The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

by Yule Heibel on March 10, 2013

  • More on the transportation bias (it’s pro-car and pro-vehicle speed):
    The weight of this hidden hand doesn’t fall on San Francisco alone. “Intersection LOS [level of service] is one of the most widely-used traffic analysis tools in the U.S. and has a profound impact on how street space is allocated in U.S. cities,” writes Jason Henderson, geography professor at San Francisco State University, in the November issue of the Journal of Transport Geography. As Henderson argues, it’s about time cities addressed the problem, and San Francisco is doing just that. It’s currently in the process of drafting a new sustainable transportation metric that will replace LOS and promote livability. Still, the fight is far from over.

    “Every city I’ve ever come across has some use of [LOS],” says Henderson, who has conducted an extensive review of LOS and is writing a book on the politics of mobility in San Francisco. “LOS and the privilege of the car is the incumbent. The way the political process is set up is you have to disprove the incumbent.”

    tags: transportation eric_jaffe atlantic_cities cars cities

  • Important article. The following is a quote from Victoria BC’s Todd Litman of the Transport Policy Institute. Amazing…
    Because it [a vehicle-based planning method] evaluates transport system performance based primarily on travel speeds, conventional planning favor faster but more costly transport modes, such as automobile travel over slower but more affordable modes such as walking, cycling and public transit. This tends to create automobile dependent transport systems which increases total costs.

    tags: transportation planning todd_litman atlantic_cities eric_jaffe cars automobile

  • Interesting article (and the usual vitriol in the comments). An aside: I had to laugh at the washing machines comparison (below) because it reminded me of a conversation between undergrads at UBC in 1981: One young woman (student) described renting a room from an older lady (yes, matron) in a really upscale Vancouver neighborhood. There was no washing machine in the house, and the older woman told the young student that she had objected when her husband wanted to buy her one back in the 40s. She told him, “If you bring that into the house, you’ll be wanting me to do the laundry next.” She always had someone pick it up and deliver. Now that’s an idea I can get behind. All these appliances at home also mean more work at home. Now back to the article:
    We’re used to the notion of sharing libraries, public parks, and train cars. But in many ways, American culture in particular drifted away from sharing as a value when we spread out from city centers and into the suburbs. Molly Turner, the director of public policy for short-term rental lodging website Airbnb, evokes the iconic image of Richard Nixon, in Moscow, introducing Nikita Khrushchev to the modern marvel of the state-of-the-art washing machine, available for private consumption in every American home. Beginning with the era of that washing machine, Turner argues, we forgot how to share.”

    tags: atlantic_cities sharing_economy economies emily_badger

  • Walkability. (But then again, the car’s not dead, either, and there are also signs that Millennials do move to suburbs when they want a bit more space to raise families. However, even those suburbs – which often are small cities ringing a larger metro – benefit from walkability…)
    There’s another important way that most suburbs remain suburban: They continue to lack walkable commercial districts, viable public spaces and public transit systems that allow people of all ages to be together without driving a car. Americans accepted this arrangement 60 years ago, when we valorized domestic life and stigmatized the street. Back then suburban kids played in backyards and culs-de-sac and their mothers spent most of their days around the house. These days, however, women work outside the home and children pursue their individual interests in specialized classes. Moreover, downtowns are desirable. People want to walk and shop and sip coffee on busy sidewalks, but suburbanites need automobiles to reach them. Walking requires driving, which means everyone winds up sitting in traffic or searching for parking.

    Suburbia sentences all those who move there to an unending series of car rides: to school, to work, to the train station. To the grocery store, mall, car wash. To soccer practice, tennis lessons, music classes. To the Olive Garden, movie theater, mall. To go to the city, to come home from the city—and preferably not during rush hour, though these days it’s rush hour most of the time.

    Suburbanites who have moved to the city are evangelical about their liberation from car culture. Parents are especially adamant about the virtues of city living, since they no longer spend afternoons and weekends chauffeuring children nor evenings praying that their teenagers don’t drink and drive. So are cash-strapped car owners who didn’t plan on spending $4 a gallon on gasoline and who know that in coming years $4 will seem cheap.

    tags: walkability playboy cities suburbs eric_klinenberg urbanism

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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