National Links: Strava Data for Bikes, Shut Down the Roads and More

Every day at The Direct Transfer we collect news about cities and send the links to our email list.  At the end of the week we take some of the most popular stories and post them to Greater Greater Washington, a group blog similar to that focuses on urban issues in the DC region.  They are national links, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.

alaskan way viaduct

The “Alaskan Way viaduct” in Seattle.

No doom today, Seattle: Some predicted doom and gloom would follow Seattle’s closing of the Alaskan Way Viaduct—one traffic data company, Inrix, expected 50% more traffic. After a week, however, and there wasn’t been a problem, which is what other local traffic engineers say they expected. (Crosscut)

Shut down the roads!: Roads have always been far more dangerous than riding Metro, but you don’t hear any public officials clamoring to shut down roads until all drivers are safe. The disparity between fatality rates on Metro versus those on American roads is so big that the idea of closing down Metro due to safety concerns is worth satirizing. (City Observatory)

America’s new rails: Kansas City has finally opened its streetcar line. Officials expect the 2.2 mile line to attract 2,700 riders a day and be the first segment of a much larger system. At the same time, Milwaukee announced that the extension to the system they are currently building will have dedicated lanes and run without wires. (Kansas City Star, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

London’s transportation transformation: Even when Transport for London came upon the money needed to build transit projects, it stalled on taking action. Arguments about how transit leads to social inclusion, however, along with ones saying transit can help centralize important business operations, got the ball rolling on London’s Crossrail. (Eno Center for Transportation)

California code: California has a development problem. Much of which stems from constant updates and additions to local development codes. Mark Hogan argues that to fix the issue, we need a complete rewrite of the system that governs development in the state. Only then will we be able to address the housing and climate change emergencies threatening our wellbeing. (Boom Journal)

Street data: An app called Strava allows cyclists, runners, and walkers to trace their routes using GPS. As more and more people use the app, planners are starting to use the data in transportation and city planning. While some believe there are limitations based on the demographics of users, the company says users made up 5-10% of all bike movements in London. (Guardian Cities)

Quote of the Week

“They removed the immediacy of their own experiences from the world and looked at how the environment affected human perspectives. They found that mankind’s centuries-old suspicion that architecture, for instance, effects decision making is likely true.” Jon Carmichael in Inverse on a recent research paper that comes to the conclusion that our built environment alters how we think.

Cross Posted at Greater Greater Washington

Jeff Wood

About Jeff Wood

Jeff Wood is an urban planner focused on transportation and land use issues living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jeff blogs at The Overhead Wire and tweets @theoverheadwire. He also shares news links daily from around the country on issues related to cities at The Direct Transfer