Thursday’s Headlines From Around the Nation

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  • Data from Apple shows that in many cities people are starting to drive again, but they’re not riding transit. (Axios)
  • It’s also important to understand who’s not riding transit. Commuter and heavy rail, used primarily by affluent office workers, is essentially empty, while ridership on buses, whose users tend to be poorer, is only down about a third or half. (Eno Center for Transportation). In Seattle, transit ridership has declined the most in more affluent neighborhoods where people are working from home (Seattle Transit Blog). This could have implications for post-coronavirus planning if the telecommuting trend continues.
  • Streetsblog Chicago tackles something Streetsblog NYC has been covering for a while: With streets empty, people are speeding more.
  • Zoom is killing the climate: A two-hour video meeting consumes as much energy as a four-mile train commute, much of it generated by burning fossil fuels. (Tech Crunch)
  • Now the White House wants to tell us how to run transit when this is all over. (Washington Post)
  • A $2.5-billion valuation couldn’t save the 400 employees at e-scooter startup Bird who were unceremoniously laid off via Zoom (The Verge). But one e-scooter executive, Spin’s Euwyn Poon, says the industry will see a resurgence when the coronavirus pandemic ends (Smart Cities Dive)
  • Uber is also considering layoffs — about 5,400 people, or 20 percent of its workforce — as chief technology officer Thuan Pham resigned. (USA Today)
  • 5280 Magazine published a nine-piece package on Denver transportation, including a story by  former Streetsblog editor Andy Bosselman on historical problems with RTD, Denver’s transit system, and another on ideas from other cities that Denver should adopt.
  • The Texas Transportation Commission is expected to approve today the widening of I-34 through Austin, despite concerns about the $7.5-billion cost and evidence that adding lanes only increases demand. (Austin Monitor)
  • Portland revealed a “slow streets” plan to turn 100 miles of residential streets into greenways and install pop-up sidewalks and bike lanes on busier streets (Bike Portland). Baltimore residents and officials are asking for something similar (Greater Greater Washington).
  • Calling pollution and coronavirus a “dangerous cocktail,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo says the city won’t return to its car-dominated past when the lockdown ends. (City Lab)
  • This bus driver has had it with people parking in the bus lane. (Twitter)


When Does It Make Sense for Transit Planners to Change Existing Routes?

There’s been some talk recently in Seattle about reorganizing the city’s transit system to improve efficiency. But almost immediately, strong objections emerged to eliminating lesser-used routes that some people depend on. Frank Chiachiere at Seattle Transit Blog argues that maximizing the social benefits of limited transit resources is more complicated than preventing harm to existing transit […]

Report: Access to Car-Share and Bike-Share Is Worse in Communities of Color

Car-share and bike-share services are making it easier to go without owning a car in American cities, but access to “shared-use” systems remains limited in communities of color compared to majority-white neighborhoods, according to a new analysis from the Shared Use Mobility Center [PDF]. SUMC developed a method to analyze which places have the most potential for car-share and bike-share usage across […]