National Links: 100 Years of Auto Centricity

Every day, The Overhead Wire collects news about cities and sends the links to our email list. At the end of the week they take some of the most popular stories and post them to Greater Greater Washington, a group blog similar to that focuses on urban issues in the D.C. region. They are national links, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.

How to stop wasting billions on transit projects: The Marron Institute of Urban Management at NYU has released their transit costs report which includes a number of different potential solutions for lowering construction costs on transit projects around the country. The good news is that it’s possible to reduce costs. The tough news is that it will take a bit of institutional work and getting leadership to care about the issue. (Aaron Gordon | Motherboard)

100 years of auto dependence: Traffic engineer Edward J. Mehren wrote a journal article 100 years ago this month, saying for the first time that streets should be for motor vehicles alone. As historian Peter Norton has noted, auto companies lobbied hard to make this a reality and to relegate pedestrians, cyclists, and other road users to sidewalks. Mehren was notable for developing one of the first major interstate highway proposals and sat on several commissions appointed by Herbert Hoover. Notably, he also died in a car crash. (Carleton Reid | Forbes)

Real estate falling, but not everywhere: With high interest rates making housing more expensive to potential buyers, home prices are dropping all over the country. Places like California and Austin Texas are seeing declines, but Florida is still seeing home appreciation. Explanations for this uneven market vary from falling markets reducing tech cash to YIMBY corrections, and none quite satisfy. (Tim Lee | Slate)

Novel atlas shows global infrastructure disparities: Researchers at Iowa State took a look at infrastructure differences around the world using satellite data from 2015. One of the interesting findings researchers said was the huge difference between infrastructure development in the Global North versus the Global South. Bangladesh for example has 30 times less infrastructure than the United States. The findings provide lessons for policy makers looking for more equitable development strategies. (Iowa State University News Service)

Boulder’s heat mapping experiment: A citizen volunteer led project to map Boulder Colorado’s hottest areas supported by NOAA and the city found that cooling stations and other heat reducing solutions were needed in areas where heat was trapped by large commercial corridors with big roads, and neighborhoods with less trees and green spaces. The city will take the findings and  into consideration when finalizing cooling solutions and heat impacts. (Tatiana Flowers | The Colorado Sun)

Quote of the Week

“I think part of the dynamic is we have had a huge amount of federal stimulus money, then we had infrastructure, now we’ve got the [climate bill] that just passed. And I think you sort of get lost in the big numbers, and it might be difficult for people to get their arms around all of it.”

Patrick Meyers, Colorado’s chief economic recovery officer, discussing in Politico why so few voters (25%) know that the infrastructure bill even passed.

This week on the podcast: Amanda Howell of the University of Oregon’s Urbanism Next talks about sidewalk delivery robots.

Jeff Wood

About Jeff Wood

Jeff Wood is an urban planner focused on transportation and land use issues living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jeff blogs at The Overhead Wire and tweets @theoverheadwire. He also shares news links daily from around the country on issues related to cities at The Direct Transfer