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.
Thinking beyond cars for mail vehicles: There’s been a lot of fighting over the percentage of future mail trucks the USPS will have that will be electric, but perhaps we’re thinking about it all wrong. More e-bikes, e-trikes and delivery vehicles might be one of the many solutions. That’s probably true for city fleets as well, which will now be electric cars but could also just be electric vehicles more generally. (Mina Nada | Fast Company)
The Urban Mobility Report is back and still missing the point: Each year Texas Transportation Institute makes a list of the most congested cities according to their metrics, but it focuses on auto travel and speed despite consistent critiques. During the pandemic, traffic decreased a bit, and congestion decreased a lot, but you won’t hear the details of why from researchers at TTI. (Joe Cortright | Urban Observatory)
Aging condos need better oversight: There’s a worry starting to emerge that many condo buildings constructed in the 1970s and 1980s will soon reach the end of their useful life and need extensive retrofits. However, people who live in the buildings have fought back against rising condo dues instead of focusing on building safety and competent management. Better oversight could solve some of the issues, but for some the process may be too late. (Peter Coy | Bloomberg Businessweek)
Consider removing the pavement: In the discussion of freeway teardowns and reconnecting neighborhoods, perhaps we haven’t thought enough about also reducing the amount of paved area cities contain. There’s so much cover in cities that induces heat, runoff, and other negative externalities that it might be something cities should consider more seriously. (Mary Pat McGuire | Next City)
Reno tracks emissions in real time: Reno, Washoe County and the State of Nevada have signed a software partnership to track local emissions in real time on an hourly, daily, and monthly basis. The first step will be working with a startup to set a baseline level of emissions using carbon mapping technology that will then be used to compare against targets in the Paris Agreement. (Sarah Wray | Cities Today)
Quote of the Week
“This process also creates a chemical reaction called photocatalysis (one sped up by light) that generates energized electrons that oxidize and break down pollutants from cars and trucks. This creates a “smog-eating” effect, which serves as a sink for pollutants the same way trees do (one mile of the stuff has the same impact as 20 acres of trees, the company claims).”
Audrey Carleton in Motherboard discussing the process for cooling streets by spraying titanium dioxide on the surface.
This week on the podcast, Chuck Wolfe joins the show to talk about his new book, Sustaining a City’s Culture and Character.