Friday’s Headlines … And We’re Done for the Week

  • Even if Republicans keep control of the Senate, President-elect Joe Biden may still be able to pass a green infrastructure bill addressing climate change. (E&E News)
  • The Left isn’t thrilled with the idea of Transportation Secretary Rahm Emanuel, but he built 200 miles of bike lanes as mayor of Chicago and would champion high-speed rail (Chicago Mag). Riffing off that piece, Streetsblog Chicago says that while Emanuel was good on transportation issues, his politically motivated decision to let a police officer get away with killing Black teen Laquon McDonald should be disqualifying.
  • The “15-minute city” is all the rage, but it’s a lot easier to do in older European cities than newer American ones that were designed for cars. (Bloomberg)
  • Color us skeptical, but Honda says it will start manufacturing self-driving cars capable of navigating freeways by March. (Reuters)
  • A transit referendum in the metro Atlanta suburb of Gwinnett County failed by just 1,000 votes out of 400,000 cast, possibly because of the economic effects of the pandemic, disinformation campaigns and voter fatigue from a long ballot. (AJC)
  • Also from the AJC: Transit agency MARTA has extended CEO Jeffrey Parker’s contract through 226. The board cited his negotiations with the transit union and local governments, but he’s also been criticized for cutting bus service during the pandemic.
  • The Southwest Corridor light rail project is on hold after Portland voters rejected a transportation payroll tax measure last week. (KATU)
  • San Francisco officials and activists are pushing street design changes and education over enforcement in hopes of meeting the city’s increasingly unlikely goal of zero traffic deaths by 2024. (SF Chronicle)
  • A WAMU podcast discusses the Washington, D.C. Vision Zero omnibus bill passed in September.
  • A downtown tunnel and light-rail projects Austin voters approved last week as part of Project Connect are still a decade away. (KXAN)
  • The Arizona DOT has hired a contractor for a massive I-1o widening project through metro Phoenix. (Planetizen)
  • Miami-Dade is testing an AI camera system that can track ridership levels and monitor whether passengers are socially distancing. (State Scoop)
  • Two new bike-share companies are coming to Birmingham. (Bham Now)
  • That iconic 100-year-old fig tree in Nairobi that was about to be cut down because it’s in the path of a four-lane highway has been spared. (New York Times)
  • Barcelona is expanding its car-free superblocks (City Lab) — and maybe some U.S. cities will be next? (Streetsblog)


Rahm Emanuel’s Bike Plan for Chicago Gets High Marks

In his closely-watched bid for the Chicago mayoralty, Rahm Emanuel is making waves with his transportation platform. Last week he released a transportation plan that puts transit front and center. And in the bicycling component of the plan, released yesterday, Emanuel continues to hit all the right notes, dropping phrases like “cycle track” and “bike […]

Gabe Klein, Architect of DC’s Bike Progress, Is Chicago Bound

Chicago Mayor-Elect Rahm Emanuel has snapped up Gabe Klein, former head of the District Department of Transportation in Washington, to head up his transportation team in the Windy City. Klein earned a reputation as a transportation star in the nation’s capital, helping put Washington on the national map as a leading bike- and transit-friendly city. […]

Chicago, Seattle Mayors Spar Over Bike Lanes, Tech Workers

Nothing like a little friendly competition between mayors. It seems a feud of sorts has developed between Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn over who can build the best bike lanes. At a speech in December marking the opening of the Dearborn Street protected bike lanes, Emanuel boasted that Chicago was going […]

Is Rahm Emanuel’s $7 Billion Infrastructure Plan Replicable?

Just over a year into his mayoralty, Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel continues to show impressive leadership on transportation issues. His latest initiative is a $7 billion infrastructure plan that includes funds for everything from sewers to surface transit to parks. While urban leaders around the country have been sounding the alarm about underfunding infrastructure, Emanuel is sending a […]

Will Rahm Emanuel Show America What BRT Can Do?

With impressive urgency, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has spent his first months in office retooling and reconfiguring how the “City That Works” works. Emanuel’s energy is evident in changes from beat-cop deployment to the push for a longer school day, but perhaps the mayor’s most tangible efforts can be seen in his ambitious transportation agenda. […]