Ames, Iowa made national headlines this fall for painting rainbow crosswalks and then ignoring a request from USDOT to remove them. The incident highlights one way outdated federal guidelines prevent communities from making their streets safer and more pleasant with art and culture. But there are other ways for communities to add some color to streets while improving safety without running afoul of the feds.
Author: Sean Doyle
What should we accomplish with the billions in transportation funding the federal government spends each year? That’s an open question that Congress has so far seemed unwilling to answer. New principles from our Transportation for America, program seek to paint a picture of what we can—and should—get done. Congress should take note; it’s long past time for a reset of broken federal transportation policy.
The average American currently drives nearly twice as far each day as they did 30 years ago. Taking a cursory look at two radically different transportation plans for Houston, TX shows how the default position of federal transportation policy is to increase driving—and consequently pollution—by offering billions to states to build new roads and make existing roads wider, while making transit projects wait in line or compete for much smaller amounts of funding.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) claims that it isn’t intentionally slowing down and undermining transit funding. But nine communities have been waiting months for federal funding on shovel-ready transit projects that have been “allocated” money by USDOT without actually receiving a single dollar. For one of those communities, it has been 10 months since USDOT “allocated” money—an unprecedented and unnecessary delay. How long are communities supposed to wait for USDOT to do its job and fund these transit projects?
Hundreds of cities around the world hold PARK(ing) Day on the third Friday in September where dozens of parking spots that are usually reserved for stationary, empty cars are transformed into places for people. Here’s a look at a few of the “parklets” scattered around our office in Washington, DC and what their creators had to say about them.
In the conversations about cities, much of the media attention has been focused on young professional or older, retiring Americans. But families with children have been largely overlooked in the midst of our current urban renaissance. There has been some recent debated over whether the number of children (and thus families) is increasing or on the decline in cities, and it got us thinking: what would a place designed for families look like?
More than a decade ago, local business and civic leaders in Indianapolis realized that for the city to remain competitive it needed to be better at moving people. Today, after an exhaustive planning process, changes to state law, and a successful local referendum where local voters raised their income taxes to invest in transit, the first major piece of Indianapolis’s transit upgrade is set to open.
After more than a decade of working to build safer streets, strong Complete Streets legislation has finally been introduced in Congress. The Complete Streets Act of 2019 could catalyze the adoptions of thousands of local Complete Streets policies across the country, based on experience in Massachusetts.
The popular narrative about younger generations aging and leaving urban centers is presented as inevitable. But most news stories fail to examine why many younger people are taking up residence in suburbia—or whether or not the suburbs they’re choosing have more in common with cities or the exurbs their parents preferred. Perhaps their move to the suburbs is more a product of constrained housing supply that leaves them with little choice but to decamp as they grow.
Walkable urban places (i.e. WalkUPs) occupy less than one percent of the total land mass in the 30 largest metro areas, but deliver outsized economic performance and there is great demand for more of such places. Meeting this pent-up demand for new WalkUPs would create a new economic foundation for the U.S. economy, one far more resilient than one predicated on suburban growth.
In Foot Traffic Ahead 2019, we rank the top 30 metros based on their WalkUPs.