A New Mayor Inherits the Ambitious Task of Kicking a City’s Car Habit
Here are a few things you probably think you know about Los Angeles: It is a freeway-riddled, car-dependent traffic jam where nobody walks past their driveway. This is the cartoon version of L.A., a cheap shorthand of stereotypes and decades-old perceptions that the city has struggled to shake.
What are the unintended consequences of building the city of tomorrow?
Orinio Opinaldo had been watching his West Adams neighborhood change for years. Throughout the 1990s, the area had gradually filled in with apartment buildings and higher-end housing. Opinaldo saw neighbors kicked out of rental units or bought out of homes by developers looking to reposition their properties. The pace of change quickened with the 2012 phase-one opening of the Expo Line light rail train connecting downtown, USC and Culver City.
Back by popular desperation, a recession-halted program from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation will soon resume installing speed humps on neighborhood streets. Residents on more than 800 city blocks have petitioned for the traffic-calming asphalt lumps over the last three years. They want to slow traffic and make their streets safer, dissuading all those drivers straying into residential areas—directed by navigation apps and sheer frustration—as they try to avoid the horrendous traffic elsewhere.
A hundred years after construction began, the shell of a subway tunnel still lies beneath the Ohio city’s streets, empty and unfinished.
One hundred years ago this month, the Ohio city of Cincinnati made a fateful decision.
The city’s voters, by a majority of almost six-to-one, approved a bond issue to provide about $6 million of public money toward the construction of a two-track, 16-mile loop subway system.
It would be one of the first subway systems in the U.S., and would help connect a booming residential population south to the thriving downtown of what was then one of the 15 biggest cities in the country.
New private bus service Leap boasts spacious seating, a general air of calm cleanliness and a steward serving coffee, cold-pressed juices and granola bars. With tickets costing almost three times as much as the regular bus, is it a welcome new addition to the marketplace or a step towards two-tier transit?
The bus stop, outside a pancake restaurant in San Francisco’s upscale Marina district, is like any other. The bus is not. Sky-blue, minimally branded, advertisement-free, it pulls up to the curb, where a handful of young, affluent people wait, phones in hands. As we step through its doors it feels like we’re entering some sort of a mirror world, a bizarro version of a bus where crowds, security cameras, rule signs and the dusty soot of city commuting have all been replaced by polished wood, black leather, spacious seating and a general air of calm cleanliness.
Unlike most new lines in U.S. cities, the Center City Connector would operate in its own exclusive lane.
On a late August afternoon, at the corner of Westlake and 6th avenues in downtown Seattle, a police officer pulled his patrol car to the curb. He got out and approached a woman who appeared to be on drugs: she was crouched and half-hidden in the shadows of a temporary plywood walkway beneath a building under construction. He called in the incident, and an ambulance was dispatched to the scene.
Facing budget cuts, transit agencies building new rail projects are struggling to make the trains run on time—or at all.
Public transit needs public funding. And that goes way beyond the fare box. Local, state, and federal dollars are the lifeblood of public transportation projects in the United States. But with the country in recovery from the recession and states cutting back programs to close budget holes, support for public transit looks to be grinding to a halt.
The 2010 World Cup has ended in South Africa. What's left behind are a number of physical and cultural legacies that will be both landmark developments and potential economic hazards.
There are no vuvuzelas. The plastic horns had been blaring at random throughout the city of Johannesburg for the entire month of the 2010 World Cup, which has just finished here in South Africa. They were even blaring the month before the Cup started -- in the middle of the morning, out of car windows on the freeway, inside the city's endless shopping malls. But now that it's over, the loud honk that had become a part of the city's background static has faded out.
On Friday February 12 the 2010 Winter Olympics begin in Vancouver. Like all host cities, Vancouver had to plan for a sprint and a marathon — it had to develop, finance, design and build a range of sport and residential venues that would not only make the two-week event a big success but also, when the world had gone back home, become a vital and enduring part of the city fabric.
Vancouver planning director Brent Toderian spoke recently with journalist Nate Berg, of Planetizen, about how the city, known for progressive planning and green thinking, was meeting the Olympic challenge.
Nate Berg: Your city is just about to host the Olympics. What’s the mood like there?