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.

Wednesday’s Headlines

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  • Three signs your city is serious about road safety. (Clean Technica)
  • House Democrats should pass an infrastructure bill to let voters know what they stand for, even if it is DOA in Mitch McConnell’s Senate. (Washington Monthly)
  • Electric bikes are becoming more popular as new models get lighter. (Portland Press Herald)
  • In preparation for D.C. Metro construction that will shut down six stations this summer, Alexandria, Va., is cutting parking rates in garages to discourage drivers from circling neighborhoods, stepping up bus service and adding water taxis. (WTOP)
  • The carnage in San Francisco continues, as drivers killed a pedestrian and a motorcyclist on Saturday, bringing this year’s traffic death toll to 14. (Weekly)
  • Planned Twin Cities bus rapid transit lines need help from the state. Should funding come from new taxes Democrats want, or a $1 billion budget surplus, as Republicans propose? (MinnPost)
  • Seattle’s Sound Transit has chosen a contractor to design and build the $1.4-billion Federal Way light rail extension. (Kent Reporter)
  • The Durham-Orange light rail line is dead, but Research Triangle residents will still see transit improvements in the coming year. (Raleigh News & Observer)
  • Construction of an unpopular parking lot at the Memphis Zoo is set to start this summer. (Fox 13)
  • Whereas most cities have been designed around men’s commuting patterns, the neighborhood of Aspern in Vienna, Austria, was specifically planned with women and families and mind. And it shows, from the apartment layouts to the public spaces. Even the streets are all named for woman. (Guardian)
  • Newsflash: Driving is faster than scooting, and scooting is faster than walking — at least in downtown Austin, Tex. (KVUE) But is it really worth the five minutes you save to drive?

Tuesday’s Headlines

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  • Bloomberg labels Uber’s initial public offering a “flop,” as the company’s stock price lost 9 percent off its already-low price of $45 per share.
  • Meanwhile, more bad publicity for ride-hailing companies: According to USA Today, the back seats of ride-share cars have 35,000 more germs than a toilet seat, and 219 times more than the back of a taxi. MSNBC focused a recent segment on drivers’ struggles with low pay. A Seattle union found that drivers are taking home a smaller share of fares than they did three years ago (Post Bulletin). And a Pittsburgh Uber driver is accused of holding two female passengers against their will (Post-Gazette).
  • Lyft will keep the e-bikes it pulled from New York City, Washington, D.C. and San Fransisco in April because of brake problems off the streets until at least late September — a story broken by our colleagues at StreetsblogNYC.
  • The Midwest’s infrastructure needs go beyond roads and bridges, says a Michigan think-tank director, including rail upgrades, water and sewer repairs and broadband internet. (The Hill)
  • Maryland’s transportation secretary says critics of plans to widen the Beltway and I-270 are “hiding from the facts,” claiming that the state is relying on privately built toll lanes because it has no money for transit (WTOP). Here’s why he’s wrong (Streetsblog).
  • The Los Angeles subway project is looking at another delay, with the completion date now pushed to March, 2022. (L.A. Times)
  • Gwinnett County, Ga., is not planning on changing the transit plan that failed at the ballot box in March before a deadline to submit it to Atlanta’s regional transit authority. (AJC)
  • The Massachusetts DOT is adding protected bike lanes to a notoriously dangerous route between Boston and Cambridge. (Curbed)
  • Columbia, S.C. runners are joining others in pushing for a Complete Streets law at the state level. South Carolina is the sixth-most dangerous state for cyclists and pedestrians. (The State)
  • Dear Tampa residents: Please stop putting your trash cans in the bike lane. (WFTS)

 

Monday’s Headlines

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  • Cleveland Heights, Ohio, topped Smart Growth America’s list of 10 communities that passed the best Complete Streets policies of 2018, followed by Des Moines, Iowa; Milwaukee; Baltimore; Madison, Conn.; Neptune Beach, Fla.; Fairfield, Conn.; Huntsville, Ala.; Amherst, Mass. and Walpole, Mass. (Smart Cities Dive)
  • Now that they’ve gone public, a MarketWatch analyst expects Uber and Lyft to raise prices — unless they can get rid of drivers. If so, they might do both.
  • Milwaukee Public Transit is proposing to cut service by 10 percent. The agency is facing a funding shortfall, even if Gov. Tony Evers’s budget, which includes an additional $600 million for transit statewide, is approved. (Wisconsin Public Radio)
  • We’re skeptical of City Journal‘s take that California should shelve its high-speed rail plans and seek alternatives from the private market, such as Virgin Trains. But it’s worth reading.
  • The local NBC affiliate checked in on whether Boston’s made progress on its 2030 transportation master plan, which includes bike lanes, bus-only lanes, linear parks and Vision Zero safety initiatives. Not much, it turns out.
  • Low-density suburban zoning that pushes out workers seeking affordable housing is to blame for the crushing commutes in Dallas. (Morning News)
  • San Francisco Mayor London Breed has promised to build 20 miles of protected bike lanes in the next two years and issue more tickets to drivers who block bike lanes. (Examiner)
  • At long last, Seattle is finally getting e-scooters — in 10 months. (The Stranger)
  • Kansas City has launched a year-long dockless e-scooter and docked e-bike pilot program. (KSHB)
  • Portland’s bike-share is offering free rides through May 19 in honor of National Bike Month. (KPTV)
  • Minneapolis cyclists are fed up with school bus drivers parking in bike lanes, and they’re taking matters into their own hands. (City Pages)
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