National Links: Concrete and Congestion Pricing

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.

Car-Free, Bike-Friendly City in Colorado: Wealth Guru Pete Adeney has partnered with a Dutch urban design consultancy to explore car-free, bike-friendly city outside Denver. The one-square-mile plot would be home to 50,000 people. Adeney’s strategy would be to buy land outside an existing city stems from avoiding any “antique car-based building/zoning rules.” The development would be modeled after Dutch cities, featuring density and short distances. Other planned features include a skate park, BMX track, and dark-sky compliant lighting. (Carlton Reid | Forbes)

Earth’s Most Destructive Material: Concrete is the second-most used substance on Earth after water. The cement industry would be the third-largest carbon dioxide emitter in the world if it were a county, just behind China and the US. Concrete comprises almost 10% of all industrial water use and 75% of this consumption occurs in drought and water-stressed regions. Concrete has universally become synonymous with development, but its environmental impacts call for a need to rethink how cities are built. (Jonathan Watts | The Guardian)
[Editor’s note: awesome photos in this article]

Seattle’s Bold New Waterfront: The Alaskan Way Viaduct is being demolished, and some new projects are coming to the 26-block long waterfront. There will be an expansion of Seattle Aquarium with a transparent 350,000-gallon shark tank over the central plaza, a reconstructed ferry terminal, and an actual beach. Spanning the whole length will be a protected bike lane, landscape pedestrian promenade, and public spaces for year-round events. These projects enthuse locals who will be reconnected with the waterfront for the first time in 65 years. (Erica C. Barnett | Seattle Magazine)

Dutch Pay People to Bike to Work: In the Netherlands, 25% of trips are made via bicycle, a higher proportion than any other country. But the Dutch still want to do better. The government is incentivizing bike commuting by allowing workers to claim about $0.22 for every kilometer they pedal. Biking 10 kilometers a day during a normal work week can yield $500 a year, and the benefit is tax-free. The Dutch government has also committed $390M to the nation’s bike infrastructure so that they not only incentivize bicycling, but also make it more attractive, comfortable, and accessible. (Adam Forrest | Huffington Post)

de Blasio Finally Endorses Congestion Pricing: New York City’s mayor has finally joined Governor Cuomo in the push for congestion pricing. Cuomo and de Blasio released a 10-point plan, which includes implementing the system by 2020. This comes as Cuomo and the state government reform the Metropolitan Transit Authority to address the city’s transit crisis, particularly its crumbling subway system. New panels would be created to increase oversight of the MTA. In addition to congestion pricing, Cuomo and de Blasio aim to increase funding for the MTA with a tax on legal marijuana, a new internet sales tax, and increased fare enforcement. (David Meyer | Streetsblog NYC)

Quote of the Week

Ultimately, the largest population of opportunity is women. If we build a city that supports women, it will then attract women to our workforce, it will help retain women in our workforce, and it will help grow women into our workforce. That’s an economic advantage.”

Tami Door of the Downtown Denver Partnership in 5280 Magazine discussing Denver’s potential when it designs for women.

This week on the podcast, we’re joined by Jonny Simkin, co-founder and CEO of Swiftly discussing using data for transit operations and planning.

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