A restaurant sits vacant.

National Links: Dark Stores and Geographic Gas Taxes

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.

A geographically based gas tax: Researcher Cody Nehiba suggests that the varying geographies of driving’s social costs should be reflected in gas tax policy. As he says, adding a car to Manhattan New York is much different than adding one to Manhattan Kansas. He believes that a geographic policy could bring more support for gas taxes while also reducing driving and emissions in cities. (Cody Nehiba | Transfers Magazine)

Moving from access disparity to sufficiency: Believing that transportation access disparity analysis falls short of determining whether population groups actually had access. Researchers including Karel Martens believe that transportation sufficiency analysis will be more effective by setting explicit thresholds for access that don’t leave out certain groups caught in mass analysis. (Karel Martens et al. | Journal of the American Planning Association)

Philly’s new commuter benefits: In a move to improve Philly area transit ridership, a new bill would require employers to provide commuter benefits to workers traveling to the central city. The legislation would be for companies with 50 employees or more and could include either employer-purchased passes or a pre-tax payroll deduction. (Maggie Mancini | Philly Voice)

The smells and sounds of cities: Sounds and smells are as much a part of the urban experience as sight. But not as much has been written or studied about experiences of the other senses in cities. More studies of the other senses could be a way to connect people with the places they live. (Jennifer Hattam | MIT Technology Review)

Dark stores a danger to American cities: Around the country more dark stores and ghost kitchens are popping up in empty retail spaces. These stores, which promise 15-minute deliveries of food and goods, don’t have a front door and can’t be patronized on foot. Along with e-commerce, they are also wreaking havoc on local businesses and impacting the soul of cities in a way that will be hard to recover. (Hans Taparia | Stanford Social Innovation Review)

Quote of the Week

“Why doesn’t Dallas have the structures in place to achieve safer, more attractive streets, when all those plans and programs and manuals make it abundantly clear that Dallasites very much want those things? The simple answer: the car. The city bureaucracy is still beholden to an auto-centric mindset, nevermind the public will.”

Mark Lamster, architecture critic at the Dallas Morning News discussing what’s holding Dallas back from safe streets and better urban spaces.

This week on the podcast, Regional Plan Association President and CEO Tom Wright joins the show.