Friday’s Headlines

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Streetsblog is taking Black Friday off to bike to the mall, but here are a few stories to laze into under the influence of tryptophan:

  • Amtrak’s ridership is up and financial losses are down during CEO Richard Anderson’s tenure. But the unsentimental former Delta chief has ruffled some feathers in the process, such as by proposing chopping up long routes and eliminating chef-cooked meals in dining cars. On the bright side, he’s taking on the freight haulers who slow down Amtrak’s trains. (Bloomberg)
  • Forbes argues that removing interstate highways from cities will free up valuable real estate, allow greater density and fuel innovation.
  • Boston Magazine collected 40 ideas from experts and residents for fixing the city’s traffic woes, ranging from a tax on parking to electrifying rail lines. Also, ICYMI: The Boston Globe’s Spotlight investigative team recently dove deep into the city’s epic traffic woes.
  • Pittsburgh is building miles of new bike lanes and expanding its bike-share. But will the investment benefit all neighborhoods equally, or favor affluent areas over low-income ones? (Public Source)
  • If you, like the rest of the internet, are fascinated by Tesla’s ridiculous Cybertruck, Wired has you covered.

 

Thanksgiving Day Headlines

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Streetsblog is taking the Thanksgiving holiday off, but here are a few stories to enjoy with your turkey:

  • You didn’t listen to him in 1988, but maybe you will now: Mike Dukakis says we need to beef up public transit! (Boston Globe)
  • Ride-hailing drivers are still discriminating. After studies found that people of color wait longer to be matched with a driver, companies took steps to reduce discrimination by reducing the amount of information available to drivers, like names and photos. They haven’t worked, according to a new report. (City Lab)
  • Meanwhile, Chicago passed a new fee on taxi rides to battle congestion. (StreetsblogChi)
  • Demand for lithium — a key ingredient in the batteries that power electric cars and scooters, among other things — is set to explode. But it takes lots of water to extract, and over half the world’s supply of the valuable mineral is in the arid salt flats of South America. Without a Green New Deal, lithium could wind up replacing oil as a source of geopolitical conflict. Just ask Evo Morales! (New Republic)
  • Our online shopping habit is terrible for cities and the environment. (The Guardian)
  • Bastrop, near Austin, recently became one of the first cities since the mid-20th century to create a street-grid plan for future growth. Created mainly for flood control, the plan also encourages a mix of uses, affordable housing and shared parking. (Public Square)
  • Very Local is running a series on the history of New Orleans streetcars (oddly, the word “Desire” is not in the first installment. Stella!)
mta-cops

Op-Ed: What America Gets Wrong about Fare Evasion

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This post originally appeared on the website pedestrianobservations.com. It is reprinted here with permission. There’s a moralistic discourse in the United States about fare evasion on public transport that makes it about every issue other than public transport or fares. It’s a proxy for lawlessness, for police racism, for public safety, for poverty. In lieu […]

Tuesday’s Headlines

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  • London authorities told Uber it can no longer operate in the city because it hasn’t done enough to stop unlicensed and uninsured drivers from carrying passengers. The ride-hailing giant plans to appeal. (New York Post)
  • Apps that combine all modes of transportation into one could convince young people to ditch their cars. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Seattle has had the largest drop in percentage of solo commuters of any city in the country since 2010. Less than half of employed residents drive to work alone, and more are walking or taking transit. But because the population grew so much, in raw numbers, more people are commuting in cars by themselves (Seattle Times). Streetsblog compiled all the lessons other cities could learn.
  • A task force of Pennsylvania lawmakers is recommending major changes to the way the state funds transportation. About $150 million for transit will be shifted from turnpike tolls to motor vehicle taxes. The turnpike authority has been borrowing to make transit payments since truckers sued, arguing the money could only be spent on roads and bridges. (Post-Gazette)
  • Curbed joins the chorus calling for New York City to end free curbside parking.
  • Denver transit riders would rather see RTD cut service while it’s dealing with a shortage of operators as long as the trains that are running run on time. (Westword)
  • Six D.C. council members want to force Mayor Muriel Bowser’s hand on the stalled Shaw bikeway with an emergency vote next week. (Greater Greater Washington).
  • Detroit should fix the QLINE streetcar to make it functional or admit that it’s just a novelty. (Free Press)
  • Advocacy groups and transit users are lobbying the Alabama legislature to fund public transportation for the first time. (WHNT)
  • Hawaii is looking at alternatives to fuel taxes, including charging drivers by the mile. (Tribune Herald)
  • The Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Bike Guy, Tony Brown, is calling it quits.
  • Toronto is closing part of Fleet Street to vehicle traffic because, the city says, the intersection is dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians, confusing to drivers and delays streetcars. (Narcity)

Monday’s Headlines

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  • Vision Zero doesn’t seem to be working. Even though dozens of American cities have pledged to eliminate traffic deaths, they continue to rise nationwide. City Lab looks into why Vision Zero hasn’t lived up to its surname in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
  • A bill introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) would allow Amtrak to sue freight haulers that don’t give preference to passenger trains on freight company-owned tracks, as required by federal law. Almost a fifth of Amtrak trains are delayed by freight interference, according to Amtrak’s inspector general. (The Southern)
  • Uber is going to allow both drivers and passengers to secretly record their rides as a safety measure. (Washington Post)
  • Sound Transit’s lawyer says the Seattle area agency can continue collecting higher car tab fees until its bonds are paid off, in spite of a recent referendum limiting the fees to $30 per car (Tacoma News-Tribune). Meanwhile the anti-fee initiative sponsor Tim Eyeman says he’s running against Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (KIRO).
  • Maybe Atlanta will have better luck than other cities. Under Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, it’s finally getting serious about pedestrian safety. (Saporta Report)
  • A Washington, D.C. bill would require reckless drivers to take remedial driving courses, and let the city impound drivers’ cars after multiple tickets for speeding or running red lights. (Curbed)
  • Denver is ending its B-Cycle dockless bike and scooter program and putting out a request for proposals from companies that can overhaul it. (Streetsblog)
  • Fed-up Minneapolis cyclists formed a human barrier Friday along the painted bike lane where a truck driver killed a man on a bike last week. (WCCO)
  • San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg wrote an Express-News column arguing that devoting a sales tax currently earmarked for aquifer protection to transit is the only feasible way to fund transit and won’t endanger the aquifer.
  • Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s “radical manifesto” includes taxing oil and gas companies 11 billion pounds, assessed by past contributions to the climate crisis, to help shift the U.K. toward a green economy. (Guardian)
  • Elon Musk lost a quarter of a billion dollars (Forbes) after the botched unveiling of Tesla’s widely mocked Cybertruck (Electrek), which looks like what would happen if John DeLorean designed a tank.
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