Wednesday’s Headlines From Around the Nation

  • Miles driven have fallen by at least half in every major metro area in the country since March 1. How to keep it that once the economy gets going again? Encourage people who can to keep working from home. Switch from gas taxes to vehicle-miles fees to fund maintenance. And take this opportunity to make streets safer. (Brookings Institute)
  • Commonwealth Magazine also says cities can’t return to pre-COVID levels of congestion, and proposes electrified transit systems that provide more service with less crowding, better health protocols and fewer emissions.
  • Anticipating a traffic “avalanche” when the coronavirus pandemic dends, London is quickly planning ways to widen sidewalks and build pop-up bike lanes, with the hope that they can one day be made permanent. (iNews)
  • Streetsblog’s Kea Wilson also tackled this issue, analyzing what might happen if even a fraction of transit users ditch buses and trains for cars. Spoiler alert: Nothing good.
  • Outside Magazine is tracking every cyclist death in 2020.
  • The recession won’t stop Texas from spending $3.4 billion to widen an interstate through Austin. (Texas Tribune)
  • In Boston, traffic is down by half, but road deaths have doubled as speeding increased (WBUR). Columbus, Ohio, has also discovered that emptier streets lead to more speeding (Underground).
  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam won’t allow local governments to cut funding for transit as the state pours money into an ambitious rail and bus expansion plan. (Greater Greater Washington)
  • The $223 million in coronavirus relief Miami-Dade received from the Federal Transit Administration is enough to fund the transit system through fall 2021, even if no one pays fares in the meantime. (Herald)
  • New York City is experimenting with UV rays on subways to see if they kill the coronavirus (The Verge). Let’s just hope they don’t start telling riders to drink Lysol.
  • In Norway, more than half of all new cars sold are electric, and the government plans to phase out fossil fuels by 2025. The best part? Almost all of Norway’s electricity comes from clean, renewable hydropower. The country did it by basically deciding that electric car owners don’t have to pay any taxes, tolls or parking fees, bringing the vehicles’ cost down. (The Guardian)