Skip to content

via ColumbusUnderground.comTransit Archive » ColumbusUnderground.com

Broad Street and James Road Tops Annual List of Worst Intersections

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) revealed its annual list of high-crash intersections yesterday afternoon, and last year’s number one has been dethroned. The intersection of Hamilton Road and Livingston Avenue has dropped to second place, surpassed by the intersection of Broad Street and James Road.

It should come as little surprise that the most high-speed, high-traffic and generally widest roads in Columbus contain the majority of the most dangerous intersections, including Broad Street, Morse Road, Dublin-Granville Road and Cleveland Avenue.

From a neighborhood perspective, the Top 10 list is dominated by east-side and northeast-side intersections located in Eastmoor, Linden, the Northland area, and just south of Whitehall.

Read more...
1 Comment

Today’s Headlines

  • CityBeat: Cincinnati Streetcar Represents City’s “Civic Redemption”
  • Metro to Offer Free Bus Service on Streetcar Opening Weekend (Business Courier)
  • Columbus Wants to Expand CoGo Bike Share to Suburbs (Dispatch)
  • Reshaped Van Aken Plaza Attracts Major New Tenant (Crain’s)
  • Akron Public Schools Approves Busing Plan for New School Year (Leader)
  • New Bar Hopes to Become Gathering Point for Bike Community (WCPO)
  • What Does Amtrak’s New CEO Mean for Future of Intercity Passenger Rail? (The Hill)
  • Big Transit Plans Going Before Voters in This Year’s Election (Governing)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

Streetsblog USA

Portland Wants to Rethink Speed Limits By Factoring in Walkers and Bikers

Portland wants to change the speed limit on North Weilder Street from 35 to 25. Photo: Google Maps

For cities trying to get a handle on traffic fatalities, dangerous motor vehicle speeds are an enormous problem. Once drivers exceed 20 mph, the chances that someone outside the vehicle will survive a collision plummet.

But even on city streets where many people walk and bike, streets with 35 or 40 mph traffic are common. Cities looking to reduce lethal vehicle speeds face a number of obstacles — including restrictions on how they can set speed limits.

State statutes usually limit how cities set speed limits. In Boston, for example, the City Councilhas voted numerous times to reduce the speed limit to 20 miles per hour, but state law won’t allow it.

Now Portland is taking on this problem. A pilot program expected to be approved by the Oregon Department of Transportation proposes a new way to evaluate what speeds are appropriate for urban areas.

Read more…

Streetsblog USA

Yes, Local Transportation Agencies Can Measure Their Climate Impacts

It’s going to be a tough sell for those who claim that greenhouse gas performance measures for transportation can’t possibly work, when plenty of transportation agencies say it would be no problem.

That’s according to transportation officials in several regions across America who responded to a survey commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The responses were shared with the Federal Highway Administration as it considers implementing a rule for transportation agencies to measure their climate impact.

Even in cities and regions where climate change is nowhere near the top of the policy agenda, planners and decision-makers still recognize greenhouse gas reductions as a desirable outcome of some of the things their constituents want most — like walkable, bikeable neighborhoods and a break from endless roadway congestion that takes time out of their day while triggering respiratory disease and contributing to hundreds of premature deaths per year.

Some legislators are still debating the urgency of reducing carbon emissions from transportation, and the powerful benefits of doing so. Recently, Senate Energy and Public Works Chair James Inhofe (R-OK) maintained FHWA has no mandate to measure greenhouse gases.

But the issue is already settled for many metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), for reasons that usually include but often go far beyond the need for local solutions to global climate change. The survey of 10 agencies in eight states found that most support greenhouse gas reductions as a legitimate policy priority that meshes well with their responsibilities.

Read more…

Streetsblog USA

When Cities Force Developers to Widen Roads, Everyone Loses

vermont_wilshire

It’s a common practice for cities to make developers widen a street when they put up a new building. The thinking is that development creates car trips that must be accommodated with more asphalt.

But new research suggests these policies don’t help anyone. The main effect is to increase the cost of building, making housing less affordable.

“As traffic management exercises, many widenings appear unnecessary,” concludes UCLA researcher Michael Manville in a paper published in the Journal of Transport and Land Use [PDF].

Manville looked at how this policy is carried out in Los Angeles. In L.A., all multifamily housing projects (and some other types of construction) are assessed by city traffic engineers to determine whether the developer should widen nearby streets. This is like “blaming Disneyland for increased air travel, and forcing the theme park to expand runways whenever it adds attractions,” he argues.

Manville spoke to developers compelled by the city to pay for various road widenings. The costs varied. In one case, the street widening added an estimated $11,000 to the cost per unit of a multifamily housing development. In another case the figure was $50,000. In another, just $65 per unit. Where the costs of street widenings are substantial, the policy drives up costs for renters and buyers.

Read more…

Streetsblog.net

Portland Will Connect Streets Over a Highway With a Car-Free Bridge

Portland's newest car-free bridge will complete a key bike route. Image via Bike Portland

Here’s one way to heal some of the damage created by urban interstates.

Jonathan Maus at Bike Portland reports that the city has won a $2.6 million state grant to help it complete a key bike route. To fill in the missing segment, Portland has to create a path across a big sunken highway. So the city will use the grant, combined with some local funds, to build a bike and pedestrian bridge over I-405.

Maus explains why this is such a smart investment:

Portland leaders have been working for over a decade to close this gap. Former mayor Sam Adams first proposed the idea of a new bridge over Flanders in 2006 when he was PBOT Commissioner. He continued to work on the project until his run for mayor in 2008 but was not able to make it happen.

According to the city’s grant application, the bridge would likely average about 3,000 crossings as soon as it opens as people shift their routes from the busy and high-stress crossings at Everett, Glisan and Couch. Once greenway elements like speed bumps, signage, and diverters are added to the street, it’s estimated that the new bridge would see 9,100 trips per day. That’s more than the amount of daily bike trips over the Hawthorne Bridge.

Read more…

Streetsblog USA

Carless Renters Forced to Pay $440 Million a Year for Parking They Don’t Use

Many residents of American cities can’t escape the high cost of parking, even if they don’t own cars. Thanks to policies like mandatory parking requirements and the practice of “bundling” parking with housing, carless renters pay $440 million each year for parking they don’t use, according to a new study by C.J. Gabbe and Gregory Pierce in the journal Housing Policy Debate.
Photo: Wikipedia

Photo: Wikipedia

The financial burden works out to an average of $621 annually per household, or a 13 percent rent premium -- and it is concentrated among households that can least afford it. “Minimum parking standards create a major equity problem for carless households,” said Gabbe. “71 percent of renters without a car live in housing with at least one parking space included in their rent.”

Parking is typically bundled with rent, making the price of residential parking opaque. So Gabbe and Pierce set out to estimate how much people are actually paying for the parking that comes with their apartments. Crunching Census data from a representative sample of more than 38,000 rental units in American urban areas, they isolated the relationship between parking provision and housing prices. They determined that on average, a garaged parking space adds about $1,700 per year in rent -- a 17 percent premium. Looking only at carless households, the average cost is $621 per year and the premium is 13 percent. On average these households earn about $24,000 annually, compared to $44,000 for the whole sample, and they get no value whatsoever out of the parking spaces bundled with their rent. Gabbe and Pierce estimate that nationwide there are 708,000 households without a car renting an apartment with a garaged parking space, for a total cost burden of about $440 million per year due to unused parking. So how can parking policy create fairer housing prices? Gabbe and Pierce say cities should eliminate minimum parking requirements to make housing more affordable. Cities can also help by allowing and encouraging landlords to “unbundle” the cost of parking from the cost of rent — so people who don’t have cars aren’t forced to pay for parking spaces they don’t use.
No Comments

Today’s Headlines

  • SORTA Announces Ambitious Five-Year Growth Plan (WCPO)
  • Cleveland RTA’s Painful Fare Increases Now Being Realized (CleveScene)
  • Cincinnati Bell Signs $3.4 Million Naming Rights Agreement for Streetcar (Enquirer)
  • Feds: Closing Off Public Square to Buses Violates Funding Agreement (Plain Dealer)
  • Akron Celebrates Opening of City’s First Protected Bike Lane (Beacon Journal)
  • Guerrilla Bike Lanes Show That Cities Could Be Doing Much More For Bicyclists (Co.Exist)
  • Should Every City Be Developing a Bicycle Highway Plan? (The Urbanist)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

Streetsblog USA

State DOTs to Feds: We Don’t Want to Reveal Our Impact on Climate Change

State DOTs don’t want to report on how their spending decisions affect greenhouse gas emissions. Photo: Andrew Boone

Every year state DOTs receive tens of billions of dollars in transportation funds from the federal government. By and large, they can do whatever they want with the money, which in most states means wasting enormous sums on pork-laden highway projects. Now that U.S. DOT might impose some measure of accountability on how states use these funds, of course the states are fighting to keep their spending habits as opaque as possible.

At issue are proposed “performance measures” that U.S. DOT will establish to track whether states make progress on goals like reducing traffic injuries or cutting greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. For the first time, state DOTs will have to set targets and measure their progress toward achieving them. It is strictly a transparency initiative — there are no penalties for failure to meet the targets.

Nevertheless, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), doesn’t want to expose the effect of state transportation policies to public scrutiny. AASHTO has released a 110-page comment [PDF] on U.S. DOT’s proposed performance measures, rattling off a litany of objections.

Here are a few highlights:

AASHTO doesn’t want to measure greenhouse gas emissions

In a meeting with federal officials in May [PDF], AASHTO leaders opposed a rule that would require state DOTs to measure their greenhouse gas emissions. Environmentalists and even some state DOTs support this rule (there is some diversity of opinion within AASHTO). But the AASHTO leadership really dislikes it. In its comments, AASHTO said it doesn’t believe the feds have the “legislative authority” make state DOTs track carbon emissions.

Read more…

Streetsblog USA

John Oliver on the Cruel Poverty Trap That is Subprime Auto Lending

Never forget this: Those who the highest price for the American system of transportation — one that makes owning a personal car practically a mandate — are the poor. We’ve reported before about how the largely unregulated subprime auto lending market has been expanding in recent years, leading some people to wonder if a breakdown in the auto loan industry could echo the housing bubble.

HBO funnyman John Oliver, along with guest stars Keegan-Michael Key and Bob Balaban, took on the topic in a recent segment we thought was worth sharing.

Here is a shortlist of some of the horrors Oliver describes:

  • Commutes that are virtually impossible by transit,
  • Cars sold for double the Kelly Blue Book value,
  • Interest rates as high as 29 percent,
  • A single Kia tracked by the Los Angeles Times that was sold, repossessed or returned eight times in three years,
  • In-car devices that beep in the event of a missed payment before disabling the vehicle entirely, and
  • Default and repossession rates of 31 percent.

It’s cruel that our society all but requires people purchase an expensive consumer product, trapping them in usurious financing schemes, just to participate in the workforce. But because of our auto-centric land use and transportation policies, that is precisely the quandary too many Americans face.