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National Links: Charlotte Transit Ridership Drops; Cities Don’t Need to be Heat Traps

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.

Charlotte’s dropping transit ridership: Using the National Transit Database, Steve Harrison took a look at Charlotte’s declining transit ridership and found that buses had lost 75 percent of riders in the past 10 years. Neighborhood displacement and the rise of ride hailing, which ushered in greater car ownership levels, are among potential reasons for the drop. (Steve Harrison | WFAE Charlotte)

Oregonians once feared sprawl, then did something about it: The Willamette Valley in Oregon is home to amazing amounts of agricultural abundance, only second in the United States to California in terms of the breadth of produce grown. The valley was once under threat from urban sprawl, pollution, and unchecked growth, leading to the state land use system that Oregon is also well known for around the country. (Jeff Mapes | Oregon Public Broadcasting)

Hoboken shows the way on vision zero: Hoboken is setting up to be a national model for how to get to zero traffic deaths. The city has had zero deaths in the last four years and it continues to be aggressive by moving from 25 to 20 miles per hour on local roads to curb collisions. (Kea Wilson | Streetsblog USA)

Chicago passes new TOD ordinance: Chicago approved a landmark ordinance Wednesday that expanded the city’s transit oriented development program and strengthened its affordable housing provisions. Dubbed “Connected Communities,” the ordinance also reduced the amount of parking needed for new development near transit including bus lines, commuter rail and the city’s ‘L.’ (Quinn Myers and Mina Bloom | Block Club Chicago)

Cities don’t need to be hot weather death traps: As temperatures across the globe reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, cities are uniquely positioned to create heat stress for residents. Buildings and pavement often trap heat, making it hard to get cool at night. Solutions include greening streetscapes, providing more public drinking fountains and amenities, and creating safe cool spaces to be when the temperature is hot. (Aitor Hernández-Morales | Politico EU)

Quote of the Week

“Even if it’s not the end of privacy, or mystery, it marks a decline in imagination—a capitulation to a generic sensibility, and to a visual culture of copy-paste. It’s the aesthetic of software at scale, in every window, at every stoplight, on every city block.”

Anna Wiener, discussing in The New Yorker how software at scale thinking has permeated culture in San Francisco.

This week on the podcast, Reece Martin, who discusses transit systems around the world on his YouTube channel RM Transit, joins the show.