September 30, 2009

Market Street
Market Street, San Francisco
(Photo courtesy San Francisco Chronicle)


  • New street design guidelines in the works [Boston] (Bulletin Newspapers)
    By Vinaya Saksena -- A new committee tasked with producing new guidelines for future street construction in the city held its first meeting in City Hall last week, and will eventually be seeking public input on the matter, with an ultimate goal of having the guidelines ready for release next year, according information provided by city officials. The Complete Streets Advisory Committee met for the first time on September 15, according to a press release issued by the Boston Transportation Department the following day. Vineet Gupta, Director of Planning for the Boston Transportation Department, is serving as project manager for the new street guidelines initiative, which is intended to make the city’s streets more livable, environmentally friendly and generally in keeping with state-of-the-art design ideas. The effort is part of a national trend in which cities attempt to create "livable streets," according to the Transportation Department’s statement.
  • New bike cage unveiled at MBTA's Forest Hills station (Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Photos: RozzieBikes)
    By Globe Staff -- Bikers who want to pedal to the Forest Hills MBTA station and then hop on the subway will be able to store their bikes safely in a new, state-of-the-art bike cage, Boston's first such facility, transportation officials said today. And the installation of the cage and a previous one installed last year at Alewife station in Cambridge are just the beginning, the officials said. The MBTA plans to use $4.8 million in federal stimulus funds to build as many as 10 additional cages and as many as 50 covered bike racks at the transit system's stations.
  • Lt. Governor: Historic CSX Rail Agreement (Universal HubBoston Herald, Commonwealth Conversations)
    Lt. Gov. Tim Murray announced this morning the state and the giant railroad have resolved the last stumbling block to a massive deal that will, among other things, clear out the Allston freight yards and give the MBTA complete control over the train line to Worcester. Under the agreement, the state will buy the Worcester Line, potentially leading to reduced delays now caused by CSX dispatch rules - as well as a freight line from Beacon Park Yard in Allston through Cambridge to East Boston from CSX, and a freight line to Fall River and New Bedford.
  • The Dead Freeway Society (Portland Mercury)
    Scattered all over Portland are artifacts of a city that could have been. Bikes rush down a concrete ramp on the west side of the Hawthorne Bridge that 40 years ago originally connected to an expressway instead of grass. Tiny Piccolo Park off SE Division was the site of homes demolished to make way for the pylon of an unbuilt freeway. These vibrant sites are tombstones. We are a city of dead freeways. While other American cities have built, built, built, Portland's freeway history is boom and bust: massive road projects were planned, mapped, and sold as progress by one generation, then killed by another. When current transit planners visit from exotic Houston and DC to admire Portland's progress, what they are really admiring are the roads not built—freeways erased from the maps decades ago.
  • How to Get More Bicyclists on the Road (Scientific American)
    To boost urban bicycling, figure out what women want
    By Linda Baker -- Getting people out of cars and onto bicycles, a much more sustainable form of transportation, has long vexed environmentally conscious city planners. Although bike lanes painted on streets and automobile-free “greenways” have increased ridership over the past few years, the share of people relying on bikes for transportation is still less than 2 percent, based on various studies. An emerging body of research suggests that a superior strategy to increase pedal pushing could be had by asking the perennial question: What do women want?
  • Cycling should be dull, not an extreme sport (The Times)
    We must overthrow the cult of the car and the Lycra-clad vanguard of aggressive men, if more of us are to take to our bikes
    By Janice Turner -- I cycled to the Treasury on Tuesday to interview the Chancellor. All along Horse Guards the railings were plastered in police notices: bicycles chained to them would be removed, detonated possibly, since the fear is bike bombs, which crop up in conflicts from Vietnam through to Ireland and Iraq. In the end, my foldable was carried inside by a kind civil servant, trying not to get oil on his suit. Cyclists are not welcome visitors to any public offices: Parliament, Portcullis House, Downing Street. You’d think someone would set up a token rack beyond where ministers might be vaporised by bombs. But whatever the political posturing inside, outside it’s still two wheels bad.






Transportation financing/Government


Development projects

Land Use/Planning

  • Columbia Point plan to get an airing (Dorchester Reporter)
  • Opportunities for Chapter 40B developers increase in Andover, elsewhere (Boston Globe)
  • Celebrating a woman who saved our cities (Boston Globe)
  • Somerville alderman approve salary increase for vacant planning post (Boston Globe)


National trends

  • Three (instead of 18) month proposed extension of Transportation Bill soon coming (PBS)
  • Will The Push For Earmarks Undermine Efforts To Reform Surface Transportation Policy? (National Journal)
  • 43% Increase in Bicycle Commuting Since 2000 (LAB)
  • Nationwide Warnings of Faulty Transit Sensor (New York Times)
  • Pavement to Parks (New York Times)
  • LaHood Praises NYC But Shrugs at Transport Reform to Empower Cities (Streetsblog DC)
  • Requests Skyrocket for DOT Grants (JOC)
  • Truckers Insist on Keeping Computers in the Cab (New York Times)
  • Report: Feds Subsidize Parking Six Times as Much as Transit (Streetsblog SF)
  • How to Get More Bicyclists on the Road (Scientific American)

International news