Talking Headways Podcast: A Butterfly Flaps Its Wings In the Metro

At around 800 people per square mile, places go from voting red to voting blue. Image: ##  Troy##
At around 800 people per square mile, places go from voting red to voting blue. Image: ## Troy##

The metro is coming to Loudon County, Virginia. Eventually.

The Silver Line expansion that opens this summer will only go as far as Reston, but by 2018 it’ll be in Loudon, one of the nation’s fastest-growing — and wealthiest — counties.

As the county’s population continues to grow — especially among communities of color — will its density hit 800 people per square mile, which is the threshold at which places magically turn from Republican to Democrat? And if it does, will it turn Virginia from purple to blue? And with such an important swing state shifting solidly to one camp, does that change the national political balance? And what is it with the number 800 anyway?

We try to figure it all out on this week’s Talking Headways. Plus, Stephen Miller, my colleague from Streetsblog New York, joins us to talk about what is — and what isn’tmoving forward as part of the city’s Vision Zero plan.

And: Detroit is tearing down more than 20 percent of its housing stock to reduce blight and still splurges on roads. Is that the way to revitalize a city? The comments section awaits you.

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3 thoughts on Talking Headways Podcast: A Butterfly Flaps Its Wings In the Metro

  1. Okay had to stop your wrong idea about the blight removal in Detroit. Unfortunately there is way to much housing stock inside the city limits(city went from nearly 2 million to just above 600,000). Many of those properties that are abandoned are either burned out, collapsing or have been stripped of anything valuable by illegal scrappers. There are some that are salvageable and the program has been remodeling those through a land bank and been auctioning them off quite profitably, then they are reinvesting that money in other salvageable properties, so it is not all tear down. For your info Detroit needed to have the bankrupt to be able to get out of the obligations that is taking so much of its funding that otherwise would be used for city services. There also been a change from disinvestment to reinvestment of quite a few neighborhoods that are either growing or are stabilized and starting to see light of rebirth.

  2. Love the podcast! A have a totally-nitpicky-minor point to assert, though. At about 00:33:06, Tanya mentions that “[transit] is funded more collectively than [car-road-highway transportation.]” This is certainly the perception, but I am not sure if it’s true. I am curious if anyone has actually studied this rigorously – I don’t know. Users and non-users all pay for all this stuff. Gas tax pays some. Fare box pays some. My guess is that the collective-ness is perhaps roughly equal.

    Though it’s a red/blue issue – favoring car/non-car modes – I think of America’s highways, roads, and parking lots as proof that socialism really works. When we collectively plan, prioritize, legislate, and invest in one mode of transportation, then it becomes much more convenient, more accepted, more used than others.

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