Tuesday’s Headlines From Around the Nation

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  • President Trump is expected to issue an order today rolling back Obama-era mileage standards, undercutting the previous administration’s biggest effort to curb climate change, as well as automakers that are already pivoting to electric vehicles. (Associated Press)
  • Streetsblog Chicago has a database of cities that are repurposing streets for bikes and pedestrians during the global pandemic. One such city is Portland, which recently forbid cars from streets running through parks (KATU).
  • Uber and Lyft are not granting paid medical leave to drivers who are immunosuppressed or otherwise especially vulnerable to COVID-19 — just those who’ve tested positive or been ordered into quarantine. (CNN)
  • GM is repurposing two automotive plants in Michigan and Indiana to manufacture masks and ventilators. (CNBC)
  • Bike-share company Wheels is introducing pedal-less e-bikes with self-cleaning handlebars and brake levers. (Tech Crunch)
  • Ridership on the NYC subway is down to less than 1 million per day from 5 million before the coronavirus hit. But in low-income neighborhoods, people who can’t afford to miss work are still braving public transit. (NY Times)
  • The head of Bay Area Rapid Transit says federal stimulus funds will help the agency keep running when reserve funds run out. It’s seen a 90 percent drop in ridership during the coronavirus pandemic (San Francisco Examiner). Muni light rail shut down Monday, with buses running routes instead (SF Chronicle). But shouldn’t the government just fund transit properly to begin with, so agencies don’t need a “bailout”? (Streetsblog SF)
  • Detroit’s QLine streetcar (Metro Times), El Paso buses (Times) and trolleys in St. Petersburg and Clearwater (Tampa Bay Times) have reduced service due to coronavirus.
  • Milwaukee County has suspended bus fares to avoid interactions between riders and drivers (Fox 6 Now). So has New Orleans (Times-Picayune)
  • Pittsburgh transit advocates made a graphic novel about the city’s ideal future for transit, such as easier-to-load payment cards and frequency so high that no one needs schedules. (City Paper)

Monday’s Headlines From Around the Nation

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  • The Trump administration is using coronavirus as an excuse to let polluters violate environmental laws with impunity. (New York Times)
  • As coronavirus crushes demand for gas, prices could fall below $1 per gallon in some parts of the U.S. (Market Watch). But, as Electrek points out, that’s still more expensive than charging an electric vehicle.
  • The Eno Center for Transportation has a detailed breakdown of the $114 billion for transportation in the coronavirus stimulus bill. TL;DR most of it will go to airlines, but there is $25 billion for transit agencies and $1 billion for Amtrak — not enough, as Streetsblog previously reported.
  • Already in turmoil thanks to regulations and shaky business models, e-scooter companies are scaling back as demand shrinks during the coronavirus pandemic. (Bloomberg)
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is considering tweaking its rules to pave the way for self-driving cars (Wired). In related news, delivery robots, it’s your time to shine (Slate).
  • Here’s another article, this one from Reuters, about how the coronavirus pandemic is exposing Uber and Lyft drivers’ lack of a safety net. But the bailout will let them off the hook again (Streetsblog).
  • Legendary architect and urbanist Michael Sorkin has died of COVID-19 at the age of 71. (Quartz)
  • France is using high-speed trains with mobile emergency rooms to transport COVID-19 victims from hard-hit regions to hospitals that still have beds. (NPR)
  • Toronto is considering banning cars from some streets so pedestrians have room to spread out while social distancing (Globe and Mail). New York did it — a tiny, tiny bit (Streetsblog).
  • Orlando kids’ sidewalk chalk art is bring a smile to people’s faces during the pandemic. (Click Orlando)

Friday’s Headlines From Around the Nation

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  • Density may have helped coronavirus spread in cities, but don’t forget its strengths: culture, better transit and affordable housing, not to mention modern sanitation that’s prevented other pandemics, hospitals and walkability that encourages better health. (New York Times)
  • Biking is the best way to get around while social distancing, and the cities that realize it are continuing to build bike lanes and protecting bike shops from closure. (City Lab)
  • Uber and Lyft got a bailout from the coronavirus stimulus bill in the form of having taxpayers pick up unemployment benefits for their exploited workers (Streetsblog USA). But the good news is that New York’s top court granted those “independent contractors” rights as real employees (Newsday).
  • More from Streetsblog: U.S. car traffic dropped 30 percent in the past month, and that’s helped trucks deliver essential goods more quickly than ever. Biking can help flatten the curve – If space previously set aside for cars is given over to bikes. 
  • Cities need to remake their regulations for the micromobility revolution. (Governing)
  • E-scooters make it easier for people to use public transportation. That’s because most people will only walk 10 minutes to a bus or train stop, but they can cover a lot more ground on a scooter in that amount of time (CoMotion). How do e-scooter companies know how many devices to put on the ground? The senior vice president of data at Bird explains (Smart Cities Dive). So why are e-scooter companies pulling out of cities when people need them now more than ever? (Bloomberg)
  • Brightline has suspended passenger rail service in South Florida and laid off 250 people due to coronavirus. But publicly owned Tri-Rail and Metrorail are still running. (Miami Herald)
  • Meanwhile, Xpress West — owned by Virgin Trains USA, the same company that owns the Brightline — is moving forward with plans for high-speed rail from California to Las Vegas. (L.A. Times)
  • Houston, though, is slowing down on $7 billion plans to expand transit as officials keep an eye on the fiscal fallout from COVID-19. (Chronicle)
  • The D.C. Metro is indefinitely closing 19 stations to save dwindling cleaning supplies and protect employees from coronavirus exposure. (Washington Post)
  • Toronto and Vancouver are doing what other cities should do and thinking about closing down streets to increasingly nonexistent cars to allow for more social distancing.  (Globe and Mail)

 

 

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