Tuesday’s Headlines

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  • President Obama started the TIGER grant program to fund innovative mass transit projects, but the Trump administration is spending most of the money on roads instead. (City Lab, Streetsblog)
  • Attention, reporters: Research shows that when the media refers to car “crashes” or “collisions,” rather than “accidents,” and assigns agency to drivers who crash their cars, instead of pretending the cars crashed themselves, readers are less likely to blame victims. (Forbes, Streetsblog)
  • E-scooters: threat or menace? Neither, says Outside magazine Bike Snob Eben Weiss.
  • Much as we hate it, it’s just a reality that cars are a necessary evil in many parts of the country. But Ford and GM are abandoning drivers who want a small vehicle, and as a result many of them are trading up for SUVs. (Edmunds)
  • Los Angeles has the worst congestion in the country, poor air quality and is facing the effects of climate change, yet transit ridership continues to fall, mainly because the region has been spotty about funding it. (Sierra Magazine)
  • Michigan state lawmakers and metro Detroit officials are preparing another push for a regional transit system in 2020. A 2016 referendum failed, but this time, the regional system won’t include suburban Macomb County, where voters overwhelmingly opposed it, giving it a better shot at passing in Wayne, Oakland and Washtenaw. (Detroit News)
  • A newly elected Cambridge councilman wants to give residents of the Massachusetts city free monthly passes for Boston’s regional transit system (Huffington Post). The news comes as an economic justice group protests a crackdown on fare-jumpers in Phoenix (Arizona Republic).
  • Planners are designing a new development at an old Ford plant in St. Paul to encouraging walking, biking and using transit, with complete streets and bus service every 10 minutes. (Star Tribune)
  • A proposed bus rapid transit system in Pittsburgh linking downtown and Oakland is moving into the final design stages. Construction is scheduled to start in 2022 and end the following year. (Post-Gazette)
  • Vermont is using its share of the Volkswagen Dieselgate settlement to test out electric school buses. (Energy News Network)
  • Last week’s cold front led to delays on Dallas transit, but DART says it will be ready next time. (Morning News)
  • Self-driving garbage cans are in the works for Quayside, Google’s planned “smart neighborhood” in Toronto (Mobile Syrup). George Lucas thought of this over 40 years ago.

 

Monday’s Headlines

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  • Cars are killing us, part infinity: The Guardian reported on new research that links air pollution from cars to brain cancer for the first time. Nanoparticles that are easily absorbed into cells increase the risk by 10 percent for people who live on busy streets versus quiet ones.
  • As Streetsblog has long pointed out, requiring people on bikes to wear helmets actually makes riding a bike more dangerous. The number of cyclists drops, which makes drivers less aware of them and reduces the “safety in numbers” effect. (Bicycling)
  • A University of California Berkeley researcher used chauffeurs to prove what many have long suspected: People will take more trips if and when autonomous vehicles become widespread because they won’t have to drive themselves. (Jalopnik)
  • Joe Biden’s $1.3-billion infrastructure plan includes funding for complete streets, transit and high-speed rail, but doesn’t identify revenue sources. He would bypass states to work directly with cities, like the Obama administration often did. (Politico)
  • New Jersey is demanding that Uber pay $530 million in back taxes for unemployment and disability insurance, plus interest. It’s the first time a state has tried to collect payroll taxes from Uber, which notoriously considers its drivers contractors, rather than employees, and offers them few benefits. (NY Times)
  • Lyft is pulling its e-scooters out of Nashville, San Antonio, Atlanta, Phoenix, Dallas and Columbus, Ohio. (Tech Crunch)
  • The San Francisco Chronicle is all over Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s request for a new bridge over the bay, which has been considered for decades and is opposed by regional planners. Its editorial board came out against it. Meanwhile, the paper also covered a new bike path on the Richmond-San Rafael bridge that was also covered by Streetsblog.
  • Atlanta’s first bus rapid transit line, along the Capitol Avenue/Summerhill corridor, could open as soon as 2024, and it’s essential that transit agency MARTA gets it right to build support for future BRT projects. (AJC)
  • San Jose is the third-most dangerous city to bike in the U.S., and apparently nothing can stop drivers there from blocking bike lanes — even protected ones. The city resolved to end traffic deaths by 2020, but as of last year they were up 37 percent from a decade prior. (Inside)
  • Los Angeles is buying 130 electric buses — the biggest order ever in the U.S. (The Driven)
  • The San Antonio city council approved $6 million for bike lanes on Avenue B and North Avenue, but some view the project as incomplete because it doesn’t extend down to Broadway. (KSAT)
  • Seattle’s Sound Transit is dropping the name “Red Line” for one of its light rail lines because it reminds people of the racist real estate practice of redlining. (My Northwest)
  • A driver was caught on video plowing into a cyclist in a St. Petersburg crosswalk, then pulling the bike off the road and driving away. Fortunately, the cyclist was not seriously injured (ABC Action News). Meanwhile, urban planner Jeff Speck has a plan to make St. Pete a more walkable city by turning interstates into surface boulevards, designing streets to slow traffic and investing in bike infrastructure (Catalyst).

Friday’s Headlines

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  • Navigation apps like Waze promise to help users avoid traffic, but ironically, because they make users more confident they can avoid traffic, they drive more, so way-finding apps make traffic worse for everyone. [City Lab]
  • And another from City Lab: Apps that let people pay for all types of mobility aren’t going to get people out of their cars, because it doesn’t matter how easy it is to pay if the bus only comes once an hour.
  • An op-ed argues what we’ve long known: Charging New Yorkers to park on the curb could easily raise enough money to make buses and subways free. (Daily News)
  • Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot accused Uber of paying off black ministers to oppose her rideshare tax plan. (CBS Chicago)
  • Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and other Massachusetts mayors are backing a 15-cent gas tax hike to pay for roads and transit (Dorcester Reporter). And the Herald urges Boston to devote more resources to pedestrian safety.
  • The future of transit in San Antonio depends on whether voters approve a sales tax shift next year, says Mayor Ron Nirenberg. (News-Express)
  • Although his plan to fund Memphis transit by taxing people who own more than two cars went down in flames, Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris is still pushing for more funding. (Fox 13)
  • The Raleigh News & Observer calls the failed Durham-Orange light rail line “a train wreck without a train” and urges GoTriangle to develop a new transit plan.
  • University of Minnesota students are lobbying state lawmakers to make more light rail stops free for students, citing a need to access housing and grocery stores. (Minnesota Daily)
  • The State in Columbia was Jack’s complete lack of surprise when it learned the Federal Highway Administration rated South Carolina’s roads the worst in the nation.
  • Scooter rental companies in Washington, D.C. are offering discounts to low-income individuals, including college students who receive Pell Grants. (GW Hatchet)
  • Jacksonville has a years-long backlog of sidewalk repairs. (Action News Jax)
  • Charges have been dropped against a Baton Rouge police officer who was driving 94 miles per hour when he caused a crash in 2017 that killed a baby and injured several other people. (The Advocate)
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation is giving a Philadelphia transit agency $12.6 million to cover half the cost of reopening the “ghost station” at Franklin Square, which has been closed since 1979. (Inquirer)

Thursday’s Headlines

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  • Prominent Democratic presidential candidates have all put forward plans for clean energy, limiting drilling and subsidies for electric vehicles. Yet they have nothing to say about Americans’ addiction to driving — and if they don’t wean Americans off cars, they’ll never meet climate goals. (Huffington Post)
  • Economists say Uber and Lyft drivers will get a raw deal if voters approve the companies’ ballot initiative to keep their contractor status, rather than employees, as a new California law requires. (USA Today)
  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms created a new city DOT Wednesday and announced $200 million worth of bike and pedestrian safety projects over the next three years. The Vision Zero plan targets the 6% of Atlanta roadways where 72 percent of deaths occur. (Curbed)
  • The San Francisco Chronicle profiles a 67-year-old woman who was injured by a driver while walking in February — one of thousands since the city set a Vision Zero goal of eliminating pedestrian deaths by 2024. Twenty-six have died so far this year.
  • A little Monday morning quarterbacking from My Northwest, which notes that Washington state legislators could have avoided the I-976 referendum catastrophe by passing one of three car-tab bills that would have cut Sound Transit’s funding, but not nearly to the extent last week’s referendum did.
  • The Charlotte city council reversed course and will now fund a $50-million study on the Lynx Silver Line, a 26-mile light rail line to suburban Gaston County. (WCNC)
  • St. Petersburg has wised up to the high cost of free parking and will charge for parking downtown on nights and weekends. (Tampa Bay Times)
  • San Antonio’s nonprofit bike-share is in danger of folding after abruptly losing its top sponsor. (Rivard Report)
  • The University of Minnesota student government is lobbying state lawmakers to make more Twin Cities light rail stops free for students, citing a need to access housing and grocery stores. (Minnesota Daily)
  • The New York Times found a way to exonerate drivers and blame pedestrians for the 50-percent rise in fatalities among walkers since 2009: “[D]istracted drivers and bigger vehicles [are] the chief culprits. So being fixated on a screen while walking can’t be safe.” Seems to us that distracted drivers and bigger vehicles are the things that can’t be safe.
  • The latest overaggressive response to the minor problem of fare evasion comes from New Jersey Transit, whose “fix” for the problem is a clear violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act (James Sinclair, via Twitter) — but later in the day, the agency fixed it.
  • Washington, D.C.’s 26 new parking enforcement officers will be able to use photos of cars illegally parked in bike lanes to ticket drivers even if they’ve left the scene. But only photos taken by the officers — those submitted by cyclists are unfortunately still only good for making us feel better about ourselves. (Greater Greater Washington)
  • Kenya’s road-building fervor in Nairobi is a legacy of colonialism (City Lab). In contrast, Quito, Ecuador is dealing with a population explosion by growing up rather than out, and will open its first subway line next year (Curbed).
  • Every picture tells a story, don’t it? After 26 years of work, longtime model railroad enthusiast Rod Stewart has completed a 124-foot by 23-foot (you read that right) scale model of 1940s Pittsburgh. And yes, we think it’s sexy. (Daily Mail)

 

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