National Links: Portlandia to Blame?

Every day at The Overhead Wire 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.

Portlandia to blame?: As the IFC show Portlandia enters its eighth and final season, some residents wonder if the show has been bad for the city, driving up housing prices and changing the makeup of its population. The stars of the show shrug, saying they doubt a single TV show created problems that are simultaneously happening all over the country. (Slate)

Ride-hailing surcharge approved: New York State has approved a ride-hailing surcharge in lieu of congestion pricing in Manhattan. Individuals will be charged $2.75 per ride, while riders in pooled services with be charged .75 cents each. Many see the surcharge as a weak alternative to a more robust congestion pricing system for the city. (Engadget)

Seattle reforms parking: Almost a third of Seattle renters do not own cars, and studies have shown that parking spaces sit empty in many multi-family buildings. Now the Seattle City Council has moved to reduce parking requirements for below-market construction in new housing, while also unbundling parking so renters aren’t forced to pay for it. (Streetsblog USA)

Banishing highways under cover: With a better understanding of freeways’ disruptive nature, some cities are now working to hide the scars they created by building caps that provide space for parks. However, where some see parks, others see greenwashing. Critics say caps cover up the fact that the freeways still exist and cut neighborhoods in half. (Pew Stateline)

Hank Dittmar passes away: Hank Dittmar, former director of the Surface Transportation Policy Project (STPP) and Prince Charles’ Foundation for the Build Environment, passed away this week at the age of 62. Dittmar’s accomplishments were well known in urbanist circles, but he might be best remembered for leading STPP while working with Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan to rethink the 1991 transportation bill, which was transformative for active transportation. (CNU)

Quote of the Week

“The largest cost of closing a street is the work to manually put up barricades and detours. If in the future, these tasks are increasingly automated, this cost decreases, and communities can be empowered to reclaim under-used streets for other neighborhood needs.”

LADOT Director Seleta Reynolds on adapting mobility in the digital age. (Eno Center for Transportation)

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