Friday’s Headlines

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  • London recently pulled Uber’s license to operate over safety concerns, and Mayor Sadiq Khan isn’t backing down (Bloomberg). In related news, 20 more people have accused Lyft drivers of sexual assault or misconduct in a new lawsuit filed in San Francisco (CNN).
  • Also, Uber admits that its drivers are causing way too many sexual assaults (reminder: one is too many). (NY Times)
  • Urban planners have made many mistakes, from displacing African-Americans to enriching developers to enabling gentrification. Stripped of their power, they have few means to remedy inequality, but now is the time for large-scale planning to do just that. (New Yorker)
  • In the past decade, Los Angeles has built a new light rail line and extended another rail line, along with two bus rapid transit lines. But that hasn’t translated into ridership — Metro has lost 300,000 daily riders since 2009 (Curbed). Also, PSA: The speed limit in downtown L.A. is 25 miles per hour (LA Mag). Maybe the city should consider posting some signs — and lowering it.
  • Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris is back with a new plan to fund Memphis transit: A $20-per-car fee, rather than $145 for households with three or more cars. The proposal would raise $10 million to fund eight new routes. (WREG)
  • The Pennsylvania DOT has rejected road diet plans for Harrisburg’s State Street, where drivers killed five people in a 17-month span. (Penn Live)
  • A pilot program requiring Washington, D.C. delivery drivers to reserve curb space reduced double parking by 64 percent. (Smart Cities Dive)
  • Atlanta is now making scooter companies pay to get back e-scooters the city impounded because they were parked illegally. (AJC)
  • Seattle’s bike-share program is going great — except that half of Lime’s bikes are in such bad shape that they’re “unrentable,” according to the city DOT. (The Stranger)
  • A new book, “Back on Track: Sound Transit’s Fight to Save Light Rail,” chronicles Seattle transit advocates’ 18-year struggle with powerful opponents to create the Link. (Seattle Times)
  • Connect Savannah reminds everyone that free parking is a myth.
  • Don’t bother clicking unless you know Dutch, but FD reports that cycling in Holland is exploding for just the right reasons: induced demand. Dutch cities build lots of bike infrastructure — and more cyclists are created!

Thursday’s Headlines

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  • Developers in cities across the country are scooping up surface parking lots. But that means the land is getting more valuable, not that driving is dead — many of the ensuing developments include structured parking. (New York Times)
  • Congressional hearings last week revealed that neither the federal government nor most states are regulating the hundreds of self-driving cars companies are already testing on U.S. roads. (Wired, Streetsblog)
  • The best way for Uber to become profitable while also serving a public good is to focus on carpooling, thereby reducing congestion and carbon emissions. (Venture Beat)
  • High-speed rail connecting Vancouver, Seattle and Portland received an enthusiastic reception at a recent summit to discuss the idea. (City Lab)
  • Washington State’s attorney general is asking the state Supreme Court to let a car-tab tax cut approved by voters last month take effect, after a King County judge temporarily blocked Initiative 976. (Seattle Times)
  • The Atlanta suburb of Gwinnett County is eying next November for another transit referendum after one last March was defeated. (AJC)
  • Cincinnati is considering making the Bell Connector streetcar free to ride. And why not? Only 10% of its budget comes from fares. (WCPO)
  • WDET interviews a top Wayne County official about the renewed push for regional transit in metro Detroit.
  • The San Francisco Chronicle profiles a 16-year-old docent at the San Francisco Railway Museum who has an encyclopedic knowledge of not just Bay Area transit, but transit systems around the world.
  • New South Wales, Australia now has cameras that can catch drivers who are on their phones. (The Guardian)
  • What’s up with the brightly colored, googly eyed brooms that recently appeared along Washington, D.C. bike lanes? Apparently tactical urbanists installed them to keep out vehicles and help cyclists rest at intersections. Plus, they’re just fun. (WAMU)

Wednesday’s Headlines

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  • E-scooters might be good for air quality and easing traffic congestion, but they’re apparently a public health problem, thanks to relatively high speeds, a high center of gravity, and inability to handle rough roads and a proclivity to block sidewalks (The Hill). The New York Times’ David Leonhardt concurs, calling on scooters to be banned from sidewalks because they’re a threat to pedestrians. Reminder: Cars kill tens of thousands of innocent bystanders every year, which is itself a public health crisis. Scooters have killed a few scooter riders.
  • Miles driven per person in the U.S. is up since 2013, but still below the all-time high in 2004. (Green Car Congress)
  • Washington, D.C. area leaders are relying on transit-oriented development to house the 1.5 million people who are expected to move to the region in the next 25 years. (WTOP)
  • What will Sacramento voters get if they approve a half-cent sales tax for transportation in 2020? Two new bridges, light rail, Vision Zero safety improvements, an upgraded Amtrak station and “managed lanes” on freeways for carpools, buses and zero-emissions vehicles, among other things. (Bee)
  • RIP Alejandra Agredo, an influential advocate for Miami transit, despite being just 17 years old. The founder of the Miami Riders Alliance, who designed a new transit pass and developed software to track all modes of transit in Miami-Dade, Agredo struggled with depression and stepped in front of a train last week. (Herald)
  • Lyft e-bikes pulled from New York City over a brake problem have been stripped of their electric parts and reintroduced as pedal-only bikes in Chicago. (Smart Cities Dive)
  • Providence is moving ahead with more two-way bike lanes after initially creating one and then undoing it when residents complained. (WPRI)
  • The University of Miami may be an official bike-friendly campus, but students cite rough roads and lack of parking as impediments to pedaling. (Hurricane)
  • It looks like delivery cargo e-bikes are coming to New York City. (Streetsblog)
  • Conservative Seattle talk-radio host Todd Herman calls for “civil disobedience” if the $30 car tab fee recently approved by voters is struck down in court. (KIRO)
  • Beware of “vomit fraud”: Uber drivers in Cleveland and elsewhere are charging riders to clean up messes they didn’t actually cause. (WPTV)
  • Toronto’s supposed Vision Zero program is a deadly morass of gaslighting and victim-blaming. (Treehugger)
  • All right, so it’s not exactly transportation, per se, but Decider’s takedown of that viral Peloton ad is still worth a shout out.

Tuesday’s Headlines

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  • The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded $423 million in grants for 94 bus projects in 42 states, including electric and compressed natural gas buses for numerous agencies, a new transit station in Flagstaff, a streamlined fare collection system in Detroit and bus security cameras in Nevada. (Mass Transit Mag)
  • Car-centric suburbs like Montgomery County, Maryland — where drivers kill more people than murderers — are increasingly pursuing Vision Zero, narrowing lanes, lowering speed limits and adding crosswalks to make streets safer for pedestrians (Washington Post). Streetsblog sees the county as a model.
  • Strong Towns’ annual #BlackFridayParking campaign features some seriously empty mall parking lots, as well as stories on ending parking minimums, parking guru Donald Shoup and more.
  • As New Jersey mulls legislation reclassifying ride-hailing drivers as employees rather than contractors, a class-action lawsuit alleges that Lyft did not pay drivers a minimum wage or overtime and did not reimburse business expenses. (NJ.com)
  • Chicago’s transit system needs upgrades in order to meet the needs of the region’s growing elderly and disabled populations, according to a new Metropolitan Planning Council report. (Chicago Tribune)
  • Public transit in Missouri has a $3.7-billion economic impact, according to a new study by Citizens for Modern Transit, but the state only spends 34 cents per person on transit, far less than most of its neighbors. (Fox 2 Now)
  • San Francisco is trying to get people out of their cars, but the number of cyclists has remained static for years. Will installing 100 new bike racks a month help? (Chronicle)
  • Los Angeles is looking at tolls on the 405 as a way to reduce congestion. (LA Times)
  • Tucson has applied for a federal grant to plan a 15-mile streetcar line from the transit center to the airport. (Arizona Public Media)
  • The Stranger weighs in against enforcing mandatory helmet laws in Seattle.
  • Norway has the safest roads for cycling, according to the Road Safety Annual Report from the International Transportation Forum within the OECD. The U.S. ranked 33rd out of 40. (Forbes)
  • If you think the Hyperloop is silly, AeroSlider says, “hold my beer.” In an understatement, Fast Company calls the concept, which involves magnetic loops propelling an elevated train up to 500 miles per hour, “something of an engineering fantasy.”

Monday’s Headlines

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  • Flying is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, both from planes themselves and the cars people drive to catch a flight. The billions invested in airport expansions should be redirected to regional rail instead. (Curbed)
  • The wheels are starting to turn in Congress on legislation regulating autonomous vehicles, although no new bills have been introduced yet (The Hill). Streetsblog covered the federal failure to act last week.
  • Drivers uploading other people’s photos to their profiles in the Uber app to dodge background checks is a major reason London recently pulled the ride-hailing company’s license to operate. Fast Company explains why it’s not an easy fix for Uber.
  • Los Angeles has a plan to shift 20 percent of car trips to public or active transportation within the next eight years, and wants half of the city’s cars and all of its buses to be electric by then. The Zero Emissions 2028 Roadmap 2.0 involves improving transit, expanding micromobility options like scooters and installing 84,000 charging stations. (Fast Company)
  • But L.A.’s plan pales in comparison to Berlin’s, where the city is spending a whopping $2 billion a year over the next 15 years on a bus system overhaul, four subway extensions, other rail lines and the streetcar network. (City Lab)
  • The D.C. DOT now plans to build 20 miles of protected bike lanes by 2022 — twice what was previously planned. (Washington Post)
  • Hennepin County, where Minneapolis is located, wants to spend millions of dollars earmarked for transit on roads and bridges instead. (MinnPost)
  • Seattle officials expect e-scooters to be wildly popular when a pilot program starts this spring. But where will they all park? (KOMO)
  • Designated pickup spots for Uber and Lyft riders in downtown Orlando have helped reduce congestion and free up curb space. (Sentinel)
  • Bike Portland gives a thumbs up to the Oregon city’s cheap and easy new bus lanes — one mile of red paint costs just $200,000 — which have reduced delays substantially.
  • Cities spend more than twice as much providing services to the average suburban home than the average urban one, according to city planner Brent Toderian.
  • Today in infuriating driver behavior: Tesla drivers think the car’s autopilot feature makes it totally fine to fall asleep behind the wheel (New York Times). Meanwhile, Pittsburgh drivers are swerving into bike lanes rather than slowing down to go over new speed humps (WTAE), and Albuquerque drivers are having a hard time staying out of new bus-only lanes (KRQE).

Friday’s Headlines

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Streetsblog is taking Black Friday off to bike to the mall, but here are a few stories to laze into under the influence of tryptophan:

  • Amtrak’s ridership is up and financial losses are down during CEO Richard Anderson’s tenure. But the unsentimental former Delta chief has ruffled some feathers in the process, such as by proposing chopping up long routes and eliminating chef-cooked meals in dining cars. On the bright side, he’s taking on the freight haulers who slow down Amtrak’s trains. (Bloomberg)
  • Forbes argues that removing interstate highways from cities will free up valuable real estate, allow greater density and fuel innovation.
  • Boston Magazine collected 40 ideas from experts and residents for fixing the city’s traffic woes, ranging from a tax on parking to electrifying rail lines. Also, ICYMI: The Boston Globe’s Spotlight investigative team recently dove deep into the city’s epic traffic woes.
  • Pittsburgh is building miles of new bike lanes and expanding its bike-share. But will the investment benefit all neighborhoods equally, or favor affluent areas over low-income ones? (Public Source)
  • If you, like the rest of the internet, are fascinated by Tesla’s ridiculous Cybertruck, Wired has you covered.

 

Thanksgiving Day Headlines

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Streetsblog is taking the Thanksgiving holiday off, but here are a few stories to enjoy with your turkey:

  • You didn’t listen to him in 1988, but maybe you will now: Mike Dukakis says we need to beef up public transit! (Boston Globe)
  • Ride-hailing drivers are still discriminating. After studies found that people of color wait longer to be matched with a driver, companies took steps to reduce discrimination by reducing the amount of information available to drivers, like names and photos. They haven’t worked, according to a new report. (City Lab)
  • Meanwhile, Chicago passed a new fee on taxi rides to battle congestion. (StreetsblogChi)
  • Demand for lithium — a key ingredient in the batteries that power electric cars and scooters, among other things — is set to explode. But it takes lots of water to extract, and over half the world’s supply of the valuable mineral is in the arid salt flats of South America. Without a Green New Deal, lithium could wind up replacing oil as a source of geopolitical conflict. Just ask Evo Morales! (New Republic)
  • Our online shopping habit is terrible for cities and the environment. (The Guardian)
  • Bastrop, near Austin, recently became one of the first cities since the mid-20th century to create a street-grid plan for future growth. Created mainly for flood control, the plan also encourages a mix of uses, affordable housing and shared parking. (Public Square)
  • Very Local is running a series on the history of New Orleans streetcars (oddly, the word “Desire” is not in the first installment. Stella!)
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