Talking Headways: A Streetsblog Podcast
Episode 19: Escobar's Escalators

Did you go to the World Urban Forum in Medellín, Colombia last week? Neither did your hosts Jeff Wood and Tanya Snyder, but we sure found a lot to say about it anyway -- or at least, about the remarkable urban transformation that Medellín made, in the midst of war, to make the city's transportation infrastructure more equitable. 

But first, we talked to our very own Angie Schmitt about the Parking Madness tournament. Did she know Rochester was a winner from the moment she laid eyes on that remarkable parking crater? You'll have to listen to find out. 

And finally we turn to Dallas, where local activists are pressuring officials to tear down a 1.4-mile stretch of I-345 in downtown to make room for 245 acres of new development. If it happens, it would be a tremendous win for smart urban development over Eisenhower-era car-centrism. 

And the other big news this week is that Talking Headways podcast is now available on Stitcher! So if you're not an iTunes person, you've still got a way to subscribe. But if you are an iTunes person, by all means! Or you can follow the RSS feed. And as always, the comments section is wide open for all the witty comments we should have made but didn't think to.

Direct download: mixdown_041414_final.mp3
Category:transportation -- posted at: 12:03am EDT

Episode 18: Let Them Drive Cars

Quick quiz: What city is the world leader in highway teardowns? San Francisco? Portland? Madrid?

Wrong, wrong, wrong. It's Seoul, South Korea, which has removed 15 urban highways -- and is about to remove another. In this week's Talking Headways episode, Jeff and I talk about what can take the place of a freeway in a city and why it's worth it.

We also debunk the argument, made in Atlantic Cities and the Washington Post last week, that promoting car access will benefit people with low incomes. The whole concept is based on a study that basically said that in the 90s you needed a car to get around the suburbs. Not exactly a persuasive justification for automobile subsidies in today's cities.

We wander down Saffron Avenue and Nutmeg Lane to investigate whether it's true that cities are losing their smell -- and whether that's really such a bad thing. Then we accidentally trip into a conversation about pheromones and good-smelling men.

What's your favorite smell in your city? Let us know in the comments.

We're working on getting the podcast available on Stitcher, which apparently is a thing that exists, but for now you can subscribe on iTunes or follow the RSS feed.

Direct download: podcat_mixdown_finalx3_3346_040714.mp3
Category:urban -- posted at: 10:13am EDT

Episode 17: Play the Gray Away

Jeff and Tanya had a great time this week, getting all outraged at the short-sighted move by the Tennessee Senate to ban dedicated lanes for transit and high and mighty about cities that devote too much space to surface parking, at the expense of just about everything else. And then we treat ourselves to a fun conversation about the origin of the American playground -- and whether the entire city should be the playground.

We think you'll enjoy this one.

Meanwhile, have you subscribed to the Talking Headways podcast on iTunes yet? Well, why the hell not? And while you're at it, you know we'd love a little bit of listener feedback. Oh, you can also follow the RSS feed. And we love your comments, below.

Direct download: Mixdown_033114_final_3445.mp3
Category:urban -- posted at: 3:39pm EDT

It was a dark and stormy day in San Francisco and Jeff Wood stayed dry in Woonerf studios, recording the Talking Headways podcast with co-host Tanya Snyder, who was bitter that days after the spring equinox, Washington, DC, was getting hit with another snowstorm.

But more importantly -- will New York's gangbusters Citi Bike system wobble due to management issues and financial problems? What can Chicago (and, oh, every other American city) do to create more affordable housing in the neighborhoods everyone wants to live in? And is the self-driving car seriously going to become a reality by the end of this decade? And is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Jeff and Tanya take on all that and more. Or really, pretty much just that.

Enjoy our sweet 16th episode of the Talking Headways podcast, subscribe on iTunes, follow the RSS feed, and talk at us in the comments.

Direct download: Mixdown_final_podcast_032514_3459.mp3
Category:urban -- posted at: 12:43pm EDT

You think the conflict between Uber and regular taxi drivers -- and cities like Seattle -- is bad? Check out how new taxi apps in China are upending the transportation system and central economic planning. Meanwhile, in Houston, a flea market has brought revitalization without gentrification to a depressed area near the airport, and now an urban design firm is bringing in pop-up infrastructure. And Californians are proving that the culture shift away from the automobile and toward other modes of transportation is happening -- maybe even faster than we'd thought.

And for a real downer, check out U.S. DOT's big idea about how to hold states accountable for better safety outcomes -- by not holding them accountable at all.

Enjoy this week's podcast, subscribe on iTunes, follow the RSS feed, and talk at us in the comments. 

Direct download: Mixdown_final_podcast_031714_3453.mp3
Category:transportation -- posted at: 2:55pm EDT

What a week! Transit numbers skyrocketed (ahem, by 1.1 percent) to levels not seen since 1956 (depending how you look at it). And Radio Shack is shutting down 20 percent of its stores. And there's a new video game for transit nerds to stay up all night obsessing over!

And we tackle the fundamental question of how to make a real change in how people get around. Will it happen just by improving transit and other modes -- or do you need to make driving less appealing, as Emily Badger suggests in Atlantic Cities? 

Tell us what you think in the comments. And remember, you can subscribe to the RSS feed or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

Direct download: podcast_final_mixdown_031214_3557.mp3
Category:transportation -- posted at: 11:58am EDT

This week, more than 700 bicycling advocates converged in Washington -- despite a snowstorm that closed down the federal government on Monday and thousands of cancelled flights -- to learn from each other and compare notes from the past year in bicycling advocacy.

Tuesday, as the summit wound down and participants started gearing up for Wednesday's Lobby Day on Capitol Hill, hosts Jeff and Tanya were joined by Doug Gordon of Brooklyn Spoke, Suepinda Keith of Triangle Bikeworks in Chapel Hill, and Jonathan Maus of Bike Portland for this very special Bike Summit episode of the podcast.

The Women's Forum is in its third year. The League's Equity Advisory Council came into being just before last year's summit. These voices, historically not at the center of the national conversation about bicycling, are coming to the fore.

The five of us talk in this, our lucky 13th episode, about how effectively the movement is transitioning to a more inclusive approach, and we share some of the highlights of the summit, including some truly incredible work happening everywhere from Memphis to LA to Afghanistan.

Tell us in the comments about your personal highlights from the Summit. Subscribe to this podcast’s RSS feed or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

 

Direct download: Mixdown_bike_summit_podcast_4612_final.mp3
Category:transportation -- posted at: 3:04pm EDT

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