A person lies sprawled out on the top floor of an empty parking ramp.

National Links: We Have a Bad Parking Addiction

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 Streets.mn that focuses on urban issues in the D.C. region. They are national links, sometimes entertaining or absurd but often useful.

Peter Calthorpe’s housing shortage solution: In 2022, the California legislature passed AB 2011, a bill that didn’t get as much attention as some of the other housing bills in the state but could have a bigger impact. Behind the scenes, Peter Calthorpe and others were advocating for this bill that would allow housing to be built on commercial properties around the state. After calculating the impacts of such a change on El Camino Real (an arterial road connecting San Francisco and San Jose), he realized that 250,000 units were possible on just that one corridor. (Martin C. Pedersen | Common Edge)

Paris’ car ban a model or a warning?: Car trips have declined 60% since 2001 in the heart of Paris, the largest metropolitan region in the European Union. The changes have been happening for a while, but mayor of nine years Anne Hidalgo has taken the most credit. As a new low-emissions zone is set to take effect, with parking restrictions and changes in street design, merchants who have seen reduced business and suburbanites who drive are, as usual, complaining the most. (Henry Grabar | Slate)

Addiction to parking hurting the economy: Jeral Poskey believes you can tell what a society values by what they invest in. And in the United States, it seems as if cars are twice as valuable as people. He believes our parking addiction is also harming the economy, as companies worry more about the next big car technology breakthrough than where all that money is disappearing to in order to park them. (Jeral Poskey | Business Insider)

How cars are connected to social justice: In their book “Cars and Jails: Freedom Dreams, Debt and Carcerality,” Julie Livingston and Andrew Ross write about how cars connect a lot of social justice issues including incarceration, debt, and surveillance. As they started out doing their research on incarceration and debt specifically, Livingston and Ross found that many of these issues of race and capitalism were connected by the near-requirement of driving for participation in American life. (Chenjerai Kumanyika | Public Books)

Liquid trees for cities: A post about “liquid trees” went viral last week after an image of an algae tank in Belgrade was shared on social media. Not intended to replace trees, the tank sucks carbon out of the atmosphere while producing oxygen; it’s easier to maintain and much more efficient than new trees that can be challenging to grow in dense urban areas. (Zachariah Kelly | Gizmodo Australia)

Quote of the Week

“As they did with Edith, travelers shove past me to get onto elevators. They play Solitaire or listen to music, buried in cell phones, oblivious as I swing around subway poles practically perpendicular with pain. My gyrations are not a ‘showtime’ performance. I stab men in the foot with my cane so that they see me. They don’t look up. Women are more often the ones who offer their seats.”

— Arlene Schulman on taking up Edith Prentiss’ fight for disability rights in New York City, in Next Avenue

This week on the podcast we’re joined by Oregon Metro Council President Lynn Peterson to talk about her book “Roadways for People: Rethinking Transportation Planning and Engineering.”

Photo credit: Martin Reisch in Unsplash

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