Transportation headlines, Tuesday, Dec. 20

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.

First Street Bridge opens today. Finally! (The Eastsider LA)

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.

Invasion of the giant earth-eating highway machines, circa 1958 (Smithsonian)

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.

1 reply

  1. I disagree with the future slowdown and that bicycles will become the fastest way to get around town as they miss out on the scooter.

    A scooter is faster than pedaling a bicycle, it’s smaller and more agile than car to weave through tight spaces, and the cost of ownership of a scooter is much more cost efficient than a car at 70-100 MPG. Heck for most people, filling up the gas on a scooter is cheaper than taking public transit. And you have the ability to go when you want to go without being restricted to when the bus will come.

    Just look around LA and you see an increasing number of scooter riders these days. The scooter is a becoming the next biggest contender against bicycles, cars and public transit.