→ The Atlantic Cities: Can Light Rail Carry a City’s Transit System?
We often think of light rail as a single component of a larger transit system, but if it’s done right it can just as soon serve as the foundation. Since 1981 a dozen American cities have built light rail lines atop bus-only systems. In five of them — Dallas, Portland, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, and San Diego — light rail now accounts for at least 30 percent of all transit ridership in the metropolitan area, even as it covers less than that much service space in the region.
Thompson and Brown settled on three key factors in the success of these systems. First, a great light rail system anchors a transit network that’s dispersed throughout a metro area. Second, it acts as an express regional alternative to the local bus network. And third, it promotes transfers between the bus and rail systems. The researchers believe these traits can serve as guides for future light rail planners “by setting forth attributes that these services need to possess in order to attract substantial ridership.”
→ Boston.com: Car-free commuting push pays off in Kendall Square
Doug Taylor used to get to work the way most Americans do, driving alone. Then he switched jobs to one of the many Kendall Square companies that offer financial incentives for employees to leave their cars at home. After trying the commuter rail, the 48-year-old Medford resident soon discovered he could pocket even more by biking.
Taylor is part of a set of statistics so surprising it looks like a mistake. Despite the rapid expansion in and around Kendall Square in the last decade — the neighborhood absorbed a 40 percent increase in commercial and institutional space, adding 4.6 million square feet of development — automobile traffic actually dropped on major streets, with vehicle counts falling as much as 14 percent.
Not for nothing but, modern day Kendall Square is a model City and State leaders are looking toward in regards to the (so-called) Knowledge District. Though leaders have not been looking enough at the transportation aspects of the area.
→ The New York Times: Retailers’ Idea: Think Smaller in Urban Push
As young Americans move to cities, retailers that grew up in the suburbs are following them. And unlike previous efforts, they are doing it the cities’ way.
With little room to expand in the suburbs, retailers, including Office Depot, Wal-Mart and Target, are betting that opening small city stores will help their growth.
For the uninitiated, LOS is a measurement tool used by traffic engineers and planners to grade how a road or intersection “performs” in terms of traffic flow. If vehicles roll through without delay, the road performs well and gets an “A” LOS grade, if vehicles screech to a standstill and traffic backs up, the section of roadway gets an “F”.
The big problem with LOS is that it only takes automobile and truck trips into account. There is no official “bicycle level of service” nor do existing LOS standards include any consideration of bicycle traffic. For cities like Portland that want to design a transportation system that doesn’t put cars up on a pedestal, this gap in LOS policy is a significant barrier. It’s preventing us from making decisions today that will allow us to reach our goals tomorrow.
→ The White House Blog: Building Pedestrian Friendly Environments
In the last few years, walking has come to be recognized as one of the best – and certainly the cheapest – methods of maintaining personal health. Both older and younger generations are moving into places where they can walk during their regular daily activities. People are being reminded that a benefit of walking is that you see and experience things you’d miss using other modes of travel. Walkability has even become a way to market real estate.
Finally, Rhode Island’s favorite meteorologist, Fred Campagna is sadly no longer on Channel 6. But don’t despair, he has launched his own weather website, Right Weather. Check it out.