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.
FRA finally allows for international trainsets: The Federal Railroad Administration has finalized new safety rules that would allow passenger railcars from asian and european countries to run on American rails. Previous rules stipuled that the train cars withstand 800,000 pounds of impact in case they were to crash into freight trains. (Angie Schmitt | Streetsblog USA)
Designing cities to counter loneliness: Loneliness is seen as an epidemic, and negative health effects of chronic social isolation are equal to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. But there are ways cities can combat this phenomenon. Designing for interaction in public spaces, social inclusion apps, and other interventions make it possible to not just study loneliness, but combat it. (Tanzil Shafique | The Conversation)
Minneapolis’ 2040 comprehensive rezoning national thoughts: The ambitious Minneapolis 2040 plan is expected to pass the Minneapolis City Council in early December, upzoning the entire city to support more housing construction. Areas zoned for single family take up 75% of the neighborhoods but that will change soon as at least three units will be allowed on every parcel and more on transit corridors. The plan is to be coupled with $40m in support for low income renters and homeless and has been in the works for several years. (Patrick Sisson | Curbed)
Seeking to be the Amazon of transportation: Between 2014 and 2016 more venture capital money went into urban technology than pharma or artificial intelligence. 70% of that spending went towards transportation in an attempt to become the next Netflix or Amazon of transportation. Three companies vie for the top spot including Uber, Google, and China’s Didi Chuxing, each pouring billions into autonomous vehicles and connected networks. (Neil Sipe and Dorina Pojani | The Conversation)
Urban planning theory and vertical neighborhoods: The Toronto region has 25 high rise projects in various stages across the region but urban designer and author Doug Farr believes that history won’t look kindly on this era because the buildings aren’t creating quality neighborhoods on the ground floor nor focusing on decarbonization. As new buildings go up that will be with us for decades, it shouldn’t be too much to ask. (Don Wall | Daily Commercial News)
Quote of the Week
We love our city but let’s be clear, crossing the street in New York City should not be a harrowing experience.
-New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio talking not about automobiles but about e-bikes.
I believe if we’re going to have a conversation around allowing e-scooters, we can’t move forward without addressing the e-bikes. What we’re trying to do is classify the e-bikes and scooters as devices instead of vehicles. The mayor’s position has always been that e-bikes are a nuisance, a problem, within the five boroughs, I think we found a path forward.
-Councilman Rafael L. Espinal Jr. pushing back on the Mayor’s stance in the New York Times.
This week’s Talking Headways podcast features Kate Sofis of SFMade discussing a return of urban manufacturing in cities around the country.
Re Vertical Neighborhoods:
Downtown highrises should have their common areas where residents walk past (or through) them every day. In many downtown buildings, however, the common rooms are tucked far away from the foot traffic so they are mostly empty and not conducive community building. Tight budgets and inflexible association rules make it nearly impossible to add community space after-the-fact.