Monday’s Headlines

  • Public transit ridership is down all over the country — 18 percent on the NYC subway, 25 percent on Seattle’s Sound Transit, 35 percent on BART in San Francisco — as more people work from home and avoid crowds (The Verge). Transit agencies are disinfecting trains and buses. While staying away from other people during the pandemic is generally good advice, there’s no evidence that riding transit is any more risky than, say, going to the grocery store (Vox). Streetsblog Mass has more on public transit and public health.
  • Service reductions are in store for Amtrak as people cancel travel plans in the wake of the coronavirus (Washington Post). The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is also considering cutbacks (Boston Globe).
  • Our sister Streetsblog site in Los Angeles writes about how to bike during the pandemic. Streetsblog Chicago reports more walking, bike and telecommuting in the Windy City. New York City is also seeing a surge in cycling, according to Streetsblog NYC.
  • Drivers in California and Massachusetts are suing Uber and Lyft trying to win health care as the coronavirus spreads. Both states have new laws classifying drivers as employees who should receive benefits, but the ride-hailing companies are fighting them. (The Hill)
  • Self-driving vehicles could save us from coronavirus (Popular Mechanics). Or they might make things worse (Autoblog).
  • The coronavirus could hasten a world where more people work from home and fewer people travel for business — which might be a good thing for the environment, in the long run. (Slate)
  • New Yorkers who don’t own cars are making big bucks renting out the parking spaces that come with their apartments (NY Times). Unaddressed by the article: What if rents were decoupled from parking? And why are so many people so adamant about driving that they’ll pay half a million dollars for a place to leave their car?
  • The Washington state legislature passed a budget that avoids big cuts to transit despite a recent referendum limiting car-tab fees — mostly through a bit of budgetary razzle-dazzle that pushes the problem out to next year. (Seattle Times)
  • Minneapolis’ new transportation plan calls for 75% of residents to live within a five-minute walk of a transit stop. (Smart Cities Dive)