Friday’s Headlines

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  • Drivers are killing pedestrians in greater numbers in part because people are increasingly forced to walk in places that were built on the assumption that no one would ever walk there, like freeways and wide surface arterial roads. Authorities have responded mainly by blaming victims, rather than provide safe places for people to walk. As gentrification pushes people who can’t afford cars out of walkable inner cities into the suburbs, the problem will get worse. (Bloomberg)
  • Uber’s rewards program could worsen congestion by incentivizing single trips. (NPR Illinois)
  • Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser pledged to build a two-way, bus-only “K Street Transitway,” replacing what’s now parking and an access road (Greater Greater Washington). In addition, her 2020 budget proposal includes more money for bike-lane enforcement, continuing and expanding a free circulator, extending the streetcar line and fixing the notorious “Dave Thomas Circle.” (WAMU)
  • Houston — where drivers have killed 2,000 people on foot and bikes since 2003 — needs redesigned streets and sidewalks, wider bike lanes, protected bike paths and vigorous traffic enforcement. (Press)
  • Is Philadelphia finally getting serious about Vision Zero? Signs like speed cameras, permanent bike lanes and civilian traffic officers point to yes. (Philly Mag)
  • A Cincinnati study recommends retiming lights so pedestrians have more time to cross, designating pickup and drop-off zones, giving the streetcar priority at traffic signals and adding more parking meters. (Enquirer)
  • A liberal, black commentator in Atlanta pushes back against the notion that racism is the reason Gwinnett County’s transit referendum on Tuesday failed. The pro-transit side wasn’t well organized, and residents of the majority-black southern part of the county didn’t think they’d get much bang for their buck. (Georgia Pol)
  • Almost a year after Nashville voters rejected a $5-billion transit referendum, the coalition behind it, Moving Forward, announced new leadership and will turn its attention toward influencing various city and regional master plan updates. (Tennessean)
  • The Durham-Orange light rail line is still eligible for federal funding, although its future is dim since Duke University pulled out. (WRAL)
  • The Phoenix City Council bowed to pressure from anti-transit business owners and voted to delay a light-rail extension planned for the west side of the city. Nearby Glendale killed its portion in 2017, leading opponents to dub it a “train to nowhere.” It’s the second time the council has voted to delay a light-rail extension and spend the money on roads instead. (Arizona Republic, Streetsblog)
  • Baltimore lawmakers advanced legislation to permanently legalize e-scooters, tax them, cap their speed and fine violators. (Fishbowl)
  • Contrary to popular belief, it’s hard to beat a streetcar in a footrace. (City Lab)

Thursday’s Headlines

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  • Transit advocates are criticizing President Trump’s proposed budget for cutting transportation funding and failing to take advantage of an opportunity for infrastructure investment (Smart Cities Dive). Meanwhile, Trump’s Federal Transit Administration continues to allow projects to languish by refusing to disburse the funds it does have (Streetsblog).
  • Most Streetsblog readers probably don’t agree with Trump on much, but can empathize with his fear of self-driving cars. As Vox explains, new modes of transportation always make people anxious.
  • Even Mayor Jim Kenney admits Philadelphia’s streets “suck,” but he says the city is making progress on safety and is speeding up construction of separated bike lanes. (PlanPhilly)
  • Unlike the other 46 states, laws in Virginia, Maryland, Alabama and North Carolina make it all but impossible for a pedestrian who’s hit by a car to prove the driver was negligent. (Mobility Lab)
  • Ridership on the Milwaukee streetcar fell sharply in January from its first two months of operation. Numbers from February and March are unknown because of a glitch in the counting system. (Journal Sentinel)
  • San Francisco is the third-most congested city in the U.S., and half the increase in traffic from 2010 to 2016 is attributed to Uber and Lyft. (Marina Times)
  • Oregon is the only state without a law regulating ride-hailing services, and legislators aim to change that this year. But they’re sharply divided between eliminating local rules and allowing cities to add extra requirements. (OPB)
  • As it revamps the Little Rock bus system, Rock Region Metro faces an age-old conundrum: Try to cover the largest area, or focus on the routes where the most riders are? (Democrat-Gazette) The agency is also hoping for more federal funding. (KUAR)
  • Biking is catching on in Maui, despite Hawaii being ranked one of the worst states for cyclists. (Maui News)
  • Portland’s Metropolitan Area Express light- rail system, explained. (KOIN)
  • The Toledo (Ohio) Blade editorial board gets right to the point: Fix the dang sidewalks.

Wednesday’s Headlines

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  • A referendum in Atlanta’s largest suburban county, Gwinnett, on joining the metro area’s transit system and investing a 1 percent sales tax in rail and buses failed by a 54 percent to 46 percent margin (AJC). The race was always about, well, race, as City Lab reported. Timing and turnout were issues, too. Although some Republican elected officials supported the referendum, they didn’t want pro-transit voters to help Democrats in the 2018 election, when 56 percent of voters in the formerly deep-red county wound up backing Democrat Stacey Abrams for governor. Turnout for the oddly timed referendum was less than 20 percent of 543,000 registered voters, and it skewed older and white — traditionally anti-transit constituencies. Streetsblog has more background.
  • In pitching its stock to investors ahead of an IPO at the end of March, Lyft is casting itself as a company committed to ride-hailing to differentiate itself from Uber, which has ventured into areas like food delivery and freight hauling. (Reuters)
  • A big infrastructure package — unlikely though it may be — will be required to achieve long-term economic growth, according to a new White House report. (Washington Post)
  • Lyft would invest $50 million in Chicago’s bike-share, Divvy, adding more than 10,000 e-bikes and 600 stations to the network, under a contract extension proposed by Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and the city DOT. (Smart Cities Dive)
  • Charlotte’s light-rail ridership is trending up, and the city has an ambitious plan to expand the system. But where will it find $8 billion? (Observer)
  • New York City is dramatically expanding its speed camera enforcement program, which has proven success in reducing crashes and recidivist speeding. (StreetsblogNYC)
  • As cities struggle with increasing demand for curb space, Boston has designed a pickup and drop-off zone in the Fenway neighborhood. (WGBH)
  • The Twin Cities’ Metro Transit won’t close light-rail trains to the general public during the Final Four like it did for the Super Bowl. (Pioneer Press)
  • Sacramento, Calif., is the latest city to crack down on dockless bike and scooter parking. (CBS 13)
  • The Federal Transit Administration, which took over safety oversight of the D.C. Metro in 2015 after a series of mishaps, is transferring it back to a newly created local commission. (NBC Washington)
  • It’s really just a sit-down electric scooter, but mobility company Gotcha insists on calling its latest three-wheeled product — unveiled at South by Southwest last week — an “e-trike.” (Industry Leaders)

Tuesday’s Headlines

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  • Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey lifted regulations that had kept Uber out of the Grand Canyon State. Uber programmed the self-driving cars it tested on Arizona roads not to brake when they detected an obstacle in front of them. The backup driver was watching a video when an autonomous SUV struck and killed a woman crossing a Tempe road. Who was to blame? Oddly, the Arizona Republic doesn’t consider the traffic engineers who designed the road to be dangerous for people on foot in its one-year anniversary piece.
  • As voters in Atlanta’s biggest suburb, Gwinnett County, go to the polls today to decide whether to join the Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, the Journal-Constitution has an explainer on what’s at stake. (Streetsblog was also on the case.)
  • When Duke University pulled its support for the Durham-Orange, N.C. light rail line, it bolstered its image as a privileged cloister in a majority-minority and high-poverty community. (NY Times)
  • One hundred rental bikes at 13 stations are now available in Raleigh, N.C., with 200 more bikes and 17 additional docks coming later this spring. (WRAL) Capitol Bikeshare is introducing 500 e-bikes to Washington, D.C., but they’ll cost a bit more than pedal-only bikes. (Curbed) A fleet of 200 bikes at 39 stations is back in Norfolk, Va. (WTKR)
  • Starting in June, D.C. will convert car lanes on I and H streets into bus-only lanes during rush hour, with better markings so drivers don’t ignore them. (WTOP) In addition, Mayor Muriel Bowser teased a “big announcement” this week at a Vision Zero conference, along with other takeaways. (WAMU)
  • Twelve-lane Roosevelt Boulevard — Philadelphia’s most dangerous street, where 139 people were killed or injured between 2013 and 2017 — is closer to getting cameras to catch speeders. (Tribune) The city council also approved a new class of public safety officer to enforce traffic laws. (WHYY)
  • As cities struggle with increasing demand for curb space, Boston has designed a pickup and drop-off zone in the Fenway neighborhood. (WGBH)
  • A $25-million project will turn several downtown Las Vegas streets into Complete Streets. (Review-Journal)
  • The AJC also reports that the founder of Transit X — which has gotten a few cities to bite on its too-good-to-be-true premise of monorails with personal pods — is a convicted sex offender.
  • A French company’s robot is parking cars at the Lyon airport, and the company says “Stan” can reduce CO2 emissions by eliminating traffic in parking lots. Cool, but how about encouraging people not to drive to the airport, or maybe take trains instead of flying? (Popular Mechanics)

Monday’s Headlines

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  • Gwinnett County’s Republican sheriff and district attorney have endorsed expanding transit in Atlanta’s largest suburb, which could help assuage voters’ (unfounded) fears that transit will bring crime to the area (AJC). Writing for Atlanta Magazine, an expert on autonomous vehicles defends investing in traditional rail and buses. Next City quotes Gwinnett officials as saying that even if the referendum fails, they’ll try again. It doesn’t look good: Early voting brought out mainly older, white voters who are likely to oppose transit (11 Alive).
  • House Democrats’ investigation into the Washington, D.C. Trump International hotel could derail a potential bipartisan deal on infrastructure. (NPR)
  • Uber plans to go public in April with a $120-billion stock offering. (CNBC)
  • Why did Lyft get into the e-scooter business? Scooter rides are more lucrative than cars because there’s no driver to take a cut. (Bloomberg)
  • The San Francisco Chronicle takes a deep dive into the Bay Area’s 11 biggest transportation projects, including Caltrain and BART expansion, bus rapid transit and subway lines.
  • A year after a failed transit referendum, Nashville Mayor David Briles is bringing up the possibility of light rail again. (WKRN)
  • NIMBYs are still in court trying to stop the Southwest Line in Minneapolis, even though the rail project has already broken ground. (Star Tribune)
  • Michigan’s proposed 45-cent gas-tax hike could fuel electric car sales. (Fox 47)
  • Portland protesters staged a die-in to urge the Oregon DOT to adopt Vision Zero (KATU). Meanwhile, TriMet’s multimodal trip planner will help riders combine transit with ride-hailing and bike-shares (Oregonian).
  • A legal challenge to the funding mechanism has stalled transit projects across Pennsylvania, and Pittsburgh wants its dang money. (Post-Gazette)
  • ICYMI: Streetfilms collected crazy anti-bike lane arguments, and there are some doozies.

Friday’s Headlines

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  • Skynet is closer to becoming self-aware: Uber has nearly secured a $1-billion investment in its autonomous car division, according to Bloomberg. The U.S. Department of Transportation has formed a council to support this emerging technology. (Engadget) In Singapore, Volvo is about to start testing full-size self-driving buses. (also Bloomberg)
  • Uber has settled a lawsuit filed by drivers seeking to be classified as employees rather than contractors for $20 million, and so it gets to continue not offering them benefits. (The Verge)
  • The next mayor of Chicago should appoint a mobility officer to integrate new technology like ride-sharing and self-driving cars, according to a task force appointed by outgoing Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and chaired by former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. (Tribune)
  • Another study recommends that Denver ease parking requirements because of residents’ increasing reliance on Uber and Lyft. (Denver Post; H/T to Streetsblog Denver)
  • Thanks to Duke, City Lab declares the Durham-Orange, N.C. light rail line all but dead. And to think, Duke’s opposition was entirely a canard, as Angie Schmitt reported for Streetsblog.
  • Phoenix voters have approved light rail as part of larger transportation packages three times, but the fourth time might be the charm for transit opponents when the issue is at the polls again in August. (Arizona Republic)
  • Milwaukee is relying on its new streetcar to help move people around when 50,000 visitors come to the city for the 2020 Democratic National Convention. (WTMJ)
  • The Atlanta City Council will vote Monday on a $100 fine for drivers who park in bike lanes. (AJC)
  • Florida drivers say they’ll do just about anything to avoid sitting in traffic, according to a survey taken by the private passenger rail company Brightline. (Sun Sentinel)
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