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What the Price of Parking Shows Us About Cities

Check out the interactive chart at this link.

To see where your city falls, check out the interactive chart at this link.

Cross-posted from City Observatory

Earlier, we rolled out our parking price index, showing the variation in parking prices among large US cities. Gleaning data from ParkMe, a web-based directory of parking lots and rates, we showed how much it cost to park on a monthly basis in different cities. There’s a surprising degree of variation: While the typical rate is somewhere in the range of $200 a month, in some cities (New York) parking costs more than $700 a month, while in others (Oklahoma City) it’s less than $30 a month.

As Donald Shoup has exhaustively explained in its tome, The High Cost of Free Parking, parking has a tremendous impact on urban form. And while Shoup’s work focuses chiefly on the side effects of parking requirements and under-priced street parking, we’re going to use our index of parking prices to explore how market-provided parking relates to the urban transportation system.

In the United States, the majority of commuters travel alone by private automobile to their place of work. But in some places — in large cities and in dense downtowns — more people travel by transit, bicycle or walk to work. It’s worth asking why more people don’t drive. After all, the cost of car ownership is essentially the same everywhere in the U.S. The short answer is that in cities, parking isn’t free. And when parking isn’t free, more people take transit or other modes of transportation.

Read more…

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This Week In Livable Streets

sblog_calendarGet your tickets TODAY for L.A. County Bicycle Coalition’s firefly ball! Lots more going on: walk Glendale, meet with Metro, give input for California’s walk/bike plan, and more!

  • Monday 10/24 – If you are excited about downtown L.A.’s big complete streets makeover called My Figueroa then come celebrate today. MyFig groundbreaking ceremonies take place today at 3:30 p.m. at the northeast corner of 11th Street and Figueroa Street (across from L.A. Live) in downtown L.A.
  • Tuesday 10/25 – The L.A. County Board of Supervisors will consider adopting of the Puente Hills Master Plan. The supervisors meeting starts at 9:30 a.m., however the plan item wont be heard till at least 10:30 a.m. It takes place in Room 381B of the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration at 500 West Temple Street in downtown Los Angeles. Day One encourages concerned folks to urge supes to “support a multi-use Puente Hills park that provides a diverse array of recreational opportunities including multi-use trails and a bike park.” Details at Facebook event.
  • Tuesday 10/25 – Caltrans is hosting a southern California community meeting for the agency’s statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. The meeting takes place from 1-3 p.m. at the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) 12th Floor Board Room at 818 West 7th Street (across from the 7th/Metro subway station) in downtown Los Angeles. For concerned persons who can not attend, give input via a survey, and/or follow the meeting on your phone of the web. Details at Caltrans.
  • Wednesday 10/26 – Metro’s Citizens Advisory Council will discuss joint development and transit oriented communities at its 6 pm. meeting at Metro Union Station conference room located on the 3rd floor at Metro headquarters at One Gateway Plaza (right behind Union Station) in downtown L.A. Details including agenda and presentation at Metro.
  • Thursday 10/27 – Metro’s board of directors hosts its regular monthly meeting at 9 a.m. at the 3rd floor board room at Metro headquarters at One Gateway Plaza (right behind Union Station) in downtown L.A. The agenda includes clean fuel policy, Measure M Project Management Plan, homeless assistance, bike-share expansion, and more. Agenda and background materials at Metro’s meeting page.
  • Thursday 10/27 – The L.A. County Bicycle Coalition is hosting its 3rd Annual Firefly Ball. This year’s gala honors the Ovarian Psyco-Cycles, Meghan Sahli-Wells, and the Walt Disney Company. The festivities start at 6 p.m. at The Reserve, at 650 S. Spring Street (next to LACBC headquarters) in downtown Los Angeles. The last day to RSVP is today – Monday October 24. Purchase tickets at LACBC.
  • Saturday 10/29 – The city of Glendale host a Walkabout to bring people together to understand positives and negatives of walking in Glendale. Two Walkabouts will be taking place: 10/29 and 11/5. This saturday’s free event starts at 9 a.m. at Cerritos Elementary School Auditorium at 120 E. Cerritos Avenue in Glendale. Free but pre-registration requested at city of Glendale website. Share via Facebook event.Learn more & register:

Did we miss anything? Is there something we should list on future calendars? Email joe [at]

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London Is Going to Ban the Deadliest Trucks From Its Streets

Photo: Transport for London via Treehugger

Image: Transport for London via Treehugger

Heavy trucks with big blind spots are a deadly menace to cyclists and pedestrians.

In Boston, eight of the nine cyclist fatalities between 2012 and 2014 involved commercial vehicles, according to the Boston Cyclists Union [PDF].

Between June and September this year, there were six cyclist fatalities in Chicago, and all six involved commercial vehicles.

In New York City, drivers of heavy trucks account for 32 percent of bike fatalities and 12 percent of pedestrian fatalities, despite the fact that they are only 3.6 percent of traffic.

U.S. cities are starting to take steps like requiring sideguards on some trucks. But no American city is tackling the problem like London is.

In London, city officials estimate that 58 percent of cyclist deaths and more than a quarter of pedestrian deaths involve heavy trucks, even though trucks only account for 4 percent of traffic. Evidence suggests trucks pose an especially large risk to women cyclists.

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Tesla’s Vision for the Future of Autonomous Cars Should Scare Us

What impact will self-driving cars have on cities?

Will self-driving cars be part of shared fleets or have the old individual ownership model? The answer will be important to the health of cities. Photo: Flickr/David van der Mark

Will self-driving cars also bring about shared fleets or will they operate in the old individual ownership model? Photo: Flickr/David van der Mark

The range of potential outcomes is enormous. In the best-case scenario, private car ownership gives way to shared fleets of autonomous cars, freeing up vast amounts of land that used to be devoted to vehicle storage.

Then there’s the scenario promoted by Tesla, in which everyone owns their personal autonomous vehicle. The consequences would be frightening, says Yonah Freemark at the Transport Politic:

Robin Chase, the founder of Zipcar, has laid out an intuitive way of understanding this issue using a binary “heaven or hell” construction (note: I’ve interviewed her in the past on how autonomous cars will impact the transit system). According to this formulation, we could have “heaven” if we had fleets of shared, electric, driverless cars powered by renewable energy, plus a redistributive economy that ensures that people who once had jobs in the transportation sector have access to a minimum income. On the other hand, we could have “hell” if everyone owns his or her own driverless car that does our errands, parks our cars, and circles the neighborhood waiting for us to need it again.

Tesla seems to be resolving this issue for us.

Read more…

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Today’s Headlines

  • MyFigueroa Construction To Kick Off Today Finally (Curbed)
  • Opinion: Measure M Tests If Angelenos Are “Still Automotive People” (LAT)
  • Exide Suing California Over Lead Contamination Data (KPCC)
  • How Well Does Pasadena TOD Development Serve Riders? (SGV Tribune)
  • Culver City TOD Apartments Proposed At Expo Station (Urbanize)
  • What NII Proponents Care About: Chain Big O Tire Store In Strip Mall (Preserve L.A.)
    …NII Retracts DiCaprio Endorsement (LAT)
  • LADOT Announces Vision Zero Funding For Community Based Orgs (Vision Zero L.A.)
  • L.A. River Bike Path Closed Again (LACBC)
    U.S. Army Corps Will Post A Detour
    CiclaValley Urges Cyclists To Take Action On River Path Closure

Get National Headlines At Streetsblog USA
Get State Headlines At Streetsblog CA


Metro Bike Share’s 2017 Expansion Plans: Pasadena, Venice, Port of L.A.


Metro is poised to approve a $42 million expansion of Metro Bike Share in 2017. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

On Wednesday, the Metro Planning and Programming Committee approved funding to expand Metro Bike Share in 2017. Operated by Bicycle Transit Systems, Metro Bike Share opened in downtown L.A. in July. In 2017, Metro would expand bike-share to new service areas in Pasadena, Venice, San Pedro, and Wilmington.

If the bike-share expansion plan is approved by the Board next week, Metro will allocate $42 million to continue and to expand bicycling in L.A. County. Any expansion of bike-share is welcome. Unfortunately, some of the new locations raise questions as to whether expansion plans are more political than strategic, and more focused on tourists than on local riders.

Bike-share mobility is optimized when docks are located in a contiguous area where one can ride a bike to numerous other docks. Compared to disconnected islands, larger service area “blobs” present exponentially more destinations. Larger areas are also less costly to operate and maintain. In the words of NYCDOT bike-share architect Jon Orcutt:

Plans to launch bike-share systems in separate geographical areas or nodes are almost certainly a recipe for low usage.

Small bike-share systems are generally low performers. Breaking a finite amount of bike share resources into smaller pieces needlessly sacrifices the utility and productivity of stations/bicycles.

Watch Orcutt’s explainer video for a good visualization of these points.

A NACTO report found lower-performing bike-share systems in cities with more spread-out systems. Many cities bow to political pressure to spread stations over a wide geographic area in order to accommodate various constituencies. Metro is poised to make this common mistake.

Metro’s initial bike-share pilot was planned for downtown L.A. then Pasadena. After Pasadena, the plans were more tentative, with possible expansion in numerous areas pending further study. Locations designated for further study included Koreatown, MacArthur Park, Echo Park, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Venice, Marina Del Rey, North Hollywood, Huntington Park, and East Los Angeles. The Port area did not make the initial study list.

Expansion is not entirely up to Metro. Metro’s policy mandates cost share arrangements with local jurisdictions, so, to a large extent, expansion follows funding. This is especially true for planned expansion to the Port of Los Angeles locations in San Pedro and Wilmington.

According to testimony from Metro Deputy Executive Officer for Active Transportation Laura Cornejo, the Port system would primarily cater to tourists. Metro staff reported that other bike-share systems driven by tourist use are “quite profitable.” Cornejo stated that the Port was interested in implementing bike-share and was considering a “neighboring provider.” The provider went unnamed, but clearly it has to be CycleHop, which runs Long Beach Bike Share. The Port comes to the table with money. Up front, the Port and Metro would each pay $334,000 in initial capital costs for 120 bikes at 11 stations, tentatively seven in San Pedro and four in Wilmington. Subsequent ongoing operation costs are split with the Port paying 65 percent. Metro approved a conservative scenario for its share of the Port system capital costs plus six years operations for a grand total of $4.9 million.

These Port systems – with four and seven stations, and very little in the way of transit connections – could see very little usage. Bike-share systems in the Orange County cities of Fullerton and Anaheim failed with eleven and three stations, respectively. Cornejo characterized the Port of L.A. system as an “interesting pilot.” Time will tell if it turns out to be nearly $5 million in limited Metro bike-share funding well spent.

The Pasadena and Venice systems are more fully-featured and more likely to be successful.  Read more…
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Center City Philadelphia Commuters Increasingly Arriving by Bike

Where bicyclists were once a trickle in Philadelphia, they are now a steady stream.

Bike commuting in central Philadelphia is on the rise, according to a recent report by the Center City District, which found about 1,400 cyclists entering the center city from the south during the peak rush hour.

Thousands of cyclists pour into Center City Philadelphia daily, largely on two buffered bike lanes. Graph: Center City District

Thousands of cyclists pour into Center City Philadelphia daily, largely on two buffered bike lanes. Graph: Center City District

Randy LoBasso at the Bike Coalition of Greater Philadelphia explains the increase is happening even though the infrastructure is less than ideal:

In their new report, “Bicycle Commuting,” Center City District reports that cyclists entering Center City on northbound streets during rush hour (8am-9am) “was up 22 percent over the … last count in 2014” and up 79 percent since 2010.

According to CCD’s bike counts, cyclists are using Center City lanes specifically engineered for high bike rates — like Spruce Street and 13th Street, which have wide, buffered bike lanes.

And Center City residents and commuters agree that motor vehicles parking in those bike lanes is especially annoying for Philadelphia road users. A Transportation Priorities Survey, also released by Center City District, found that the most important issues hindering mobility are vehicles blocking lanes, lack of enforcement and poor street conditions.

Cyclists are well aware of the problem of people in motor vehicles thinking they can pull over into a bike lane without fear of being ticketed, and without care for the other road users who can get injured when they do so.

Read more…

Via Streetsblog California
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Contra Costa County Transportation Sales Tax Measure X Pleases Some

A general breakdown of Contra Costa County's transportation sales tax plan. Note that "Sustainable Communities" includes money for bike and pedestrian infrastructure, community development, and Complete Streets pilot projects, among others.

A general breakdown of Contra Costa County’s transportation sales tax plan. Note that “Sustainable Communities” includes money for bike and pedestrian infrastructure, community development, and Complete Streets pilot projects, among others.

Contra Costa County voters are considering whether to tax themselves to pay for transportation, and the plan accompanying the measure has a few potentially game-changing aspects. That doesn’t mean that sustainable transportation advocates all support it, however.

Measure X, like most of the other county measures on November ballots, is a thirty-year ½ cent sales tax increase. It’s expected to generate almost $2.9 billion over that period of time. It comes with a plan for how to allocate the money it raises, and will require at least 2/3 of the vote to pass.

Like other local measures, it allocates funds for both transit and roads, but Measure X also has a separate allocation for “sustainable communities,” a category that includes things like complete streets pilot projects and pedestrian and bike infrastructure. It allocates a fifth of its funding for “congestion reduction,” but language in the measure specifically calls for doing so not by widening roads but by creating alternatives for drive-alone trips.

Bike East Bay, working with several other partners including Rich City Bikes, Bike Concord, and Bike Walnut Creek, is working to help pass the measure. They see big gains for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, including a robust “complete streets” program for major arterials, which includes almost $60 million for several pilot complete streets projects that will include accommodations for walking, biking, transit, and shuttles. That money will be distributed in the first five years of the measure, frontloading projects to test out concepts and show what can be done to make streets work better.

“People will realize we don’t have to widen roads to relieve congestion, and that they can be better for everyone, including drivers,” said Dave Campbell, Advocacy Director for Bike East Bay.

In addition, a separate four percent set-aside for bicycle and pedestrian projects, is expected to run to about $115 million. Two-thirds of that amount will go to cities, and one-third to the East Bay Regional Parks District for trails and bike access.

It’s less than advocates were hoping for, but they are willing to compromise for a reason: Measure X has strong language about accommodating all road users on “complete streets.” Read more…


Today’s Headlines

  • Integrity Issues At Neighborhood Integrity? DiCaprio Did Not Endorse, Claims Scrubbed (Curbed)
    NII Quietly Funding No On Measure M Campaign (Curbed)
  • Crenshaw/LAX Line Tunnel Machine Breaks Through At Leimert Park (The SourceCurbed)
  • What Metro’s Long Range Plan Means For Communities (Investing in Place)
  • Measure M Claims 15% Traffic Reduction In 2057 (LAT)
    Lisa Schweitzer Expresses Reservations About Measure M
  • Metro Studying Increased Rail Service To Burbank-Glendale Areas (Urbanize)
  • Longtime LADOT Bike Coordinator Mowery To Move To Mayor’s Office (Biking in L.A.)
  • After Bike-Ped Crash, L.A. River Shared Path To Remain Shared (L.A. WeeklyCurbed)
    …Councilmember O’Farrell: Changes Will Be Coming To River Path (LAist)
    …Hopefully the Same Will Happen On Streets Where Car Crashes Cause Injuries/Deaths
  • LADOT LeapLA Blog: Introduction To L.A.’s Vision Zero Efforts
  • Mobility Plan Approves Network Of Protected Bike Lanes (USC Story Space)
  • Teachers Make Too Much For LAUSD Affordable Housing Built For Them (LAT)
  • Metro Celebrates New Freeway Park-and-Ride Parking Lot In Westlake Village (The Source)

Get National Headlines At Streetsblog USA
Get State Headlines At Streetsblog CA

Streetsblog USA
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Transit Vote 2016: With Historic Decision, Detroit Could Heal Old Divides

The highlight of metro Detroit's $4.6 billion transit plan is four bus rapid transit routes connecting the city to suburban job centers. Map: Michigan RTA. Click to enlarge.

The highlight of metro Detroit’s $4.6 billion transit plan is four bus rapid transit routes connecting the city to suburban job centers. Map: Michigan RTA. Click to enlarge.

The four-county transit ballot measure before voters in Southeast Michigan this November is truly historic.

It took 40 years and 23 failed attempts for Detroit and its suburbs to establish a regional transit agency. They finally won state support to establish the RTA in 2012. At the time, Detroit was on the verge of bankruptcy, and its general-revenue-supported transit system was in dire condition.

Transit service in the region is fragmented and unreliable, even though a quarter of city residents don’t own cars. The severity of the problem was encapsulated by the story of James Robertson, whose commute to a factory job in the suburbs required taking two buses and walking 21 miles.

The Detroit region is the largest U.S. metro area without a unified regional transit system. This photo shows a suburban "Smart" bus. Photo: Michigan RTA

The Detroit region is the largest U.S. metro area without a unified transit system. This photo shows a suburban “Smart” bus. Photo: Michigan RTA

The RTA can’t deliver a better transit system without funding, and that’s where the vote in November comes into play.

The Detroit region has put together a $4.6 billion, four-county plan to improve transit. The centerpiece is a network of bus rapid transit lines extending out from downtown. Funded by a 20-year property tax increase, the measure would cost the average homeowner in the region about $95 a year.

Megan Owens, director of the advocacy group Transit Riders United, says the measure is important for a few reasons. Right now, urban and suburban transit services are poorly integrated. That’s what messed up James Robertson’s commute — the suburb he worked in opted out of the suburban transit system. The lack of coherent transit connections makes the region’s notorious job sprawl an even bigger problem.

Read more…