Greater City Providence

News & Notes

Salon: It’s time to love the bus

Making people like the bus when not liking the bus is practically an American pastime essentially means making the bus act and feel more like a train. Trains show up roughly when they’re supposed to. Buses take forever, then arrive two at a time. Trains boast better design, speed, shelters, schedules and easier-to-follow routes. When people say they don’t like the bus but they do like the train, what they really mean is they like those perks the train offers. But there’s no reason bus systems can’t simply incorporate most of them.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Mayor Sam Adams: Portland’s streetcar makes vital change

Atlanta has just broken ground on a streetcar line. As the mayor of Portland, a city in the midst of a streetcar revival, I remember that feeling.

You’re probably wondering what comes next. You can look forward to a noticeable change in your city. Investing local, state and federal dollars to leverage private funds has reinvigorated our city, created jobs and given Portlanders a healthy, more sustainable transportation choice.

The Hill: Broad coalition leans on Congress to pass transportation spending bill

Congress is under pressure from an unusually wide range of industries and groups to pass a spending bill for transportation.

The push to get a bill passed by March 31, when current legislation for infrastructure expires, has made for strange bedfellows. Supporters include the hotel, food and retail industries, hospitals, trade associations for engineers and cement-makers, local governments and even religious and civil-rights groups.

Advocates say the breadth of the support illustrates the importance of highways, bridges, ports and public transit to the U.S. economy.

Grist: Rust Belt chic: Can gritty, beaten down cities find their inner cool?

I think that troubled cities often tragically misinterpret what’s coolest about themselves. They scramble for cure-alls, something that will ‘attract business,’ always one convention center, one pedestrian mall or restaurant district away from revival. They miss their biggest, best, and probably most marketable asset: their unique and slightly off-center character. Few people go to New Orleans because it’s a ‘normal’ city – or a ‘perfect’ or ‘safe’ one. They go because it’s crazy, borderline dysfunctional, permissive, shabby, alcoholic, and bat shit crazy – and because it looks like nowhere else. Cleveland is one of my favorite cities. I don’t arrive there with a smile on my face every time because of the Cleveland Philharmonic.
Anthony Bourdain

DC Streetsblog: Wider, Straighter, and Faster Roads Aren’t the Solution for Older Drivers

The issue of safety and older drivers is an important one. And we are grateful for the way the special needs of those drivers are highlighted in a new report called “Keeping Baby Boomers Mobile: Preserving the Mobility and Safety of Older Americans.” Unfortunately, the report, produced by AASHTO (the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) in collaboration with TRIP, a national transportation research group representing contractors and engineering firms, continues to reinforce the “forgiving highways” orthodoxy that the transportation establishment has been promoting for too long now. (On the positive side, it also endorses a number of measures that AARP has been pressing for: better signs, retroreflective paint, brighter street lighting, etc.)

It is time for AASHTO, TRIP, and other members of that establishment to recognize the limitations of “forgiving highways” principles. This approach, which aims to reduce crashes by designing roads to accommodate driver error, might work well for interstates, freeways, and rural highways. But it should not be applied to the rest of our nation’s roads. Evidence is mounting that not only does the “wider, straighter, and faster” philosophy fail to fix safety problems on urban and suburban arterials – it actually makes them worse.

Greater City Providence

Promoting the smart urban growth of the Greater Providence region.

1 comment

  • “The bus suffers from an image problem.”

    No, it is a substance problem. I can read on a train or subway. I have never been able to read on even a highway-traveling bus. I grew up in NYC and rode a bus, subway or commuter train every day for decades. All that time, every train ride was a treat, every bus ride was a necessity to be endured.

    All the BRT ideas to improve bus service are worthwhile, but seriously, they will never make a bus into a non-bus. Perhaps Doig is lucky to be able to escape happily into his book or more likely, mobile device while the bus sways and lurches. For the rest of us, the inferiority of the bus is a lot more than learned prejudice.

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