City of Broadening Sidewalks [The Architects Newspaper]
Throughout the summer in Chicago, planners have canvassed residents for ideas big and small about what works-and what doesn’t-for walkers ambling their way through neighborhoods across the city.
The feedback, be it about a corner that floods over following every downpour or fundamental safety concerns walkers face in communities struggling with crime, will inform the Chicago Pedestrian Plan.
Brown’s new Medical School opened yesterday in the Jewelry District.
[NY] Gov. Cuomo to Sign Life-Saving Complete Streets Bill [Mobilizing the Region]
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that he would sign a Complete Streets bill (S5411.A/A8366) that will make roads safer. The move was hailed by advocates because it will save lives and encourage walking and cycling, leading to environmental and public health benefits. Hundreds of New Yorkers are killed while walking and biking each year.
The bill would require that, for all road projects receiving state and federal funds, the agency in charge of the project consider the needs of everyone who uses the roads, using complete streets features such as sidewalks, curb cuts, road diets, and bike lanes.
National Low-Speed Rail Network Proposal [Pedestrian Observations]
With all the focus on high-speed rail and urban transit, it’s easy to forget the low-speed rail that forms the backbone of every good national transit network. Switzerland, whose high-speed infrastructure consists of shared passenger and freight rail base tunnels, has a national rail ridership that puts the rest of Europe to shame. Japan may be famous for the Shinkansen, but the enormous low-speed networks surrounding Tokyo and Osaka are the two busiest in the world. Although intercity travel produces disproportionate revenues, most trips are local, even on mainline rail, and government rail planning should make sure to prioritize regional travel.
The Clear Case for the Gas Tax [The New York Times]
Unless Congress extends it, the 18.4 cents-a-gallon federal gas tax will expire on Sept. 30. Allowing that to happen would be tremendously destructive. It would bankrupt the already stressed Highway Trust Fund, with devastating effects on the country’s highways, bridges, mass transit systems and the economy as a whole.
Reports suggest that some House Republicans may push to let the tax lapse or use the threat of expiration as leverage in the budget wars. This is a dangerous idea. If anything, the tax should rise to maintain a system that constantly needs upkeep – the backlog of bridges needing repair is estimated at $72 billion – creates jobs and encourages drivers to buy more fuel-efficient cars.