Wednesday Headlines

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  • Climate change poses “catastrophic” and “likely irreversible” risks to global political stability, according to a new report by a national security think tank. The report calls for phasing out greenhouse gas emissions and reaching zero emissions “as quickly as possible.” (The Hill)
  • Cities waste money building new roads when they should be maintaining what they have instead. (Strong Towns)
  • The New York city council wants to tear down the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway — Robert Moses’s poster child for bad urban planning and transportation policy — and replace it with a tunnel (NY Times). With congestion pricing around the corner, StreetsblogNYC editor Gersh Kuntzman wants to know why elected officials don’t just tear it down.
  • A proposed Houston-to-Dallas bullet train still has some major hurdles to clear, as rural Texans who don’t want anyone taking their land are mobilizing to fight it. (Houston Chronicle)
  • As an incentive for people to use transit, Los Angeles is considering letting transit riders skip security lines at LAX. Boston did the same thing last year, and ridership on the Logan express bus doubled. (Smart Cities Dive)
  • Spokane is modernizing its parking system with dynamic pricing and increased fines. (Spokesman-Review)
  • There’s no war on cars and drivers, a former Mile High City sustainability officer writes in the Denver Post, but if there really was such a thing, the drivers would be the ones inflicting a lot more casualties.
  • To encourage San Francisco riders to park their e-bikes at a dock, Lyft is charging a $2 fee if they don’t. (Mashable)
  • Philadelphia should ban cars on Chestnut Street. (Billy Penn)
  • A whistleblower reported concerns about the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation misusing funds years before the federal government started investigating, and was asked to resign as a result, according to a report obtained by Civil Beat.
  • Dutch newspaper The Correspondent says it’s OK to fat-shame SUVs.
  • Ever notice that Lego cities don’t have any bike lanes? The popular toy is being criticized for reinforcing car culture. (The Verge)

Tuesday’s Headlines

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  • The U.S. was the only nation out of 140 at a global road safety conference that refused to sign a statement setting a target for reducing traffic deaths. (Forbes, Streetsblog)
  • Traffic deaths in the U.S. were down 2 percent in 2019, to a still unacceptable 38,000, according to the National Safety Council (ABC News). One exception, though, was Oregon, where traffic deaths rose 4 percent (KATU).
  • Why do cities keep letting Uber and Lyft clog up streets, pollute the air and cut into transit ridership? (Los Angeles Times)
  • A planned renovation of Baltimore’s Penn Station will get opportunity zone funding. The $500-million project will include retail and office space, apartments and improved tracks and platforms. (Business Journal)
  • Only 19 percent of Dallas commuters ride transit, and those who do spend 200 more hours a year getting to and from work than drivers. No wonder so few people use it (D Magazine). Meanwhile, transit ridership in Austin is up 8 percent, and that number will grow once a new Metro Rail station opens and double-tracking allows frequency to increase to every 12 to 15 minutes (KXAN). And ridership is up 30 percent in Albuquerque, thanks to bus rapid transit. (KON)
  • The San Antonio News-Express endorsed Mayor Ron Nirenberg’s plan to fund transit by diverting part of a sales tax for aquifer protection.
  • A California lawmaker has introduced a bill to create a bike lane on the Bay Bridge. (San Francisco Examiner)
  • Philadelphia is doubling the size of its e-bike fleet to 250. (KYW)
  • Houston’s B-Cycle bike-share recently opened its 100th station. (Chronicle)
  • A U.K. city is offering residents up to 3,000 pounds to give up their cars. (Forbes)
  • Lyft is putting billboards on top of cars, which means it’s just a yellow paint job away from being a taxi company. (Jalopnik)

Monday’s Headlines

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  • Cities can only harness the full benefits of micromobility options like bike-shares and e-scooters if they’re fully integrated into public transit, according to a German study (Traffic Technology Today). But fully integrating micromobility devices and transit requires data, which companies have been reluctant to turn over to cities (Urban Mobility Daily).
  • If Uber and Lyft’s effect on traffic congestion and falling transit ridership, low-paid drivers and record of sexual assaults make you cringe, here’s how to delete the apps and use other options to get around. (The Verge)
  • You can’t pave your way out of congestion, but the Colorado DOT is nonetheless planning to widen I-25 anyway. At least the deal to buy a vacant railyard will benefit light rail, too (Colorado Public Radio). Meanwhile, an Oklahoma City proposal to widen I-35 is meeting backlash (Fox 25).
  • Miami’s new parking-light zoning code shows what can happen when cities get out of developers’ way. (City Journal)
  • Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is cracking down on drivers who park in bike and bus lanes. (Tribune)
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has ordered 155 electric buses — the largest such order in U.S. history. (KCAL)
  • Milwaukee’s streetcar ridership is exceeding expectations, and it celebrated its millionth rider on Friday. (On Milwaukee)
  • Philadelphia’s new, brighter streetlights could help make streets safer at night. (WHYY)
  • A Kansas City council member has introduced a Complete Streets resolution and wants to rethink how wide, hard-to-cross streets are designed. (KCTV)
  • Nashville needs 1,900 miles of sidewalks, but only four miles a year are being built. (WSMV)
  • Here’s your semi-regular reminder not to trust the Manhattan Institute, which thinks bike lanes are “recreational” and thus not worth government investment.
  • A Spanish company has signed a $6-billion deal to build the first high speed rail line in the U.S., running between Houston and Dallas. But don’t get too excited — it’s not expected to start service until 2042. (RFI)
  • Urbanism isn’t just for cities. Some of the most walkable places on Earth are small, rural villages. (Strong Towns)

Friday’s Headlines

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  • Under President Trump, the U.S. has become more car-reliant, while Congress has had to fight to protect major transit projects. Overall, Trump’s policy has been big talk and little action. (City Lab)
  • One thing Trump has tried to do is roll back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards. Luckily, his administration’s been too incompetent to pull it off. (Jalopnik)
  • Joe Biden says he’ll raise corporate taxes to pay for his infrastructure plan (CNS News). Likewise, Pete Buttigieg doesn’t think gas taxes are a long-term solution to fund transportation (Public News Service).
  • The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington criticized President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for holding up the appointment of a new inspector general at the U.S. DOT. The recently retired IG was investigating allegations that McConnell’s wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, steered contracts toward his Kentucky constituents.
  • Smart Cities Dive interviews e-scooter company Spin’s president, Euwyn Poon, about the advantages of being part of an established company in Ford, rather than a tech startup, and why micromobility in the U.S. lags behind European cities.
  • A Maryland bill would stop sidewalk closures during construction (WJLA). Meanwhile, Dallas officials want to charge contractors more to work in the right-of-way to get them to finish jobs more quickly (D Magazine).
  • An Oregon legislator wants to give cities the authority to lower speed limits, which, you would think, would be obvious. (Bike Portland)
  • About 26,000 Seattle bus riders will get a smoother ride starting Saturday, when a dozen routes move to new bus-only lanes on Columbia Street. (Seattle Times)
  • Atlanta transit agency MARTA is considering rebuilding its main station in Five Points to reconnect the street grid. (Marietta Daily Journal)
  • It’s a bit depressing that even in liberal Vermont, most drivers oppose paying more for gas to fight climate change. (NBC 5)
  • The eight people Portland drivers have killed so far this year include two who were sleeping on the sidewalk. (Willamette Week)
  • Where the rubber meets the road: Streets made of the bouncy substance used to be commonplace, and bringing them back could help protect pedestrians. (Forbes)

Thursday’s Headlines

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  • The problem with autonomous cars is that operators either pay attention or they don’t — and if they don’t, they won’t be ready to take the wheel if needed. (Fast Company)
  • Case in point: Researchers stuck a piece of tape on a speed-limit sign and convinced Teslas on autopilot to drive 85 miles per hour in a 35. (Business Insider)
  • Uber used to be able to bully cities, but it’s unlikely to win its fight with Los Angeles over access to data. (Smart Cities Dive)
  • The mayor of traffic-choked San Francisco, London Breed, is proposing congestion pricing and charging for on-street parking on nights and Sundays to free up valuable curb space (Chronicle). In New York City, though, the nation’s first congestion pricing scheme could be delayed because the federal DOT is dragging its feet on deciding how extensive of an environmental review should be conducted (Politico).
  • In 2011, Dallas promised to build 1,300 miles of bike routes by 2021. With less than a year to go, it’s only one-tenth of the way there. (Observer)
  • Miami-Dade’s South Corridor bus rapid transit line looks likely to receive a Federal Transit Administration grant. (Miami Today)
  • The upcoming T shutdown in Boston will be BRT’s time to shine. (Commonwealth)
  • Denver’s Regional Transportation District is taking public input on proposed transit service cuts over the next two weeks. (Colorado Public Radio)
  • A Virginia gas tax hike will pump more money into transit, but it will probably lead to more sprawl and wider roads, as well. (Virginia Mercury)
  • Developers broke ground on a mixed-use building near an Atlanta transit stop that includes affordable housing and relatively little parking. (Curbed)
  • New Orleans is taking a second look at a transit hub in the central business district, where thousands of riders board buses every day but don’t have shelter or a place to sit. (Times-Picayune)
  • Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas is considering appointing a “pothole czar.” (Star)
  • Rochester is eyeing late 2020 to launch an electric car-share service. (Democrat & Chronicle)
  • A viral video had Facebook users wondering why a woman vacuuming her sidewalk? Turns out, a drunk driver crashed into her parked van, glass got everywhere, and she was worried someone would get hurt. (WIFR)
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