Wednesday’s Headlines

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  • When it comes to self-driving cars, how safe is safe enough? (Vox)
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill creating a massive new toll road and extending two other highways, despite questions like how much they’ll cost and concerns that they’ll cut through environmentally sensitive areas. (Tampa Bay times)
  • Starting in August, Metro Transit’s Green Line connecting Minneapolis and St. Paul will no longer run 24 hours a day — closing from 2 to 4 a.m. — because of what officials describe as a “party train” atmosphere and possibly because homeless people sleep on the train. (Pioneer Press)
  • Valley Metro celebrated the opening of a two-mile light-rail extension in Mesa, Ariz. (KTAR)
  • A California court has ordered Uber to turn over data to San Francisco after a police study found ride-hailing is responsible for 65 percent of congestion and traffic violations in  the city. (Bloomberg)
  • A California bill would prohibit cities from limiting the number of e-scooters on their streets or requiring companies to share data and meet equity goals. (City Lab)
  • An e-scooter rider’s death is sparking talk of the need for more bike lanes and traffic enforcement in Atlanta. (Curbed)
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and legislative leaders reached a budget deal that doesn’t include a gas-tax hike. (Duluth News Tribune)
  • Tuk tuks — sort of an electric rickshaw popular in South America, Africa and Asia — are Louisville’s newest transportation option. (Courier Journal)
  • Portland has seen the future of transit, and it is a hydrogen-powered bus. Apparently, the technology has improved since the Hindenburg days. (KATU)
  • If you’re in the mood for a good hate-read, Randal O’Toole continues his crusade against transit. (Cato)
Photo: Amelia Bates / Grist

Seattle and Minneapolis: A Tale of Two Upzones

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Dense, walkable cities mean more families can afford to stay, and public transport gets a boost. They’re also greener than suburbs, with their large homes and car-dependent multitudes. But changing zoning rules that break the car culture isn’t easy. A long read from our friends at Grist.

Tuesday’s Headlines

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  • Paging Mayor Bowser: Dave Salovesh’s ghost bike was, yes, run over by a car driver over the weekend. (Curbed)
  • Bikes contributed to the suffrage movement at the turn of the 20th century by giving women freedom of movement and confidence, and even changing fashion. Today, there’s a renewed push to convince planners to consider the way women live and move around cities on bikes. (Curbed)
  • Every community has different needs, so Complete Streets policies shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all. (Smart Cities Dive)
  • Outlawing distracted walking doesn’t make pedestrians safer and will probably lead to racial profiling (City Lab). An incident in Florida last week where a police officer handcuffed an searched a black teen who was crossing the street proves the point (Tampa Bay Times).
  • Washington, D.C.-area residents oppose congestion pricing by a two-to-one margin (Washington Post). That’s not surprising — but it also doesn’t mean that it’s a bad idea.
  • A University of San Francisco report suggests making transit service free to better compete with Uber and Lyft. (Examiner)
  • Seattle’s DOT director says parking is an inefficient use of public space, and if the city builds more bike lanes, cyclists will come (KTTH). Meanwhile, the Seattle Times raises four questions about scooters.
  • Two years after Denver launched a Vision Zero plan, the city is falling short of its goals. (Colorado Public Radio)
  • Madison, Wisc. is betting on bus rapid transit to help cope with congestion that will come with rapid growth. (State Journal)
  • The Omaha World-Herald gets onboard with stronger transit.
  • Phoenix officials are pivoting to crafting an e-scooter policy after no one was interested in bringing dockless bikes to the city (Arizona Republic). But Zagster is starting a bike-share in Montgomery, Ala. (Advertiser).
  • An Anchorage resident who uses a wheelchair because of injuries suffered in car wrecks is lobbying for a better handicapped-accessible transit system. (KTUU)
  • A Chicago reporter documented her 30-mile bike commute on National Bike to Work Day last week. (Tribune)
  • The party started at 5:30 a.m. at Uber’s San Francisco headquarters the day the company went public (Business Insider). La-di-da.

Monday’s Headlines

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  • The Trump Administration formally followed through on its plan to withdraw $929 million in funding for a California high-speed rail line, and may try to claw back the $2.5 billion already spent on the project, which Gov. Gavin Newsom says he’d fight in court (Washington Post). Honolulu’s mayor, reacting to the news, says he’s confident the feds won’t pull funding for light rail there (Hawaii Public Radio).
  • Underpaid Uber and Lyft drivers are experience a bit of schadenfreude at the companies’ falling stock prices. (NBC News)
  • One more time, for the people in the back: Driverless cars are not coming anytime soon. (The Ringer)
  • Duke wasn’t the only university that had concerns about the Durham-Orange light rail line. UNC did, too, but records show that it was willing to try to work through them, unlike Duke. (Biz Journal)
  • Speed cameras are finally coming to Philadelphia’s Roosevelt Boulevard, one of the most dangerous streets in the country. (Inquirer)
  • Urban Milwaukee breaks down the funding for the city’s $160-million, three-mile streetcar expansion plan.
  • Folks who live in Davis, Calif. — home of America’s first bike lane — call it “Bike City USA,” but the college down didn’t do so well in the annual ranking of bike-friendliest cities. (ABC 10)
  • Cincinnati police are seeking two drivers who intentionally drove onto a sidewalk in an effort to run over several pedestrians, pinning a woman against a van. (WLWT)
  • London’s ultra-low emissions zone is working, as 9,400 fewer polluting vehicles entered the city center in April, compared to March. (Guardian)
  • A New Jersey transit bus driver killed a bicyclist in Cape May. (nj.com)
  • Just hours after a self-driving shuttle hit the streets in Providence, it was pulled over. Apparently the shuttle did nothing wrong — the officer just wasn’t familiar with the oddly shaped vehicle — but even if it had, to whom would he give a ticket? (Jalopnik)

Friday’s Headlines

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  • Uber is stingy about sharing data, but the company has agreed to allow a select few cities — New York, Seattle, Cincinnati, Nairobi and London — to track vehicle speeds. The data can help those cities make better decisions about infrastructure and traffic regulation. (The Verge)
  • The National Association of City Transportation Officials will work with five cities — Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Minneapolis and Philadelphia, to build bike and bus lanes to help them meet carbon-reduction goals. (Patch)
  • As expected, the National Labor Relations Board issued an advisory memo saying that Uber and Lyft drivers are contractors, not employees. (NPR)
  • Infrastructure Talks II: Electric Boogaloo. (The Hill)
  • Streetcar roundup: Businesses are anxiously awaiting the extension of the Kansas City streetcar line (KSHB). Tempe, Ariz., is temporarily closing a downtown street as work continues on its streetcar (KTAR). Charlotte’s streetcar will stop running for 18 months starting in June so workers can finish a 2.5-mile extension (Observer). But streetcars aren’t for everyone: Providence, R.I. is spending money earmarked for a streetcar on buses instead, and it’s better off for it (Mobility Lab). Finally, a Detroit News columnist argues that the widely derided QLine can succeed if businesses subsidize fares for a while, payment is easier and it has a dedicated lane.
  • Volunteers fanned out across Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to gather data on bike-lane safety. They found drivers driving, parking and picking up and dropping off people in bike lanes with impunity. (WAMU)
  • Los Angeles appears to be pulling back from plans to install its first new bus-only lanes this year. (Curbed)
  • Did Denver’s vague new master plan just outlaw single-family development? (Denver Post)
  • Uber Black’s “quiet mode” is the ride-hailing equivalent of rolling up the window divider in your limo. (CBS News)

Thursday’s Headlines

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  • A fifth of U.S. roads are in poor condition, up from 14 percent in 2009, according to a new study by Transportation for America and Taxpayers for Common Sense. But does that mean we need to spend more on infrastructure? Part of the problem is states keep building more lanes instead of maintaining what they have, which in turn increases maintenance costs (Curbed, Streetsblog). Another new study, by U.S. PIRG, also advocates repairing roads over new construction, as well as more investment in transit, walking and biking.
  • The weather is warm, and scooter season is here again, with all the crashes and sidewalk clutter that implies. Can cities and companies work together to create a sustainable system? (The Ringer)
  • Volkswagen is coming for Tesla, announcing plans for two new plants in China that will be able to manufacture 600,000 electric cars a year. (Driving)
  • Two Twin Cities bike trails have been shut down for the next several years so construction on the Southwest light rail line can begin (Minnesota Public Radio). But thousands of residents have petitioned Gov. Tim Walz to halt tree-cutting along the route (Star Tribune).
  • Resistance is strong in Boston to fixing “stroads” — thoroughfares that combine the pedestrians and bikes of city streets with the high speeds of suburban roads. (CommonWealth)
  • A company called Freebee operates free electric shuttles — paid for by advertising with an eye toward eventual public funding — on busy corridors in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Some city officials think they might replace the streetcar that they canceled last year. (Sun Sentinel)
  • Fares on Maryland’s state-run buses, light rail, subway and paratransit will jump 10 cents in June. (Baltimore Fishbowl)
  • Tulsa residents say they want a city sales tax for capital improvements to fund transit and biking and walking infrastructure. (World)
  • A Swedish company is working on prototype for a road that will charge electric cars while they drive, extending their range and allowing for smaller and cheaper batteries. (Fast Company)
  • Rochester, N.Y.’s bike-share is adding e-scooters (WHAM). Look out, though: Bike lanes there are full of cars, because the city doesn’t have a law against parking in them (WXXI).
  • Oh, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who championed (and then, some say, abandoned) Vision Zero is apparently going to join the stampede for president.
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