Skip to content

SB event logo 580x200
View Comments

Affordable Transportation and Affordable Housing Need to Go Hand-in-Hand

In Pittsburgh, combined housing and transportation costs are still lower in urban areas. Map: Center for Neighborhood Technology

In Pittsburgh, combined housing and transportation costs tend to be lower in central areas, but rents are rising in central neighborhoods. Map: Center for Neighborhood Technology

Rents continue to rise in cities across the U.S., and Pittsburgh is no exception. Noting the escalating housing costs in walkable neighborhoods, Alex Shewczyk at Bike Pittsburgh looks at how transportation and housing policy can coordinate to make places more affordable.

We know from resources like the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s Housing+Transportation Index that transportation costs are a large household expense and closely tied to housing location. If you live somewhere with good options besides driving, you can save a lot. But these places are where housing costs are rising. To address the challenge of affordability, cities need to use both transportation strategies and housing strategies — and there’s a lot of overlap between the two, Shewczyk writes:

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Guidebook for Creating Connected Communities, typical households in auto-dependent neighborhoods spend about 25 percent of their income on transportation costs, but this number drops to 9 percent in neighborhoods that are more connected with a variety of mobility options.

Recently, the Obama Administration’s “toolkit” on housing development made local zoning and land-use regulations a national issue. The White House reports, “Significant barriers to new housing development can cause working families to be pushed out of the job markets with the best opportunities for them, or prevent them from moving to regions with higher — paying jobs and stronger career tracks. Excessive barriers to housing development result in increasing drag on national economic growth and exacerbate income inequality.”

Read more…


Today’s Headlines

  • Judge Finds Probable Cause for Criminal Case Against Chris Christie (NYT)
  • New NJ Transit Chief Steven Santoro Has His Work Cut Out for Him (AP 1, 2; 2AS)
  • NTSB Releases Preliminary Report on Hoboken Crash (@2AvSagas, Post, AMNY, News)
  • Presidential Infrastructure Forum in NYC Makes News Mostly Because Trump Snubbed It (Politico, News)
  • Brooklyn Cyclist Who Was Run Over by a Semi Driver Wrote a Memoir About It (Bklyn Paper)
  • Off-Duty FDNY Firefighter Drives Drunk, Hits Car, Leaves Scene, Is Arrested (News)
  • Man Stopped for DWI in Crown Heights Tries to Flee Scene With Cops in Car (DNA)
  • Widow of Thomas Violante, Pedestrian Killed on Hylan Boulevard, Sues Driver (Advance)
  • Thanks to Motorists, It’s a Particularly Bad Time of Year to Be a Deer (Advance)
  • Bloomberg Checks Out the Detroit Citi Bike Plant
  • Robin Williams Was a Decent and Personable Guy With an Amazing Bike Collection (WSJ)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA


CB 1 Stalls Bike Lane Because of “Left Turn of Death” Where No One Has Died

Since at least 2009, no one has died at the intersection of Varick and Metropolitan, according to city data. Image: Brooklyn CB 1

Brooklyn CB1 leadership sent a packet to all its members opposing a bike lane, and this was the cover page.

The leadership at Brooklyn Community Board 1 is pulling out all the stops to delay or block DOT’s plan for safer bike infrastructure on the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge.

After a meeting last month, CB 1 leadership sent a packet to all board members arguing that the project should not move forward until DOT makes changes at the intersection of Metropolitan Avenue and Varick Avenue [PDF].

DOT first presented the Metropolitan Avenue bike lane project to the CB 1 transportation committee more than two years ago — in June 2014 — and since then the plan has undergone multiple revisions [PDF].

Last month, the board voted to table the project. In an unsigned email statement to Streetsblog after the meeting, CB 1 said DOT’s project “failed to address” the “extremely dangerous” left turn from westbound Metropolitan Avenue onto Varick Avenue, just east of the bridge. The cover page of the packet that CB 1 sent around calls it the “left turn of death.”

Read more…


Read Brad Lander’s Pitch-Perfect Statement on Bike-Share and Parking

City Council Member Brad Lander released a pitch-perfect response to complaints about bike-share and curbside parking today. Other NYC pols should take note.

Council Member Brad Lander.

Every time bike-share expands to new neighborhoods, some people get upset — mainly because the local supply of free curbside car parking shrinks by a fraction of a percent. Last week Assembly Member Dan O’Donnell, who represents the Upper West Side, demonstrated how not to respond — he validated those complaints by process-truthing and promising to “restore critical parking spaces,” as if parking for bikes that are used multiple times a day is a less productive use of curb space than storing private cars.

In Brooklyn, Community Board 6 has invited people to complain about stations they don’t like, with the expectation that DOT will move at least some of them, despite the fact that station sitings were guided by a lengthy public process.

Lander’s district overlaps with that of CB 6. A statement posted today on his web site is a remarkable example of how elected officials should communicate the value of these types of changes. Here’s an excerpt:

There are approximately 25,000-30,000 parking spots in CB6. Citi Bike has taken away 150-200 of them — about ½ of 1 percent. I know that is small comfort if several of them are right near your house. But it is also important to remember that 57% of the households in our community don’t own cars. And for every parking spot lost to Citi Bike, there are approximately 5-8 bike-share trips per day (far more times than a typical side-street parking spot would be used).

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
View Comments

Transit Vote 2016: Indianapolis’s Chance to Get a Real Transit System


The Indy Connect plan would dramatically expand frequent transit routes (in red). Maps: Indy Connect. Click to enlarge.

The presidency and Congress aren’t the only things at stake when voters go to the polls next month. In several cities, people will also be deciding the future of their transit and transportation systems. With the odds of increasing federal transit funding looking remote in gridlocked Washington, these local ballot measures take on even more importance. Before the election, Streetsblog will be looking at what’s at stake in some of the big transit ballot initiatives, starting with Indianapolis.

Indianapolis is a growing city, but the region’s bare-bones transit system is not keeping up. Bus routes that provide service at least every 15 minutes are almost non-existent. Only about 2 percent of the city’s commuters take transit to work, compared to 8 percent in Cincinnati and 18 percent in Pittsburgh.

Voters will have a chance to change that in November when they decide on a major expansion of the region’s transit system, funded by a .25 percent income tax hike. If it passes, the Indy region will dramatically expand frequent bus routes, extend service hours, and build three bus rapid transit lines.

Kevin Kastner, who writes at Urban Indy, says right now the bus system does not provide service that people want to use.

“Every 30 minutes is the best you can do,” he said. “The bus I rode this morning, I don’t want to say it was falling apart, but it was in about as bad a shape as a bus can be.”

Read more…


Driver Who Killed Cyclist on City Island Bridge Pleads Guilty to Homicide

Gabriela Aguilar-Vallinos

Gabriela Aguilar-Vallinos

A motorist who fatally struck a woman riding a bike on the City Island Bridge pled guilty to felony leaving the scene and homicide.

Gabriela Aguilar-Vallinos was on her way home from work at around 11:45 p.m. on September 11, 2015, when Michael Moreno hit her with a Hyundai sedan, then left the scene.

Aguilar-Vallinos sustained head trauma and died at Jacobi Hospital. She was 27.

Former Bronx DA Robert Johnson charged Moreno with second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and felony leaving the scene. The case was disposed by Johnson’s successor Darcel Clark.

The top charge against Moreno — manslaughter — is a class C felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Last week Moreno pled guilty to leaving the scene and homicide, class D and E felonies, respectively.

A more severe charge than homicide under state law, class D leaving the scene carries penalties ranging from probation to seven years in prison.

Moreno is scheduled to be sentenced later this month.
View Comments

Does WMATA Have Enough Credibility to Avoid Doomsday Service Cuts?

A proposal from Washington's WMATA suggests closing 20 Metro stations, outside of rush hour, cutting bus service and raising fares to close a $275 million budget gap. Image: WMATA via Greater Greater Washington

WMATA says that without new revenue it will have to close 20 Metro stations outside of rush hour and cut bus service. Image: WMATA via Greater Greater Washington

WMATA, the DC region’s transit agency, is in crisis.

DC is a rarity among major American cities, with transit mode share declining over the last decade. In the past year, the federal government took over WMATA’s safety oversight authority after a number of embarrassing failures, culminating in the whole Metro being temporarily shut down. Confidence in the agency is in short supply.

On top of everything, WMATA now faces a $275 million budget shortfall. Jonathan Neeley at Greater Greater Washington reports that the agency just outlined an alarming doomsday scenario, including cutting service on high-profile recent expansion projects:

On Thursday, WMATA’s staff will give a presentation to the Board of Directors on potential ways to close a $275 million budget gap. Or, put another way, staff warn the board that without more money, some drastic measures may be inevitable.

The draft presentation that came out on Tuesday lists options like closing 20 stations during off-peak hours (nine of them on the east end of the Orange, Blue, and Silver Lines, along with three on the west end of the Silver Line) and shutting down a number of bus lines, including the brand new Potomac Yard Metroway.

The first thing to remember is that this isn’t an official proposal; it’s a cry for help. It’s WMATA saying that it needs more money to operate the entire rail system, and if that money doesn’t come in, these are possible options for cutting costs to a level commensurate with current funding.

Read more…


Today’s Headlines

  • It Will Take NJ Transit a Long Time to Recover From Chris Christie (NYT)
  • NJT Board to Meet for First Time in Months (Bloomberg), New Director Expected (WSJ)
  • TA and Harbor Ring Committee Host Verrazano Bike Path Rally on Saturday (AMNY)
  • State Department of Labor Rules Former Uber Drivers Were Employees, Not Contractors (NYT)
  • Advocates for Disabled Say Uber and Lyft Helped Rudin on Access-A-Ride Report (Crain’s)
  • The NYC Department of Education’s School Bus System Is a Gnarly Mess (DNA)
  • Electeds Agree Tour Buses Are a Problem — Now What? (Voice)
  • Think NYPD Ticketed Driver of Oversized Rig Who Wreaked Havoc on Manhattan Street? (DNA)
  • Residential Development at Jamaica AirTrain Station to Come With 187 Parking Spots (DNA)
  • Gotham Gazette Long-Form Piece Looks at Efforts to Revitalize Downtown Far Rockaway
  • Device Meant to Keep Staten Island Motorists From Littering Straight Out of Wall-E (Gothamist)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

Streetsblog USA
View Comments

Edmonton’s Quick-Build Protected Bike Lane Grid: “A New Model” for Change

pfb logo 100x22Michael Andersen blogs for The Green Lane Project, a PeopleForBikes program that helps U.S. cities connect high-comfort biking networks.

The most interesting thing about this week’s best bike infrastructure news isn’t what’s being built. It’s how it’s being built.

Two years ago, the sprawling Canadian prairie metropolis of Calgary decided to buck tradition and test an entire “minimum grid” of protected bike lanes through its downtown, all at once. Calgary’s proposal survived a nailbiting 8-7 council vote thanks to a first-rate campaign by local advocates and the swing vote of a suburban conservative who said he’d simply been persuaded that for just $7 million, a quick-build biking network was worth a try.

It worked. Bike counts doubled almost immediately; at last count they’re up 132 percent across downtown and biking is up citywide by every available measure, a win in Calgary’s war on congestion.

On Monday, Edmonton proved how contagious a good idea can be.

Edmonton’s council voted unanimously to do essentially the same thing, creating a connected system of comfortable bike routes in its downtown.

An overhead view of the post-protected bike lane planned for 102nd Avenue. Image: City of Edmonton.

“A new model of public consultation”

Read more…


A Trucker Ran Over a Cyclist, So the 84th Precinct Ticketed Cyclists

Hours after a truck driver ran over a cyclist at Jay and Tillary streets yesterday, officers from the 84th Precinct were out ticketing cyclists.

Streetsblog reader Paul Vogel, a.k.a. @D00rZ0ne, tweeted photos of officers ticketing people on bikes during the evening rush at the intersection, where a driver in what appeared to be an oversized rig critically injured a 35-year-old man Tuesday morning.

As we wrote yesterday, it is illegal to operate a tractor-trailer carrying boxed or other loose cargo on New York City streets if the total truck length exceeds 55 feet. NYPD did not ticket or charge the driver.

As of August, the 84th Precinct had cited just nine drivers for truck route violations in all of 2016, giving trucking companies carte blanche to put people in danger while breaking city traffic laws.

We called the 84th Precinct this morning. Both officers we spoke with said they didn’t know anything about yesterday’s collision or whether precinct officers were enforcing truck regulations after the crash.

If you’d like to speak with Deputy Inspector Sergio Centa, commanding officer of the 84th Precinct, about street safety and traffic enforcement, the precinct community council meets on the third Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. Call 718-875-6850 for location information.