Friday’s Headlines From Around the Nation

  • Density may have helped coronavirus spread in cities, but don’t forget its strengths: culture, better transit and affordable housing, not to mention modern sanitation that’s prevented other pandemics, hospitals and walkability that encourages better health. (New York Times)
  • Biking is the best way to get around while social distancing, and the cities that realize it are continuing to build bike lanes and protecting bike shops from closure. (City Lab)
  • Uber and Lyft got a bailout from the coronavirus stimulus bill in the form of having taxpayers pick up unemployment benefits for their exploited workers (Streetsblog USA). But the good news is that New York’s top court granted those “independent contractors” rights as real employees (Newsday).
  • More from Streetsblog: U.S. car traffic dropped 30 percent in the past month, and that’s helped trucks deliver essential goods more quickly than ever. Biking can help flatten the curve – If space previously set aside for cars is given over to bikes. 
  • Cities need to remake their regulations for the micromobility revolution. (Governing)
  • E-scooters make it easier for people to use public transportation. That’s because most people will only walk 10 minutes to a bus or train stop, but they can cover a lot more ground on a scooter in that amount of time (CoMotion). How do e-scooter companies know how many devices to put on the ground? The senior vice president of data at Bird explains (Smart Cities Dive). So why are e-scooter companies pulling out of cities when people need them now more than ever? (Bloomberg)
  • Brightline has suspended passenger rail service in South Florida and laid off 250 people due to coronavirus. But publicly owned Tri-Rail and Metrorail are still running. (Miami Herald)
  • Meanwhile, Xpress West — owned by Virgin Trains USA, the same company that owns the Brightline — is moving forward with plans for high-speed rail from California to Las Vegas. (L.A. Times)
  • Houston, though, is slowing down on $7 billion plans to expand transit as officials keep an eye on the fiscal fallout from COVID-19. (Chronicle)
  • The D.C. Metro is indefinitely closing 19 stations to save dwindling cleaning supplies and protect employees from coronavirus exposure. (Washington Post)
  • Toronto and Vancouver are doing what other cities should do and thinking about closing down streets to increasingly nonexistent cars to allow for more social distancing.  (Globe and Mail)