What We’re Reading: Secretary Pete, Maglev, and Extinction


TO cut backs: Despite earlier expansion ambitions, Toronto’s subway expansion plans have been cut back again.

Mass vaccination: Bloomberg CityLab looks at what kinds of facilities may serve as mass Covid vaccination sites.

NHTSA’s next head: A Californian technician is set to become the next head of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

Roadway impact: A new study suggests that using taxi-ish app-based services can double your roadway impact.

Secretary Pete: Streetsblog highlights five key parts of Pete Buttigieg’s nomination hearing for transportation secretary and says that his soon-to-be agency needs an active transportation czar.

Repurposing ROW: Turin turns a short abandoned tramway into a temporary linear park.

Charge Trump, too: Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro could face human rights charges at The Hague for his destructive policies in the Amazon Rainforest.

Boondoggle in the making: With the new Columbia River Crossing project back in planning, Portland’s metropolitan planning organization president urges caution.

BeltLine completion: Atlanta is proposing a new tax to fund completion of the BeltLine multi-use trail.

Incentivizing e-bikes: A Washington legislator has a tax exemption proposal for sales of e-bikes and accessories.

Still in planning: A plan for supervised drug consumption sites in Seattle and King County is still underway.

Transit and seating: Greater Greater Washington highlights why transportation advocates need to talk about seating.

Economic assistance: Washington’s Democratic legislative majority has unveiled a $2.2 billion pandemic economic assistance bill that could pass.

Maglev: China has debuted a prototype maglev train that could operate at 620 kilometers per hour.

Conjunction Junction: A new greenway in West Seattle is planned to open this year to connect The Junction with 35th Ave SW.

Not enough: Katie Wilson opines that Amazon’s housing philanthropy is not enough.

Mexico City model: Should Chicago adopt women-only transit for safety?

Postponed: A transit fare hike in New York City has been postponed.

Rezoning Atlanta: Could Atlanta end single-family-only zoning?

Yang’s casino proposal: Andrew Yang continues his weird mayoral campaign with a proposal for casino at the famed Governors Island.

Universal healthcare WA: Could Washington have single-payer universal healthcare by 2026?

Reform voting: Sightline highlights how ranked choice voting could break up partisanship and transform our politics. Meanwhile, new data shows strong national support for expanding voting rights and protections.

130th bike improvements: What bike improvements are recommended near the future 130th Street Station?

Extinction: A new report says that salmon in Washington are on the brink of extinction.

Rehousing plans: Publicola covers Seattle’s latest plans to address homelessness.

Lynnwood booms: A new proposal in Lynnwood would add 350 housing units in two seven-story buildings ($) near the soon-to-open light rail station.

On a technicality: Opponents of a Gowanus rezone plan in Brooklyn are using remote hearings as a rezone to block the plan.

Abundant zoning reform: Zoning reforms are popping up all over the place, Sightline says.

Desert Express: Brightline’s high-speed rail project in California and Nevada could be back on track for construction this year.

Quick stop: Many scientists now think if emissions go to zero, the effects of climate change could stop relatively quickly.

Drought in the Colorado: Due to drought conditions, the Upper Colorado River drought contingency plans have been in place for the first time.

Ending parking subsidies: Should parking pay its way instead of getting a free ride?

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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.

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Daniel Thompson


This Seattle Times article notes bike commuters have dropped to 2.8%


Page 23 on racial make up of E-bike users noting users. 88% were white and 3% were black.

If you think housing and development are not lagging in communities of color like Rainier Beach because they are communities of color then we will just have to disagree.

Daniel Thompson


Better link. page 25 notes the new requirement that 10% of shared e-bikes be placed in disadvantaged communities of color to hopefully increase use.

Daniel Thompson

What we need is a sales tax exemption for electric cars if climate change is the concern. Around 2% of Seattleites use bikes for non-recreational trips [Moderator: This is false and lacking a citation], and even Seattle is considering eliminating bike storage requirements from new affordable housing development. E-bikes serve a sliver of wealthy white urban dwellers {Moderator: Citation needed. Still much cheaper than cars]. This exemption is so Seattle centric, and does so little to combat climate change or promote racial equity, I can’t imagine it becoming law

TOD and other housing is booming in Lynnwood and Angle Lake, and not Rainier Beach or South Seattle, because both are very white [Moderator: false and lacking a citation]. Sound Transit has not delivered on its promise of racial equity, although I worry Terry White’s ideas about reallocating bus service are going to badly hurt light rail by damaging feeder bus frequency right when light rail is adding a seat and transfer to most trips and acknowledging it won’t be able to complete ST 3 in the North King Co. subarea. First/last mile access begins at your doorstep because most citizens have a car parked in their garage, and when you drive this first step of first/last mile access is eliminated. Transit has to compete with cars. No matter how frequent light rail runs if a rider or commuter who has to be someplace by a time certain is waiting in the dark or cold 15 minutes for a bus to a train light rail will not be seen as a success.

I guess the irony that housing is booming in Lynnwood and Angle Lake while declining in downtown Seattle is not appreciated by Urbanists.

Douglas Trumm

Lynnwood and SeaTac are more racially diverse than Seattle and considerably less White. SeaTac is just 32% non-Hispanic White and Lynnwood 53%. I’m not disputing that Rainier Beach has seen less development than many other urban villages. But your claim that Lynnwood and SeaTac have been development “because they’re both very White” is just plain false. https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/seattlecitywashington,seataccitywashington,lynnwoodcitywashington/PST045219

As for your e-bike claim, you’ve presented no evidence of the wealth of e-bike owners compared to car owners. And I’m talking owners not people who rent from Lime or other bikeshare companies. This Gene Balk article notes broadly speaking 1 in 4 people biking are low income (below $50k). The median household income of bicyclists is slightly higher than motorists according to the Nielsen data he used, but still basically at the area median. And he found no racial split among cyclists: “Overall, 6% of the population bikes for transportation in the Seattle area, but for men, it jumps to 9% — and that number is the same for both white men and men of color.” https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/data/who-bikes-in-seattle-bicycling-gender-gap-one-of-biggest-in-country/