Today’s Headlines

  • D Magazine on Angela Hunt, Former Dallas City Councilwoman Who Killed Toll Highway
  • Larry Hogan Rushes Into Highway Expansion Plan, Will Not Cure Congestion (WAMU)
  • Seattle Wants to Connect Two Streetcar Segments, But Does the Math Add Up? (Seattle Times)
  • Santa Monica Mayor on How His City Got Rid of Downtown Parking Minimums (LA Times)
  • Even Minneapolis (WCCO) and Cambridge, MA (Day) Are Not Immune to Bikelash
  • Durham, NC, to Use One Acre of Prime Real Estate for Seven-Story Parking Deck (WTVD)
  • Business Groups Push Back Against DC Council’s Parking Cash-Out Legislation (WAMU)
  • Seattle Lowered Its Speed Limit, But Are Drivers Even Aware of the Change? (Seattle Times)
  • Philadelphia: The Latest City to Fret If Its Transit Is Good Enough for Amazon (Philly.com)
  • The Stranger Picks Up on Seattle Having America’s Sorriest Bus Stop
  • Michel S

    Philadelphian weighing in:
    No, we are not ready. Our transit is dominated by buses, which some say is bad but I say is GOOD. Buses are flexible, relatively inexpensive to operate, and make changing and adjusting routes to match ridership patters (to new HQs, for example) relatively easy. We have a great grid of streets, which lends itself to an efficient transit network. Plus, our narrow streets mean we’re the mid-Atlantic’s preeminently walk-able and bike-able city. The real problem in Philadelphia is its MANAGEMENT, both at the city level and by SEPTA itself.

    Our transit doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Because we have a lot of buses, they demand a lot of street space. The problem is the space they need isn’t dedicated to them, so they get stuck in gridlock because our traffic enforcement is next to zero. Between double-parked cars, taxis making frequent stops, delivery vehicles parked in travel lanes, and poor parking management, our streets are choked with cars. City Council has effectively washed their hands of this problem and is arguably making it worse by raising (yes, raising!) parking minimums, and the Streets Department looks at you funny if you ask about creating dedicated bus-only lanes or removing street parking. Don’t even ask about bike lanes. No one at city hall takes the issue of regulating public space seriously, so the streets are practically anarchy in action.

    All this would be bad enough if it wasn’t for SEPTA itself, which cannot seem to overcome its own institutional inertia. SEPTA still charges its riders to transfer between transit vehicles, completely undercutting the efficiency and attractiveness of its venerable transit grid. Our buses make stops on every block in even the densest parts of town, which is excessive and slows down service. The roll-out of SEPTA Key has been clunky at best, not to mention almost 4 years behind schedule and over-budget. Plus, the interface at the website and kiosks to refill the new cards is terrible and non-intuitive, which is like shooting yourself in the foot when you’re already in last place. SEPTA is stuck in a mindset of desperation, trying to preserve a system of legacy networks and fare structures while both fighting for ever dwindling State funding and struggling to adapt to modern transit practices.

    It’s true what they say: “Philadelphia isn’t as bad as Philadelphians say it is”, but we have serious problems in this city and our transit and traffic management is one of them. I live and breathe this city and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. I never clean my house as thoroughly as I do as when I’m expecting company (pun intended). If by some chance Philadelphia is selected, my hope is the added pressure may finally get this city to get its house in order.

  • HamTech87

    Philly-fan here, too. Agree with your comments (ugh, the best part of Philly is the steady reduction of off-street parking), but want to add my own.

    SEPTA Regional Rail, thanks to the Center City Commuter Tunnel (see below), could provide far more service and get people out of their cars throughout the region. SEPTA regional rail could mimic the Paris RER, which effectively added more “subway” throughput using their regional rail lines.
    http://www.pennways.com/Commuter_Tunnel.html

    The Philly suburbs need to end the sprawl disease. The diversion of so much transportation funding from transit to road widening just incentivizes more driving and sprawl.

  • ahwr
  • Dan

    Santa Monica article not about HOW parking minimums were abolished, but rather WHY. If you’re looking for practical information, don’t bother reading it.