March 19, 2013

Sebastian Mariscal stirred controversy with his proposed car-free apartment building

(Photo Courtesy of Sebastian Mariscal Studio via the Boston Globe)


How to get the state transportation system back on track Boston Globe

By George Bachrach and Richard Dimino-- Voters get angry when government sidesteps hard decisions and “kicks the can down the road.” Sooner or later, bills come due and must be paid. We see that now with our transportation system. To the credit of Governor Patrick, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and Senate President Therese Murray, all appear ready to make hard decisions.

Our livelihoods are rooted in transportation. Roads and bridges keep our economy moving, connecting workers to jobs and companies to customers. Public transit allows thousands of people to get to jobs, and provides affordable access to all, particularly those seeking new jobs in a bad economy. Buses and para-transit bring independence to seniors and those with disabilities. Sidewalks and bike paths create more livable communities.


Governor Patrick Files Transportation Bond Bill MA Transport Blog

The bill invests $13.7 billion over ten years to address a backlog of deferred maintenance and strategically improve our transportation system to reduce congestion on roads, curb delays and minimize crowding on trains and buses, and improve customer service. In addition, this bill continues funding current investments identified in the statewide road and bridge program identified in the Fiscal Year 2013-2017 Capital Investment Plan. In total, the bill authorizes $19 billion of capital investment in the Commonwealth’s transportation system. Taken together, this legislation represents the administration’s commitment to a 21st century transportation system for Massachusetts.


HUGE NEWS: U.S. DOT to Challenge AASHTO Supremacy on Bike/Ped Safety Standards DC Streetsblog

By Tanya Snyder-- For years, the federal government has adopted roadway guidelines that fall far short of what’s needed — and what’s possible — to protect cyclists and pedestrians. By “playing it safe” and sticking with old-school engineering, U.S. DOT allowed streets to be unsafe for these vulnerable road users.

But that could be changing. The bike-friendliest transportation secretary the country has ever seen told state transportation officials yesterday at AASHTO’s annual Washington conference that U.S. DOT was getting into the business of issuing its own design standards, instead of simply accepting the AASHTO guidelines.


While Amtrak Subsidies Draw Fire From Congress, Aviation Gets a Free Pass DC StreetsBlog

By Angie Schmitt-- There’s never any shortage of calls to make Amtrak pay for itself. Republicans deride it as a “Soviet-style monopoly,” rife with inefficiencies. But as Ed Glaeser pointed out in an article for the Boston Globe last week, another mode’s subsidies are approved year after year without a peep: aviation.

According to Glaeser, fees imposed on airline passengers cover just 70 percent of the Federal Aviation Administration’s budget. Aviation subsidies increase if you consider the costs of the Transportation Security Administration. The TSA’s 2013 budget is $7.6 billion, of which only $2.5 billion will come from user fees.


The End of Federal Transportation Funding as We Know It Atlantic Cities 

By Eric Jaffe -- Today the federal transportation program faces perhaps its greatest challenge since that shaky start. The most urgent problem is funding. The Highway Trust Fund that pays for America's road and rail program is heading straight toward bankruptcy. For two decades politicians have refused to raise the 18.4-cents-per-gallon gas tax that populates the trust, even as it steadily loses purchasing power to inflation and fuel-efficient cars. The public has yet to embrace alternative funding sources — road fares or mileage fees on the user-pay side favored by economists; income taxes on the social welfare end — in part because people (mistakenly) believe they already pay a lot for transportation.


London Crossrail for Bikes Cycle London City

Early today, the Mayor will announce “an Olympic legacy for all Londoners”, in the form of a dedicated and meaningful commitment to creating a city where people feel they have the choice to use a bicycle instead of driving. 


Bicycle Culture by Design: Closing Streets to Cars - for Good Copenhagenize

FUD - Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. This is the general feeling when drivers know that the street they usually drive on, may soon be closed to vehicular traffic. This feeling has, to some degree, been used by those who decide to build new roads. In other words, we still live according to Henry Ford's motto, “With mobility comes freedom and progress”. As someone who works with urban planning this can be viewed as when the ends actually justify the means – cities scratched by black tar marks, roads planned and built with eyes closed.



  • Lessons from Nemo Somerville Patch
  • Boston humming as appeal of life in city booms Boston Globe
  • Historic street signs safe from inventory program Wicked Local
  • Boston issued $141,150 in fines for poor snow removal in week after 'Blizzard of 2013'
  • Before Cities Had Street Lights, They Had Giant Towers That Mimicked the Moon Atlantic Cities
  • City pitches widening of Melnea Cass Boulevard and new bike lanes, trees
  • Push Carts at Downtown Crossing
    • Downtown Crossing pushcarts to leave soon
    • Pushcart war: Mayor backs the little guys Universal Hub
    • Menino gives Downtown Crossing pushcart vendors extension Boston Globe
    • Pushcarts win reprieve from Downtown Crossing removal Boston Herald
    • Downtown Crossing pushcart supporters get 1,000 signatures Metro
    • Editorial: Pushcarts fit in the future of Downtown Crossing Boston Globe
  • LETTER: Residents of Private Roads Should Not be Left Out in the Cold by Snow Plows Watertown Patch
  • The Launch of #boswaterfront  BRA
  • Boston wants public's help identifying pesky potholes Metro
  • "Nearly Car Free" areas A View from the Cycle Track
  •  The Street Stays in the Picture Arch Paper

Walking/ Parks

  • Op-Ed: Eyesores at Boston City Hall (of Shame) Boston Globe
  • Public Garden Lagoon Renovations to Start Next Week Back Bay
  • Shouldn't Pedestrians At Least Be Safe From Cars on the Sidewalk? Atlantic Cities
  • Downtown View The Everywhere Trend: Walkable Neighborhoods Charlestown Bridge
  • Tewksbury gets $7,500 for rail trails Wicked Local
  • Rose Kennedy Greenway -- Building a Three-Legged Stool City Parks Blog
  • Healthy Cities are for Walkers; Walkers for Healthy Cities CLF
  • 2013 Massachusetts Trails Conference - Announcement and Invitation
  • Bicycle Culture by Design: Closing Streets to Cars - for Good Copenhagenize
  • Op-Ed: Building a Community from a Park -- A primer in the dynamics that give a community its inner life Boston Globe
  • $1.5 million grant from Tiffany Foundation to fund landscaping for new Greenway carousel Boston Globe


  • First Step: Belmont Path Committee Reaches Out to Community For Ideas Belmont Patch
  • Cyclists shift gears in winter weather
  • Bicyclist Reportedly Struck on Mass. Ave. in East Arlington Arlington Patch
  • Somerville residents shout down cycle track plan at rowdy meeting Wicked Local
  • Letter to the Editor: 'Misinformation Abounds About Beacon Street Cycletracks' Somerville Patch
  • A cyclist for all seasons Wicked Local
  • Yours, Mine, And Ours Pug Velo
  • Bike helmet laws prevent knee injuries ... NBER
  • A pattern of growing support for Mass. Ave. Word on the Street
  • 23 seconds Word on the Street
  • Bicycles are Transit: Linking Cycling, Transit, Planning and People Momentum Mag
  • What the clothes you wear on a bike say about urban cycling Calgary Herald
  • Letters: For father of 3, benefits of car-free living outweigh drawbacks Boston Globe


  • MBTA Wants to Upgrade WiFi on Commuter Rail Trains & Stations BostInno
  • Light rail and traffic Walking Bostonian
  • Amtrak Ridership Skyrockets on Boston Routes Fenway/Kenmore Patch
  • Feds Shut Down Fung Wah Transportation Nation
  • Do light-rail systems help cut down on traffic? Perhaps not. Washington Post
  • Report: Public transportation spending benefits Gateway cities Telegram
  • It takes Springfield residents 15 minutes longer to take a PVTA bus to work, on average, than to drive, MassInc study says MassLive
  • Gateway Cities report ties transportation to economic health South Coast Today
  • BUS SYSTEM IMPROVEMENT IS KEY TO TRANSIT: Local, Improved, Express, and Bus Rapid Transit Steve Miller's Blog
  • How Free Transit Works in the United States Atlantic Cities
  • Boston's MBTA to try new testing technology being built at UMass Lowell Biz Journals
  • GreenDOT Plan Leads the Way: Sustainable Transportation MA Transport Blog
  • Guest Street and the 64 bus Walking Bostonian
  • Bus Attack Leads to Call to Better Protect MBTA Drivers Fenway/Kenmore Patch
  • How Massachusetts Commutes to Work Boston Magazine
  • Commuters give up the 'ball and chain' CNN
  • ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION CREATES HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: How To Use Your Roads To Lower Your Doctor (and Insurance) Bills Steve Miller's Blog
  • How to get the state transportation system back on track Boston Globe
  • Wait Continues for Severely Late Commuter Rail Cars JP Patch
  • Taking the Guesswork Out of Rating BRT: An Interview With Walter Hook Chicago StreetsBlog


  • Automated Parking Garages For the Car-Obsessed NY Times
  • Interactive: Compare Your Commute To The Nations Longest NPR
  • Volvo unveils cyclist detection feature Sympatico
  • Single-space parking meters in Magoun Sq. Somerville News
  • Is Driving Really That Bad in Boston? JP Patch
  • Mariscal's Car-Free Allston Apartment Building
    • No parking development finds critic Allston development proposal without parking has critics Boston Globe
    • Allston's No Parking Apartment Building Is a Great But Terrible Idea Boston Magazine
    • Sebastian Mariscal's Car Free Apartment -- Designing Buildings Around Cars Will Only Make Our Car Problem Worse Boston Magazine
  • Which Parking Meter is Better? Somerville Patch
  • Boston Cab Dispatch queues up to sue Uber claiming unfair competition Biz Journals
  • Op-Ed: Standing up for car-free development in Boston Boston Globe
  • Free tolls on the Mass Pike Friday Wicked Local
  • LETTER: Increase gas tax Wicked Local
  • Medford Officials Want MBTA Garage Removed Medford Patch
  • Scion: Using Bikes to Sell Cars (to Sell Bikes?) StreetFilms
  • AAA on parking reform: "Dangerous" to let people build as much parking as they want. Slate
  • If you live in a city, you don't need a car Guardian
  • Bicycle Culture by Design: Cyclist Detection System on Volvo Cars Copenhangenize
  • Letters: Too many questions circling plan for car-free development Boston Globe
  • SideCar is bringing its ride-sharing app to the Hub

Transportation financing/Government

  • Historic Snow Storm Response Praised MA Transport Blog
  • Governor Patrick’s South Station Plans C Banker and  Tradesman
  • Transportation key to Somerville's future Wicked Local
  • Patrick budget triples funding for RTAs CommonWealth
  • Community Leaders Debate Transportation Future At Forum iBerkshires
  • Report: State must invest in Fall River transportation Herald News
  • Patrick's Tax Plan/MBTA Finances
    • T officials present bleak options, including a 33% fare increase and service cuts, to close deficit if state funding doesn’t materialize
    • Warning of more steep fare hikes, MBTA again looks to Beacon Hill for $$$ Wicked Local
    • MBTA may raise fares, cut services if it doesn't get more aid Wicked Local
    • Some Quick Easy Fixes The T Adventure
    • Dot projects get airing in Patrick plan on tax hikes: Neponset Greenway completion, Gallivan Blvd. resurfacing cited DOT News
    • Davey defends transportation plan, renews commitment to Green Line extension
    • DeLeo to advocate for finance plan significantly smaller than Governor's proposal Boston Globe
    • DeLeo: Let's decide transportation $, then budget Boston Herald
    • Local economists back governor's tax hike plan
    • Hearing, rally on track for transportation Wicked Local
    • Invest in strong transportation Telegram
    • Hundreds to rally in support of Gov. Patrick's tax plan Metro
    • MassDOT Secy. on Transportation: People Want More JP Patch
    • MBTA unveils 33 percent fare hike proposal Somerville News
    • Governor Patrick Files Transportation Bond Bill MA Transport Blog
    • Like the New Deal, Governor Patrick’s tax plan shows leadership Boston Globe
  • Officials at Fitchburg State forum: More cash should be in transit Sentinel and Enterprise
  • Patrick Visits Medford MBTA Facilities Medford Patch
  • Chinatown Registry to move to Haymarket Boston Globe
  • Boston MPO memo fails to understand purpose of HOV lanes Walking Bostonian

Development projects

  • 400-foot-tall complex planned for corner of Mass. Ave. and Boylston St.
  • Major complex planned for Back Bay Boston Globe
  • Against the proposed widening of Melnea Cass Boulevard Walking Bostonian
  • Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Comes Alive in Animation MA Transport Blog
  • Letters: Costly temporary solution puts north-south rail link at risk Boston Globe
  • Sen. Jehlen Speaks Out Against Beacon Street Reconstruction Plan Somerville Patch
  • What's the Status of the North Washington, Alford St. Bridge Projects? Charlestown Patch
  • DOT Officials Approve Longfellow Bridge Work Beacon Hill Times
  • Hancock Village development still alive Wicked Local
  • Jane Jacobs Was Right: Gradual Redevelopment Does Promote Community Atlantic Cities
  • Hancock Village development still alive Wicked Local
  • Residents look to develop community vision for South Bay Shopping Center
  • Eliot Memorial Project Bids to Be Opened on March 20 Beacon Hill Times
  • Somerville's Cross Street bridge to be closed for 9 months Wicked Local
  • Apartment Complex Could Reshape Corner of East Somerville Somerville Patch
  • City proposes blocking Harvard from opening new buildings in Allston if school fails to meet terms for development
  • Developers plan project in Roxbury Boston Globe
  • Supreme Judicial Court Rules in Favor of BRA on Long Wharf Case Against North End Ten; Paves Way for Restaurant North End Waterfront
  • Builders offer $250G to spruce up underpass Boston Herald

Land Use/Planning

  • Tracing the Changing Face of Kenmore Square BU
  • Not All Density Is Created Equal Atlantic Cities
  • MassDOT Designates Developer: Air Rights Parcels 12, 15 MA Transport Blog
  • North End residents approve city plan to redesign Bartlett Place
  • Imagine Rutherford Avenue as a boulevard Universal Hub
  • Melnea Cass widening project raises resident questions, concerns Bay State Banner


  • LA
  • NY
    • More Cameras for New York City Streets NY Times
    • Parking Spot Causes Fight (No Drivers Are Involved) NY Times
  • CA
    • Architect’s Plan Would Add A Bike and Pedestrian Tube to San Diego’s Coronado Bay Bridge ArchPaper
    • The Case for Removing the 280 Freeway SF StreetsBlog
    • The Golden Gate Bridge Says Goodbye to Toll-Takers Transportation Nation
  • CO
  • FL
    • The Wave streetcar system right on track for downtown Fort Lauderdale Mass Transit Mag
  • TX
    • What Houston Could Learn from Singapore's Free Flowing Streets DC StreetsBlog
  • PA
    • Pittsburgh plans to debut bike-share program in 2014 Post-Gazette
  • IL

National trends

  • HUGE NEWS: U.S. DOT to Challenge AASHTO Supremacy on Bike/Ped Safety Standards DC Streetsblog
  • Complete Streets would make region safer for walkers, bikers Sun Sentinal
  • Bill would allow iPad use from takeoff to landing Politico
  • An Epic Transit-Oriented Development Fail Atlantic Cities
  • Midwestern Cities Race to Adopt, and Grow, Bike-Share DC StreetsBlog
  • While Amtrak Subsidies Draw Fire From Congress, Aviation Gets a Free Pass DC StreetsBlog
  • Feds are promoting sprawl. Courant
  • The End of Federal Transportation Funding as We Know It Atlantic Cities

International news

  • Urban Density and Landscape: Creative Solutions in Hong Kong Sustainable Cities Collective
  • The Most Important Urban Design Decision Vancouver Ever Made Planetizen
  • London Crossrail for Bikes Cycle London City
  • London Mayor Unveils Ambitious, $1.3 Billion Bike Plan StreetsBlog
  • Boris Johnson's bold thinking could change the future of London cycling Guardian
  • London bike Crossrail planned for 2016 The Times
  • Fleet streets no more: Brits enforcing 20-mph limits USA Today
  • HS2 ruling 'a victory' despite unlawful compensation move BBC
  • Getting around Moscow still an uphill battle for its disabled citizens CS Monitor
  • Crowded areas of Chennai to get pedestrian-only zones Times of India
  • Seeing the sights in Copenhagen by bike is a wonderful, wonderful adventure NY Daily News
  • Strict liability in the Netherlands Bicycle Dutch