Thursday’s Headlines From Around the Nation

  • The speed and creativity with which cities have transformed transit and streets during the coronavirus pandemic will pave the way for a smoother recovery. (Forbes)
  • A disturbing new study found that a third of transportation planners think distracted walking kills — which distracts them from focusing on the real problem, distracted drivers. (Streetsblog)
  • Touchscreens in cars are a distraction. Using voice recognition is much safer. (The Economist)
  • From installing self-driving software that’s not ready for prime time in cars to restarting production at Tesla’s California factory in defiance of authorities, Elon Musk’s impetuousness is putting workers, drivers and others at risk. (CNN)
  • A new nonprofit called the Parking Reform Network will help you fight City Hall. (Strong Towns)
  • Reopening New York City requires a plan for safe transit. That means encouraging telecommuting to reduce crowds, overnight closures for cleaning, requiring masks, an emergency network of bus lanes and more federal funding to pay for it all. (City Lab)
  • Uber and Lyft would owe California $413 million for unemployment if they considered their drivers employees instead of contractors, according to a UC-Berkeley study. (San Jose Mercury News)
  • A casino company wants Miami-Dade to fund a $770 million monorail linking the mainland with South Beach. (Miami Herald)
  • Bike-share trips dropped from 158,000 in April 2019 to 23,000 last month, and no rental bikes even remain in the city since the last company in a once-crowded market, Jump, pulled its bikes last week after merging with Lime, which left in December. (KOMO)
  • Tucson has adopted the “slow streets” program pioneered by Oakland (KVOA). Boston is also mulling closing streets to cars and turning them over to buses and pedestrians (Herald).
  • Portland voters will go to the polls next week to decide whether to renew the city’s gas tax. It’s gotten little opposition so far. (Oregon Public Broadcasting)
  • L.A. Metro should just suspend bus fares instead of letting riders pay if they want to. (Transit Center)
  • Charlotte has identified locations for three stations along the future Blue Line light rail extension. (Observer)
  • Atlanta’s transit agency is among those seeking additional federal coronavirus relief. MARTA projects a $380 million deficit over the next five years. (AJC)
  • If everyone in London got back on Tube and headed to work while staying six feed apart, the lines would be over a mile long. (The Guardian)
  • We don’t know if this is real, but it’s funny either way!

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Elon Musk’s “Master Plan” Won’t Work for Cities

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Earlier this week tech entrepreneur Elon Musk released his updated “master plan” for Tesla, including some thoughts on how autonomous mini-buses will supplant today’s transit and “take people all the way to their destination.” Like every Musk pronouncement, this one got a lot of buzz — but it also drew some healthy skepticism. One reason to doubt Musk’s plan […]