→ The Atlantic Cities: The Great Senior Sell-Off Could Cause the Next Housing Crisis
In the 20 years between 1990 and 2010, these consumers [baby boomers] were at their peak family size and peak income. And suddenly, there was massive demand in America from the same kinds of people for the same kinds of housing: big, large-lot single-family homes (often in suburbia). In those two decades, calculates researcher Arthur C. Nelson, 77 percent of demand for new housing construction in America was driven by this trend.
“Ok, if there’s 1.5 to 2 million homes coming on the market every year at the end of this decade from senior households selling off,” Nelson asks, “who’s behind them to buy? My guess is not enough.”
→ Urbanophile: Do Cities Really Want Economic Development?
Ask any civic leader the number one thing they want for their town and “jobs,” economic development, is what they will likely tell you. Yet when you look at the incredibly poor economic development track record across America, despite various untold billions of public dollars pumped into projects ostensibly designed to produce it, it’s enough to prompt one to question whether or not economic development is actually really wanted at all.
→ DC Streetsblog: U.S. DOT to Challenge AASHTO Supremacy on Bike/Ped Safety Standards
For years, the federal government has adopted roadway guidelines that fall far short of what’s needed — and what’s possible — to protect cyclists and pedestrians. By “playing it safe” and sticking with old-school engineering, U.S. DOT allowed streets to be unsafe for these vulnerable road users.
But that could be changing. The bike-friendliest transportation secretary the country has ever seen told state transportation officials yesterday at AASHTO’s annual Washington conference that U.S. DOT was getting into the business of issuing its own design standards, instead of simply accepting the AASHTO guidelines.
→ The Washington Post: Amtrak loses a ton of money each year. It doesn’t have to.
As Adie Tomer, one of the report’s co-authors, explained to me by phone, the best way to think of Amtrak is that it’s essentially two different train systems rolled into one. One system is quite successful, the other isn’t.
First, there are Amtrak’s shorter passenger routes that run less than 400 miles and tend to connect major cities. Think of the Acela Express in the Northeast, or the Pacific Surfliner between San Diego and Los Angeles. These 26 routes carry four-fifths of Amtrak’s passengers, or 25.8 million riders per year. And they’re growing rapidly. Taken as a whole, these shorter routes are profitable to operate — mainly because the two big routes in the Northeast Corridor earn enough to cover losses elsewhere.