A skyward view of treetops

National Links: Proving How Trees Can Improve Health

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

A data-based connection between trees and health: Cardiology researcher Aruni Bhatnagar is seeking to show a clinical connection between greenness and human health, such as reduced stress and less hardening of arteries from transportation pollution. The Green Heart Louisville project has planted 8,000 trees and shrubs and has gotten detailed health data from 500 residents, including blood, urine and hair samples. (Bishop Sand | Washington Post)

Motor Carrier Act impacts 40 years later: A 44-year-old law for trucks caps insurance payouts for collisions at $750,000. Adjusted for inflation that would be $5 million today, and many advocates believe the roads would be safer with a higher insurance cap. Why? Not just anyone could get a license to drive a truck, and higher rates would ensure more safety provisions due to insurers having to assume more risk. U.S. Representatives Chuy Garcia (Illinois) and Hank Johnson (Georgia), both Democrats, have authored a bill to change the cap to $5 million. (Kea Wilson | Streetsblog USA)

A neighborhood for people with Alzheimer’s: Care homes are often designed around simple formulas and tend to confine people to a life lived indoors. However, designers and public authorities in Europe have been considering other ways for people with Alzheimer’s to live out their lives without being contained in a room watching television for the rest of their lives. A new neighborhood in France is designed like a traditional community and aims to give “villagers” as much agency and freedom as possible. (Rowan Moore | The Guardian)

Challenges for suburban office space: While urban downtowns around the United States figure out how to get on their feet as work-from-home policies continue, commercial spaces in the suburbs are also challenged. Some jurisdictions are considering how they might reverse the slowdown as impacts to tax bases take hold, while others are starting to rethink single-use office parks when housing and other amenities are needed. (Jared Brey | Governing)

Moguls against subways: Fred Rosen, the 80-year-old former CEO of Ticketmaster, is trying to kill a subway that would run under his toney Bel Air neighborhood just west of Los Angeles. The man who doesn’t like being called a NIMBY has amassed seven figures from local rich people for lawsuits against the project. He and other opponents would rather see a monorail that would cost less but add more than 10 minutes to the route’s travel time. (Gary Baum | The Hollywood Reporter)

This week on the podcast: Beth Osborne, vice president for transportation and thriving communities at Smart Growth America chats about the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Measure Rule that will require state transportation departments and MPOs (Metropolitan Planning Organization) to measure emissions on the federal highway system.

Quote of the Week

“While at this stop on a rainy and recent morning, I was overwhelmed with the sense that my city had just given up. It was no longer even trying to do anything in the social direction. The dead sign, the long wait for the bus, the endless cars violating the Bus Only lane. Seattle’s public spirit was gone like the soul of a zombie.”

— Charles Mudede in The Stranger, lamenting lack of leadership in Seattle on transportation

Photo at top by Nick Page on 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