Each week I will try to provide a set of links that relate to the topics I’m discussing here. Many of these will be coming from Twitter, so if you follow me there you’ll likely have already seen most of these.
Injustice at the Intersection illustrates a few of the ways the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) is hostile to pedestrians. The MUTCD is the primary guiding document on when and where to place stop signs and lights, turn lanes, and crosswalks. The California MUTCD is available online.
The Real Reason U.S. Gas Is So Cheap Is Americans Don’t Pay the True Cost of Driving has an interesting statistic, an additional 20 to 70 cents in taxes per gallon of gas would be required for the gas tax to sustain road and bridge maintenance. Right now, the general taxpayer is making up that difference whether they drive or not, or more likely, roads and bridges are just going unrepaired.
America’s Suburban Experiment. “And now, as budgets everywhere are frayed, our leadership obsessively seeks – in true Ponzi scheme fashion – more and more growth using this same, experimental model. America’s cities don’t need more growth. What they desperately need is a different development pattern, one that restores the resiliency and financial productivity of the pre-automobile approach to a modern America.”
How the suburbs could go from rot to rad. “Because these suburbs are also the first generation of the kind of large-scale cookie-cutter development that has come to define American suburbia, they’re also a harbinger of the trouble that lies in wait for all of our suburbs. Economies of scale made the mega-burbs affordable to build and buy, but what happens when, an entire suburb of ’80s McMansions hits its expiration date at the same time? We’re going to find out.”
Wal-Mart: An economic cancer on our cities. “Even low-rise, mixed-use buildings of two or three stories—the kind you see on an old-style, small-town main street—bring in ten times the revenue per acre as that of an average big-box development. What’s stunning is that, thanks to the relationship between energy and distance, large-footprint sprawl development patterns can actually cost cities more to service than they give back in taxes. The result? Growth that produces deficits that simply cannot be overcome with new growth revenue.”
Seeking more than a few good transportation engineers. “Knowing the futility of finding better solutions [using traffic studies], Sadik-Khan was clever. When a big change was warranted, she proposed the idea as a temporary test. Traffic studies are notoriously unreliable—they often overestimate traffic substantially, contributing to the design of larger, faster streets and roads that discourage walking and induce more traffic. The system is guaranteed to confirm conventional practice. Traffic studies often delay projects for years and raise costs.
“A temporary test project, instead, generates real-world data in real time. When these tests worked, the city made the changes permanent. Then new changes were proposed.”