We all love progress and the opening of the First Street Bridge today is a reminder that all good construction projects must come to an end … eventually. Portions of the 82-year-old bridge were closed to traffic in 2007 to allow the bridge to be widened 26 feet to accommodate the Metro Gold Line tracks to the Eastside. Unexpected discoveries, including large boulders and unknown utility lines, delayed the work. But it’s finally over, the integrity of the bridge’s original design has been maintained and those of us who use that bridge could not be happier.
After President Eisenhower pushed legislation in 1956 that would radically expand the U.S. highway system, artists began to imagine which technologies might shape our highway-rich future. Smithsonian mag shows us examples of highways built for self-driving cars, highways stretching from Alaska to Russia, highways running through the bottom of the sea and machines that chew up the ground, leaving pavement in their tracks.
Future city slowdown (Salon)
For generations, velocity has defined the urban experience: screeching subways, maniacal taxis, hustling crowds. But look around (if you have a second) and you might notice that a lot of the new ideas seeping into cities are aimed not at making them faster, but at slowing them down. Bikes, walkable cities, sit-down pedestrian plazas. What’s happening to our Type A culture?
Will Rahm Emanuel show America what a BRT (and Chicago) can do? (Streetsblog DC)
With impressive urgency, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has spent his first months in office retooling and reconfiguring how the City That Works works. But perhaps his most tangible efforts can be seen in his ambitious transportation agenda. Emanuel already has implemented the city’s first protected bike lanes, announced a $1 billion upgrade to the Chicago Transit Authority’s Red line and passed a $2 congestion fee on downtown parking garages that will go toward creation of a CTA Green Line stop at McCormick Place, the nation’s largest convention center. And — of particular interest to the Wilshire BRT fans among us — it includes a downtown circulator bus route being billed as a bus rapid transit. The circulator could be an interesting harbinger of Emanuel’s bus policy and how far he will go with BRT. But it has yet to be seen whether Chicago will commit to high-performance BRT that sets a precedent for other American cities. L.A. is watching.