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 streets.mn that focuses on urban issues in the DC region. They are national links, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.
The things you see out on foot: As part of its series on walking, the Guardian had writer David Sedaris write an essay about one of his favorite pastimes. In this piece he discusses the things he’s seen out walking in a number of different countries from the vile and vulgar to the mundane. (David Sedaris | Guardian)
Housing shortage hurts workers more than congestion: A new study in Transportation Research Part A looked at the number of jobs available to commuters in the San Francisco Bay Area and found that living near jobs gave people more access than fast freeways. In fact even if congestion was dramatically improved, access improvements would be negligable. (Angie Schmitt | Streetsblog USA)
NIMBYs hate profiting developers: Opposition to development comes with many excuses from traffic to property values. But new research sheds light on something that has been ingrained in opposition for millennia, hatred of profit making developers. A survey of 1,300 LA County residents found that dislike of developers increased 20% if it was found out that they would make money on thier projects. (Sarah Holder | CityLab)
Paris to go car free for a day: On October 16th Paris will close off its streets to cars. Auto usage in the city has dropped 45% since 1990 and diesel vehicles are already banned during the daytime, but this day is a good way to show people what life might be like if there were no cars. (Adele Peters | Fast Company)
A new data paradigm harvested: After ride hailing companies entered the marketplace, cities weren’t sure what to do with them. Now with scooters and other micromobility being all the rage, cities and companies are starting to figure out ways to make better use of the data they produce and coordinate all the systems that exist. (Aarian Marshall | Wired)
Quote of the Week
“From a driver’s point of view, pedestrians’ behavior may appear erratic, lawless, and even suicidal. The solution, then, is to train pedestrians to do better, or to restrict them. In actuality, most pedestrians are much smarter than the dumb systems that are intended to control them—far smarter than signals, and even smarter than self-driving cars.”
Professor Peter Norton in Wired discussing why pedestrians should be first priority for self driving car creators.
On the podcast, we talk with Chris and Melissa Bruntlett about living in the Netherlands for their book Building the Cycling City.
Although we didn’t stay in a suburb and try to do a normal commute in our visits to Paris, the old city seems always congested, traffic sucks, and it’s pretty easy to get around with their transit system. This is mostly par for the course in larger French cities, smaller cities, and pretty much anywhere there that’s any size of a city. They weren’t built with commuting in mind – although Paris is a little better since some parts are newer but still. For what it’s worth, they also don’t seem to have urban sprawl and suburbs in the same manner we do here, or anything that resembles the interstate system for commuting that we have. (In my experience, and observation)
A note though, to apply the quote of the week to France. Their drivers are great with crosswalks and their lights are setup to where you must stop before the crosswalk. Pedestrians are fantasist to keeping on crosswalks. Can’t comment on bikers, most ride scooters there. I think it’s to do with insurance rates on cars, laws, and that more than likely no one wants to get hit. It would be nice if that could be trained into people here.