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.
Rethinking safety and speed on urban streets: A new National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) report called City Limits lays out guidelines for practitioners to set safe speed limits in urban settings. NACTO includes best practices from around the United States in addition to a three method approach as an alternative to the current dangerous practice of percentile based speed limit setting. (NACTO)
A NIMBY win north of Dallas could change Texas planning: After losing a long legal battle to NIMBY activists, the City of Plano will repeal the progressive Plano Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan and replace it with an old master plan from 1986, literally setting the city back a generation. The plan aimed to reverse the damages of suburban sprawl by promoting more sustainable development patterns, and its defeat could possibly reshape planning in all of North Texas. (Peter Simek | D Magazine)
The potential for modular apartment buildings is in view: A new building process that constructs apartments in a warehouse ahead of final assembly using union labor will be tested this September in San Francisco. The 145 unit partment building is a test to see if a new modular approach to building housing in an expensive market will reduce construction costs significantly and increase the time to completion by months. (Adele Peters | Fast Company)
An urban planning trick to get more bikable cities: A 2003 law allows the City of Barcelona to plan for new bike infrastructure every six years. So when the coronavirus pandemic hit, the city decided to take advantage of empty streets by painting lanes already in the current six year plan. Other cities have made similar improvements during the pandemic as Rome has added 150 km of lanes while Bologna Italy, Paris, and Lisbon have added 60km or more. (Laura Millan Lombrana | Bloomberg)
Trump administration wants Census to stop collecting a month early: The Trump administration has decided to end the 2020 Decennial Census four weeks early with 60 million households still uncounted, forcing the Census Bureau to count the hardest-to-reach residents in just 6 weeks. Observers believe this move will skew the data that government funding is based on and misrepresent demographics that researchers rely on. (Michael Wines and Richard Fausset | New York Times)
Vanya Srivastava contributed to these summaries.
Quote of the Week
“When you add it all up, despite the startling and massive drop off we’ve seen in on-road vehicle traffic in recent months, the pandemic is not going to lead to a substantial decrease in GHG emissions over the long term in California or the nation at large.”
University of California Riverside Professor Hoyu Chong discussing findings that question whether the pandemic will lead to emissions reductions.
This week on the podcast, we’re joined by Dr. Georges Benjamin, director of the American Public Health Association.