Transportation

Transportation

Thinking ‘like an Avon Lady’ to get suburban workers on transit

Making a greener office park.Photo: Keith CuddebackFascinating case study in The Atlantic about getting people out of their cars and onto transit for their commute. Lisa Margonelli writes about a program at a suburban California office park that has had huge success in encouraging workers to leave the car at home — by emphasizing the practical and financial advantages of using transit, working with local government to improve bus connections, and creating a culture in which using transit is aspirational — simply a cool thing to do (are you listening, John Kasich?). One of the things that makes it work …

Transportation

Ohio Gov. Kasich wants state to be ‘cool,’ fails to get what that means

Is there anything more uncool than a 50-something politician in a suit talking about wanting his state to be “cool”? Nah. Probably not. Witness Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a newly elected Republican whose union-busting policies have made him pretty unpopular, as he delivers one of the more delicious soundbites in recent memory. The video moment was captured by Mark Kovac of the indispensable Capital Blog (via @rustwire): We’ve got to make Ohio cool. You know, I was down at Lexis-Nexis down in Dayton, I’m meeting with the CEO of the company, and he says, you know, a lot of these, …

Urbanism

Walk this way: How to get a crosswalk on your street

Too many American streets and roads are missing something.Photo: Nicholas_TCreating an environment where people can get across the street without being killed by a driver should be a top priority for the people who design our streets and roads, don’t you think? Sad to say, it isn’t always so. You only have to take a look at Charles Marohn’s enlightening “Confessions of a recovering engineer” to learn that. Here’s what Marohn wrote: [T]he engineer first assumes that all traffic must travel at speed. Given that speed, all roads and streets are then designed to handle a projected volume. Once those …

Biking

The economic case for on-street bike parking

This is the fourth column in a series focusing on the economics of bicycling.  Bicycling and driving have one thing in common that is almost universally frustrating, time consuming, friction causing, and potentially expensive. Parking. No matter how seamless your ride across town, no matter how well-timed the traffic lights or low-conflict the bike lanes, it’s all pointless if when you arrive at work, or the store, or the music venue or party, and have nowhere to put your ride. Worse is when you go back outside find your lock still securely attached and that sweet bike you invested in …

Watch a tricycle spank a bus in a low-speed race

It’s the Thunderdome of transportation: Comedian Mark Malkoff on a child’s tricycle, going up against the famously slow M42 bus. Two modes of transport enter, one mode of transport leaves … well, okay, they both leave, but one gets there a minute and a half faster. And it isn’t the bus. Malkoff framed his experiment as crummy mass transit vs. child’s toy, but it’s really human power vs. traffic. The bus isn’t the bad guy here — sure, it may take more than 14 minutes to travel a mile, but it’s also getting a lot of people a mile closer …

How public transport could make Milwaukee richer and less racist

Development policies in the Milwaukee metro area — formerly the fiefdom of transportation two-face Scott Walker, who was a Milwaukee county executive before he was the train-hatin’ governor of Wisconsin — are set up to encourage sprawl. That sucks for the obvious reasons (bad for the environment, forces car-reliance, etc.). But two new analyses suggest that the effect is even further-reaching. Setting up improved public transport could make Milwaukee more financially stable, and more ethnically diverse. From the Huffington Post: The financial crisis and economic downturn put millions of Americans out of work. Now, those same forces are making the …

Transportation

Bus Rapid Transit: a transit fast track without the track

As Dave Roberts pointed out in his post earlier today, if this country has any hope of getting serious about energy security, we’re going to have to get serious about transit. But what form should that transit take, exactly? If you look around the world, you’ll see a lot of cities embracing Bus Rapid Transit. BRT systems have dedicated bus lanes and prepaid boarding, and they have been a key part of the transportation scene in Latin American cities like Curitiba, Brazil, and Bogotà, Colombia, for many years. Advocates say they can provide many of the benefits associated with rail …

Cities

The missing piece of Obama’s energy security plan: cities

Dude, you forgot the cities — like Denver.I had plenty of complaints about Obama’s big energy security speech last week — see here and here. Most of them centered on his crassly political decision to put supply-side solutions first, despite the fact that supply is a red herring; all the serious solutions are demand-based. There’s one complaint I didn’t say much about, which I wanted to amplify: In the speech and in the accompanying materials, short shrift is given to land-use change, urban density, and transit. For a gentle version of that critique, here’s urbanist champion Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.): …

Transportation

Breaking: George Will takes the train, may have been collectivized

Its power is spreading.Photo: travisA few weeks back, as we wrote here, Newsweek columnist George Will wrote a screed against rail travel in which he made a startling suggestion about the true motivation behind the Obama administration’s support for rail transportation: [T]he real reason for progressives’ passion for trains is their goal of diminishing Americans’ individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism…. To progressives, the best thing about railroads is that people riding them are not in automobiles, which are subversive of the deference on which progressivism depends. Automobiles go hither and yon, wherever and whenever the …