Thursday’s Headlines From the Four Corners of the Earth

  • House Democrats’ INVEST Act still includes too much highway money — though with a focus on repairs rather than new construction — but it would provide hundreds of millions for electrifying bus fleets and set new greenhouse gas standards (U.S. PIRG). Keep up to date at Transportation for America, which is tracking amendments to the bill.
  • As cars came to dominance, cities began to neglect their sidewalks. Now coronavirus has exposed the lack of investment. (Bloomberg)
  • To best serve users in the post-COVID era, transit agencies will have to think outside the box. (The City Fix)
  • Police use jaywalking laws to target people of color, and those laws should be lifted. (The Guardian)
  • Can robots be racist? Self-driving vehicles have a harder time recognizing pedestrians with darker skin, according to a recent study. (Smart State Initiative, Streetsblog)
  • The U.S. DOT is asking autonomous vehicle operators to voluntarily submit data on safety, but it’s unlikely to get enough takers for the data to mean anything. (The Verge)
  • Pedestrian Observations explains why most privately owned passenger rail lines probably wouldn’t be profitable.
  • To best serve users in the post-COVID era, transit agencies will have to think outside the box. (The City Fix)
  • Dallas Area Rapid Transit is installing clear plastic droplet guards on buses to prevent drivers and passengers from spreading COVID-19. (Metro Magazine)
  • A new bike-share program debuts soon in Cleveland, and e-scooters are returning after companies pulled them because of the pandemic. (Scene)
  • Pinellas County, Florida now has an interactive online map where residents can share photos and stories about dangerous streets. (Patch)
  • The European Union’s 20 billion euro Mobility Package puts biking on equal footing with other modes of transportation. (Eltis)
  • China continues to build high-speed rail lines at a rapid clip, with plans to add 4,000 kilometers this year. (Nikkei Asian Review)

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

A street in North Baltimore, Md. with a badly damaged sidewalk. A series of orange construction barrels mark an uneven segment of alleyway pavement between two curb cuts that is filled with dried mud and would likely be impassible to many people using assistive devices. Parking lots and brick row homes stand in the background.  Image: Max Pixel, CC

Why City Sidewalks Still Miss the ADA Mark

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People with mobility challenges in Baltimore, Md. are celebrating the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act this week by filing a lawsuit demanding their city actually follow the historic law  — and communities across the country could be the target of similar lawsuits soon.
Source: Open Norfolk.

COVID-19 Outdoor Dining Already Squeezing Walkers

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Cities across America are making space for socially-distanced dining on sidewalks — but they’re not all doing a great job of leaving space for socially-distanced walking in the same spaces. St. Louis, Mo., recently announced that restaurants will be allowed to cannibalize scarce sidewalk space for diners, but specified that eateries can’t touch the parking […]

Demanding Safe Passage for Americans with Disabilities

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Navigating the streets and sidewalks of the United States can be a challenge even for an able-bodied pedestrian or cyclist. For people who depend on wheelchairs to get around, the challenges are too often insurmountable — nearly two decades since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Fortunately, the problem is beginning to […]
Disability rights advocates at the bus stop. Photo: Disability Mobility Initiative

BIPOC and Disability Advocates Zero In on Highway Spending

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Reprinted with permission from “The Urbanist.” On March 9, advocacy organizations Front and Centered and Disability Rights Washington held the first of a series of press conferences calling for Washington State legislators to halt spending on new highways. Instead, the coalition urges lawmakers to prioritize investments in building missing sidewalks and creating reliable transit and paratransit systems to serve all […]