. The former would be more predictable and less prone to congestion while the latter would tend to be more erratic in their driving style and thus more likely to create traffic jams.


    Alex Brideau III


    Alex Brideau III

    At some point we’ll need to begin restricting driver-controlled cars from certain roads. This will increase safety for all road users as it takes driver unpredictability (speeding, drunk driving, distracted driving, general carelessness, etc.) out of the equation on these streets.


    Jeffrey Baker

    I’ve never been there but it looks like the street grid is at least sort of connected in the existing state. The proposal disconnects some of the crosses, and we know projects in the past have eliminated crossings to save money. It also adds what can be considered a four lane divided highway on either side of the buried road. This additional roadway serves no particular economic purpose since there are no homes or businesses or points of interest on the trench or any of its cross streets. It only exists because the other road exists. An analogy from my area would be Moraga road running along CA-13. Both are four lanes and setup as high speed thru roads. For pedestrians these freeways flanked by local boulevards are major obstacles that double the walking distance between points that by right ought to be adjacent.


    Kevin Love

    I love Jon Stewart and John Oliver!

    But why are the best news shows delivered by comedians?


    Kevin Love

    Only if the choice is made to allow advertising. Citi Bank certainly got their money back in advertising with the present system!

    Social Bicycles puts all the bike-share technology on a keypad on the bike’s rear rack. It can be locked up anywhere, and the on-board GPS tells the next user where to find it.

    This is a big technological advancement over BIXI, since there is no need for a high-tech bike dock with all the dock problems we have been experiencing.



    Alex Brideau III

    You’re getting close to describing a personal rapid transit system, which could make sense in many urban and suburban areas. If some PRT vehicles could be publicly owned and some privately owned, you might have an interesting hybrid transit system.


    Jeffrey Baker

    I think this is what the moderator was complaining about the other day. Can you come up with something new to say, or say nothing? It’s becoming tiresome.


    Kevin Love

    $1.8 BILLION! Cough, choke.

    What a lot of money to throw around and waste. A tiny fraction of that would provide Dutch-standard infrastructure for the entire city of Denver. With enough left over to endow a big ice cream and pizza party for the city’s citizens every year in perpetuity.

    $1.8 billion… wow… so many useful things could be done with that kind of money.


    Eric Panzer

    I disagree that the trends you and Laberteaux identify are foregone conclusions. In Laberteaux’s case, he has a clear business incentive to push us toward a future where people continue to own and operate their own private vehicles.

    One of the greatest promises of driverless cars is that they can dramatically decrease the cost of services like Uber, perhaps even to the point where they become cost-competitive with individual car ownership, even for people who must make daily car trips. With enough people using the system, you could create elaborate, automated casual carpooling algorithms that would further decrease costs and overall vehicle traffic. It’s possible to envision a future where a car picks up three to five people with nearby destinations, and then drops them off one after the other; or, alternatively, the car is continually picking up and dropping off people in a manner that keeps the car more or less constantly moving and full of passengers. Such a future is arguably no more or less realistic than the notion of an entirely autonomous driverless vehicle.

    Even if we end up with a future where driverless cars are individually owned, they could still have a positive impact in terms of sprawl and urban form. Much of the reason sprawl is so sprawly is that each use needs an enormous amount of parking to meet it’ maximum anticipated parking demand. With driverless cars, it would be much easier to centralize parking, since the cars could theoretically simply take themselves there after dropping off passengers. This would mean only needing to meet the aggregate peak demand for parking for a particular area, and this would likely be much smaller than the sum of the theoretical peak demands for each individual use. Moreover, even if you can’t decrease the absolute amount of parking, being able to centralize it has positive implications for walkability.

    In the end, how driverless cars will impact society, urban design, and the economy remains to be seen. Nevertheless, when it comes to predicting the future of the automobile, I’ll take the predictions of auto company executives with a grain of salt.



    there is a lot of traffic on it from what i’m told, but they should build the highways outside of cities and have the smaller roads cut into the city



    I hail from the northeast as these parkway ideas are becoming quite absurd. Your grandparents wanted the urban freeway so you can live in the suburbs far far away from urbanism thus America needs to learn how to eat there peas and move on from these pie in the sky ideas unless you plan on being bold and just getting rid of the urban freeway all together. Those ideas are too radical in 2014 but reimagine your city without the freeway… Try it some time, it’s quite liberating.


    Joe R.

    “Corridor of opportunity” for whom? Highway builders? It’s hard to see how anyone else will benefit here. The least they could have done was bury it for its entire length instead of only 800 feet. If we must have urban highways, they should be underground where you can’t see them, hear them, or smell them. And make sure the exhaust from any ventilation is directed over the suburbs these highways primarily serve.



    How does this happen in this day and age? Combine the price tag with the mountains of evidence that adding highway capacity to “ease congestion” is a fool’s errand and it’s absolutely baffling that anyone, regardless of political affiliation, could support a boondoggle like this.


    Phantom Commuter

    The attitudes below are counterproductive and one of the reasons the “red states” support these Senators. It becomes an emotional issue to be against whatever the other side is for instead of finding common ground. The polarization, on both sides, needs to stop. It starts with the voters.



    having a let me off now option would be a necessity. A option for manual control for the foreseeable future is also likely in case of system failure.



    Parking would also be a lot easier. On-street parking matters less if your car can park itself in a parking lot.



    Exactly. Its hard to screw up bikeshare. It could have been more successful with a more competent choice.



    The downside to that is that the docks act as advertisement


    Joe Enoch

    One supplier is bad enough, but, when that one supplier (bixi) and the (mostly) one operator (alta) have had their heads up their asses for years, that makes it particularly difficult. Alta and Bixi are train wrecks of companies and bike share’s best hope is that they can be re-envisioned by people with basic business savvy — and soon.



    Can you please not use autoplay videos? It’s very obnoxious in RSS feeds.


    fran farrell

    Let’s see. the Google Proof of Concept: goes no faster than 25 mph on city streets mapped to the nearest centimeter when empty so that anything that moves can be avoided. ‘Don’t see how that will drive people to live in the exurbs.



    Divvy is a success despite ALTA and Bixi, not because of it. And I think it’s more than a little optimistic to not be at least somewhat concerned about the long-term outlook of the program.



    It is unfortunate that people still don’t understand the issue with LOS. LOS is a perfectly good proven method for traffic studies. However, it should not be the only metric and that is the problem. Throwing it out of all traffic studies is a huge mistake like getting rid of old fire boxes just because it’s old.

    Traffic studies should have a variety of methods with each showing how the effect on all modes of transportation. Some of the reasons for ridding LOS given by the California Office of Planning and Research are a joke too. The most laughable is “It’s too hard to calculate”. Give. Me. A. Break.

    To sum it up, LOS should continue to be ONE metric, just not THE ONLY metric. Replacing it with an unproven VMT metric is a case of “early adaption” mistake. Using BOTH would give a much clearer picture of the entire traffic impact.



    Us too- the vests are amazing. I keep a RideSafer and a Bubblebum booster with us on long bike trips too, just in case. It’s true rental cars have seats, but the charge for them in most cases. We use Lyft, Uber, Zipcar, and cabs- so grateful for these products! (Only good for ‘bigger’ kids, though- RideSafer starts at age 3.)



    Better taxi service makes it more convenient to not own a car. Paying for every trip encourages other, cheaper modes when feasible. Easier to charge a driverless share car for the roads it drives on than one that a person owns, less of a perceived privacy issue. Predictable behavior from cars following the letter of the law, protecting pedestrians and cyclists encourages those modes. Cheaper to operate transit vehicles can encourage shared transport. (the driver is ~70% of the cost of bus service). The technology can make urban living more convenient. The proper regulatory framework to prevent sprawl would be needed though.



    It really depends on how the cars are used. Driverless taxis, buses, etc. have potential for reducing the total number of cars due to inefficiencies with human drivers (i.e. lunch breaks, sleep.) It’s still too early to make a meaningful prediction.


    ol g

    Have fun explaining this to corporations who are interested in starting and/or continuing sponsorship of the system or even a new dock.


    C Monroe

    Of course Toyota does not like the driverless car, well sales of vehicles would probably go down in the long run, Why do you think that Google is the main pusher besides some piecemeal funding to universities to study it from the other automakers?


    C Monroe

    The problem is they promote those local types and we get Wolf Blitzer and David Gregory.



    Anyone with that skillset becomes National. At the local level we just get Dorothy Rabinowitz and Rob Anderson.


    C Monroe

    This is the problem when you have to rely on one supplier. Many transit companies/authorities do this. Yes they do this to keep repairs and other costs down but an example is that my local transit authority uses Gillig buses, but they do not have a line of articulated buses. A few of the routes are so busy that many times there are riders waiting for numerous buses before being able to get on. But because of the cost of retraining mechanics and the needs when they decided on one manufacturer 10-20 years ago has left them stuck with one manufacturer.


    C Monroe

    I see it as a neutral technology. Yes it encourages people to be able to live in less dense places but at the same time it encourages work/commerce to be more dense for the reason of not needing such huge parking lots for cars. The driverless car has greater impact if it would be used as car share(which makes perfect sense).



    So with driverless cars can now have zero occupancy cars clogging the roads. Maybe we can have special lanes for cars with people in them.



    Took me less than 10secs to pull up ice cream shop on my phone and get directions. It shouldn’t be any harder than that to change destinations once self driving cars actually come to market. I think there are plenty of issues with them, but I don’t think easily changing destinations will be that big of an issue.



    Even better, you are part of a pool of cars. Takes you to work, then picks up someone else and take them to their destination. The whole driving back and forth is a huge waste when all you need is a passenger compartment.


    Andy Chow

    This driverless car thing is actually retail unfriendly. Part of the strategy of retail and service sector business is to be located at the right place and able to pull customers on a spontaneous basis. With automated cars it would actually be a barrier (it would be a hassle to reprogram the car to take a detour to an ice-cream shop.) The way to get around it is to pay Google which would obviously can promote it on their vehicle platform.



    Yes, this is the fundamental problem with bike-blvd-only strategies.

    Bike boulevards can be a great resource in the toolkit but they cannot be the whole strategy. The decades-long experiment of Bike Blvds as main infrastructure strategy in places such as Berkeley has proven this.

    As I see it, the fundamental drawbacks of them as main strategy are:

    —> They’re not always the shortest route, especially in places like Portland where the quiet mostly residential streets they follow are primarily square gridded blocks whereas main arterials sometimes form diagonal routes (think Sandy in Portland) significantly decreasing some travel distances.

    —> They intentionally keep people away from busy commercial corridors, when these are actually often desirable destinations and even through-routes in their own rights.

    —> Because of their “tucked-away” nature, they’re often more or less unknown to many residents. Bike Blvds have been around for decades in Berkeley yet lots of people there who don’t bike have no idea about the network because it’s a low-visibility network. Whereas everyone would notice protected lanes on, say, Telegraph, Shattuck or Adeline.

    –> This is also not mentioning the fact that in practice their signage, paint, infrastructure treatments are often lacking to the degree that cars still act as king.

    Even on well-sharrowed Bike Blvds I’ve definitely felt “stressed” with cars roaring behind you, aching to pass, giving nasty looks. Sure, I’m legally in the right, but it’s not pleasant. No wonder lots of the Interested But Concerned (or whatever you want to call that group) don’t tend to consider these as serious transportation options–to the extent they consider them at all.