National Links: How About Building a “PeanutAbout”?

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 that focuses on urban issues in the D.C. region. They are national links, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.

A diverging diamond dystopia: Natick, Massachusetts is replacing a freeway interchange and is starting to consider different designs including the infamous “diverging diamond”. But the intersection they believe needs replacing has a number of mature trees which would be cut down if the design is chosen. Jeff Speck argues that another design called a “peanutabout” won’t subject pedestrians to massive amounts of particulate matter and will keep the trees which could be a better alternative. (Jeff Speck | CNU Public Square)

What do developers do when parking requirements are gone?: In 2017, Buffalo ended parking requirements in the city, but while mixed use developers embraced the new rules completely, single use developers ended up building more parking. According to research soon to be released in the Journal of the American Planning Association, the plan actually worked as intended to give developers choices, which might allow smaller cities to see the results and follow suit. (Eric Jaffe | Sidewalk Talk)

Seattle releases green transportation plan: A new plan released by the Seattle Department of Transportation would restrict a large portion of downtown to most cars while requiring ride hailing and delivery vehicles to be emissions free. The plan doesn’t list any cost estimates associated with any of the provisions but it will rely heavily on partnerships with different levels of government including federal. (Michelle Baruchman | Seattle Times)

A brief anatomy of outdoor dining: New York has seen an amazing transformation as outdoor dining has taken over the city due to pandemic protocols. But as some of these makeshift buildings categorized into three types (hut, shed, and tent) are starting to disappear, it might be a good time to celebrate these creations of joy and creativity that came along at a time of fear and sadness. (Adam Gopnick | The New Yorker)

Lisbon launches open source data sensor network: Lisbon, Portugal has launched a sensor network at 80 points in the city that will feed the city’s open data platform in real time. They will measure noise, pollution, traffic and more and are seen as a way to measure different parts of the city equally. (Sarah Wray | Cities Today)

Quote of the Week

“Unfortunately, not a significant number of new users have been attracted to public transport despite the fact that over the recent years, the state has allocated more and more funds to cover the costs of county bus transport and has allowed people to travel by bus free of charge in most counties.”

Auditor General Janar Holm discussing an audit of Estonia’s free transit program in Eltis.

This week on the podcast, we’re joined by Karel Martens to talk about the philosophical justifications for sufficient access in transportation.

Jeff Wood

About Jeff Wood

Jeff Wood is an urban planner focused on transportation and land use issues living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jeff blogs at The Overhead Wire and tweets @theoverheadwire. He also shares news links daily from around the country on issues related to cities at The Direct Transfer