Friday’s Headlines

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  • Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has hired Linda Bailey, director of the National Association of City Transportation Officials, to head up the city’s ambitious — but so far unsuccessful — Vision Zero program. (WaPo) Bowser was recently booed for talking about taking cars off the road, but Greater Greater Washington says citizens should be applauding instead.
  • A group of people with disabilities is suing the city of San Diego, Bird, Lime and Razor for failing to keep sidewalks clear of dockless scooters, which can be obstacles for the blind and folks in wheelchairs. (NBC)
  • Dallas Area Rapid Transit is eliminating the D-Link, its free downtown shuttle due to low ridership. While that seems like a loss, it’s really an example of how the entire Dallas bus system makes no sense. (D Magazine)
  • Uber is dropping 1,000 of its JUMP electric bikes and scooters into Scottsdale and Mesa, Ariz. (12 News) And Omaha is rolling out an e-scooter pilot program in March. (KETV)
  • The Columbus Dispatch supports hiking Ohio’s gas tax to pay for road repairs and transit improvements.
  • New bike lanes are coming in St. Petersburg (Fox 13), Boise (Idaho Statesman), Philadelphia (Voice), Memphis (a different Fox 13) and Ann Arbor (Concentrate).
  • Worried than ride-hailing will take people off transit and put more cars on the road, Vancouver officials are considering charging Uber and Lyft a congestion fee. (Sun)
  • A Rochester, N.Y., driver is sorrynotsorry that he gave a 10-year-old on a bike a concussion and then fled. (Daily News)
  • Some idiot tried to cut off the Oklahoma City streetcar, collided with it, then drove off. (KFOR)

Thursday’s Headlines

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  • Pedestrian deaths doubled in San Diego in 2018, from 17 to 34. (Union-Tribune) Charlotte drivers have already killed three people on foot this year, and the city’s Vision Zero director is recommending using cameras to catch speeders. Almost half of crashes involve speeding. (WBTV) It’s even worse in Washington, D.C., where 55 percent of fatal crashes were caused by speeding. But most people don’t care because they value time over lives, according to a Governor’s Highway Safety Association report. Many states have essentially given up, raising speed limits as high as 85 miles per hour. (Post)
  • When Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan killed the Red Line in Baltimore, he pledged $135 million to revamp the city’s bus system instead. The results have been less than stellar: Poorly enforced and maintained bus lanes, mixed on-time performance and, as a result, flat ridership. (City Lab)
  • Next City proposes that transit should be free during the traffic nightmare that is the Seattle Squeeze. It’s not, but crowds are showing up early to catch trains and buses anyway, according to KUOW. One woman’s new car-free commute, including 10 miles on a bike, was documented by Q13. Bike commutes like hers are rising in the wake of “Viadoom,” the Alaskan Way Viaduct’s closure, Curbed reports.
  • Average daily rides on Milwaukee’s The Hop streetcar rose in its second month of operation, but as the Milwaukee Record points out, people are going to complain about it anyway. A streetcar skeptic debates city leaders on whether it’s been successful on an OnMilwaukee podcast.
  • Meanwhile, Sacramento’s proposed streetcar suffered a major setback when the low bid came in $76 million over budget. (Bee)
  • The Phoenix New Times rode trains with a bunch of people wearing no pants and lived to tell the tale. Yes, there’s a slideshow.
  • And New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio went on “The View” (below) to talk about his national agenda, but ended up getting grilled on bike lanes in a fact-free fashion by Whoopi “Drives in From New Jersey” Goldberg. (NY Daily News).

bill responds

Wednesday’s Headlines

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  • Bridge ramps and a crosstown interstate tore apart Charleston’s primarily black neighborhoods in the 1920s and again in the ‘60s. Now, with the bridges dismantled, the city is planning affordable housing and a  park to knit those neighborhoods back together. (Next City)
  • The Federal Highway Administration gave preliminary approval last week for Oregon to start tolling parts of two freeways. (Willamette Week)
  • The Atlanta City Council is refocusing on Complete Streets while planning a slate of upcoming road projects. (Curbed)
  • A University of Washington study found that, while bike-share bikes are concentrated in “advantaged” neighborhoods, they’re available everywhere in Seattle regardless of racial or socio-economic lines. Also, people who rent bikes rarely wear helmets. (UW News)
  • Wired asks if bike activists are “selling out” by jumping to Uber, Lyft, Bird or other private companies.
  • Segway is producing a new, sturdier type of e-scooter for Lyft, with a wider base, thicker wheels and longer battery life. (The Drive) In other scooter news, 100 Limes have arrived in Little Rock for a six-month pilot program. (Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)
  • The Tampa Bay Times is not happy with the candidates to lead Hillsborough County’s growing transit agency.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to withhold road and transit funding from cities that don’t address the state’s affordable housing crisis by building more and denser housing — an ingredient for efficient transit. (LA Times)
  • London’s ban on polluting vehicles in one of its most traffic-choked neighborhoods is getting pushback from taxi drivers, although cyclists say they’ve already noticed a positive change. (The Guardian) The streets aren’t the only part of London that are polluted — the air quality in the fabled Underground is up to 30 times worse than on the street. Why? The Tube is deep and poorly ventilated, trapping exhaust that wafts in, and even though the trains are electric, their brakes throw off particulates. (City Lab)
  • Call it Uber for monorails or Elon Musk’s tunnel but aboveground — either way, autonomous floating pods in St. Louis probably aren’t going to fly. (KMOX)

Tuesday’s Headlines

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  • Transit systems are in danger of losing funding if the federal shutdown drags on. (Barron’s) Meanwhile, Washington, D.C. Uber drivers are feeling the pinch, too, with fewer requests for rides from furloughed government employees. (WTOP)
  • Most cities leave the responsibility for shoveling snow to property owners. That endangers pedestrians, and cities should clear sidewalks themselves. (City Lab)
  • Worried about the “Seattle Squeeze,” aka “ViaDoom,” with the Alaskan Way Viaduct now closed? KOMO has a primer for transit newbies.
  • Metro Atlanta’s population is projected to grow by 2.5 million by 2040, and to keep pace both with growth and rival cities, MARTA CEO Jeffrey Parker is calling for a $100-billion investment in transit over the next 40 years. (AJC)
  • Charlotte officials are grappling with how they came up $77 million short on funding for a 26-mile bike trail that was supposed to cost $38 million. (Observer)
  • Twin Cities YIMBYs — Yes in My Back Yard — are advocating for denser development, pedestrian-friendly streets and better transit. (Pioneer Press)
  • Los Angeles is targeting 80 of its most dangerous streets and intersections for Vision Zero projects. (Curbed)
  • Walk Bike Nashville held a memorial last weekend for the 23 pedestrians drivers killed there last year. (Fox 17)
  • This is how you do it: Paris is making transit free for children under 11 — with older youth getting a 50-percent discount — and bike rentals free for everyone under 18. (Fast Company)
  • Uber’s flying taxis are not what The Jetsons promised us. (The Guardian)

Monday’s Headlines

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  • The “Seattle Squeeze” is on, as the Alaskan Way Viaduct is now permanently closed. Curbed has a rundown on what Sound Transit is and is not doing to help commuters. Even though it’s January, biking might be the best way to get around, reports the Post-Intelligencer. Less productively, KING chides pedestrians for slowing down traffic by stepping into crosswalks with the clock winding down.
  • Although the latest Census numbers show fewer people are regularly cycling to work, the death of bike commuting has been greatly exaggerated. (Bicycling)
  • Maryland’s Purple Line is a year behind schedule and $215 million over budget, according to contractors, although the state disputes those figures and says the contractor can do more to accelerate construction. (Washington Post)
  • Massachusetts’s new bike plan update calls for treating all modes of transportation equally and reducing the number of short trips made by car. MDOT has $60 million to implement the plan through 2023. (Boston.com)
  • Bay Area transit can be unaffordable for minimum wage earners and people on fixed incomes. Is BART’s pay-by-distance system to blame? (Curbed)
  • A Cincinnati city councilman has filed a motion to look into Vision Zero as the number of pedestrians injured by drivers continues to rise. (WKRC)
  • The federal shutdown could delay Uber and Lyft’s public stock offerings as they await feedback from laid-off regulators. (Fortune)
  • While it’s difficult to provide efficient transit service in rural areas, ride-hailing isn’t the answer, either. Only 19 percent of rural Americans use Uber or Lyft. (Vox)
  • With parking construction running at $45,000 a space, Vancouver is considering only building parking for visitors, leaving developers on their own. The city could reduce or eliminate parking minimums, as well. (The Columbian)
  • Conservative website Townhall concern-trolls cyclists: Biking is dangerous, but instead of making it safer, just discourage people from biking.

 

Friday’s Headlines

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  • Like many new technologies, e-scooters are polarizing and characterized by opponents as unsafe — although the jury’s still out on that. The courts have yet to sort out who’s to blame when a scooter rider is injured. (City Lab)
  • With a top speed of around 12 miles per hour, e-scooters are too slow for streets and too fast for sidewalks. One solution might be sit-down scooters that can reach 20 mph. California-based Ojo is bringing about 100 to Austin next month. (KXAN)
  • Opponents of congestion pricing often play the equity card, claiming it hurts the poor. But there are many other ways our transportation system subsidizes the wealthy at the expense of the poor that usually go unmentioned. (City Observatory; H/T to Friend of Streetsblog Mike Lydon)
  • Private bus company Chariot — which operates in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle and Austin — will go out of business in March. (Examiner; and Streetsblog Denver)
  • North Carolina leaders believe the future of transportation is autonomous vehicles for short trips and light rail for longer ones. (WRAL)
  • St. Paul is the latest city to consider building a streetcar line. But is it driven by transportation needs or nostalgia? (WCCO)
  • The shutdown means federal highway and transit funding is slowing to a trickle just as state agencies are preparing to put projects out for bid. (Washington Post)
  • There were no gripes about expanding transit into the historically anti-transit but rapidly changing Atlanta suburb of Gwinnett County during a recent town meeting, which bodes well for a March vote to join MARTA. (AJC)
  • Traffic deaths in North Dakota declined to 104 in 2018, the lowest number in a decade. To put that in perspective, North Dakotans are dying on the roads at a rate five times higher than New York City. (Herald Courier)
  • A Boston company could bring light rail to New Hampshire by 2023. (NH Public Radio)
  • Uber is expanding service to include all of Ohio (WKYC) and Michigan (WXYZ).
  • A truck driver describes how horrible he feels about killing a Portland cyclist. It’s a touching story that reveals the other side without letting the driver off the hook. (Bike Portland)
  • Consider yourself warned: Seattle’s annual No Pants Light Rail Weekend is this Sunday. (Patch)
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