Thursday’s Headlines

  • The New York Times catches up on the fare-free trend, visiting Lawrence, Kansas, where a two-year experiment is underway, and Boston, where it’s under consideration. The paper found that fare-free transit increases ridership, helps the poor and isn’t as costly as many expect.
  • People in flyover country think of coastal cities like New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. as places where it costs half a paycheck to sleep in a closet. But when transportation costs are factored in, cities with good public transit are actually more affordable than sprawling, auto-centric cities like Phoenix, Houston, Detroit or Atlanta. (Curbed, Streetsblog)
  • Self-driving cars could reduce crashes and the need for parking (Arch Daily). On the other hand, without careful planning, they’re likely to clog roads, incentivize long commutes and make cities less sustainable (Fast Company).
  • Austin’s Capitol Metro wants to include two light rail lines in the final transit plan that will go before voters in November. At $10 billion total, they’d be more expensive than bus rapid transit, but BRT would likely reach capacity by 2040, making rail a better long-term choice. (American-Statesman)
  • Bay Area Rapid Transit is spending $800 million on a new train control system that will allow for tighter schedules and more frequent service. (CBS San Francisco)
  • Atlanta could lower the speed limit and pass new regulations on e-scooters in 2020, while voters in the city and the suburbs could vote on sales taxes to fund transit (Saporta Report). The same website published a column by the executive director of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition laying out the case for a citywide speed limit of 25 miles per hour.
  • Philadelphia is installing 32 cameras to catch speeding drivers on Roosevelt Boulevard, one of the most dangerous roads in the city and all of Pennsylvania. (NBC Philadelphia)
  • A 10-mile Metrorail line north to Miami Gardens is dependent on state and federal funds, according to Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez. (Miami Today)
  • Washington, D.C.’s last standing streetcar bridge, which hasn’t been used since the system stopped running in 1960, is likely to be torn down. So much for that. (WTPO)
  • Construction has started on Minneapolis’s Southwest light rail line, and workers are using a quieter drilling method as they tunnel through neighborhoods to avoid pissing off NIMBYs. (Star Tribune)
  • Milwaukee officials blamed a recent streetcar derailment on a driver who blocked the tracks. (Fox 6 Now). Which begs the question, should streetcars come equipped with cow guards, F-250 style?
  • Michigan is building five new bike and pedestrian bridges over I-75 in Detroit, as well as upgrading surrounding streets with bike lanes and wider sidewalks, as part of the new Gordie Howe International Bridge to Canada (Free Press). That’s cool, but how about tearing down the freeway instead?
  • Oh, good: The price tag for the Rose Quarter project widening I-5 through Portland has gone up again, this time to over $1 billion. (Oregonian)
  • More great news! A newly elected Seattle city councilman who’s hostile to biking, walking and transit is now chairing the council’s transportation committee. (The Stranger)
  • We had our chance to lead, but now the French are leading the way in showing how cities can and must make it easier to get around by bike. (Curbed)