February 18, 2012

Esplanade 2020
Reclaimed parkland under Longfellow Bridge, part of Esplanade 2020 Vision
(Photo courtesy of The Esplanade Association)


  • Longfellow Bridge loses outbound car lane in new design (Boston Globe)
    By Eric Moskowitz -- The rebuilt Longfellow Bridge will shrink to a single traffic lane bound for Cambridge, keep two headed for Boston, and gain wider bike lanes and sidewalks in each direction as part of a new design released to the public yesterday. For the 105-year-old Longfellow, that plan, filed with federal regulators last month, reverses some 1950s-era changes that recast one of the state’s best-known bridges to allow for faster driving. It represents a win for advocates of greener travel and shared streets.
  • New Proposal Would Avoid MBTA Service Cuts (South End Patch, Universal Hub, Radio Boston)
    The MBTA Advisory Board proposed a plan that would raise fares by 25 percent, shift some costs to other state agencies and institute some thought-provoking fees and changes.
    By Chris Orchard --  The MBTA Advisory Board, which provides public oversight of the MBTA, has presented a new plan—some might call it a third option—for dealing with the MBTA's $161 million budget shortfall in fiscal year 2013. The plan comes amid public outcry over two proposals put forth by the MBTA that would substantially raise fares and cut service on Boston's public transportation network. In recent weeks, thousands of angry T riders have attended public hearings around the Boston area to protest those proposals.
  • Friends' blueprint would expand access, amenities (Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Beacon Hill Patch, Beacon Hill Times)
    By Peter Schworm and Johanna Kaiser -- Bostonians know the Esplanade as one of the city’s defining parks, a graceful stretch of tree-lined paths and grassy banks alongside the Charles River that draws millions of visitors each year. Now, supporters are seeking to transform the riverside greenway into something grander still. In a sweeping plan two years in the making, The Esplanade Association unveiled a blueprint yesterday for the 3-mile park that envisions a pedestrian walkway jutting out into the Charles River, an expansive terrace near the Hatch Shell, and a widened bridge over Storrow Drive that would serve as a gateway to the park.
  • House GOP Takes Aim at Safe Routes To School, Mass Transit (Huffington Post)
    Two House committees voted on Thursday and Friday to eliminate federal funding for a program that creates bicycle and pedestrian paths for children going to school and to cut off mass transit from its major source of federal funding, the gas tax. The House's actions, propelled by GOP leadership, could politicize the previously staid issue of infrastructure investment and put Congress' chances of passing a new surface transportation bill this year in jeopardy. House Republican leadership has touted its transportation bill as an important step in job creation.
  • VIDEO: Build a Better Bridge: Why the Hudson Valley Wants Transit on the Tappan Zee (Streetfilms)
    By Robin Urban Smith -- New York State is on the verge of one of the largest transportation projects in the nation - the replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge. Hudson Valley residents, business owners, elected officials and environmental advocates participated in the State DOT’s ten-year, 280 meeting planning process. Through these meetings and millions of dollars of State studies, a consensus emerged that transit was a vital component of the Tappan Zee Bridge project.
  • Paris to allow cyclists to run red lights in bid to cut accidents (Daily Mail)
    - Cyclists will be allowed to turn right or go straight ahead, even when a traffic light is on red
    - But they will have to give way to pedestrians, and traffic coming from the left
    - They will be held responsible if there is an accident

    By Peter Allen -- Paris is to become one of the first major capital cities in the world to officially allow cyclists to ride through red lights. The radical measure, which is intended to cut down on accidents, will be studied by city and town planners in numerous other countries outside France, including Britain. At the moment, thousands of cyclists in cities like Paris and London regularly break red lights, but risk fines for doing so.




  • Want to Win a Gold Medal? City of Boston Announces Bike Friendly Business Awards (BostInno)
  • Cambridge hosts competition and exhibit for unique bike rack designs (Boston Globe)



Transportation financing/Government

  • Safety and the Law: When Are Higher Penalties the Right Tool for Changing Behaviors (Steve Miller's Blog)
  • FleetHub: The City of Boston Partners With Zipcar to Bring Car Sharing to City Government (BostInno)
  • Lowell Richards, Boston visionary, dies (Boston Globe)
  • The Kevin White era: a neighborhood perspective (Dorchester Reporter)
  • Leveraging Public Spending for Maximum Impact: Do Multiple Goals Make Projects Better -- or Unmanageable? (Steve Miller's Blog)


Development projects

Land Use/Planning


  • New York City --
    • Megabus Too Heavy for City Streets, State Police Say (DNA)
    • VIDEO: Build a Better Bridge: Why the Hudson Valley Wants Transit on the Tappan Zee (Streetfilms)
  • Washington DC --
    • Bike Lanes and Other Determinants of Capital Bikeshare Trips (TRB)
    • Streetcars will benefit DC's bottom line (GGW)
    • D.C. Looks to the Past to Fix Its Zoning Code (Atlantic Cities)
  • Piscataquis Village: Building A Car-Free Utopia In The U.S. (Fast Co Exist)
  • Local students get national attention for walking to school [Utah] (Daily Herald)
  • Miami's New Urbanist Experiment (ArchPaper)
  • The Case for Roundabouts: Doing Laps Around the Circle City [Carmel, Indiana] (NAC)
  • Denver Is Urged to Hit the Sidewalks (New York Times)
  • GA: Downtown Streetcar; Project 'Connectivity' Trumpeted (Mass Transit)
  • Twin Cities chase a desire named streetcar (St Paul Star Tribune)
  • Editorial: It Ain't Easy Bein' L.A.'s Green Bike Lane (Streetsblog LA)
  • U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Kicks Off Construction of Cincinnati's New Streetcar Line, Highlights President Obama's Call for Greater Investment as Part of an 'America Built to Last' (FTA)

National trends

  • High Speed Rail --
    • High-speed rail would have been profitable, state report says (Tampa Tribune)
  • Federal Transportation Bill --
  • U.S. overbuilt in big houses, planners find (San Diego Union-Tribune)
  • Activists Fight Green Projects, Seeing U.N. Plot (New York Times, The Atlantic)
  • Should it take decades to build a subway? (Salon)
  • Road Diets now proven safety measure; Q&A with FHWA Associate Administrator Furst (LAB)
  • Most Americans Want a Walkable Neighborhood, Not a Big House (GOOD)
  • LOS and Travel Projections: The Wrong Tools for Planning Our Streets (Streetsblog DC)
  • The Death Row of Urban Highways: Part 2 (Atlantic Cities)
  • How Can Communities Effectively Integrate Pedestrians and Bicycles to Promote More Non-Motorized Travel? (MarketWatch)
  • Zipcar expands service by over 45 schools (Boston Herald)
  • Should Building Taller Be Much, Much Easier? (Atlantic Cities)
  • Not Every City Can Be the 'Most Bicycle Friendly' (Atlantic Cities)
  • Flashback: Ronald Reagan Touts Gas Tax Hike, Transit Funding as Job Creators (Streetsblog DC)
  • Why Alleys Deserve More Attention (Atlantic Cities)
  • VIDEO: One Design -- 10,000 Bridges (TRB)
  • Forget The Suburbs: Living In Beautiful, Well-Designed Cities Makes People Happy (Fast Co Exist)

International news

  • Toronto Light Rail --
  • Not only are the Danes good at TV drama, they know about bikes too (The Times)
  • Paris to allow cyclists to run red lights in bid to cut accidents (Daily Mail)
  • Dutch Kids Pedal Their Own Bus To School (Fast Co Exist)
  • Congestion Charge Is Traffic-Cutting Magic in Milan (TreeHugger)