Urban tree canopy, seen from overhead

National Links: Hot Spots for Urban Tree Canopy

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.

Distrusting the city on trees: Low-income communities in cities around the country are less likely to have urban tree canopy that can cool their homes and streets. But many of the folks who live in these neighborhoods don’t want new trees because they distrust cities or programs that have failed them in the past. These communities are often left out of decisions about where to plant trees and have seen tree neglect upfront over the years. (Jingnan Peng | Christian Science Monitor)

Boston commuter lines rebound: Commuter rail lines of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) are now at close to full pre-pandemic ridership. One change the agency made before the pandemic was to run more midday train service, which means all the trains aren’t tied up in peak hour rush. Now the MBTA is adding later night and weekend service for people going out for entertainment or sporting events, which has been popular with riders. (Dan Vock | Route Fifty)

The High Line effect: In the 2000s an abandoned elevated rail line in New York City was transformed into a linear park that drew new development and praise from around the world in addition to criticism about gentrification. But cities around the country saw the result as an opportunity to develop their own projects, and several related efforts have sprung up in Miami, Houston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. (Ankitha Gattupalli | ArchDaily)

Colorado’s bold approach to highways: In 2022 the head of the Colorado Department of Transportation called off the expansion of I-25 through the center of Denver. The change in policy was the result of a 2019 law, signed by the state’s climate-focused governor, Jared Polis, that required the state to reduce emissions 90% in 30 years. Now the state’s largest Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) and transportation agencies must demonstrate how projects will reduce transportation emissions or lose funding. (Megan Kimble | New York Times)

The vilification of the walkable city: French scholar and urban planner Carlos Moreno started sketching the idea for the 15-minute city in the 2010s after coming to understand that tech-focused approaches would not create more sustainable cities. But the idea of having everything you need within a short walk of your home got twisted during the pandemic by “tin foil hat” conspiracy theorists who used the ideas to scare up opposition to urban policy. (Michael Friedrich | The New Republic)

This week on the Talking Headways podcast, we’re joined by Cleveland journalist Ken Prendergast to talk about the competing interests of Brightline and Amtrak and the history of passenger rail planning in the region.

Quote of the Week

“It is nonsense budget politics. Hochul says that she has delayed congestion pricing because she is worried about the city’s recovery from the pandemic, but regardless of her reasons, she has now left a $1 billion hole in the transit authority’s budget. The New York Times reports that she wants to fill that hole by raising taxes on the state’s businesses. But that means that she has taken a tax formerly charged to some New York residents and businesses — but which would also fall on New Jersey and Connecticut residents and businesses — and shifted it entirely to in-state entities.”

— Robinson Meyer in HeatMap describing the political and fiscal idiocy of New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s congestion pricing betrayal

Photo at top by Sophie N 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