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 D.C. region. They are national links, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.
Why I Hate Living in My Tiny House: Oakland rents have surged more than 50% in less than a decade. Adele Peters at Fast Company laments not being able to move from her tiny home in a neighborhood where a typical one-bedroom goes for upwards of $2800. While she acknowledges that her accessory dwelling unit is a step in solving the housing crisis, she questions how tiny ADUs are a solution for long-term housing. (Adele Peters | Fast Company)
Understanding Zurich Streets: Since the 1980s, typical thoroughfares in Zurich have given way to streetcars, bike lanes, and pedestrian pathways, with minimal space for private vehicles. To the average American, this street is probably not intuitive, but Zurich designs its streets in a way that is actually more efficient than just car lanes and narrow sidewalks. On one particular street in Zurich, one car lane carried bout 500 people in the peak hour; the streetcars zooming by, however, carry about 3500 people an hour. (Norman Garrick | CityLab)
Capping I-5 in Seattle Deemed Feasible: Engineering firm WSP has determined in its technical feasibility study that it is structurally possible to construct a freeway lid over I-5 in downtown Seattle. Integrating midrise and highrise buildings with the lid structure would be compatible, and even preferable in some cases, from an engineering standpoint. WSDOT is working to secure funding for the project from state legislators. (Natalie Bicknell | The Urbanist)
The Myth of Green Cars: Deeming electric cars a viable alternative as the climate changes may actually be an illusive assumption. First, making new cars is a dirty business, consuming a great deal of resources in the manufacturing process; trading in functional cars for electric versions may not always be beneficial. Second, much of electricity is produced with fossil fuels; in the UK, only 9% of energy comes from renewable sources. Hetti O’Brien argues that the auto industry’s shift toward electric vehicles is a merely performative action of seemingly embracing environmental benefits while allowing automakers to meet their bottom line. (Hetti O’Brien | New Statesman America)
Census Error Wrecks Philly Data: The US Census Bureau has stated that it identified a massive error in data collected on Philadelphia’s populace in 2017, which included aspects like poverty, income, and employment. The bureau issued a statement to disregard these 2017 statistics. When 2018 data was released earlier this year, local economists found large discrepancies with the 2017 data. A bureau spokesperson vaguely stated that a “field representative improperly collected data for Philadelphia County.” (Alfred Lubrano | WHYY Philadelphia)
Quote of the Week
“I didn’t cycle a lot for 10 years. But for the past two years, I’ve had my own bike again and, when the weather allows, I travel into the office that way.”
Dutch Prime Minister at the World Economic Forum discussing his commute to work on his bike.
This week on the podcast, Adie Tomer a fellow at The Brookings Institution and Noah Siegel, Interim Deputy Director at the Portland Bureau of Transportation talk about the Economic Value Atlas Tool.