February 28, 2010

Sidewalk extension
Photo simulation of sidewalk extension in San Francisco
(Photo courtesy Streetsblog San Francisco)


  • Officials say Coolidge Corner lane changes will be temporary 'experiment' (Brookline TAB)
    By Carolyn Maurer and Ben Timmins -- Brookline Transportation officials have backed off plans to permanently reconfigure traffic lanes in Coolidge Corner, saying they’ll make temporary changes to see if the plan works before taking jackhammers to the intersection. After hearing impassioned statements from numerous community members in a debate that lasted more than one hour Thursday night, the Transportation Board proposed the stopgap “experiment” Thursday night, in an attempt to ease traffic in the gridlock.
  • Fiscal woes at T roll on for another year (Boston Globe)
    By Noah Bierman -- It’s the least wonderful time of the year for MBTA riders, when the T sorts out how broke it is for the coming budget year in July. The good news for passengers is that Governor Deval Patrick promised in November that the T would not raise fares this year. But his pledge does not guarantee commuters will be held harmless. It’s looking like the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will have a substantial deficit, which could mean cuts in service in the short-term, more debt restructuring, or both. The debt restructuring is a concern because growing interest payments on the T’s multibillion-dollar debt is a major reason the T keeps getting into this bind every year.
  • The Sidewalks of Today and Tomorrow: Is Concrete Our Only Option? (Infrastructurist)
    By Yonah Freemark -- For most pedestrians, the sidewalk is an unnoticed facet of the everyday streetscape, like a telephone pole, traffic signal, or postal box. But the choices made about the materials to use for building and installing sidewalks can significantly affect the atmosphere of an urban environment. For most American cities, concrete is the go-to choice for building sidewalks. It’s relatively cheap to install — only about $12 per square foot — and it’s very solid. Its pale color reflects light, reducing nighttime illumination costs for cities compared to darker-hued alternatives. Plus, if adequately maintained, concrete can last up to eighty years.
  • Want to Foster Walking, Biking and Transit? You Need Good Parking Policy (Streetsblog)
    By Ben Fried -- The high-water mark for American parking policy came in the early 1970s, when cities including New York, Boston, and Portland set limits on off-street parking in their downtowns. They were compelled to do so by lawsuits brought under the Clean Air Act, which used the lever of parking policy to curb traffic and reduce pollution from auto emissions. This level of innovation went unmatched over the ensuing three-and-a-half decades. Only now are American cities implementing effective new parking strategies that cut down on traffic. A report released today by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy [PDF] highlights the new wave of parking policy innovation that could pay huge dividends for sustainable transport and livable streets.
    Related: Guide To Charging For Parking (Planetizen)
  • Rail and Transit Benefit, Highways Lose Out in TIGER Grant Distribution (Transport Politic)
    By Yonah Freemark -- Detroit’s light rail project, Downtown Dallas, and Tucson’s modern streetcar are big winners. One year after the stimulus bill was signed into law, the Department of Transportation unveiled the winners of its big TIGER grants, which are transportation projects awarded on merit to cities and transit agencies from around the country. For proponents of new streetcar projects in cities like Cincinnati, Charlotte, and Atlanta, today’s announcement is a major let-down. Each had hoped to win but a small portion of the U.S. Department if Transportation’s $1.5 billion in discretionary funds for meritorious transportation projects. Alas, applicants from all fifty states demanded a total of more than $56 billion in federal grants, and there simply is not enough money to spread around.
    Related: TIGER grants fund bicycling (LAB)
    Related: The TIGER Grants: Which States Were the Big Winners (Infrastructurist)
    Related: Should TIGER Grants Be The Model For A New Surface Transportation Law? (National Journal)
  • Americans Moving Greener, New Federal Data Shows (Mobilizing the Region)
    By Michelle Ernst -- Americans are making a significantly higher share of daily trips on transit, on foot, and by bicycle, according to newly released data from the Federal Highway Administration. Together, walking and bicycling trips now account for 11.9 percent of all personal trips, up from 9.5 percent in 2001, a growth in mode share of 25 percent. Transit’s mode share increased by 23.5 percent, while the share of trips taken by car, motorcycle, and truck or SUV dropped by 4.4 percent.
  • Raise My Taxes, Please! Financing High Quality Public Transit Service Saves Me Money Overall (Planetizen)
    By Todd Litman -- Most North American cities offer only basic public transit service, with limited coverage and frequency, modest speeds, unattractive waiting areas, poor land use integration, and few amenities. Such service is used primarily by people who lack alternatives. In such communities, riders tend to abandon public transit as soon as feasible. In cities with high quality public transit even affluent people often use alternative modes. In addition to travel shifted directly to transit, high quality transit tends to leverage additional vehicle travel reductions by stimulating compact, mixed, walkable development. As a result, residents of communities with high quality public transit tend to own fewer vehicles and drive less, and spend less on transportation, than they would in communities that offer only basic transit service.



  • Snow Clearance (Phil's Blog)
  • Opponents seek to derail funding for controversial Brookline footbridge (Brookline TAB)
    • Editorial: Carlton Street Footbridge has significant support in Brookline (Brookline TAB)
    • Letter: Voting record proves support for bridge (Brookline TAB)
    • Letter: Opposition to bridge still 'substantial' (Brookline TAB)
  • Best Shoveled Block in Cambridge Contest (Cambridge News Weekly)
  • Editorial: Snow: Shovel as I say, not as I do (Boston Globe)
  • The Sidewalks of Today and Tomorrow: Is Concrete Our Only Option? (Infrastructurist)
  • Court rules property owners have to keep their sidewalks free of snow and ice (Universal Hub)


  • Nicole Freedman On Biking In Boston (Boston Biker)
  • East Somerville shop builds bike for city life (Somerville Journal)
  • Help update the Boston Bike Map (Dot Bike)
  • MassBike Urges Bicycle Access On The Whittier Bridge (MassBike)
  • MassBike Believes In Bicycle Infrastructure (MassBike)



Transportation financing/Government


Development projects

Land Use/Planning


  • Missouri test drives 'diverging diamond' interchange (USA Today)
  • Nashville Mayor Dean turns eye to mass transit (The Tennessean)
  • Houston aims to be electric car capital (Reuters)
  • VIDEO: Biking to Work With Seattle's Mayor Mike McGinn (Streetfilms)
  • San Francisco Takes Parking Spaces for Trial Sidewalk Extensions (Streetsblog SF: 1, 2)
  • Judge Rules Against Cyclists (New York Times)
  • Report from the Annual Conference on Active Living: Obesity and Active Living (Streetsblog)
  • Shaping the Next New York: The Promise of Bloomberg's Rezonings (Streetsblog)
  • The Next New York: How the Planning Department Sabotages Sustainability (Streetsblog)
  • The Next New York: How NYC Can Grow as a Walkable City (Streetsblog)
  • Ratings System Targets Environmental Impact of Roadways (Environmental Leader)
  • Washington's Investment in Faster Bus Service Should be a National Model (Transport Politic)
  • City To Launch Cab-Sharing Program On Friday (NY1)
  • VIDEO: Inspired transit: Portland gets around (Grist)
  • Driving Green (Architect's Newspaper)
  • California's high speed rail dream (CNN)
  • VIDEO: Fixing the Great Mistake: Autocentric Development (Streetfilms)
  • Transportation chief says bikes, buses are way to go in D.C. (Washington Post)

National trends

  • Racking up miles? Maybe not. (Wall Street Journal)
  • High-Speed Rail Cash Lays Congressional Track for Billions More to Follow (New York Times)
  • Can living near a train station save you from foreclosure? (Chicago Sun Times)
  • Do Recalls Really Make Us Safer? (Slate)
  • What Do You Think Of Obama's Transportation Budget Request? (National Journal)
  • The Recovery Act at One Year: State Jobs Data Show Growing Advantage from Stimulus Investments in Public Transportation (Smart Growth America)
  • How Do Americans Get to Work? Transit Patterns in Major Cities (Infrastructurist)
  • Moving Through the Recession, Part 1: Trends in Transit Ridership (The City Fix)
  • Moving Through the Recession, Part 2: Service Cuts Continue (The City Fix)
  • Clive Thompson to Texters: Park the Car, Take the Bus (WIRED)
  • Study examines ways traffic patterns change (USA Today)
  • Want to Foster Walking, Biking and Transit? You Need Good Parking Policy (Streetsblog)
    • Fun Facts About the Sad State of Parking Policy (Streetsblog)
  • Obama's Partnership for Sustainable Communities will put the feds' weight behind smart growth (Grist)
  • U.S. driving decline is in reverse (USA Today)
  • Americans Moving Greener, New Federal Data Shows (Mobilizing the Region)
  • TIGER Grants Announced --
    • Rail and Transit Benefit, Highways Lose Out in TIGER Grant Distribution (Transport Politic)
    • TIGER grants fund bicycling (LAB)
    • The TIGER Grants: Which States Were the Big Winners (Infrastructurist)
    • Should TIGER Grants Be The Model For A New Surface Transportation Law? (National Journal)

International news

  • China Sees Growth Engine in a Web of Fast Trains (New York Times)
  • Empty Parking Lots as Dubai Goes Car-Free (Khaleej Times)
  • A Bus System Reopens Rifts in South Africa (New York Times)
  • Guide To Charging For Parking (Planetizen)
  • Raise My Taxes, Please! Financing High Quality Public Transit Service Saves Me Money Overall (Planetizen)
  • Hungarian Bike to Work Campaign (Copenhagenize.com)
  • Sidewalks, and an Identity, Sprout in Jordan's Capital (New York Times)
  • Mumbai Joins Other World-Class Cities to Celebrate "Car Free Day" (The City Fix)
  • Indian Railways Plans $9 billion in Investments for 2010, Advances High-Speed Rail (Transport Politic)
  • Vancouver Olympics --