Cars on a city street

National Links: The End of Cheap Rides

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.

Heavy traffic corridor pollution in Chicago: New air censors installed across the City of Chicago have collected data that shows people that live near high traffic corridors are exposed to the most air pollution including PM2.5 in the city. But it wasn’t just work days. The 4th of July and other holidays when people travel were some of the worst pollution days measured. (Smarth Gupta et al. | WBEZ)

The end of cheap rides: After a decade of muscling out competition and burning through billions of dollars in investment cash, the era of cheap ride hailing through companies like Uber seems to be over. As prices rise, between 45% and 95% since 2018 depending on what research you read, what will the continued impact be on transit agencies and other transportation methods such as car share? (Henry Grabar | Slate)

Visualizing the legacy of racist urbanism: Using aerial photos, historic redlining maps, and archival photos, the blog Segregation by Design visualizes how the histories of highways and housing have impacted our urban fabric. After reading Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law, the architect leading the project to create visualizations for 180 American cities wondered where the pictures were of the impacts, so set out to create them himself. (Gabe Boyd | Fast Company)

Why do so many motorists feel persecuted: In England, auto registrations have increased by 8 million in the last two decades, but you wouldn’t know it reading national media that decry a war on motorists. Positive movements to make car owners pay their fair share for pollution and congestion they create are seen as a threat, as are investments in bike networks and pedestrian infrastructure. “As the adage goes, equality feels like oppression when you’re accustomed to privilege.” (Carlton Reid | Forbes)

How to fill vacant storefronts: The pandemic has heavily impacted neighborhood retail spaces leaving vacant storefronts and lost businesses in its wake. But as cities pull back on restrictions, there are many opportunities to fill storefronts and growing businesses including. Ilana Preuss discusses four potential ways to fill storefronts including creating vacant property ordinances or creating commercial land trusts. (Ilana Preuss | Next City)

Quote of the Week

“He actually has another story about when he was an undergrad studying architecture, he couldn’t understand what they were expecting him to draw, so he drew some incredibly ugly kind of parody of modernist architecture. And he was called in to meet with his professor and thought he was going to be chewed out. And the professor said, “Chris, my boy, this is exactly what we want!” Alexander says it was at that point that he concluded he was in a lunatic asylum.”

Current Affairs editor-in-chief Nathan J. Robinson discussing a story from Christopher Alexander about the absurdity of modernists in architecture school.

This week on the podcast, Harriet Tregoning, director at NUMO, and Yonah Freemark, a senior research associate at the Urban Institute, talk about their report, “Charting Out a Next-Generation, Place-Based Federal Transportation Policy.”