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The Beginning of the End for Dallas’s Trinity Toll Road?

Dallas City Council is endorsing and alternative to the Trinity Toll Road, without formally withdrawing support for the larger highway plan. Image: Trinity Parkway Design Charette

The “dream team” alternative to the Trinity Toll Road in Dallas would build a smaller four-lane road, but it leaves the door open for wide highway later on. Image: Trinity Parkway Design Charette [PDF]

It seems like the Trinity Toll Road — a proposal to build a wide, high-speed road right next to the Trinity River in Dallas — is losing momentum. But the politics of road-building in Texas are tricky, and the highway isn’t dead yet.

Earlier this week, a “dream team” of advisers selected by Mayor Mike Rawlings, who supports the project, came out and said they didn’t think the $1.5 billion highway was necessary, and that it would ultimately undermine efforts to establish a nice park by the river. However, their proposal for a smaller, four-lane road would leave open the option of building a wider highway later on.

In the City Council, legislators are still looking to build the full highway, but now they won’t come out and say it directly. At least, that seems to be the takeaway from the latest intrigue, according to Dallas Morning News’ Transportation Blog reporter Brandon Formby:

In a last-minute amendment, the City Council voted unanimously not to affirm its support of the larger version of Trinity Parkway that’s planned to be built. But it didn’t technically say it doesn’t support it. In a way, it reaffirmed its support for the current large plan in a subsequent 10-4 vote to look at how to incorporate the dream team’s recommendations into the existing, already FHWA-approved plan for the larger road.

Read more…

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Today’s Headlines

  • Driver Injures Jogger at Panhandle Crossing at Oak and Masonic (SF Appeal, Hoodline)
  • More on Leah Shahum’s Launch of the National Vision Zero Network (SF Examiner)
  • Angela Alioto Pushes for Street Plaza at North Beach Church: “It Would Be Sinful to Drive On” (Hoodline)
  • Former SFMTA Engineer: Leap Buses Forbid Wheelchairs; Leap: “We’re Not a Transport Carrier” (Chron)
  • Mom: Letting My Daughter Ride Muni Alone at 11 “Launched Her Into a New Way of Thinking” (SFGate)
  • Caltrain Launches Online Form to Report Bike Bumps (Palo Alto Online)
  • BART Delayed By Track Death at Civic Center (SFGate); Caltrain Hits Woman in Santa Clara (SFGate)
  • Woman Killed in Solo Car Crash on Highway 280 Off-Ramp at John Daly Boulevard (KTVU)
  • Atherton Approves Button-Activated Ped Signal at Deadly El Camino Real Crosswalk (Almanac)
  • Driver Sues San Mateo County, Stanford, and Ranch After Hitting Loose Horse on Hwy 280 (Almanac)
  • Berkeley Driver Seriously Injures Woman After Possibly Mixing Up Pedals (Berkeleyside)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

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Chinatown Program to Turn Kids Into Safe Streets “Investigators”

Jean Parker Elementary School students at the Chinatown CDC’s Safe Walks to School workshop in 2011. The school will now have a similar regular after-school program. Photo: Deland Chan

A new after-school program will teach kids in Chinatown not just how to survive on car-centric streets — but also how to redesign them.

Students in grades 3 to 5 will learn to act as “city street investigators” in a program launched by the Chinatown YMCA, the Chinatown Community Development Center, the SF Safe Routes to School Partnership, and Walk SF. It will be held in conjunction with a more conventional program teaching students, including grades K-2, how to avoid getting run over by drivers.

“This approach is unique because we’re not stopping at education, we’re thinking of additional ways to empower kids and families with the knowledge they need to assess their transportation system and determine needed improvements to truly achieve Vision Zero and end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2024,” said Walk SF Executive Director Nicole Ferrara in a statement.

Six schools are participating in the program, including Jean Parker Elementary School, which is on Broadway Street, identified by the city as a “high-injury corridor.” A plan to redesign Broadway with pedestrian improvements was completed in 2012, though a construction timeline hasn’t been announced yet. None of the four traffic lanes would be removed, but the plan includes sidewalk bulb-outs and raised crosswalks at some alleys.

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Even When a Driver Intentionally Causes Mayhem, Media Call It an “Accident”

A witness described seeing the driver of this Prius back up intentional over the other car, but CBS LA improperly persisted in referring to this as an "accident." Image: CBS LA

A witness described seeing the driver of this Prius intentionally back up over the other car, but CBS LA persisted in referring to it as an “accident.” Image: CBS LA

The New York Police Department stopped using the term “accident” to refer to car collisions because it conveys the “connotation that there is no fault or liability.” In the press, however, “accident” remains standard practice, even when a driver rams another person on purpose.

The Safe Roads Alliance, an organization that promotes safe driving, tracked down five examples just from the last few weeks where media outlets referred to intentional collisions as “accidents” (the reports also tend to say the crashes were perpetrated by vehicles, not the human beings who drive them). Here are the pieces they sent along, with the headline that ran with each story.

Seattle Times: “Road Rage Incident Leaves 1 Dead on I-5″

According to the Seattle Times, the driver of a Chevy SUV pulled in front of the driver of Dodge Neon on I-5, apparently enraged at his slow speed. The SUV driver proceeded to “brake check,” causing the collision. A 23-year-old passenger in the Neon was killed, and three others were injured. Both drivers are being charged with vehicular homicide, and yet the Seattle Times goes on to say: “The State Patrol is seeking information regarding the accident.”

Read more…

Via Streetsblog California
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Caltrans Wants to Triple Biking, Double Walking and Transit By 2020

bikes&peds

Caltrans’ new Strategic Management Plan sets a goal to triple bike trips and double walking trips in the next five years. Photo: Melanie Curry/Streetsblog

Caltrans has a new goal of tripling California’s share of bicycling trips, and doubling that of walking and transit by 2020.

Caltrans’ new Strategic Management Plan [PDF] includes performance targets for advancing its new stated priorities, at the top of which are increasing active transportation and reaching Vision Zero — an end to traffic deaths. The message demonstrates a departure from the agency’s historical focus on moving motor vehicles.

Caltrans’ new “sustainability, livability, and economy” goals also include reducing vehicle miles traveled (15 percent by 2020) and reaching state-mandated targets to reduce the share of greenhouse gases from transportation.

The Strategic Management Plan is an in-house document, meant to guide decisions made by planners and engineers in the course of planning and completing projects statewide. It stems from the new Caltrans mission, to provide “a safe, sustainable, integrated, and efficient transportation system to enhance California’s economy and livability.” The new mission statement was a response to criticism of the department’s old way of doing things.

“This is a pretty major shift for the department,” said Steven Cliff, newly appointed Assistant Director of Sustainability, and leader of one of the teams working on the plan. “We’ve been working hard to develop new metrics which speak to what we’ve been doing the last couple of years, with our new mission, vision, and goals.”

“It’s meant to be our plan for how we manage our work going forward.”

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Talking Headways Podcast: We Built This City on Transit and Roads

podcast icon logo

Karoliina Korppoo, the lead designer for the new city building game Cities: Skylines, joins me on the pod this week to talk about the game and what makes it so fun to play. Among my questions for her: Why aren’t there any tramways or bike lanes in the game? And do the game designers realize what type of impact these city building games have on future city planners?

We also talk about new features coming in updates to the game as well as all of the changes people can make with the modification tools available. Karoliina also tells us what affects property values, what makes the individual sims smile en masse, and the importance of traffic.

As always, you can find us on iTunes or Stitcher if you’d like to subscribe, and please give us a review if you get a chance.

Streetsblog.net
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Bad Planning and Bad Transit Put Jobs Out of Reach for Milwaukeeans

Milwaukee is the poster child for the special kind of economic oppression that results from a combination of residential segregation, bad transit options, and job sprawl. This is a problem to some extent in almost every city in the country, but it’s worse in formerly industrial cities where big employers have decamped for the suburbs. And in Wisconsin, where the governor and state DOT are determined to spend billions on highway expansions while starving transit, the situation is especially desperate.

As Milwaukee bus service shrinks, low-income workers who don’t own cars face even greater structural obstacles to employment. Photo: Urban Milwaukee

Matthew Wisla recently wrote a great synopsis of the problem for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, which Network blog Urban Milwaukee reposted. Here’s his report:

It has been decades since the city was an engine for regional job growth. “Most of the job growth in recent years is either at the outer parts of the county or outside of the county,” said Kristi Luzar, deputy director of programs, Urban Economic Development Association of Wisconsin. “The biggest problem facing many people in the city is getting connections to jobs.”

Employment in Washington, Ozaukee and Waukesha Counties increased by 56,271 from 1994 to 2009, while the city lost 27,858 jobs, according to a report published earlier this year by the Center for Economic Development at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Reaching suburban employment centers can be challenging for city residents. About 13 percent of city households don’t have access to a car, according to the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission.

State budget cuts that began in 2001 forced MCTS to eliminate routes and now the bus system reaches about 1,300 fewer employers than it would have before the cuts began. Approximately 30,900 workers are employed by those businesses in an average year, according to the Center for Economic Development.

Read more…

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Today’s Headlines

  • Safe Streets Advocates: Under Mayor Lee, SFMTA is Falling Behind on Vision Zero Projects (Examiner)
  • Wiggle Advocate to Publicly Shame Rude Wigglers on Bikes, on Foot, and in Cars (Hoodline)
  • Next Week is Bike and Roll to School Week (SFGate)
  • Marina Residents Riled Up Over Muni Forward Plans to Speed Up 30-Stockton on Chestnut (SocketSite)
  • KALW Interviews SFMTA Board Chair Tom Nolan on the State of Muni
  • Tenderloin’s Third Proposal to Ban Parking to Deter Crime: Eddy By Boeddeker Park (Hoodline)
  • Officers Exiting New SFPD Station in Mission Bay Say They Get Stuck in Traffic on Third Street (KTVU)
  • Transportation Infrastructure Doesn’t Maintain Itself — Especially Not the Golden Gate Bridge (CityLab)
  • Sausalito Councilwoman’s Proposed Limit on Rental Bikes May Not Be Legal (Marin Scope)
  • Two Killed in San Jose Car Crash On VTA Light-Rail Tracks (NBC)
  • CA Bicycle Coalition Says It Lost “a Few Major Donors” to Defeat Mandatory Helmet Law (Cyclelicious)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

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Supervisor Yee Wants to Expand Student Crossing Guard Program

Supervisor Norman Yee wants to see student crossing guards return to schools across the city, five years after the program folded.

Photo via Supervisor Norman Yee's newsletter

Photo via Supervisor Norman Yee’s newsletter

Yee re-launched the program as a pilot last year at three schools in District 7, which includes some of the city’s most suburban neighborhoods. Since last March, students at Commodore Sloat Elementary, Lakeshore Elementary, and Alice Fong Yu Alternative School have participated.

“We have received requests for student crossing guards from two dozen other schools,” said Yee. “Principals, parents and students have commented how pick-up and drop-off times have improved because of the presence and visibility of our student crossing guards.”

Yee requested a hearing “to explore the possibilities of expanding [the program] citywide.” The school crossing guard program has been partially funded by the American Automobile Association, according to a KPIX report on the pilot program last year:

The school crossing guard program faded away citywide in 2010, after AAA moved out of its San Francisco headquarters, but AAA is now providing the neon green hats, sashes and badges that will be worn by the young guards.

Read more…

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Supervisors Pass Breed’s Bill to Loosen Some Parking Mandates

A new bill will make it easier for some homeowners to convert their garages to other uses. Photo: Michael Rhodes

The Board of Supervisors yesterday unanimously passed an ordinance removing some of SF’s 1950s-era parking mandates.

The “Parking Flexibility Ordinance,” drafted by Supervisors President London Breed and Livable City, will make it easier for building owners and developers to avoid building car parking when it would impinge on the street environment for walking, bicycling, and transit. It would also count parking spaces against density limits, unless they’re built underground.

The ordinance adds to the city’s efforts in recent years to relax strict parking minimums. Among the host of reasons to do away with parking minimums: They generate motor vehicle traffic and make it more costly to build housing.

“Do we really want to prioritize parking over jobs and housing?” Breed aide Conor Johnston said at a recent Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Committee hearing, explaining that the planning code amendments would “not limit anyone’s ability to construct parking if they choose, they simply give people more options.”

The ordinance was passed unanimously, without discussion, by both the full Board of Supervisors and the committee.