December 20, 2011

Start of infographic: Americans drive everywhere...
How Bikes Can Solve Our Biggest Problems
(Graphic courtesy of Healthcare Management Degree, via Fast Company Design)


  • On Biking: Holiday gift suggestions for the cyclist (
    By Jonathan Simmons -- Looking for the perfect holiday gift for the cyclephile on your shopping list? Here are a few of my favorite things, each of which will make you very popular with your favorite rider.
  • State shelves commuter rail proposal through Cambridge for now (Boston Globe, The Transport Politic)
    By Eric Moskowitz -- The state Department of Transportation has shelved a plan promoted by Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray to run more commuter rail service between Worcester and Boston by routing some trains through Cambridge to North Station, officials said. A study completed by the department found the new route would not generate enough riders to justify the $43 million in upgrades required to improve a rickety freight connection known as the Grand Junction and build a Kendall Square stop, Secretary of Transportation Richard A. Davey said yesterday.
  • MassDOT extends comment period for Casey Overpass Project (, Boston Globe Editorial)
    By Patrick D. Rosso -- The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is extending the public comment period for the Casey Overpass Project until Friday Dec. 9. This will allow residents a few more days to have their opinion on the official transcript before it is sealed and reviewed by DOT personnel. The agency has also postponed both of its December meetings until January 2012.
    Related: Mr. Davey, tear down this bridge! (Universal Hub)
  • MBTA fare hikes, service cuts under consideration to close funding gap (Boston Globe, CBS Boston)
    By Globe Staff -- The state’s top transportation official told reporters today that officials are “working up some scenarios” on how to close a projected $161 million Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority deficit, a task that officials have warned previously will require fare hikes and, possibly, service cuts.
    Related: T riders furious at inevitable fare hikes (Boston Herald)
    Related: Capuano Paints Grim Picture of Green Line Funding (Somerville Patch)
  • Interest groups weigh in on Middlesex Fells draft plan (
    By Matt Byrne -- Scores of comments have poured into the Department of Conservation and Recreation calling for tweaks and changes to the Middlesex Fells Reservation management plan.
    The comment period, which ended late last month and drew nearly 300 missives, marks the penultimate phase of the plan's tumultuous gestation, a process that has drawn sharply different views from the dog owners, bike riders, trail walkers, and nature enthusiasts who have quarreled over use rights at the 2,575-acre reservation.
  • After Toll Increases, Less Traffic and More Train Riders (NY Times)
    By Christine Haughney -- The rise in tolls on Port Authority of New York and New Jersey bridges and tunnels in September may have caused many commuters to leave their cars at home and switch to public transportation, early reports from the agency show.
  • LOS: The Transportation Planning Rule Every City Should Reform (The Atlantic Cities)
    The source of the disconnect between San Francisco's transit-first heart and its car-centric hand is an arcane engineering measure called "level of service," or LOS. In brief, LOS suggests that whenever the city wants to change some element of a street — say by adding a bike lane or even just painting a crosswalk — it should calculate the effect that change will have on car traffic. If the change produces too much congestion, then a great deal of time, money, and additional analysis must go toward the project's consideration.
    Related: A Traffic Engineer's Lament (Engineering News-Record)



  • Beacon Hill sidewalk in front of State House needs repair (Boston Globe)
  • Somerville: Millions Wasted on Deficient Walkability Improvements (Somerville Voices)


  • Bicycling in Boston --
  • On Biking: Holiday gift suggestions for the cyclist (
  • Infographic Of The Day: How Bikes Can Solve Our Biggest Problems (Fast Company Design)



Transportation financing/Government

  • Walking the talk on transportation finance (Boston Globe)
  • Capuano Paints Grim Picture of Green Line Funding (Somerville Patch)
  • USDOT doles out 46 TIGER III grants totaling $511 million (Progressive Rail Roading)
  • Lawmakers Push to Fund Transit Service During Economic Emergencies (Streetsblog DC)
  • Why we should consider a per-mile road tax (CNN)
  • Transit's Not Bleeding the Taxpayer Dry -- Roads Are (Streetsblog DC)


  • Interest groups weigh in on Middlesex Fells draft plan (
  • Esplanade, Eliot Memorial revitalization aided by $1 million donation (Boston Globe)
  • Greenway mass effect! Now comes the cleanup (Boston Herald)
  • Citizen complaint of the day: Why doesn't the Greenway do anything about trash-strewn park? (Universal Hub, Universal Hub incl. update)
  • Community Path among top concerns of Green Line commenters (
  • Neponset Greenway project fails to win federal funding (Dorchester Reporter)

Development projects

  • Pier 4 development in South Boston proceeding with slight modifications (Boston Globe)
  • Novartis mixing art with science in Maya Lin design of new Cambridge building (Boston Globe)
  • Zoning Body Approves Condos at VFW Post in Davis Square (Somerville Patch)
  • A Robert A.M. Stern building embodies tradition at Harvard Law (Boston Globe)
  • VIDEO: Trinity Financial Presents Bulfinch Triangle's "One Canal" Without Supermarket (
  • Somerville Residents Asked to Help Shape New Use Guidelines for Powder House School (Somerville ResiStat)
  • Copley Place Expansion OK'd by Zoning Board (Back Bay Patch)
    • Copley tower developer Simon Property Group agrees to build all affordable units on-site (Boston Globe)
  • Mayor Menino dedicates $100m renovation of Washington Beech housing development (
  • Supermarket plan for Bulfinch Triangle shelved (Boston Herald, Boston Business Journal)
  • Dunkin' Donuts proposal for Tremont Street withdrawn (Boston Globe)
  • Architect Firm Elkus Manfredi Selected For Faneuil Hall Marketplace Improvements (

Land Use/Planning


  • New York City --
    • "Walkable" Steps Into the Spotlight (NY Times)
    • Even on the 11th Floor, There’s Parking Right Out Front (NY Times)
    • Alexander Garvin Looks at Public Spaces in New York (NY Times)
    • After Toll Increases, Less Traffic and More Train Riders (NY Times)
    • VIDEO: An unusual way of untangling gridlock (Rock Center profiles Janette Sadik-Khan)
    • N.Y.C. Sidewalks Getting More Crowded (NY Times)
    • VIDEO: NYPD Traffic Agents Wave Drivers Into People (Streetsblog NYC)
    • Graph of the Day: Proof that Bike Lanes Attract Bike Riders (Treehugger)
    • TriBeCa Residents Push for Permanent Pedestrian Plaza on Hudson Street (
    • Urban Retailers Call For More Transit, Less Parking (
  • Chicago --
    • VIDEO: Kinzie Street: The First of Many Protected Bike Lanes for Chicago (StreetFilms)
    • Crossing flags carry the banner of pedestrian safety in Chicago (Chicago Tribune)
    • Winter cycling promotion to fight traffic congestion (Cyclelicious)
    • Emanuel, Quinn Hope Bicycles Fill the Missing Link in Mass Transit (Mass Transit Magazine)
  • Arkansas Officials Surround State Capitol With Even More Parking (Streetsblog LA)
  • Perry Survived Failure of His Grand Texas Transportation Plan (NY Times)
  • Free Federal Money May Doom a Transit Center in Troy, Michigan (The Atlantic Cities)
  • Audit faults MTA for lack of planning (LA Times)
  • DC: Imagining a City Without Its Public Transportation (The Atlantic Cities)
  • A More Perfect Union Station: D.C.'s Train Station is a Mess. Again. (Washington City Paper)
  • Prices affect parking less than San Francisco expected (Greater Greater Washington)
  • Detroit light-rail plan is dead; buses will be used instead (Detroit Free Press, The Transport Politic)
  • Goodbye streetcars, hello bus rapid transit as Metro scales back its public transportation plans (Nashville Scene)

National trends

  • High Speed Rail --
    • High-speed rail is dead in America. Should we mourn it? (Slate)
    • Riding High-Speed Rail to a U.S. Recovery (Bloomberg Op-Ed)
  • Distracted Driving --
    • LaHood seeks federal texting-while-driving ban (USA Today)
    • Reframing the Debate Over Using Phones While Driving (NY Times)
    • RU1? Texting by drivers is up 50 percent even as states pass laws banning it, government says (Washington Post)
  • LOS: The Transportation Planning Rule Every City Should Reform (The Atlantic Cities)
  • The Trouble with Pedestrian Malls (
  • Debate: How to Fix World Transportation (BusinessWeek)
  • Are urban bicyclists just elite snobs? (
  • Walkable Neighborhoods Gaining Popularity -- Even in the Suburbs (Huffington Post)
  • Are America's subways and roads overpriced? (Washington Post)
  • Study eyes graduated driver licensing (USA Today)
  • Economy, gas prices make Americans drive less (USA Today)
  • Ridership on public mass transit up slightly (USA Today)
  • Whatever Happened to the Downtown People Mover? (The Atlantic Cities)
  • Fastest-growing urban parks are for the dogs (USA Today)
  • Why Drivers May Get More Commuter Tax Benefits Than Bus Riders (NY Times)
  • Millennials Embracing Idea of Car Sharing (Road & Track)
  • We Are the 25%: Looking at Street Area Percentages and Surface Parking (Old Urbanist)
  • Reason Foundation thumbs its nose at L.A. Metro; we thumb back! (The Source)
  • Can Americans Make the Switch from Driving to Biking to Work? (Infrastructurist)

International news