An interesting look at transit use in Calgary — a sprawling, car-oriented city — in comparison to similar U.S. cities such as Dallas. The article notes that 87 percent of households in Calgary live in suburban environs, yet the city has more than two times the transit trips than in Dallas with only one-fourth the population. What could account for this difference? The author believes it can be attributed to the lack of downtown freeways. Excerpt:
Decades of progressive thinking about how to run downtown have produced a Calgary where there are no freeways entering the central city. Citizens there have been vocally opposed to building highways there since the 1950s, with the consequence that it is simply not that quick to get into downtown by car. This has a number of related effects, including the incentivization of non-automobile modes and the reduction in outward suburban sprawl (since it takes a longer amount of time to get to the center of downtown).
In Dallas, on the other hand, six grade-separated highways radiate from downtown, a loop tightly encircles it, and state highway planners have been pushing for a new tollway directly adjacent to it — in the middle of a park.
Another reason posited for Calgary’s high transit ridership is restrictive downtown parking policies that are balanced by investments in park-and-rides near transit stations. So what does this all mean?
Calgary’s success — unlike that of Vancouver, Montreal, or Toronto, for example — comes despite its relative lack of pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods and a transit system that has encouraged them. To a significant degree, it is clear that it is possible to boost transit use simply by making it more expensive and complicated to drive to work, and relatively easier to take transit.
More woes for Washington state’s Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project. Buildings now appear to be sinking in Seattle’s Pioneer Square as recovery efforts continue nearby to repair the tunnel boring machine (TBM) nicknamed Bertha. As the world’s largest TBM, Bertha was built to tunnel a new highway underneath downtown Seattle, but was damaged when it unexpectedly hit metal pipes last year. It has been stuck ever since.
Residents in one building on the square have noticed their doors are now catching the floor. The cause of the sinking is likely from the repair efforts for the TBM which involved digging a 12-story deep pit and pumping out groundwater, which might have caused unexpected ground settlement.
Another chapter in the ride-share company saga. Uber gets the spotlight again since its competitor Lyft has already settled and vowed to “play by the rules.” For Uber this time it’s a consumer protection lawsuit filed by the L.A. and S.F district attorneys alleging the company is misleading its customers about the extent of driver background checks, among other issues. The lawsuit is not expected to affect Uber’s operations in California.
You won’t believe what this list includes! Okay, sorry about the click-bait, but the point here is spot-on.
See America’s streetcar systems at scale (Greater Greater Washington)
Cool graphic compares America’s 19 streetcar systems. Philly, New Orleans and Portland appear to have the most extensive systems in these early days of the 21st century.
Categories: Transportation Headlines