National Links: Beg Buttons, Seattle Transit Share 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.

Time is more than money: A basic measurement for the commute is “time is money”, but it’s actually not that simple.  With car transportation, for example, you have the time plus gas and maintenance that adds up. Policies that assume everyone drives (and there are lots of those) tend to forget these other costs, which means the value of other modes isn’t as immediately apparent, or it gets discounted. This adversely affects low-income earners. (Inverse)

Driving has reached its limit in Seattle: Jobs in downtown Seattle have been growing steadily for years, but because the city is located on an isthmus, there’s a strict natural limit on how many people can drive into town.  Fortunately, transit, walking, and biking have absorbed a lot of the need to get into downtown as only 2,255 new auto trips have come with more than 45,000 jobs within a six year period.  New development is planning for 11,000 new parking spaces, but if trends continue they might just be wasted space as fewer cars come to town. (Seattle Times)

No more beg buttons, we beg of you: In Edmonton, pedestrians have started complaining that “beg buttons” at crosswalks are making them wait up to two minutes in freezing weather while drivers in heated vehicles get to flow freely.  New guidelines are looking for these types of signals to be eliminated in high pedestrian areas but engineers have said the recommendations are “just suggestions”. (Edmonton Journal)

St. Paul is a different place for different races: Studies in St. Paul done by the city are finding that white and non-white residents experience the city very differently.  As an example, certain neighborhoods feel unfairly targeted for police citations and people of color are lest trusting of tap water. As such, the Mayor’s office has asked every city department to do self analysis to make sure the city achieves equity throughout city departments in terms of enforcement and service.  (Pioneer Press)

Out with the office park: New York architect Vishaan Chakrabarti believes that office parks are a thing of the past and dense walkable places are the future. For him, the city is a place of innovation and serendipity which can’t be replicated in the suburbs when people are in bubbles of office parks and automobiles. (Geek Wire)

Quote of the Week

“If we lose our core, bread-and-butter riders who use the system for every purpose, then that’s going to have a bigger impact on us than losing someone who takes transit to Dodgers games”

– Conan Cheung, Los Angeles County Metro’s Executive Officer for Finance discussing a disturbing drop in Los Angeles bus ridership. (Los Angeles Times)

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