Talking Headways: A Streetsblog Podcast

So, Bertha is stuck underneath Seattle. Jeff Wood and I ask the essential question: Does it matter?

Traffic has collapsed around Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct. Image: Sightline
Traffic has collapsed around Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct. Image: Sightline

Does Seattle really need that new traffic sewer, when traffic on the Alaskan Way Viaduct has been plummeting? Or is Seattle's $2.8 billion road project destined to be a Freeway without a Future?

We highlight this week's public conversation over CNU's big report calling out highways just begging to be drowned in the bathtub. After all, 2013 was the ninth year in a row that saw Americans driving less. States are beginning to reverse their old assumptions that vehicle miles traveled will grow with abandon.

We talk about all this and more on this, the 12th episode of Talking Headways podcast.

And remember, you can subscribe to this podcast’s RSS feed or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes — and please give us a listener review while you’re at it. Join the conversation in the comments section.

Direct download: Mixdown_podcast_022414_3430.mp3
Category:transportation -- posted at: 1:46pm EDT

Hosts Jeff Wood of the Overhead Wire (now working with NRDC's crack transportation team) and Streetsblog's Tanya Snyder talk to Randy Simes in this week's podcast about the dazzling success of the pro-streetcar movement in Cincinnati -- and how they finally grabbed the long-elusive gold ring.

Then Randy stayed with us to discuss the false choice between transit that's useful and transit that's fun and beautiful. And we analyze an architect's proposal to expand BART's capacity by building a second tube under the San Francisco Bay.

You can subscribe to this podcast’s RSS feed or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes — and please give us a listener review while you’re at it.

Direct download: Mixdown_4242_021914_podcast_randy_simes.mp3
Category:transportation -- posted at: 4:16pm EDT

Episode 10: How Does This Podcast Make You Feel?

This week, Jeff Wood and I get morose and indignant, in turns, about Miami-Dade County's misuse of transit funds for roads and the depressing trend of pedestrian malls going belly-up. And then we peek behind the curtain at an exciting new frontier for urban planning: connecting urban form with the feelings they inspire. And then, just for you: a bonus Valentine's Day outtake at the end. How could you not listen to the whole thing?

You can subscribe to this podcast’s RSS feed or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes — and please give us a listener review while you’re at it.

Direct download: Mixdown_podcast_021014_3453.mp3
Category:urban -- posted at: 3:35pm EDT

Danish architect and urban planner Jan Gehl, who led the turn away from modernism and toward livable cities dominated by public space for people and not cars, is on a U.S. tour. Tanya got to sit down with him in Washington.

In this episode of Talking Headways, you can hear Gehl in his own words about everything from his assertion that "the tower is the lazy architect's answer to density" to the Moscow mayor's hyper-efficient way of getting people to stop parking on Main Street.

You can subscribe to this podcast's RSS feed or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes — and please give us a listener review while you’re at it.

Direct download: Mixdown_final2_020514_podcast_jan_gehl_3837_w_pull_quote.mp3
Category:urban -- posted at: 4:44pm EDT

Jeff Wood and Tanya Snyder are back with episode 8 of the Talking Headways podcast. We talk about the Los Angeles Metro's decision not to extend light rail all the way to LAX (and what they're doing instead), plus some analysis of what rail can really do in a city as spread-out as LA. Then we head east to Princeton, New Jersey, where we debunk the thesis that low sales of luxury condos somehow equates to a rejection of walkability. And finally, back west to Seattle, which finds itself with a similar problem to LA: how to bring more density to settled single-family areas?

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes -- and please give us a listener review while you're at it.

Direct download: podcast_mixdown_012714_3602.mp3
Category:transportation -- posted at: 4:01pm EDT

The best thing about hosting a Streetsblog podcast is getting to call on other Streetsblog reporters for the lowdown on the biggest news of the week. In this case, Jeff Wood and I called on Ben Fried, Streetsblog's editor-in-chief and New York-based reporter, to explain why we can stop being cynical and just appreciate that a New York mayor just dedicated himself to a vision of zero traffic deaths in the city.

We also took a look at how California is changing its environmental laws to stop considering level of service the most important environmental transportation goal -- and how some people miss the nuances of how population density impacts transportation planning.

Direct download: podcast_mixdown_3456_011714.mp3
Category:transportation -- posted at: 11:45pm EDT

This week, podcast co-host Jeff Wood and I got to chat with The Transport Politic's Yonah Freemark about the outlook for new transit projects in 2014. Building off Yonah's thorough (and colorful!) outline of the year's expected transit starts, we talked about the projects we were most excited about, including some that have been a long time coming. And we take a look back at what kind of year 2013 was for transit.

This conversation was so good we went over our usual half-hour time slot and riffed for a good 50 minutes.

Direct download: podcast_011014_mixdown_5012.mp3
Category:transportation -- posted at: 2:19pm EDT

Jeff Wood and Tanya Snyder talk about the news of the week that most tickled us or burned us -- the BBC's exposé of anti-social design features that not-so-subtly tell us to stay away, San Francisco's brewing class war over the Google bus, and a bad decision by Cincinnati's new mayor and city council to "pause" construction of the streetcar. (Note: Watch for breaking news on that last item.)

Meanwhile, I wax nostalgic for public space in Havana and Jeff laments slow progress on the Geary Boulevard BRT.

Direct download: podcast_121013_mixdown_3325.mp3
Category:urban -- posted at: 11:26am EDT

Jeff and Tanya discuss the impressive turnout -- and possible pitfalls -- of London's 1,000-person die-in for cyclists' rights. We try to contain our envy (but not our amazement) at Paul Salopek's seven-year journey tracing the path of Homo sapiens from the Rift Valley to Tierra del Fuego. And we admit that yes, even passionate transit advocates know what it means to embarrassed about taking the bus.

Direct download: podcast_20131202_Mixdown_3219.mp3
Category:transportation -- posted at: 11:35pm EDT

Episode 3: Visit Your Grandma
This week, Jeff and Tanya take on the Atlanta Braves' terrible, no-good, very bad decision to move their stadium to Cobb County, Georgia. We discuss cities that are (and are not) shaped like wedding cakes, and whether that means you need to smoosh your spouse's face in it. Tanya makes a pedestrian-rights argument against high-heeled shoes (and Jeff abstains from taking sides). We parse the differences between "shared streets" -- without marked-out space for cars, bikes, and people on foot -- and vehicular cycling. And we speculate on what DC would look like without height limits, make fun of neighborhood parking bullies, pity the mega-commuters, and most importantly, shame the transit riders who fail to cede their seats to those who need them because they have their heads stuck in Angry Birds.
Direct download: podcast_20131122_Mixdown_3412.mp3
Category:urban -- posted at: 4:14pm EDT