Friday’s Headlines’ Passion Is Design

Make streets look more like this. Photo:  NACTO
Make streets look more like this. Photo: NACTO
  • So if education, enforcement and technology don’t make streets safer, what does? The answer is design — narrower streets, narrower lanes, extended curbs and protected bike lanes all reduce driver error. (Transportation for America)
  • A prominent Uber whistleblower says the company’s business model is not sustainable (Reuters), and that its business tactics were “breaking democracy itself.” (Fortune)
  • As car companies keep churning out bigger and more expensive vehicles, consumers shouldturn to golf carts and e-cargo bikes. (Fast Company)
  • Transit advocates don’t plan Steve Poftak from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s problems, and they’re worried about replacing the general manager, who’s stepping down in January. (WGBH)
  • Elon Musk has disassembled his hyperloop prototype and turned it into a parking lot. (The Verge)
  • Los Angeles pedestrians are ready to jaywalk with impunity. (New York Times)
  • Georgia lawmakers are talking about a vehicle-miles-driven tax. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
  • The Washington, D.C. city council is debating whether to take away some free on-street parking. (DCist)
  • Portland will remove bike lanes and bring back parking on NW Overton. (BikePortland)
  • A Denver city councilman says Colorado’s proposed sidewalk fee is inequitable and unfair. (The Gazette)
  • El Paso’s new transit center opens Sunday. (KFOX)
  • A group of Loudon County, Virginia residents are losing their minds over the idea of a bus stop in their neighborhood. (Times-Mirror)
  • Maybe Cincinnati Bengals fans who are outraged by $70 parking should advocate for better transit. (WCPO)
  • Watch Seattle’s new bike-lane sweeper, OK Broomer (now just Broomer), at work. (Seattle Bike Blog)

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The “forgiving highway” approach to traffic engineering holds that wider is safer when it comes to street design. After decades of adherence to these standards, American cities are now criss-crossed by streets with 12-foot wide lanes. As Walkable City author Jeff Speck argued in CityLab last year, this is actually terrible for public safety and the pedestrian environment. […]

Bad Street Design Kills People

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Traffic fatalities are on the rise up again, with an increase of 8.1 percent in the first half of 2015, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. As is their practice, NHTSA officials are attributing the problem to driver (or passenger) error — drunk driving, speeding, failure to wear seatbelts — but did promise “new initiatives to protect vulnerable road users such […]

It Just Got Easier for Cities to Design Walkable, Bikeable Streets

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We probably haven’t seen the last of engineers who insist on designing local streets like surface highways. But at least now they can’t claim their hands are tied by federal regulations. Last week, the Federal Highway Administration struck 11 of the 13 design rules for “national highways” — a 230,000-mile network of roads that includes many urban streets. The rule change eliminates […]

Demanding Complete Streets in South Florida

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Florida DOT’s windshield perspective isn’t good enough anymore. (Photo: wallyg via Flickr) For decades, the automobile has been the central organizing principle for planning in South Florida, a primacy that hasn’t often been questioned. But there are signs that things are changing.  Today on the Streetsblog Network, Transit Miami reports that advocates of traffic calming […]