The USA Streetsies: Vote for the Best and Worst of 2016
Let’s just get this out of the way — 2016 was terrible!
But the show must go on, and as is Streetsblog tradition, we’re reviewing the last 12 months with our annual awards — the Streetsies.
We’ll be putting the finalists for Best Street Transformation up for a vote tomorrow. In the meantime, here are four other people’s choice categories to vote on. We’ll post the winners of these polls and other categories next week.
Best sign of progress
Better rail regulations
Federal regulators finally allowed U.S. railroads to purchase trains designed to international safety standards, clearing the way for lighter, faster vehicles and big savings for passenger rail operators.
Ballot box wins for transit
In new housing, parking spaces per bedroom declined for several years in a row, despite low gas prices and a relatively healthy economy.
Best Sign of Progress
- Transit ballot successes (57%, 115 Votes)
- Declining parking spaces (24%, 49 Votes)
- Better railroad regulations (18%, 37 Votes)
Total Voters: 201
Biggest local failure
The Metro shows signs of sliding into a “transit death spiral,” with WMATA threatening to cut service hours as ridership declines and fare hikes loom.
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo preserves unwanted highway
Advocates in Providence, Rhode Island, had a smart plan to tear down an aging elevated freeway, but the proposal was snuffed out by Raimondo.
Seattle’s missed opportunity by the waterfront
After spending a fortune to bury its waterfront highway, Seattle is planning to build another highway-like road right on top of it.
Suburban Detroiters vote against better transit
Detroit‘s regional transit measure, which could have transformed one of the nation’s most dysfunctional systems, was narrowly defeated at the ballot box.
Biggest Local Failure
- D.C. Metro (45%, 95 Votes)
- Seattle (32%, 68 Votes)
- Providence, RI (12%, 26 Votes)
- Detroit (11%, 24 Votes)
Total Voters: 213
Worst victim blaming
After an intoxicated hit-and-run driver killed five cyclists in Michigan, the press lectured cyclists about helmets.
Phoenix PSA comic
An insanely graphic comic book warned Phoenix kids that biking will kill them — for safety!
Louisville “pedestrian safety” program
A Louisville pedestrian safety program, sponsored by the local bike advocacy group, issued fake jaywalking tickets to children.
Worst Victim Blaming
- Helmet lecture after massacre in Kalamazoo (56%, 112 Votes)
- Killer comic book (25%, 51 Votes)
- Junior jaywalking tickets (19%, 38 Votes)
Total Voters: 201
Traffic fatalities on the rise
Cheap gas and more driving made 2016 an especially deadly year on American streets — and pedestrians and cyclists.
Some of America’s largest transit systems had epic failures in 2016, indicative of serious long-term problems with maintenance and procurement. The biggest fiasco happened in D.C., when safety lapses forced Metro to implement a mid-week, emergency closure of the entire system. Philadelphia’s SEPTA commuter rail was also hobbled by a major design flaw causing 120 trains to be pulled out of service, and in Boston, a train full of passengers caught fire.
- Increasing road carnage (52%, 98 Votes)
- Transit meltdowns (48%, 91 Votes)
Total Voters: 189