What We’re Reading: Highway to Hell

Seattle Light by Jonathan Cheng on Flickr.

Highway to hell: Long Beach, CA plans to remove the first freeway in southern California. The freeway revolt in Los Angeles that you probably never knew about. The Senate Democrats cave to House Republicans on national transportation funding–we may keep the roads, bridges, and buses going, but the system is still broken.

Design and development: The Seattle City Council wants a new housing affordability strategy. Urban Kchoze argues that building width, not height, is what really matters when designing and constructing buildings; he looks at a number of case studies. Capitol Hill Housing buys up Squire Park, a controversial situation due to the number of affordable units in the building. A developer sues a homeowner for delaying their E 15th St and Madison Way project. The San Francisco Transbay Transit Center is spurring a lot of development that is quite unique. And a cool microhousing project is on the way for Howell and 15th.

All for the bikes: The Fremont Bridge bike counter sets another record, but just barely–and it appears that we’re on the way to top 1 million bicycle rides across the bridge. The Westlake bikeway continues to evolve, and this iteration has some seriously unique features that we’re not so keen on–like a cycletrack in the middle of parking lot drive aisle. Seattle Bike Blog talks helmets and Pronto! Houston is making bike interstates out of its utility networks. And a study suggests that buffers are need between bikes and parked cars if you want to keep cyclists safe.

Maps this week: A proposal to get rid of gerrymandering; not only would the political landscape likely be a lot different, but congressional districts would just make sense–people, not politics. A simple map of DC’s Metrorail shows the walkshed of each station within the District and its immediate suburbs. The new geography of consumer debt, it’s widespread.

Transit talk: The freeway stations along SR-520 are now both open, and Tim Bond gives a report on them for transit riders. Meanwhile, Frank Chiachiere wades into the progressive/regressive tax debate and argues that labeling taxes as such that is really a blurred lines situation. FiveThrityEight rates your transit, how do you rank? And bikeshares help support transit.

The random stuff: Forget Uber or Car2Go, BlaBlaCar is taking over Europe–it’s a unique carsharing venture. Saville is banning outdoor dominoes (and lots of other stuff) because they’re noisy. Former Mayor Paul Schell dies. European cities are trying out different cooperative approaches to getting real estate refurbished and occupied. Big cities that restrict development ultimately hurt the economy.

We hope you loved this article. If so, please consider subscribing or donating. The Urbanist is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that depends on donations from readers like you.

Stephen is an urban planner with a passion for sustainable, livable, and diverse cities. He is especially interested in how policies, regulations, and programs can promote positive outcomes for communities. Stephen lives in Kenmore and primarily covers land use and transportation issues for The Urbanist.