Transportation headlines, Friday, September 2

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the library’s blog.

Is a car battery subsidy just a sprawl subsidy? (Infrastructurist)

Infrastructurist writer Eric Jaffe checks in on the debate over the Obama Administration’s support for car battery research. The New York Times Magazine emphasized in a long piece the huge potential market for electric vehicles. From that they concluded that the government was sage to invest $2.5 billion in battery research as part of the stimulus. However, urban planning bloggers argued that subsidizing the auto industry — via this investment — would only perpetuate an inefficient road-based transportation system. What about battery-powered buses?

Spurring jobs through infrastructure? (Transport Politic)

The President is set to announce a jobs plan in the coming days that many expect will include capital investments in the transit system. Yonah Freemark, however, contends that doing so wouldn’t pay dividends for many years, given how long it takes to plan, design and construct transit lines. Rather, Freemark supports an approach that includes robust support for transit operations as a means to expand employment. The other benefit of federal support for operations in general is that the feds could borrow funds to keep services at a constant level, meaning agencies wouldn’t have to cut services in lean times — like, say, during a major national recession.

Tiny parks are on a roll in San Francisco (L.A. Times)

If it’s in the street, it’s transportation! And how we use our streets says a lot about our community’s priorities. New bike lanes are starting to pop up in L.A., New York is turning car lanes into pedestrian plazas and San Francisco is turning parking spaces into movable mini-parks. Columnist Maria L. La Ganga’s take on S.F.’s effort: It depends on the context. Plop them down on a quiet street and they sit unused. Add them to an already busy sidewalk and their splash of greenery is heartily embraced.