International Links: Finland Mobility, Earth Moving, 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 streets.mn that focuses on urban issues in the DC region.  They are national links, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.

“Mobility” has a new meaning Is Helsinki, Finland the home of the future of transportation? The city is testing self-driving buses on increasingly difficult routes and is at the forefront of the “mobility as a service” movement, which essentially would make buying your mobility like buying a phone plan: you’d pay by the month (rather than by the call) for a spectrum of options. (New York Times)

Pedestrians coming soon: Berlin will be taking cars off of its most famous street, Unter Den Linden, which used to be the city’s major parade route and is its current museum strip. The move away from automobiles began with the construction of a new subway segment under the street. The route once carried 30,000 cars a day but is now down to 8,000, and it’s likely to be one of the first pieces of the car-free central city that leaders envision happening by 2019. (CityLab)

Stop that train: A measure to build a light rail extension in Virginia Beach failed Tuesday evening, leading the state’s transportation secretary to ask local transit planners to stop working on the project. The $155 million already set aside for the project will be redistributed to projects based on the state’s new transportation investment scoring system. (Virginian-Pilot)

Building more earth: Humans are constantly shifting the earth below them, both as they build and destroy. For example, after WWII, 75 million tons of rubble from bombed out buildings in Berlin was collected and taken to a dumping site that now forms a not-insignificant hill called Teufelsberg. Anthropologists are studying these man-made base levels of cities, referring to them as an earth layer called the Archaeosphere which, in Sweden’s case, can mean extracting raw materials left behind. (Places Journal)

Direct route delayed: A rail tunnel linking the current Caltrain terminus to the new Transbay Terminal in downtown San Francisco will not be complete until 2026. Lawsuits related to the Millennium Tower in San Francisco, which has started to lean, are holding up money for new tunnels. The tunnels are expected to be used by Caltrain and High Speed Rail once they’re finished. (SFist)

Quote of the Day

“Regionalism is a Trojan Horse term right out of the lexicon of the 1970s. So-called regionalism was never a compromise. It was always a stealth tactic, an abandonment of the city, which was considered half dead anyway by the city’s own leadership. Regionalism was always a ruse to shift resources to the suburbs.”

– Dallas Observer columnist Jim Schutze discussing whether the city’s long term health is better off building more suburban transit, or focusing on the core with a new subway line. (Dallas Observer)

Crossposted at Greater Greater Washington


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2 Responses to International Links: Finland Mobility, Earth Moving, and More!

  1. Andy November 29, 2016 at 9:09 pm #

    You do know that streets.mn is a blog specifically for posts about Minnesota? In this post and a lot of your other posts, I see posts not related to Minnesota. Are we really going to talk about Finland, Virginia Beach, and California and not mentioning Minnesota whatsoever? That is not the point of streets.mn ; it even has Minnesota right in the URL. This is just a warning before you get kicked off of streets.mn ; don’t say I didn’t warn you.

    • Joseph Totten
      Joseph Totten November 30, 2016 at 12:35 am #

      Hi Andy,

      I would counter with the comments on Jeff’s first post, generally supportive of this style of content. Even outside of MN.

      While I don’t usually read these, scrolling through to see how stories that act more like tabloids to the rest of the nation (San Francisco tower is leaning!) actually are affecting lives of people on the ground (CalTrans construction delayed several years, meaning more congestion for commuters). And then it gets me thinking about MN. If we were to tunnel the blue/green lines in Downtown Minneapolis to allow for more trains and less congestion, would we risk similar damages? Probably not, because we could open-cut a tunnel, and we are not even with our water feature, so the water table is probably lower. But it does still remind me of the classes I took in soil mechanics and how those really are important.