Thursday’s Headlines

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  • Prominent Democratic presidential candidates have all put forward plans for clean energy, limiting drilling and subsidies for electric vehicles. Yet they have nothing to say about Americans’ addiction to driving — and if they don’t wean Americans off cars, they’ll never meet climate goals. (Huffington Post)
  • Economists say Uber and Lyft drivers will get a raw deal if voters approve the companies’ ballot initiative to keep their contractor status, rather than employees, as a new California law requires. (USA Today)
  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms created a new city DOT Wednesday and announced $200 million worth of bike and pedestrian safety projects over the next three years. The Vision Zero plan targets the 6% of Atlanta roadways where 72 percent of deaths occur. (Curbed)
  • The San Francisco Chronicle profiles a 67-year-old woman who was injured by a driver while walking in February — one of thousands since the city set a Vision Zero goal of eliminating pedestrian deaths by 2024. Twenty-six have died so far this year.
  • A little Monday morning quarterbacking from My Northwest, which notes that Washington state legislators could have avoided the I-976 referendum catastrophe by passing one of three car-tab bills that would have cut Sound Transit’s funding, but not nearly to the extent last week’s referendum did.
  • The Charlotte city council reversed course and will now fund a $50-million study on the Lynx Silver Line, a 26-mile light rail line to suburban Gaston County. (WCNC)
  • St. Petersburg has wised up to the high cost of free parking and will charge for parking downtown on nights and weekends. (Tampa Bay Times)
  • San Antonio’s nonprofit bike-share is in danger of folding after abruptly losing its top sponsor. (Rivard Report)
  • The University of Minnesota student government is lobbying state lawmakers to make more Twin Cities light rail stops free for students, citing a need to access housing and grocery stores. (Minnesota Daily)
  • The New York Times found a way to exonerate drivers and blame pedestrians for the 50-percent rise in fatalities among walkers since 2009: “[D]istracted drivers and bigger vehicles [are] the chief culprits. So being fixated on a screen while walking can’t be safe.” Seems to us that distracted drivers and bigger vehicles are the things that can’t be safe.
  • The latest overaggressive response to the minor problem of fare evasion comes from New Jersey Transit, whose “fix” for the problem is a clear violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act (James Sinclair, via Twitter) — but later in the day, the agency fixed it.
  • Washington, D.C.’s 26 new parking enforcement officers will be able to use photos of cars illegally parked in bike lanes to ticket drivers even if they’ve left the scene. But only photos taken by the officers — those submitted by cyclists are unfortunately still only good for making us feel better about ourselves. (Greater Greater Washington)
  • Kenya’s road-building fervor in Nairobi is a legacy of colonialism (City Lab). In contrast, Quito, Ecuador is dealing with a population explosion by growing up rather than out, and will open its first subway line next year (Curbed).
  • Every picture tells a story, don’t it? After 26 years of work, longtime model railroad enthusiast Rod Stewart has completed a 124-foot by 23-foot (you read that right) scale model of 1940s Pittsburgh. And yes, we think it’s sexy. (Daily Mail)

 

Wednesday’s Headlines

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  • Despite the mobility revolution that gives people more options than ever for getting around, Americans still prefer to sit in traffic by themselves, fund roads with ever-shrinking gas taxes and are willing to accept 40,000 deaths a year. (The Hill)
  • Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi was just the latest tech/transportation executive to bend over backwards for Saudi Arabia when he called the state-sanctioned murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi a “mistake.” The Saudis’ massive sovereign wealth fund apparently trumps human rights. (The Verge)
  • Almost half of metro Atlanta residents believe expanding transit is the best solution to the region’s traffic problems, compared to less than a third who want to widen roads. But outside of DeKalb County, less than half support raising taxes to pay for it — not good news for upcoming transit referendums in suburban Cobb and Gwinnett counties. (AJC)
  • Houston Metro board members will decide how to spend $7.5 billion on transit over the next 20 years. But three of them rarely use transit themselves. (Chronicle)
  • Pittsburgh is working on a plan to connect its piecemeal and dangerous bike network by adding 120 miles of bike lanes. (Tribune-Review)
  • Albuquerque’s star-crossed bus rapid transit line will finally start service on Nov. 30. (Journal)
  • Boston edge cities are building walkable downtowns near transit, but they feel nothing like the historic parts of Boston and aren’t well connected to the rest of the region. (Commonwealth)
  • Ohio is the latest state that’s considering regulating e-scooters. (Toledo Blade)
  • Madison, Wisc., is asking for public input on its first parking-protected bike lane. (Channel 3000)
  • Tampa is hosting the 2019 Safe Routes to School National Conference today through Friday. (WFTS)
  • After just one year, Lyft-owned bikeshare Nice Ride is replacing 2,000 dockless bikes with e-bikes in Minneapolis. They’re not dockless per se, but they do come with additional options for parking (Star Tribune). Meanwhile, the Star Tribune editorial board has gotten behind a proposal to increase the police presence on Metro Transit and crack down on turnstile-jumpers, which means we can probably look forward to more viral videos of cops arresting people for eating sandwiches on a train (NBC News).

Tuesday’s Headlines

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  • Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called on Uber and Lyft to conduct fingerprint background checks on drivers and share information with each other about dangerous drivers who’ve been kicked off one platform so they don’t sign up with the other. (Washington Post)
  • Say what? In an interview with Axios that aired on HBO, Uber CEO Dana Khosrowshahi called Saudi Arabia’s murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi “a mistake” and compared it to the self-driving Uber car that killed a woman crossing the street in Arizona last year. The statement led to calls for a boycott of Uber.
  • Light rail extensions to from Seattle to Everett and Tacoma are among the projects at risk since the passage of I-976 blew a $20 billion hole in Sound Transit’s long-range plans. (KOMO)
  • Two major newspapers editorialized in favor of pedestrian safety over the weekend. The Tampa Bay Times called for design improvements and stepping up law enforcement in St. Petersburg. The Chicago Tribune urged drivers to be more careful after one killed a cyclist in a right-hook crash.
  • A new report criticizes the North Carolina transit agency GoTriangle for doing a poor job of organizing and selling the failed Durham-Orange light rail line. (WRAL)
  • Lyft-owned Bay Wheels is resuming e-bike rentals in San Francisco this month (Chronicle), though New York’s e-Citi Bikes are still on the shelf. Meanwhile, Lyft, Lime and Razor have been selected as e-scooter providers in San Antonio (Rivard Report).
  • In Phoenix — where drivers killed 112 pedestrians last year — the city council is allocating $2 million toward better lighting and crosswalks (12 News). Never let it be said that the Phoenix City Council didn’t do the least it could do.
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law encouraging cities to plan more electric car charging stations. (Tap Into Plainfield)
  • Wichita and Topeka are among the small-to-mid-sized cities taking advantage of federal grants to buy electric buses. The local utility also offered a steep discount if they charge the buses during off-peak hours. (Energy News)
  • Philadelphia is giving buses a head start at traffic signals. (WPVI)
  • This is why we can’t have nice things: KCAL discovered that hundreds of taxpayer-funded bike-share bikes in Los Angeles have been stolen and stripped for parts.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the state that Phil Murphy serves. It is the Garden State, not the Nutmeg State.

Monday’s Headlines

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  • Ride-hailing roundup: A new lawsuit filed by New York Uber drivers alleges that the company illegally withheld taxes and charged riders a higher rate than it paid drivers, pocketing the difference (Washington Post). Uber also might have to send some money Google’s way after it came to light that Uber’s been using Waymo technology in its self-driving cars (Reuters). And Lyft is offering credits to users who sell their cars (Digital Trends)
  • Electric vehicle batteries are starting to pile up, and the industry needs to figure out a way to recycle them. (The Verge)
  • Not a day has gone by in Texas when a driver didn’t kill someone since 2000. (Houston Chronicle)
  • Westword thinks Denver’s Regional Transportation District — one of the most expensive transit systems in the country — should consider going fare-free to avoid a death spiral of fare hikes and service cuts.
  • Lyft will deploy 4,000 shared e-bikes in San Francisco under a new four-year contract with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
  • Transit is often so in demand that a new rail line brings gentrification along with mobility. That’s why a coalition of South Florida nonprofits is working to preserve affordable housing near the Brightline. (Next City)
  • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker says he doesn’t support a gas-tax hike to pay for his $19-billion road and transit plan. Baker is one of a dozen East Coast governors who are banding together on an emissions tax instead. (Worcester Telegram)
  • WSOC looks at potential funding sources for the Silver Line, a proposed light-rail line in Charlotte.
  • Three Portland suburbs have agreed to join the regional transit service Metro and permanently fund commuter shuttles. (Press Herald)
  • EPA data shows that Phoenix has higher levels of a carcinogenic gas than any city in the country. (New Times)
  • A $90,000 loan will allow St. Louis’s fairly useless Delmar Loop trolley to keep running through the end of the year (Riverfront Times). Make sure you click through the links at the end.
  • It’s not “transit” the way that Streetsblog usually writes about transit, but it’s still pretty cool: Mercury will transit — pass across the face of — the sun today for the last time until 2032. So check it out if you can find access to a telescope. (Gizmodo)
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