National Links: Better than Belgian Waffles

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 or absurd but often useful.

Taking a lesson from Brussels: One of the most car oriented cities in Europe, Brussels, Belgium offers a way forward for US cities looking to tame automobile traffic in their urban cores. Bike commutes have tripled in the last few years and car trips have dropped as the city implements more active transportation policies. Several inflection points got the city to where it is now, but the pandemic really had an impact as it allowed previous planning to be implemented so people could walk and bike more. (David Zipper | Bloomberg CityLab)

Saving transit cheaper than letting it die: A new report from the Bay Area advocacy group Transform shows that not supporting transit agencies in the Bay Area with tough funding situations would cost riders $5B in annual car ownership costs alone. Agencies have asked for $2.5B to support continued operations but the governor has not included it in the state budget. The change would also generate 35 million new car trips and untold traffic and emissions. (Melanie Curry | Streetsblog CA)

Death of a building type: On June 24th, 2021, as the pandemic was raging on, a condo building collapsed just north of Miami. A full investigation of the collapse won’t be available until 2024, but Richard Buday knows from his days on a condo board that the culprit was likely neglect by owners and board members that didn’t want to spend money on maintenance. It’s likely two thirds of condos in the US are underfunded for fixes, and it might be time to say good-bye to building condos for good. (Richard Buday | Common Edge)

What food garden benefits the environment?: If you want to start a climate victory garden in your backyard, what food has the least amount of impact on the environment? Travel miles from field to market don’t matter as much as how food is grown. And research shows that backyard and medium scale agriculture could actually be less climate intensive than realized. (Michael J. Coren | Washington Post)

Coastal cities now pricing out college graduates too: For a long time, coastal metros have been losing workers without a college degree to other regions as higher educated workers moved in. But now data are showing that even college educated workers are leaving high cost areas, a phenomenon that seems to be confusing economists who believe high pay for some still makes these areas attractive. (Emily Badger, Robert Gebeloff and Josh Katz | New York Times)

Quote of the Week

“What the city is collecting is inadequate. And so community members and civic groups have decided to take that into their own hands.”

New York City Council member, Alexa Avilés, in Consumer Reports discussing the increased need to collect air quality and truck traffic data from warehouses.

This week on the podcast, my good friend Jeff Munowitch of Populus is joining the show to talk about “Star Wars”! We talk about the top five transportation modes and our top five cities in a galaxy far, far away.

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