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Today’s Headlines

  • Mayor Calls for Inspections of All Tour Buses (Weekly), Crashed Bus Had Known Safety Issues (CBS)
  • Environmental Impacts of Unregulated Polluting Uber and Lyft Vehicles Unknown (Exam)
  • Uber Creates Safety Advisory Board (Business, NBC)
  • Old Bay Bridge Foundation Imploded Underwater (Merc, Kron4)
  • Oakland Tower Developer Proposes Eliminating One Floor of Car Parking Spaces (Socket)
  • Boy Killed in Skyline Boulevard Crosswalk by SUV Driver Was Joshua Delacruz Salas (Daily)
  • Family of Woman Killed by Caltrain in February Sues Both Menlo Park and Caltrain (Almanac)
  • Three Women Injured in Three-Vehicle Crash on Highway 87 Near Downtown San Jose (Merc)
  • Stanley Roberts’ Safety Tips for Driving in the Rain (Kron4)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA
Get state headlines at Streetsblog CA

Enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday, Streetsblog readers — headline round-ups will return on Monday.
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How Traffic Growth Projections Become a Self-Fulfilling Prophesy

Transportation planners in Austin are in the beginning stages of a pattern just about every community in the U.S. is familiar with.

Image: Carfree Austin

The way to break the traffic projection prophecy is to avoid catering to it in the first place. Image: Carfree Austin

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) says traffic on a local highway — South MoPac — is going to grow a lot. And if Austin doesn’t spend $400 million building new managed lanes, they say, the result will be gridlock.

But Network blog Car-Free Austin says in the past, similar doomsday traffic projections haven’t come to pass. When Austin Public Works wanted to expand the Lamar Bridge in the 1990s, the justification was an impending 28 percent increase in traffic. But the project was rejected, and since then traffic on the bridges has actually declined 27 percent.

If the bridge had been widened, though, the traffic forecast might have been accurate, Car-Free Austin explains:

1. If you build it, they will come.

Because of a well-established phenomenon known as induced demand, every new lane that gets built will fill up within 5-10 years and congestion will return to its bumper-to-bumper equilibrium.

Read more…

Streetsblog LA
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Cartoon Tuesday: Calvin and Hobbes Turn 30

To see the whole comic, visit ## Planning in the 21st Century##

Original strip by Bill Watterson. Image via Urban Planning in the 21st Century

Last week, TIME Magazine reported that Calvin and Hobbes was first published thirty years ago this month. For a lot of people my age, the story of a precocious and imaginative young boy and his stuffed tiger/best friend was a daily treat. For me, it was how I spent my last couple of minutes before the school bus pulled up.

Calvin and Hobbes have influenced my writing both here at Streetsblog and elsewhere. My first “April Fool’s” post was based on the traffic safety poster that Calvin eventually created for the above-mentioned contest. “Be Safe or Be Roadkill” may not have won Calvin the prize, but it was good enough for a fictional LADOT Public Service Announcement campaign.

But while the stories of his clashes with teachers, the intrepid Spaceman Spiff, or just spending a day playing Calvin Ball are what pop up most, we should also remember that transportation choices and Livable Streets were a part of Calvin’s suburban life. Calvin takes the bus to school, is scared of learning to ride a bike, and, of course, has a dad that is part me, part MAMIL.

So, on behalf of middle-aged Generation X’ers everywhere, Happy Birthday, Calvin and Hobbes. The strip has reached middle-age itself, but thanks to creator Bill Watterson’s early retirement Calvin will always be the fresh-faced little boy on a sled, who just wants to explore the world around him.

A simple Google search brings up dozens of Calvin’s adventures on his bicycle. Enjoy.

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Today’s Headlines

  • Construction Begins on Mansell Street Road Diet Through McLaren Park (Appeal)
  • Lower Stockton Street Transformed Into Temporary Pedestrian Plaza With Astroturf (SFist)
  • 24 Vision Zero Safety Projects Completed in 21 Months (SFBay)
  • Sales of Taxi Drivers Licenses and Permits Up Since 2013 Despite Uber and Lyft (WSJ, SFist)
  • Supervisors Committee Approves Transit Fee for Hospital Expansions (Exam)
  • SF Bay Area Bridges Clogged With More Traffic During Morning Commute (Gate, SFist, Business)
  • Traffic Jams on Interstate 80 in SF and Oakland Among Worst in USA (ABC, CBS, NBC, Kron4)
  • Millbrae Considers Extending Contract for Seven Traffic Enforcement Cameras Today (Daily)
  • San Mateo’s $160+ Million Caltrain Grade Separation at 25th Avenue on Track for 2017 (Daily)
  • SUV Driver Kills 17-Year-Old Boy Walking on Skyline Boulevard in Pacifica (Merc, Daily, Kron4)
  • Motorcyclist Killed by Hit-And-Run Driver on San Jose Avenue Was 60-Year-Old Dennis Nix (Appeal)
  • Woman Killed by Driver While Walking on Lake Merced Path Was 50-Year-Old Galina Tuchfeld (Exam)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA
Get state headlines at Streetsblog CA

Streetsblog USA
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Planning for Less Driving, Not More, Would Lead to Big Savings


Chart: MassPIRG

What if, instead of basing policy around the presumption that people will drive more every year, transportation agencies started making decisions to reduce the volume of driving? And what if they succeed?

A new report from the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group quantifies what would happen in that state if driving rates come in one percentage point lower than the state DOT’s current annual projections. For instance, in a year that the DOT forecasts 0.49 percent growth in driving, MassPIRG hypothesizes a 0.51 percent decrease. MassPIRG estimates that the statewide effect from now until 2030 would add up to about $20 billion in savings and 23 million metric tons of carbon emissions avoided.

The effects grow as the decline compounds over time. In the first year, a one percentage point change in driving rates would save about $167 million in avoided costs of gas, road repairs, and traffic collisions. By 2030, the savings would rise to $2.3 billion per year.

Broken down by category, the state would save about $1.9 billion on road repairs over the 15-year period. Drivers would net $3.8 billion in savings on car repairs and another $7.7 billion on gas purchases. And auto collisions would cost $6.7 billion less to society, as people avoid medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages.

Read more…


Today’s Headlines

  • Ed Lee Demands SF Public Works Oversee Transbay Terminal Construction (Chron, Business)
  • Caltrans Considers Solutions to Cracking and Leaking Bay Bridge Tower Foundation (Gate)
  • Former SMC Health System Director Jean Fraser Hired as SFBC’s Interim Executive Director (SFBC)
  • Even More on Muni’s Smartphone Ticketing App (Mission)
  • Caltrain Fare Increases Would Hit Low-Income Workers Hardest (Peninsula Press)
  • VTA Pilots On-Demand, App-Based Shared-Ride Service to Tasman Light Rail Station (GC, VTA)
  • Larkspur Ferry Terminal Adds 330 Car Parking Spaces, Now Has 1,800 Spaces (IJ)
  • Proposal to Replace MTC and BATA With Elected Transportation Commission Scorned by MTC Board (IJ)
  • Driver Kills Woman Walking Dog on Path Next to Lake Merced Boulevard (Gate, SFist, CBSKron4)
  • Driver Kills Woman Walking in Crosswalk Across International Boulevard in Oakland (SFBay)
  • Driver Kills Bicyclist on Monterey Road in SJ, Police Say Bicyclist Suspected of Drinking Alcohol (Merc)
  • Hit-And-Run Driver Kills Motorcyclist on San Jose Avenue (CBS)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA
Get state headlines at Streetsblog CA
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TIGER Restored, Transit Expansion Funds Cut in 2016 Spending Bill

As the House and the Senate get to work on hashing out a multi-year transportation bill in conference committee, Congress is also putting together its annual spending package for transportation. The annual bill decides the fate of several discretionary programs, and earlier this year it looked like US DOT’s TIGER grants, which tend to fund multi-modal projects at the regional or local level, might not survive.

TIGER funding provided $10.5 million to build a network of biking and walking facilities in Lee County, Florida, one of the most dangerous areas for walking and biking. Image: Lee County MPO via Bike Walk Lee

TIGER funding provided $10.5 million to build a network of biking and walking routes in Lee County, Florida. Image: Lee County MPO via Bike Walk Lee

Stephen Lee Davis at Transportation for America says the final bill keeps TIGER but still represents a step backward for transit:

Good news: the new bill proposes no changes to what kinds of projects can apply for TIGER funding, and increases funding for the program by $100 million this year.

The Senate’s initial bill introduced this summer provided $500 million for TIGER — the same amount as the just-ended fiscal year — and the House version of this bill provided far less at $100 million. It’s encouraging to see the Senate appropriators increase funding for this important program in the newest draft proposal, and that there are no changes to what kinds of projects can apply. This is a hopeful sign that for future House-Senate negotiations on the final transportation spending bill for 2016.

The funding for building new transit service — New Starts, Small Starts and Core Capacity — was increased by more than $300 million from this summer’s Senate THUD bill up to $1.9 billion, just $24 million less than the proposed House levels of $1.92 billion. That sounds like good news, but it’s still represents a $200 million cut from last year for this program.

Amtrak funding was unchanged: $289 million for operating and $1.1B for capital projects, which is slightly more ($39 million) than this year.

Elsewhere on the Streetsblog Network today: Jarrett Walker at Human Transit says transit doesn’t have to be designed to serve a single “downtown” focal point — in fact there are major benefits to having multiple clusters of destinations. Also at Human Transit, a guest author asks whether autonomous cars will lead to a big boost in vehicle miles traveled. And BTA Blog writes that a group of victims’ families is speaking up for safer streets in Oregon.

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Talking Headways Podcast: Gabe Klein’s Start Up City

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Gabe Klein joins us this week to talk about how to get things done and make big changes to improve city streets and transportation. Gabe has served as the transportation chief of both Chicago and Washington, DC, and prior to his stint in government was an executive with Zipcar (he is also currently on the board of OpenPlans, the organization that publishes Streetsblog USA).

Gabe is out with a new book, Start Up City, about creating change through local government. He shares his insights about the interplay of the public and private sectors, how to push people to overcome a fear of failure, and cutting across the siloes of city departments. Gabe also talks about how he got into transportation, and why Vision Zero is a powerful idea for cities.

All of this and more (including our debate over whether a hot dog is a sandwich) on Talking Headways.


Today’s Headlines

  • More on Noah Budnick’s Resignation From SFBC and Upcoming Board Elections (SFist, KQED)
  • Video: Tour Bus Crash Captured on Surveillance Cameras (SFist, Weekly, Magazine, Kron4CBS, NBC)
  • Driver Injures 75-Year-Old Woman Walking in Monterey Heights Crosswalk (Gate, NBC)
  • Bay Area Bike Share 24-Hour Passes Are Free Today (BABS)
  • SFMTA Approves Wiggle Neighborhood Green Corridor Pedestrian Improvements (Hoodline)
  • SFMTA’s Curb Management Workshop Targets Double Parking on Upper Market Street (Hoodline)
  • BART Board Eliminates Late Night AC Transit Bus Route 822, San Francisco to Pittsburg (SFBay)
  • BART Board Unlikely to Drop Criminal Charges Against Black Lives Matter Protesters (Exam, CBS, ABC)
  • Tanker Truck Driver Eric Alexander Killed in Five-Vehicle Crash on Highway 37 (IJ, Kron4)
  • Murder Trial of Wrong-Way Highway 17 Driver Who Killed Santa Cruz Mother in 2011 Begins (Merc)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA
Get state headlines at Streetsblog CA

Streetsblog USA
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How Much Can Bicycling Help Fight Climate Change? A Lot, If Cities Try

A new study from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy attempts to measure the potential of bikes and e-bikes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Buenos Aires has been ambitiously building out a network of well designed, separated bike infrastructure. If this kind of commitment were employed worldwide, the environmental and financial repercussions would be enormous. Photo: ITDP

Buenos Aires has been building out a network of protected bike infrastructure. If this kind of commitment were employed in cities worldwide, the climate benefits would be huge. Photo: ITDP

ITDP’s conclusion, in short: Bicycling could help cut carbon emissions from urban transportation 11 percent.

The authors calculated the carbon emissions reduction that could result if cities around the world make a strong, sustained commitment to promoting bicycle travel.

In a scenario where 14 percent of travel in the world’s cities is by bike or e-bike in 2050, carbon emissions from urban transportation would be 11 percent lower than a scenario where efforts to promote sustainable transportation sidestep bicycling.

The ITDP scenario calls for 11 percent of urban mileage by bike by 2030 before hitting 14 percent in 2050. For many big American cities where bicycling accounts for a small share of total travel, that may sound like a high bar — and that was part of the point. The ITDP targets will require a significant public policy commitment. But the goals are achievable and aren’t as daunting as they might seem, the authors say.

Read more…