Nice little piece that wanders between the logical:
"Why would you want to fly into Queens when you can train directly into the city?"
And the ironic:
"America always invests in the right thing. Let the government sort it out."
Mad Men (A-) is no Wire (A+) but it'll do.
Tod Litman on the boogieman of "congestion." Spoooooooky. Perhaps the most important thing you'll read all day, particularly this line:
The truth is, traffic congestion tends to maintain equilibrium: it gets bad enough consumers shift some peak period driving to other times, modes or destinations. Expanding roadways cannot reduce congestion over the long-run since generated traffic eventually fills the added capacity, often within months or a few years. Truly reducing congestion requires improving travel alternatives, such as grade-separated public transit, and more efficient road and parking pricing.
As I've said before, mankind's greatest trait is their ability to adapt, barely eeking out the second-best trait, whining about having to do so. The only place I (somewhat) disagree with Litman is with the grade-separated public transit. It's true that theoretically, it improves mobility. But often, at-grade transit increases pedestrian activity and the train/bus/streetcar vehicle itself often slows car traffic (see McKinney Avenue). I don't necessarily see this as a bad thing as fast moving conduits of car travel create barriers to local connectivity, crossing (either pedestrian or vehicular).
What many involved in transportation planning/funding decisions never seem to realize (or choose to ignore since that isn't where the immediate cash-money in their pocket is) is that if you make more and bigger roads, you get more and bigger (and more dangerous) cars/drivers. If you reduce roads, you create increased demand for closer-in, more locationally-efficient housing, i.e. less cars and more walkers. Weeeeee cannnnnn overrrrcommmmeee.
If we want a city, our city, to live up to its potential, we NEED congestion. Congestion accelerates urban metabolism, for idea/commerce/innovation exchange. However, congestion in cars = bad. Congestion created by people, pedestrians = good. Time to get people out of their cars. And they only way to do that is to get rid of road capacity, step by step, incrementally, persistently, and consistently.
I promise you. The world will not end. In fact, it will just then begin in Dallas.
The Economist kills a writer for the New Yorker over his disdain for bike lanes. He used "bike lobby." I mean, really. "Bike Lobby." That big, powerful mysterious group behind the curtain. Who knew Goldman Sachs was in favor of bike lanes. It's a conspiracy!
Forgive me, Economist, as I quote big chunks (Don't worry, I'm a subscriber):
Awesome. Just awesome.
The London Mirror wonders if 6 pound petrol is the tipping point where the car-fueled house of cards all falls down:
But some unscrupulous garages are already charging 141p a litre at motorway stations. An industry expert warned: “In the short term, it is going to get nasty. Drivers have got to the point where they can’t cut back any more on petrol consumption so they are going to have to tighten belts elsewhere.”
A captive market always gets screwed. It's the reason we don't allow monopolies (once upon a time). Except when it comes to transportation (and a host of other industries these days). Get in your car Plebe! Oh, it is perfectly acceptable for you to choose not to live by car, we'll just confine you and your neighborhood inside this freeway. Did I mention we'll be using your tax money to do it? Good luck.
ULI Prezbo (Wire reference) says development and densification of the inner ring suburbs is the sweet spot for future investment and "growth" (not outward but upward).
More specifically for Dallas, this will likely mean all of the underdeveloped areas immediately outside of the downtown loop. Think everything between downtown and Loop 12 (decreasingly as you get further away from downtown). In fact, the rise of the areas immediately outside of downtown, will be what makes downtown once again a desirable center of gravity. When the population within 3 miles of downtown doubles or triples (uptown is now at 25,000), the "numbers" for private investment in downtown Dallas (given its land costs and ridiculous expectations for more 70-story towers - the absurd economics of the Museum Tower not withstanding) will make sense without heavy subsidization.
If you read this and worry aloud, "oh noez! Not more uptown yuppies (sing that song doo dah, doo dah)." Don't worry. As other areas emerge as "hip" and attractive, the yuppy quotient will get diluted amongst the emerging areas. Furthermore, as long as some of the original character of places like Deep Ellum or Oak Cliff is maintained, self-selection will occur as compatibility self-organizes. It is the human way.
Steve Mouzon on the Costs of Sprawl:
USA Today on Sun Belt Cities and the opportunity before them to remake themselves into something...less generic? More interesting? More livable?