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.
Why do people hate cyclists so much?: Bike infrastructure has come a long way in England since Helen Pidd started riding 18 years ago, but the aggression toward people on bikes has increased. Spurred by the culture wars and right wing media, some have dehumanized those who choose a bike as a mode of transportation. And as drivers get more threatening, bike riders are held to silly standards on aggression and rules that are disproportionate to driver’s infractions and impacts. (Helen Pidd | The Guardian)
America built for cars, not human connection: Houston native Muizz Akhtar discusses how the design of cities makes it harder for people to develop or keep friendships. In college at Texas A&M, they discovered that the proximity to other students and walkability of campus was a revelation of how things could be. But moving back to Houston after school proved once again that it was hard to muster the effort to meet friends and be more social due to long drives from friends and work. (Muizz Akhtar | Vox)
Turning downtowns residential: In the last few decades more and more people want to live closer to downtown. Now, as the pandemic reduces office demand, a potential solution is right in front of us: turning office space into residences. In most cities, however, developers see no value in office conversion because building codes limit what can be done with office buildings — including not allowing open windows. That could change soon as commercial rents drop and residential is seen as a better option. (Alan Ehrenhalt | Governing)
Trees a secret weapon in new climate bill: The Inflation Reduction Act includes a number of provisions that will support natural environments, including planting trees and other conservation efforts. Trees have the ability to store lots of carbon, and studies show that reforestation could reduce our emissions by one-third of total need. Trees also are important for cooling cities, reducing temperatures by 20 degrees in some instances. But first we need to plant more trees, and the bill supports that. (Jad Daley | Time Magazine)
A eulogy for small cargo vans: It’s not just SUVs that are increasing the size of vehicles. The cargo vans that tradespeople and businesses use to transport their wares are increasing in size as well. Smaller cargo vans are being discontinued rapidly in the United States, leaving fewer choices for that baker or plumber. Smaller vehicles proliferate in European cities where more human-scale environments are the norm. (Victoria Scott | The Drive)
Quote of the Week
“Compared to the herculean task of building supply chains to sustain a broad domestic E.V. market, tackling this problem from the demand side almost seems easy. Proving that E.V.s can road trip may have been an important psychological hurdle for the technology to tackle, but it remains more psychological than real: The average American motorist drives about 40 miles per day, and 95 percent of our car trips are 30 miles or shorter.”
Edward Niedermeyer in the New York Times discussing the unnecessary psychological need for longer range electric vehicle batteries.
This week on the podcast, Kim Cella of Citizens for Modern Transit and Sheila Holm of AARP discuss how they are transforming transit stops in St. Louis.
Photo at top courtesy of Gonzalo Facello on Unsplash