Friday’s Headlines

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  • The latest on Lyft’s IPO: There’s a disconnect between Lyft providing single-occupancy rides and claiming cities shouldn’t be designed around cars. (GreenBiz) While its carbon-neutral status is currently achieved by buying carbon offsets, Axios predicts shareholder activists will push Lyft and Uber to get greener. And the more it shifts away from ride-hailing to bike- and scooter-shares, the messier its finances will get. (Bloomberg)
  • Arizona prosecutors will not charge Uber for its autonomous car striking and killing a woman crossing the road in Tempe, Ariz., last year, but investigators may look further into the role of the backup driver, who was watching a video before the crash and did not brake until after making contact with the pedestrian. The decision highlights the question of who is responsible when a car no one is driving runs over a person? (NY Times)
  • The Washington Post picks up on a month-old Urban Institute study showing that bike-share bikes are vastly more prevalent in white neighborhoods than black ones.
  • Also from the Post: A judge has dismissed a second lawsuit filed by opponents of Maryland’s Purple Line light-rail project.
  • In the latest Durham-Orange light rail drama, project booster GoTriangle is asking Duke University to reconsider its stance against the line in light of a Federal Transit Administration warning not to delay. (Durham Sun-Herald)
  • The demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct is already bringing new development to the Seattle waterfront, and residents are excited about being able to access it by foot and bike. (Seattle Magazine) This month’s issue focuses on light rail and its impact on neighborhoods, according to an editor’s note.
  • Ohio legislators have cut Gov. Mike Dewine’s proposed gas-tax hike, but boosted transit funding from a measly $40 million to a slightly less measly $70 million. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • Uber supports a Georgia bill that would tax ride-hailing to raise tens of millions for transit. But the mainly highway-focused State Transportation Board objects to consolidating transit — currently overseen by six state agencies — into one new department. (AJC)
  • Dallas Magazine shows you how much better the city’s transit was 100 years ago than it is now.
  • Meet the new Cincinnati streetcar boss. (Enquirer)

Thursday’s Headlines

  • Even algorithms can be biased, especially when they’re written by mostly white people. A new study found that autonomous vehicles have a harder time “seeing” dark-skinned pedestrians than light-skinned ones. (Vox)
  • Mobility Lab breaks down the different types of transit opponents and how to beat them.
  • Residents of Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard — which sees an average of 340 crashes a year — and other wide, fast roads are sick of living next to NASCAR speedways and want road diets to slow down traffic. (Herald)
  • New Orleans bike advocates say a protected bike lane on Esplanade Avenue could have saved the lives of two cyclists killed by an alleged drunk driver last weekend. The driver veered into the bike lane — which is only separated from cars by paint — at 80 miles per hour while trying to pass another car, according to witnesses, injuring seven other people. (The Advocate)
  • The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority — the largest in the state, with 35 million annual riders — is asking for a bigger share of state transportation dollars. Gov. Mike DeWine has proposed splitting $40 million among 61 transit agencies. His proposed gas-tax hike would raise $1 billion for roads and bridges. (Plain Dealer)
  • Spokane, Wash., is set to ask the feds to pony up most of the $72 million for its planned Central City bus rapid transit line. (Spokesman-Review)
  • A top Montgomery County, Md. official thinks saving lives is too expensive and might inconvenience drivers. (WashCycle)
  • Vision Zero isn’t going so well in San Francisco. A 96-year-old man was the eighth person injured or killed by a driver there within a week. (SF Weekly)
  • Charlotte is on track to build a light-rail line to the airport by 2030, approving a route for the 25-mile, east-west Silver Line last week and preparing to ask voters to support a sales tax to fund it. (Agenda)
  • Stitch — a proposed park capping the freeway running through downtown Atlanta — could cost nearly half a billion dollars, according to the Urban Land Institute. (Curbed)
  • Operating costs for public transit in Montreal are projected to double to $1.7 billion over the next 10 years. Noting that roads are funded 100 percent by taxes, Mayor Valerie Plante called for a fundamental rethinking of how the city funds transit in order to reach climate-change goals. (Gazette)

Wednesday’s Headlines

  • Lyft is growing, but will it ever be profitable? It lost nearly $1 billion in 2018, even though gross revenue doubled. Read the fine print in its IPO filing, and the company admits it might not make any money for at least 11 years. (Fortune)
  • In related news, auto manufacturers know that selling cars to individuals probably isn’t the business model of the future. Problem is, the business model of the future — which they see as ride-hailing and autonomous vehicles — isn’t profitable today. (Bloomberg)
  • Another sign of the rapidly changing mobility business: Hartford, Conn., is the latest city where Uber-owned Lime is getting out of the bike-share business. (Courant) Former bike-share companies are pivoting to e-scooters because that’s what riders prefer, according to Bicycling magazine. But there are concerns about safety and the durability of scooters.
  • Duke University listed electromagnetic interference with medical and scientific equipment as one of its reasons for backing out of the planned Durham-Orange, N.C. light rail line. But it only recently raised that concern despite having years to do so. (Duke Chronicle) Meanwhile, rail supporters are rallying the troops in nearby Chapel Hill. (Daily Tarheel)
  • As the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority prepares to raise fares, riders say they’d prefer for MBTA to receive a larger tax subsidy instead. Some support discounts for seniors and students, and even free fare for everyone. (WGBH)
  • A Greenville News columnist makes the case for three common-sense bills that would help protect pedestrians in South Carolina, one of the most dangerous states for walking. One requires drivers to stop (rather than yield) for pedestrians in a crosswalk. Another bans holding a cellphone while driving (not just texting while driving, which is already illegal). A third directs SCDOT to implement Complete Streets.
  • Philadelphia has chosen Fairhill and Willard as the two neighborhoods from among 28 applicants to become “slow zones.” They were picked for their high crash rates and high proportion of children and elderly residents. (KYW)
  • Tucson, Ariz., is upgrading its crosswalks with HAWK signals, which flash blinking lights when activated. Drivers stop at them 96 percent of the time. (Star)
  • The South Florida Sun Sentinel asks if streets are dangerous by design. (Spoiler alert: yes.)
  • New York artist Jake Berman made a series of illustrations showing what the long-gone streetcar systems in Dallas and other cities used to look like. “It’s sad that we did this to ourselves,” he told Patch.
  • About a quarter of Dutch workers commute by bike. To encourage even more people to bike to work, the government pays them 22 cents for every kilometer they pedal. (Huffington Post)
  • And finally, Wired ran funny drawings of people trying to remember what bikes look like. The artist’s web page offers more.

Note: One of Monday’s headlines conflated the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) with the National Association of City Transportation Officials. NACTO paved the way, so to speak, for traffic engineers on bike lanes.

Tuesday’s Headlines

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  • Lyft filed for a $100-million initial public offering (CNN), beating competitor Uber to the stock market, and Curbed says its partnerships with cities and commitment to transit and environmental stewardship will now come under further scrutiny. Higher prices might be coming, too, as the IPO means Lyft will be under pressure from stockholders to become profitable.
  • Want cars to stay out of bus-only lanes? Just paint them. (City Lab)
  • Will Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposed gas-tax hike fund transit? Ohio currently spends a scant $33 million a year on transit — 45th in the nation, despite having the 14th highest ridership of any state — but the state constitution might prohibit gas taxes from going toward anything but roads and bridges. (Cleveland Plain Dealer) That’s just one of the many questions legislators have about the proposed hike. (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Washington state lawmakers want to cut the car-tab fee paid by motorists that helps fund Sound Transit. The funding cut would be offset by cheap land leases, but the transit agency argues that won’t be enough. (Seattle Times)
  • Facebook might pay for a new rail line connecting the East Bay and Silicon Valley. (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Kansas City has bought two more streetcars to meet growing demand. Ridership on the three-year-old streetcar line is more than double initial projections, and triple in the summertime. (WDAF)
  • The Georgia DOT is getting rid of the reversible “suicide lanes” on Atlanta’s Memorial Drive. But where are the bike lanes? (Curbed)
  • Comments collected by Philadelphia about two bike-lane pilot projects suggest that they’re popular, and residents want them made permanent. (Philly Voice)
  • As Tampa Bay overhauls its long-range transportation plan, residents say they want more options, not just more freeways. (WMNF)
  • Sidewalk Labs is reinventing the awning in Toronto. Its idea for heated sidewalks isn’t bad, though. (Engadget; for less snark, see the Financial Times)

Monday’s Headlines

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  • “Crossing the street should not be a death sentence,” says the author of a Governors Highway Safety Association study showing that pedestrian deaths are at a 30-year high. (WAMU) Hawaii has seen the steepest increase (KHON) while pedestrian deaths are declining in the Pacific Northwest. (KVAL) The reason: Cars are safer than ever…for the occupant, not for the rest of us, as Streetsblog reported.
  • Relentless activism certainly played a role in the spread of bike lanes in America. But so did the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide, a design manual that became the “bike-lane Bible” and blazed a trail for less adventurous engineers. (The Atlantic)
  • Providing a non-car alternative — like bike-sharing — to Uber and Lyft, which have been siphoning off bus and train riders, could help transit agencies boost ridership. (Curbed)
  • Related: Uber’s electric bikes are overtaking its ride-hailing service in popularity. (Electrek) D.C.’s Capitol Bikeshare is rolling out more e-bikes. (WTOP) Bike-share programs are also coming to Wheeling, W.V. (Intelligencer) and Springfield, Mo. (The Standard), and expanding in central L.A. (City News Service)
  • The Durham-Orange light rail line continues to fall apart. In addition to Duke University’s lack of cooperation, the feds now want an additional $237 million added to its budget because of proposed design changes and what the Federal Transit Administration described as overly conservative cost estimates. (WRAL) More on Duke’s decision from Streetsblog‘s Angie Schmitt.
  • Boston biking advocates want Uber and Lyft to educate its drivers on the dangers of pulling over in designated bike lanes. (Globe)
  • With scooters and bike proliferating in Midtown Atlanta, the need for Complete Streets has never been greater. (Saporta Report)
  • Pasadena, Calif. is proposing a $267 million bus rapid transit line on a street where officials caved to backlash and canceled a road diet two years ago. (Pasadena Now)
  • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (Times Daily) and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (Madison Star-Telegram) have both formally proposed gas-tax hikes after months of speculation.
  • Cincinnati drivers can’t say they didn’t know it was a bus lane anymore. (WCPO)
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