Wednesday’s Headlines

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  • U.S. transit ridership rose for two consecutive quarters in 2019 after declining for the past five years. But just two cities — New York and Washington, D.C. —  are responsible for most of the gains. Other major cities, like Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia, continued to lose riders. (City Lab)
  • Drivers killed almost as many cyclists in California, Texas and Florida as the rest of the country combined, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Those three states accounted for 41 percent of cyclist deaths from 2014 through 2017 and contain 13 of the 20 most dangerous cities. (Smart Cities Dive)
  • A footnote in a California rule allows Uber and Lyft to hide from scrutiny of their safety records. (San Francisco Public Press)
  • If you can’t beat ride-hailing apps, join ’em, L.A. cabbies say. (New York Times)
  • Support is dwindling for the Transportation Climate Initiative, a regional compact aimed at combating climate change among 13 New England and Atlantic Coast states. Connecticut, Vermont and Maine could follow New Hampshire in opting out. (Boston Herald)
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a recent speech that Texas’s current round of road-building may be its last. While the change of heart on widening freeways is welcome, it’s too bad Abbott is putting his hopes in ride-sharing and flying cars rather than investing in transit. (D Magazine)
  • Users are expressing frustration with Denver’s Regional Transportation District canceling more light rail and bus rides, which may or may not be due to an ongoing driver shortage (Denver Post). In related news, Colorado Public Radio has the lowdown on candidates to lead RTD.
  • Transportation will be a hot-button issue in the Maryland legislature this year, with bills to increase funding for transit, transition to electric buses and provide oversight of Chesapeake Bay Bridge construction. (Greater Greater Washington)
  • Nashville Mayor John Cooper is holding a series of “listening sessions” on transit (News Channel 5). Meanwhile, a group called Moving Forward says that an obscure Tennessee law could let a regional transportation authority set up a special tax district to fund transit after voters rejected a transit plan in 2018 (WZTV).
  • A Kansas City councilwoman made an insensitive comment about a cyclist’s death, and the Kansas City Star editorial board is pressuring the council to get serious about making the city’s streets safer for biking and walking.
  • Philadelphia is getting its first modern roundabout at a crash-prone five-way intersection near a school in a pedestrian-heavy neighborhood, which should slow down traffic. (Inquirer)
  • Minneapolis is making a push to ensure property owners clear their sidewalks after it snows. (Star Tribune)
  • Uber is ending its ride-hailing service in Colombia after a judge ruled that the company doesn’t compete fairly. (Bloomberg)
  • Twitter is putting Sound Transit on blast for changing the automated announcer’s voice on Seattle trains from female to male. (KIRO)

Tuesday’s Headlines

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  • In perhaps the biggest environmental rollback of his three-year administration, President Trump is exempting major infrastructure projects like pipelines and highways from environmental review (New York Times). Congress vows to fight (Streetsblog).
  • Pete Buttigieg’s $1-trillion infrastructure plan includes a national Vision Zero policy and funding for sidewalks, crosswalks and public transit (City Lab). New Streetsblog senior editor Kea Wilson gives it a mixed review, though, citing additional funding for highways, some vague promises and the lack of a funding source.
  • Transportation planners apparently don’t understand supply and demand: Make driving more expensive, and drivers will do less of it. (City Observatory)
  • Virginia’s $3.7-billion plan to expand passenger rail service by building a new bridge over the Potomac and buying hundreds of miles of tracks from freight hauler CSX is a “game changer,” according to the Washington Post.
  • Lime is pulling its e-scooters out of Atlanta, citing the city’s impound fees and nighttime ban (AJC). And it’s leaving San Diego, even after successfully defending its permit (10 News). Add Boston to the list, too (Globe). All in all, Lime has pulled out of 12 cities, including San Antonio and seven in Latin America, and laid off 100 employees (Fox Business).
  • Drivers killed or severely injured 45 pedestrians in Cincinnati last year, down from 77 in 2018 (WCPO). In Denver, though, drivers killed 71 people last year — the city’s deadliest year on the roads since 2000 (Denverite).
  • It only took four hours for Washington, D.C. to lose any chance of reaching its Vision Zero goal in 2020. Drivers killed four people in the first few days of the year — all of them on streets that residents have complained about, and where fixes have yet to be implemented. (Greater Greater Washington)
  • Ridership on the TEXRail commuter rail line between Fort Worth and Dallas isn’t meeting expectations. But additional rail cars, more frequent service and the completion of transit-oriented developments along the line could change that. (Star-Telegram)
  • Memphis business leaders are backing a Shelby County plan to pump $10 million into transit, saying car-less employees need a reliable way to get to work. (Flyer)
  • A California Assembly member wants to put a bus-only lane on the Bay Bridge. (NBC Bay Area)
  • Elected officials in the San Diego area approved a $90-million bond issue to start building 70 miles of new bike lanes, over the objections of those who wanted to spend the money widening highways instead. (Union-Tribune)
  • Milwaukee’s streetcar, The Hop, will stay fare-free through 2020. (Business Journal)
  • Here’s yet another video, this one posted by a Reddit user, of a driver sideswiping a cyclist. According to the poster, cops in Greensboro, North Carolina refused to view the footage and didn’t ticket the driver.
  • We’re happy that Prince Harry and Meghan — or the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, both per Times style — finally got Queen Elizabeth’s approval to “step back” from being royals. But is no one going to consider the carbon implications of their new bi-continental life?
  • And finally, you know you wanna check out the pantsless train passengers in Phoenix last Sunday. (AZ Central)

Monday’s Headlines

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  • Driverless cars are unproven at best, but they also have the potential to reduce human drivers’ carnage. Should they be tested on public streets? Alissa Walker’s Curbed article is worth a read no matter which side you’re one.
  • Bike-shares are just like real estate: It’s all about location, location, location. Almost 80 percent of users are coming from within 1,000 feet of a dock, according to a new study. And more bikes lead to more riders, since some potential users give up on bike-sharing entirely if they can’t find a ride. (Science Daily)
  • This year is supposed to be the year cities got serious about improving transit — but it’s unlikely to happen, thanks to shortsighted voters, long planning timelines and the Trump administration shifting funding to roads. (Bisnow)
  • Women travel differently than men, according to a World Economic Forum study of professional women in Berlin. Because of disparities in pay and societal roles, as well as physical differences, they’re more likely to be traveling with kids or stuff, under more time pressure, less likely to look to cars as the default mode and don’t feel safe alone. Transit planners should keep this in mind.
  • Utility companies are trying to get school districts to switch to electric buses, which are cleaner and save money on fuel, but are more expensive up front. (Axios)
  • Fast Company posits that the trends toward ride-hailing and autonomous vehicles will lead to consolidation in the car-making industry and fewer choices for consumers. To which we reply: So what?
  • Once considered a luxury, e-bikes might really be a viable mode of transportation for San Francisco residents who want to get rid of their cars. (SF Chronicle)
  • Houston’s rules against high-density development are likely to stymie transit as well, even though voters overwhelmingly approved an ambitious transit plan in November. (Houston Chronicle)
  • Olympia, Washington recently approved fare-free transit (The Olympian). Worcester, Massachusetts (Telegram) and Owensboro, Kentucky (Messenger-Inquirer) could be next.
  • Metro Atlanta’s new transit agency, the ATL, is developing a payment app that works with all the region’s myriad transit systems. (AJC)
  • A San Diego planning commissioner who was seriously injured when a driver ran her over a year ago recently released footage of the crash to raise awareness of distracted driving and urge the city to make streets safer. (Union-Tribune)
  • Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is transforming the City of Lights to be friendlier to bikes and more hostile to cars. The result? Cycling is doubling and tripling on newly installed protected bike lanes, and driving is falling for the first time since the 1940s. (City Metric)
  • This recently retired Raleigh bus driver deserves at least a gold watch for driving for 38 years and 3 million miles without a wreck. (Spectrum News)

Friday’s Headlines

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The Transportation Research Board’s 99th Annual Meeting will be held in Washington, D.C. from Jan. 12-16, 2020. Click here for more information.

  • In contrast to Europe, the Trump administration is taking a hands-off approach to autonomous vehicles. New guidelines announced by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao pretty much give AI developers free rein. (Politico, Streetsblog)
  • The head of the influential Republican-leaning U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which supports raising the gas tax and reauthorization of the FAST Act, is calling for the bipartisan passage of 35 bills on the traditionally Democratic issue of fighting climate change. (Axios)
  • Vox reports that installing air filters at schools has a positive effect on student achievement. Sounds like a good reason to reduce fumes from vehicles or even ban cars to us.
  • The U.S. spent $47 billion on 1,200 miles of new transit lines in the past decade. That wasn’t nearly enough to meet the demand, though, and meanwhile, nearly 30,000 lane-miles of roadway were built. (The Transport Politic)
  • Urban congestion is down since 2014. City streets didn’t flow freely for an average of four hours and 16 minutes a day in 2018, compared to five hours and three minutes six years ago, according to the Federal Highway Administration. (Green Car Congress)
  • Fewer teenagers are getting their drivers’ licenses, which could be a sign that Peak Auto is behind us. (Bloomberg)
  • A bill introduced by Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell is aimed at lengthening battery life and encouraging more charging stations for electric vehicles. (Detroit News)
  • Two years ago, Boston was awash in bike-shares. Now, they’re disappearing. (Curbed)
  • Master plans are ubiquitous among cities, but Pittsburgh is taking it further than the usual 20 or 30 years out. What should transportation look like in 2070? (Post-Gazette)
  • A Memphis religious group is supporting Shelby County’s proposed tax hike on individual motorized vehicle “wheel tax” to support transit. (Flyer)
  • The Houston Chronicle urges the city to fix its deadly roads.
  • One of the Madison Capital Times’s Bright Ideas really is a no-brainer: a unified payment system for bike-sharing and public transit.
  • Milwaukee officials are locked in a dispute over whether a, um, surcharge on food delivery services is a tax or a fee, which factors into whether it’s legal or not. You say tomato … (Urban Milwaukee)
  • Be ready to drop trou and/or avert your eyes this Sunday — the annual No Pants Ride is on Sunday in Seattle (The Stranger) and New York and other cities.
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