Tue, 11 November 2014
Uber is celebrating. DC passed an Uber-legalization law that Uber thinks cities the world over should follow. The problem is, most cities have much more tightly regulated taxi industries than DC, with a far higher cost of entry. In those cases, letting Uber get away with providing taxi services while complying with none of the rules is unfair. The taxi companies have been screaming about this for a while now. Uber's response is something like, "Catch me if you can, old geezer." DC's contribution to that conversation strengthens Uber's position.
In other news, a front group for the oil industry is trying to cause panic among California drivers about a "hidden gas tax" that's going to hit come January. What they're really talking about is California's landmark cap-and-trade law to limit greenhouse gas emissions, which will start including transportation fuels at the beginning of the year. Jeff and I called up Melanie Curry of Streetsblog LA to explain to us a campaign that didn't seem to really make any sense and she assured us that we're not crazy; it really doesn't make any sense.
Stay tuned; our election recap edition will be coming out shortly.
We want to hear what you think in the comments.
Thu, 30 October 2014
If you're a Netflix member, you're part of the downfall of the brick-and-mortar video store. There are all kinds of reasons to be sad about that, but we look at its implications for urbanism and transportation. Besides, now where will you find esoteric foreign films to impress your friends? There are reasons to believe a few hardy indie-shop survivors could keep hanging on for a while (and we encourage you to bike to them).
Next, we shift gears to talk about how Vision Zero is unfolding in New York City. Streetsblog has called attention to the need to go beyond grand policy pronouncements and do the dirty work of changing the very culture that surrounds mobility. Specifically, the police need to stop forgiving deadly "errors" by drivers and start taking death by auto as seriously as other preventable deaths.
And then we called it a day because really, that was a lot.
Tell us about your favorite video store, or your least bike-friendly cop, or whatever you feel like telling us, in the comments.
Wed, 22 October 2014
Do people of color and low-income people ride bikes? Not as much as they could be, given all the great benefits biking offers, particularly to people without a lot of disposable cash. But yes, non-white and non-rich people ride bikes -- in many cases, more than rich and white people.
But even if they're equally represented on the roads, people of color and low-income people are largely missing from the bicycle advocacy world. The League of American Bicyclists, along with countless other groups around the country, are out to change that. We covered their report on equity in the bicycling movement last week -- but there was still lots more to talk about.
So Jeff and I called up Adonia Lugo, the League's Equity Initiative Manager. We talked about what groups can do if they want to reach out to new constituencies, whether infrastructure design really needs a multicultural perspective, and how the movement can start "seeing" bicyclists that don't fit the dominant stereotype.
We know you have strong feelings about these issues. Tell us all about 'em in the comments -- after you listen.
Wed, 8 October 2014
Special guest Damien Newton of Streetsblog LA joins Jeff and me on this episode to tell us all about LADOT's new strategic plan, which includes a Vision Zero goal: zero traffic deaths by 2025, a vision all of our cities should get behind. He walks us through the oddities of LA politics and the pitfalls that may await the plan, as well as some really good reasons it could succeed. (Her name is Seleta Reynolds.)
Then Jeff and I move on to Helsinki, Finland, and its even more ambitious goal: Zero private cars by 2025. They have a plan to do it, which includes many elements that are already in place in the United States and that haven't -- yet -- brought us to zero cars. We talk about what Helsinki has in store that could get them to their goal.
And then we research Finnish fauna.
I know you're listening to this podcast on your phone while you're on on your bike or whatever, but when you get to a safe place to stop, shout at us in the comments.
And find us on iTunes and Stitcher and the RSS feed.
Thu, 2 October 2014
Jeff is back from Rail~volution with all the highlights from the sessions he skipped because he was deep in conversation in the hallways. Isn't that what conferences are for? We discuss what we do and don't get out of these big meetings.
We also get into CityLab's examination of the gap between public support for transit spending and actual transit ridership, and we bring in some illuminating survey results from Transit Center [PDF] (and of course, The Onion) to shed light on what the people want from their transit systems. And we agree: While millennials are an important cohort to look at as we examine changing trends in transportation habits, good lord we are sick of talking about them
Stay tuned till the end of the podcast for Jeff's rundown of the conferences you can still attend this season -- there are, according to his count, 50 bajillion more. Pick one and go skip all the sessions and hang out in the hallways like the cool kids.
The comments section awaits your contribution to our witty repartee.
Tue, 23 September 2014
Consider this a bonus track. A deleted scene at the end of your DVD. Extra footage.
Or, consider it what it is: A short podcast episode Jeff and I recorded 2 1/2 weeks ago that never got edited because I went to Pro-Walk Pro-Bike and he went to Rail~Volution and we recorded (and actually posted) a podcast in between and basically, life got in the way.
But better late than never, right? Here is a Talking Headways short in which we discuss the Federal Highway Administration's recent (er, not so recent anymore) announcement that Americans are driving more than anytime since 2008 and so we'd better spend lots more on highways. Here's a quick visual to help you understand just one reason we thought their reasoning was flawed:
You'll have to listen to the podcast to hear the rest. It's a short one; you can listen to the whole thing while you fold the laundry. And there's something extra-adorable in there as a special prize for putting up with our tardiness.
Jeff will be back soon from Rail~volution and then we'll get to hear all about that, and then we'll be back to normal podcasts on, we hope, a more normal schedule.
Mon, 15 September 2014
After a week at the Pro-Walk Pro-Bike Pro-Place Conference in Pittsburgh, it was all I could talk about -- and luckily, Jeff was an eager audience.
In this podcast, Jeff and I talk about the relative utility of a character like Isabella, the new fictional spokesperson of People for Bikes and the movement for safe, low-stress bikeways. We dig into the announcement that U.S. DOT is going to take on bike and pedestrian safety as one of its top issues. And we debate the pros and cons of holding the next Pro-Walk Pro-Bike in Vancouver.
There were hundreds of workshops, panels, presentations, and tours -- not to mention countless side conversations, power lunches, and informal caucuses that were probably at least as energizing as the formal sessions -- so my impressions are just one tiny slice of the pie. We'd love to hear your thoughts of the conference, the host city, and your experience in the comments.
Thu, 4 September 2014
Forgive us for the unacceptable two-week gap between podcast episodes but this one is totally worth the wait. Your transit geekery will feast on our in-depth exploration of three transit lines (in order of fantasy to reality): Las Vegas, Minneapolis, and Salt Lake City.
Despite having population density that rivals Manhattan, the Las Vegas strip doesn't have high-quality transit running along its full length, but that might be about to change. Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, a light rail line is inching closer to reality but its route stops just short of the densest parts of the region, making it far less useful than it could be. And in Salt Lake City, a line that fails on many metrics is still being hailed as a great success.
Tue, 19 August 2014
What would you think of a city planner, out ruffling feathers with his bold ideas about density and urbanism -- who commutes to work an hour each way from his ranch way outside the city? Ironic -- or hypocritical? That's the question we wrestle with in our discussion of Brad Buchanan, the head honcho at Denver's Department of Community Planning and Development.
And then we head from Denver to Dallas, where MPO chief Michael Morris has unilaterally declared that the plan to convert I-345 into a boulevard is going nowhere. Trouble is, he doesn't actually have the authority to say that, and his facts are wrong. But by asserting it, will he make it true?
Wed, 13 August 2014
Welcome to the dog days of summer! Before skipping town, Congress passed a transportation funding patch so they wouldn't have to deal with the real problem of the unsustainable way our nation builds and pays for infrastructure. I give the briefest possible rundown of where we are now before Jeff and I launch into discussions about the issues of the day: zoning and ride-share.
Houston is famous for its wild-west attitude toward zoning, but that laissez-faire approach was put to the test recently when residents of a single-family neighborhood protested the construction of a 23-story apartment building. No matter how the situation resolved itself, it was bound to have ripple effects through the development community.
We also talk about new services offered by Lyft and Uber that bring them a little closer to true ride-sharing -- though, as we note, they're still a far cry from the platonic ideal: hitchhiking.