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Road Improvements? No, Road Impairments

Mixing high speed traffic and people on foot or bikes is a recipe for disaster. The findings of a Palm Beach MPO study bear this out, showing the extraordinarily dangerous nature of the county’s arterial road network. Below is a map showing the hot spots identified. Thanks to Wes Blackman for reporting on this MPO meeting and recording it. [links to Wes’ blog and video recording of meeting here]

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Today’s Headlines

  • Virginia Beach Flood Gets People Out of Their Cars (WTKR)
  • Lack of Transit Means Gwinnett County, GA Is Losing Out on Jobs (Saporta Report)
  • Louisville Boy Falls From Dilapidated Pedestrian Bridge, Nearly Lands on Highway (WHAS)
  • Another Steamboat for Natchez, MS? (The Advocate)
  • Sandy Springs Residents Already Pissed About New Braves Stadium Traffic (AJC)
  • Bike-Share Program Is Rolling in Macon, GA (The Telegraph)
  • “Luxury” Bus Company Starts Service to 14 Florida Cities (Miami Community Newspapers)
  • Skateboarders Adopted a “Desolate” Concrete Lot and Atlanta Can’t Have That (Curbed)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

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The Threat of Racial Profiling in Traffic Enforcement

This map shows the streets where 50 percent of fatal traffic crashes occur in San Jose. But in yellow, we see there's a strong overlap with "disadvantaged" areas, where immigrants, low-income people and people of color are concentrated. Map via Cyclelicious

Can urban police forces with histories of racial profiling and brutality be entrusted to carry out traffic enforcement as part of Vision Zero initiatives? In a Twitter chat yesterday, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership asked how to ensure that “law enforcement doesn’t profile or discriminate” when asked to uphold traffic laws.

Responding on Cyclelicious, Richard Masoner offers some data that illustrates the tension in San Jose:

As part of their Vision Zero effort, the city of San Jose, CA Police Traffic Enforcement Unit has adopted a data driven approach to enforcing traffic infractions. 50% of traffic fatalities in San Jose occur on just 3% of city streets. These “Safety Priority Streets” are portions of Almaden Expressway, Alum Rock Avenue, Blossom Hill Road, Branham Lane, Capitol Expressway, Jackson Avenue, King Road, McKee Road, McLaughlin Avenue, Monterey Road, Senter Road, Story Road, Tully Road, and White Road. Both cyclist fatalities in 2014 occurred on one of these streets, and the majority of cycling deaths in San Jose continue to occur on those roads.

JPD love this data, and it was very easy to convince them to use their very limited resources to target enforcement where they can do the most good.

But see what happens when we overlay the map of what our regional planning agency identifies as “Communities of Concern,” which are neighborhoods with a high proportion of minorities, recent immigrants, and low-income households.

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Today’s Headlines

  • Gasoline Pipeline Restarted After Days of Shortages in the Southeast (Fortune)
  • Ambitious Nashville Transit Plan Clears Key Hurdle (Tennessean)
  • Talk of Atlanta-Macon Commuter Rail Resurfaces (WMAZ)
  • Seniors Drive Transit Growth in North Carolina (WCGS)
  • Georgia DOT Rejects Median Cut for Oconee County Sprawl (Oconee Enterprise)
  • Public Meetings Set on North Fulton Transpo Plan (AJC)
  • Gainesville Sun Says City’s Awful Bus Stops Should Be ADA Compliant
  • Cycling Starting to Catch On in Mobile, AL (Lagniappe)
  • Zipcar Expands Into Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Eyes Birmingham Next (AL.com)
  • Should Louisiana Double Its Fuel Tax? (Baton Rouge Business Report)
  • CityLab Thinks Self-Driving Cars Can Save Black People From Police

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

Streetsblog USA

Finally Some Relief for Memphis Bus Riders

The shameful state of Memphis’s bus system is one of the more outrageous stories in American transit.

Buses in Memphis are in such bad shape, there have been a number of fires. But help is on the way. Photo via Memphis Bus Riders Union

When we checked in with the advocates at the Memphis Bus Riders Union in March, they told us the local transit agency, MATA, was running buses so poorly maintained that they were known to catch fire. In the midst of this crisis, local business leaders had marshaled enough cash to restore the city’s historic trolley system, which mostly serves tourists. Meanwhile, MATA was struggling just to maintain bare-bones operations, with a 17 percent service cut looming.

The current condition of buses is so poor, riders can’t even be assured a bus will arrive no matter how long they wait, said Bennett Foster of the Bus Riders Union.

“Some routes are not being served throughout the day due to a lack of buses,” Foster told Streetsblog. “When a bus breaks down they don’t have another bus to send out. There are people in the city every day who experience just no buses running.”

But the advocacy of the Bus Riders Union is getting results. Mayor Jim Strickland has allocated an additional $7.5 million from the city budget toward the transit system this year. About $5 million of that will be reserved for replacing buses — an absolute necessity.

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Today’s Headlines

  • Broken Gas Pipeline Expected to Reopen Wednesday (Tuscaloosa News)
  • Gas Shortages Lead to Rising Prices in Virginia (NBC 29)
  • Kentucky Waives Regulations on Truckers Hauling Gas (WTVQ)
  • Arkansas Says Shared-Use Path Is Recreational, Forces Fayetteville to Foot the Bill (Democrat Gazette)
  • Jefferson Parish Votes on Ride-Share Regulations Today (WGNO)
  • Plan to Widen I-10 in Baton Rouge Moves Forward (The Advocate)
  • Alabama DOT Is Widening Highway 150 (Birmingham Business Journal)
  • Athens, GA Commissioners Talk Transpo Taxes and Bike Infrastructure (Flagpole)
  • A SunRail Train Might Have Run Over Someone (Orlando Sentinel)
  • Marin County Officials Want All Aboard Florida to Change Route (Fort Pierce Tribune)
  • Charleston Asks SC DOT Whether It’s OK to Build a Bike Lane (Live 5)
  • North Carolina Laws on Drivers Passing Cyclists Take Effect Oct. 1 (Asheville Citizen-Times)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

Streetsblog USA

How Transit Agencies Can Offer Better Paratransit Service at Lower Costs

Paratransit costs are rising fast for transit agencies and riders aren't particularly satisfied. Graph: Rudin Center

Paratransit service for people with disabilities is a big part of what modern transit agencies do, and it’s getting bigger all the time. As the population ages and more people rely on paratransit to get around, agencies need to get smart about how they provide the service — or else rising costs will eat into their capacity to run buses and trains.

A new report from the Rudin Center for Transportation at NYU lays out how to provide quality paratransit service without breaking the bank.

The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act required cities to provide paratransit service for residents with disabilities but provided no operating funds. Nationally, paratransit now accounts about 12 percent of transit budgets, according to the report. It typically costs far more to operate than bus or train service — the national average is $29 per paratransit trip, compared to a little more than $8 per trip for fixed-route services.

The Rudin Center report explores how transit agencies can reduce costs while simultaneously improving service for paratransit users. Here are the four main recommendations.

1. Partner with ride-hailing services

Contracting with taxi services or ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft could benefit both transit agencies and paratransit riders.

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Today’s Headlines

  • Atlanta Drivers Hunt for Gas After Pipeline Spill (AJC)
  • Gas Prices in the South Expected to Keep Rising (The Telegraph)
  • South Carolina Suspends Trucking Rules to Speed Delivery (Charleston Scene)
  • North Carolina Governor Declares State of Emergency (WCNC)
  • Price-Gouging Complaints Pour in in Tennessee (WJHL)
  • Alabama Less Hard Hit by Spill Than Neighbors (AL.com)
  • Mississippi Has Gas, but Not Diesel (WCBI)
  • Gas Company Is Building a Temporary Pipeline (Fox News)
  • Memphis Boardwalk Across the Mississippi Opens Next Month (Commercial Appeal)
  • Miami Beach Developer Says Transit Station Will Make His Tower More Appealing (SF Biz Journal)
  • Fairfax County, VA Offers Prizes for Transit Users (Reston Now)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

Streetsblog USA

Paris to Return Its Great Public Squares to the People

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If you look at paintings from the pre-automotive era, Paris’s monumental public squares were full of people strolling comfortably. But over time, car traffic has consumed most of these squares.

Now, under Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Paris is setting out to remake the city’s squares as great public gathering places.

The city is currently in the midst of an initiative to turn seven plazas and squares into pedestrian-friendly spaces, including the Place de la Bastille, Place de la Madeleine, and Place du Pantheon. Each will be redesigned with the goal of dedicating at least 50 percent of the land area to walking, biking, and public space. And for each project, the city will test out several different configurations, with public feedback and a rigorous analysis of how people use the space determining which version sticks.

The New York-based firm Placemeter is observing how people use the squares and compiling data for Paris officials. The company is currently using cameras to collect travel information from Plaza de la Nation, where six different designs will be piloted over the course of a year.

“You could call it tactical urbanism — testing,” said Placemeter’s Florent Peyre. “All of them will go through a phase of temporary installing with deployments before selecting the winning design.”

Place de la Nation “has a lot of symbolic importance for Parisians,” said Peyre, and serves as a major gathering center for protests. But on a typical day it is practically overrun by fast-moving car traffic.

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Today’s Headlines

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