National Links: Tolling for Trips in Louisville

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.

The Perverse Toll Booth: Louisville, Kentucky just recently completed a $2.6 billion bridge and spaghetti junction across the Ohio River whose tolling system incentivizes making more trips than necessary. After 20 trips across the bridge, the next 20 trips will be free, but only if you use them by the end of the month, meaning any trips above 20 and under 40 are charged at the regular rate. (City Observatory)

Housing, but the wrong kind: Planners in Portland, Maine are say new developments don’t have enough multi-family units. The development market for new condos is strong, but not many units with more than three bedrooms have been completed. On the other hand, the city’s data doesn’t include single family homes. (Bangor Daily News)

A happy medium for bikes and streetcars: With the current boom in light rail and streetcar construction, it’s increasingly common for cyclists to come into conflict with rail infrastructure that’s on the street—stories of hitting the rails and flipping over the handle bars aren’t very uncommon. But two Dutch researchers may make this a thing of the past with a mechanism that keeps street surfaces level while ensuring the rails still work for streetcars. (Treehugger)

Pedestrians are a known unknown: Soon after a young woman was struck and killed by a train in San Leandro California, students at UC Berkeley began devising ways to collect simple data, like how many people in the city walk, and how often. After noticing that streets were built and lit for cars, they devised a lighting system that made pedestrians on sidewalks feel acknowledged.  The systems are the start of a learning process, hopefully one that changes the way we view different types of transportation. (Boom California)

A Las Vegas dream, deferred: Four years ago, Tony Hsieh set out to create an urban utopia in Las Vegas, away from the strip. But after $500 million in investments and bringing in companies from all over the country, it’s still hard to call the project a success. Hsiegh hasn’t conceded defeat, but his effort confirms that cities can be messy, unpredictable places. (Quartz)

Quote of the Week

“Many of us, it seems, have lost faith in the public realm. The private car is the embodiment of US individualism. The decline of our cities’ infrastructure is one expression of loss of faith in the public realm as a place of beauty and efficiency and an embodiment of what one journalist refers to as ‘our anger and our pessimism.'” – John Rennie Short in Newsweek, discussing the woeful inadequacy of our national transit systems.

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