National Links: Politics of Bogota’s BRT

Every day, The Overhead Wire collects news about cities and sends the links to their 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 and international links, sometimes entertaining or absurd but often useful.

Emerging project agreements: A new federal program seeks to counter a disconnect in how local projects in different economic sectors can be coordinated locally as they receive federal funding. To maximize impact from a portfolio of separate projects that are receiving federal funding, places like Austin, Texas, and Kansas City, Missouri, are using a new tool called an Emerging Project Agreement that connects the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Build America Bureau to local project sponsors. (Bruce Katz | The Philadelphia Citizen)

Bogota tried to solve urban traffic: Bogota, Colombia was a relatively small city of 600,000 people in the 1950s, but has since grown to a bustling metropolis of 11 million. As the city grew, transportation policy became more important. Bus rapid transit and bikes were the way to do it, but Bogota’s system has been neglected financially. Crowding and lack of expansion have left many frustrated. A new metro is under construction, but it’s unlikely to solve the biggest problem: the politics of wealthy drivers. (New York Times)

Colorado governor wants more transit: After a failed bid to fix land use policy in the state’s last legislative session, Colorado Governor Jared Polis is floating an idea to increase transit service and link it to housing and climate action. But the governor also believes the transit agency serving the Denver Region, RTD, is in need of an overhaul before it receives more funding. The agency is running just 70% of its 2019 service, and the governor is open to changing the state Department of Transportation‘s priorities to get more. (Colorado Public Radio)

Salt Lake City’s downtown success: A report from the University of Toronto found that Salt Lake City had the best pandemic recovery of any downtown in the United States. That recovery, the writers found, is owed to workers who see being in the office as important to growth along with a focus on cultural institutions and entertainment that make up a greater part of the city’s footprint than many office-dominated places. Last year 61% of people came downtown for arts and entertainment. (Alan Greenblatt | Governing)

Stopping Jakarta from sinking: Indonesia’s capital is sinking into the sea as groundwater is extracted for drinking and the threat of sea level rise increases. The city’s only hope of salvation is setting up residents to get drinking water through pipes rather than wells, which are currently used by one in three people in the megacity. That task has fallen on a billionaire noodle magnate, whose company has just been awarded a $4.8 billion contract to get people off wells— along with the rights to operate the city’s five largest water treatment plants. (Sheryl Tian Tong Lee and Grace Sihombing | Bloomberg CityLab)

This week on the podcast, we’re at the Mpact conference in Phoenix with Tom Brennan, senior principal at Nelson Nygaard. Tom and I talk about the sexy world of bus speed and reliability, how agency can invest for effectiveness, and future proofing routes for the long term.

Quote of the Week

“We’re seeing a growing number of folks reaching out because they’re looking for a better option in their community. They’re really looking for autonomy over where their food comes from and the ability to have the kind of food they want to have.”

— Faye Mack, executive director of the Food Co-op Initiative, discussing in Fast Company the interest in co-ops after dollar stores have pushed out local groceries.

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