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Are Millennials Racing to Buy Cars? Nope

Crossposted from City Observatory.

Hot on the heels of claims that Millennials are buying houses come stories asserting that Millennials are suddenly big car buyers. We pointed out the flaws in the home-buying story earlier this month, and now let’s take a look at the car market.

The Chicago Tribune offered up a feature presenting “The Four Reasons Millennials are buying cars in big numbers,” assuring us that millennials just “got a late start” in car ownership, but are now getting credit cards, starting families and trooping into auto dealerships “just like previous generations.”

Similar stories have appeared elsewhere. The Portland Oregonian chimed in: “Millennials are becoming car owners after all.”

Not quite a year ago, we addressed similar claims purporting to show that Millennials were becoming just as likely to buy cars as previous generations. Actually, it turns out that on a per-person basis, Millennials are about 29 percent less likely than those in Gen X to purchase a car.

We pointed out that several of these stories rested on comparing different sized birth year cohorts (a 17-year group of so-called Gen Y with an 11-year group of so-called Gen X). After applying the highly sophisticated statistical technique known as “long division” to estimate the number of cars purchased per 1,000 persons in each generation, we showed that Gen Y was about 29 percent less likely than Gen X to purchase a car.

More generally though, we know that there’s a relationship between age and car-buying. Thirty-five-year-olds are much more likely to own and buy cars than 20-year-olds. So as Millennials age out of their teen years and age into their thirties, it’s hardly surprising that the number of Millennials who are car owners increases. But the real question—as we pointed out with housing—is whether Millennials are buying as many cars as did previous generations.

The answer is no.

Read more…

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Today’s Headlines

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

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Tell the Feds: Don’t Turn City Streets Into Highways

Will the Obama administration prod state DOTs to abandon the destructive practice of widening roads and highways, or will it further entrench policies that have hollowed out cities and towns, increased traffic and car dependence, and made America a world leader in carbon pollution?

Should state transportation departments be encouraged to speed cars through a street like Broadway in downtown Nashville the same way they would a more rural highway? New federal rules might. Photo: Google Maps via T4A

New federal rules threaten to give state DOTs more license to treat urban streets like Broadway in downtown Nashville like highways. Photo: Google Maps via T4A

That’s what’s hanging in the balance as U.S. DOT opens public comments on its newly released “performance measures” that states will use to assess their transportation policies. The rules proposed by DOT take the same basic approach to traffic congestion that American transportation agencies have taken since the 1950s — a strategy that usually concludes more asphalt is the answer. And they don’t do much of anything to address greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s important to weigh in and tell the feds that the draft rules need to change, says Stephen Lee Davis at Transportation for America:

There’s a direct connection between how we decide to measure [congestion] and how we choose to address it. If we focus, as this rule does, on keeping traffic moving at a high rate of speed at all times of day on all types of roads and streets, then the result is easy to predict: our solutions will prioritize the investments that make that possible, regardless of cost vs. benefits or the potential impacts on the communities those roads pass through.

USDOT plans to measure vehicle speed and delay seven different ways, while ignoring people carpooling, taking transit, walking & biking or skipping the trip entirely.

A host of people and groups from all across the map, including T4America, have already explained in detail how a singular focus on delay for drivers paints an incredibly one-dimensional picture of congestion. Focusing on average delay by simply measuring the difference between rush hour speeds compared to free-flow 3 a.m. traffic fails to count everyone else commuting by other modes, rewards places with fast travel speeds at the expense of places with shorter commutes and less time spent behind the wheel overall, and completely ignores how many people are actually moving through the corridor.

By reinforcing the old approach to congestion, U.S. DOT’s rule could give states more license to widen main streets in urban areas, Davis writes:

Read more…

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Proposed East Bay Bike-Share Sites Announced

Proposed bike-share stations near downtown Oakland.

Proposed bike-share stations near downtown Oakland.

Note: This story has been corrected since it was originally posted. Thank you to sharp-eyed readers.

Bay Area Bike Share released a map of proposed sites for bike-share stations in the East Bay today. Proposed sites for expansion into San Francisco and San Jose have already been released, but these are the first ones for Berkeley, Oakland, and Emeryville. The total number of bikes planned in the three cities is 1,300, with 800 of them in Oakland and 100 in Emeryville, to be rolled out by the end of 2017.

Phase 1, about 25 percent of the final East Bay expansion, will include 350 bikes at 34 stations.

Proposed bike-share stations near the UC Berkeley campus.

Proposed bike-share stations near the UC Berkeley campus.

A map of the initial proposed East Bay hubs, available here, shows them mostly sited along a spine between downtown Berkeley and downtown Oakland. Five stations surround the UC Berkeley campus’ south and west sides, with another located across from Berkeley High School and the downtown Y, and a seventh a little further south on Telegraph at Blake street.

From there, the corridor of proposed sites generally follows Telegraph Avenue, incorporating BART stations and outlying hubs along 40th Street into Emeryville and on the western side of Lake Merritt.

Amtrak stations are left out of the first phase, though, and so are the West Oakland and Rockridge BART stations.

It looks like a good start, if your destinations are all near Telegraph or in downtown Oakland. With luck, further expansions to connect these hubs to other destinations will come sooner than later.

Having bike-share available close to the new Telegraph Avenue parking-protected bike lanes will be a game-changer for that area and we hope it will create some urgency to finish the new facilities further towards Temescal.

What do you think? Are these in the right places? Bike-share needs a somewhat dense network of hubs to be useful, but it’s also necessary to put the hubs in places near where people want to go. Is this a good start?

Bay Area Bike Share is still accepting suggestions for station locations here. Comments can be made here, or at local public libraries, which will be presenting information about the expansion at the following times:

From April 26 through May 9, during regular open hours:

  • Berkeley Library

    • Central Branch, 2090 Kittredge St
    • Claremont Branch, 2940 Benvenue Ave
  • Emeryville
    • Town Hall, 1333 Park Ave (through May 11)
  • Oakland Library

    • Main Branch, 125 14th St
    • Asian Branch, 388 9th St

Also on May 3 from 4 to 6 pm, at the Temescal Branch Library, 5205 Telegraph in Oakland.

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Livable Streets Events

This Week: Sounds in Our Cities, Bayview Sunday Streets

sblog_calendar1Here are this week’s highlights from the Streetsblog calendar:

  • Monday: Bicycle Advisory Committee Meeting. The committee meets to talk about projects and policies to make recommendations to the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors, the SFMTA, and other agencies. April 25, 6:30-7:30pm, City Hall, Room 408, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco.
  • Monday: Berkeley BeST Transportation Plan Community Meeting. Learn how Berkeley is putting together a transportation plan and give your input on the best priorities. Monday, April 25, 5:00-8:00pm, North Berkeley Senior Center, Hearst and MLK Jr Way, Berkeley.
  • Tuesday: San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Board Meeting. The coalition’s all-volunteer board will meet to discuss the latest policy issues. For more information and to read the agenda, go to www.sfbike.org/board. Tuesday April 26, 6:30-8:30pm, SF Bicycle Coalition, 1720 Market, San Francisco.
  • Wednesday: San Francisco Bicycle Coalition New Member Meet and Greet. For members who’ve been with the coalition for less than a year, come and meet your fellow bike advocates. Snacks and beverages provided along with indoor bike parking. April 27, 6:00-7:30pm, SF Bicycle Coalition, 1720 Market, San Francisco.
  • Wednesday: The Role of Sound in Our Cities. Whether it’s the chirp of a crosswalk signal to the echo of noise from vehicles, sound plays a vital role in wayfinding in urban environments. For the blind and visually impaired, however, sound is essential. Join SPUR for a discussion about the interweaving of blindness, sound and cities from experts. Wednesday, April 27, 6 pm, SPUR Urban Center, 654 Mission Street, San Francisco.
  • Wednesday: Gilman Street Interchange Open House. Alameda County Transportation Commission and the City of Berkeley present long-awaited alternatives for fixing the complicated, unsignalized intersection of Gilman Street and I-80, which include an innovative double roundabout design recently approved by Caltrans. Wednesday, April 27, 6:30 pm, North Berkeley Senior Center, Hearst and MLK Jr Way, Berkeley.
  • Thursday: Women Bike Happy Hour. Walk Oakland Bike Oakland (WOBO) and Bike East Bay host their second Women Bike Happy Hour. This is an opportunity to drink up with some other bike-riding women, trans and femme folks. “Bring your bikey and bike-curious friends! Bike parking will be plentiful” says the group. Thursday, April 28, 5:30-7:30pm, at Bar Cesar, 4039 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland.
  • Sunday: Sunday Streets in the Bayview and Dogpatch Neighborhoods. Sunday Streets creates miles of car-free streets for people to get out and be active. There will be “Activity Hubs” offered by local nonprofits and community groups plus booths and displays from local merchants. For a list of activities, visit: www.SundayStreetsSF.com/Bayview-050116. Sunday May 1, 11-4pm on Third St from 18th to Yosemite Ave.

Keep an eye on the calendar for updated listings. Got an event we should know about? Drop us a line.

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Today’s Headlines

  • NOPA to Consider Protected Bike Lanes on Fell and Oak Along Panhandle (Hoodline)
  • SF Rents Hit Plateau (SFChron)
  • SF Green Building not so Green (SFExaminer)
  • Huge Tower Set to Break Ground in November (Socketsite)
  • Interim Boss for Transbay (BizJournal)
  • Bay Area Bike Share Expands in East Bay (SFChron)
  • New BART Car Runs into the Dirt (SFist, SFBay)
  • BART Marketing uses Prince’s Death to Self Promote? (SFWeekly)
  • Proposed Transportation Tax Would Fund Caltrain Grade Seperations (MercNews)
  • Castro Muni Escalators Get Fancy (SFist, Hoodline)
  • Editorial: Get Past NIMBYs to Solve Housing Crisis (SMDailyJournal)

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

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Transit Riders Union Party for Better BART and Muni Service

Panel

Thea Selby MCs a discussion with Tim Papandreou, Eugenia Chien and Jeff Tumlin. Image: Streetsblog

Thursday evening the San Francisco Transit Riders Union (SFTRU), an advocacy group pushing for better, more reliable transit, held its “Make Transit Awesome Party” at the DG717, a co-working space in downtown. The event was a combination fundraiser and chance to hear from some of the most influential people in transportation.

The centerpiece of the event was a panel discussion with Tim Papandreou, Chief Innovation Officer at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, Jeff Tumlin, Principal and Director of Strategy for Nelson Nygaard Consulting, and Eugenia Chien, who writes the popular Muni Diaries blog. Thea Selby, chair of the SFTRU board, moderated the panel. One of the first things discussed: why is it so hard to get transit improvements and what can advocates do to change that?

Read more…

Via Streetsblog California
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California Legislative Update: Bikes, Transit, Environmental Justice, More

bikeatCapitollabel2Today is the deadline to pass any policy bills that have a fiscal impact out of all California legislative committees, so the last two weeks have seen a flurry of long hearings. Here’s a quick recap of pertinent bills.

BIKES

Riding side-by-side is okay: Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) has a bill, A.B. 2509, that would clarify existing law that it is not illegal for bikes to ride side-by-side in certain circumstances. It passed the Assembly and now awaits its assignment to Senate committees.

TRANSIT

Transit passes for veterans: S.B. 951 is also known as the Golden State Patriot Passes Program from Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg). The bill would use money from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to develop a pilot transit pass program for veterans. The bill unanimously passed the Environmental Quality Committee this week.

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

Fair representation: The issue of environmental justice, and the effects of policies on low-income communities in the state, seems to be gaining some traction in the California legislature, at least among some Democrats. Republican lawmakers, however, are sticking to the party line that the economy trumps fairness, and also, usually, the environment. Unfortunately some members who aren’t Republicans are also falling into that trap, including people wielding power as committee chairs.

For example, two bills that would have reconfigured major decision-making bodies to include representatives of low-income and otherwise disadvantaged communities were shot down in the Assembly Transportation Committee. They got a hostile reception from committee chair Jim Frazier (D-Oakley), and some Democrats on the Committee were not willing to stand up to him. The two bills, A.B. 1982 and A.B. 2382, would have added representatives to the California Transportation Commission, which allocates the state’s transportation funding, and to the High Speed Rail Authority.

On the other hand, the Senate Environmental Quality Committee was much more receptive to several similar bills. S.B. 1387 from Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles) easily passed that committee with a 5-2 vote, which fell along party lines. That bill, in addition to forcing the South Coast Air Quality Management District to consider the impacts of its actions on disadvantaged communities, would add three new members to the SCAQMD board, all representatives of environmental justice organizations.

Read more…

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Today’s Headlines

  • First Bike Lane Coming to Tenderloin (Hoodline)
  • Tenderloin Condo Project Approved with Bike Parking Only (Socketsite)
  • Students Approve Mandatory Fee for Transit Pass (KQED)
  • Sunset District Gas Station Owner Resists Infill (Hoodline)
  • Planning Commission Discusses Density Bonus (Socketsite)
  • Good Samaritans Grab Alleged Hit and Run Driver (SFExaminer)
  • Lawyer Group Gives Recommendations to Menlo Park to Improve Housing Woes (AlmanacNews)
  • Menlo Park Advocates Drive Less and Take Other Steps to Reduce CO2 (AlmanacNews)
  • More Details Discussed on New High-Speed Rail Route (MercNews, CBSLocal)
  • Did Governor Brown Overstep by Increasing Greenhouse Gas Cuts? (SMDailyJournal)
  • Editorial: Don’t Tear Down San Jose’s Historic Train Trestle (MercNews)

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

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Insane Comic Books Warn Phoenix Children That Biking Will Kill Them

This comic book was produced by the Phoenix Street Transportation Department to warn young children about the dangers of not wearing a helmet. Retrieved from the Arizona Republic

This comic book was produced by the Phoenix Street Transportation Department to warn young children about the dangers of not wearing a helmet. Via The Arizona Republic

Hey kids, the Phoenix Department of Street Transportation has a fun message for you: Riding your bike is likely to result in a gory horror scene. If you don’t wear your helmet, of course.

This is the cover of a comic book being distributed to third and fourth graders in Phoenix.

This is the cover of a comic book being distributed to third and fourth graders in Phoenix.

That’s the gist of an over-the-top “bike safety” comic book that has alarmed parents of third and fourth graders in Phoenix. The comic shows a cyclist with his brain exposed and blood dripping down his skull on the cover. The inside is equally horrifying, conjuring a world where kids get run over and lose the use of their legs because they pop wheelies.

The books were produced by the Phoenix Street Transportation Department with a $18,700 grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. An illustrator hired by the transportation department explained to the Arizona Republic that they were meant to scare children into wearing helmets.

Helmets can protect against head injuries in the event of a crash or fall, but the idea that helmet use is the one true answer for bike safety is cartoonishly simple.

Gory comic books about bike helmets are not the kind of thing you see in places with excellent bike safety records. It is basically an admission that public agencies have failed to create safe streets and an indictment of the prevailing safety culture.

At a time when kids are developing chronic disease at an alarming rate thanks in part to the lack of physical activity, Phoenix is sending the message that something as normal as riding a bike will cause you to resemble an extra from the Walking Dead.

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