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Bus lanes are the new parking lanes

By Angie Schmitt
American cities are getting smarter about using curb space to prioritize transit, biking and walking.

For a long time, American cities didn’t put much thought into what to do with the space along the curb. On streets in commercial areas, curb access was for metered parking. In residential areas, it was for free parking.

But the curb serves purposes that extend far beyond car access. It’s where bus riders board and disembark, for instance, or where protected bike lanes typically make the most sense. American cities are getting smarter about how to use the curb, and in a new white paper, the National Association of City Transportation Officials lays out strategies to get the most out of this precious space [PDF].

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Estacionamiento

By Angie Schmitt
Mexico City may abolish its parking minimums

Mexico City Mayor Miguel Mancera is pursuing a sweeping overhaul of the city’s parking policy that’s expected to do away with minimum parking requirements and generate revenue for transit and affordable housing. If enacted, the reforms could set an important precedent for cities in North and South America.

Currently, Mexico City’s building code tips the scales toward driving with strict parking minimums throughout the city for both housing and commercial development, even though cars only account for about 30 percent of all trips. By reforming the parking requirements, Mancera aims to lower construction costs, make housing more affordable, and subsidize transit through a fee on parking that does get built.

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Le flâneur

Montreal’s car-free street network continues to grow

Every year, Montreal transforms more of its streets into public spaces where people can rub shoulders with their neighbours without worrying about car traffic. Block by block, experiment by experiment, the city’s pedestrian streets are growing.

In 2017 the city is adding three more street segments to its car-free network, Mayor Denis Coderre recently announced, awarding $1.7 million over three years to pedestrianize them. The streets will receive seating, landscaping, and pavement markings that as public pedestrian space. This allotment follows the addition of five car-free street segments in both 2015 and 2016.

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Stay alert, stay safe

By Angie Schmitt
Cycling is getting much safer in American cities that add bike lanes

American cities still have a long way to go before they’re considered safe for people of all ages and abilities to bike. But many of them have made a lot of progress recently, especially the ones building protected bike lanes.

That’s the takeaway of a recent data project featured in the American Journal of Public Health that examines crash and injury rates for cyclists in 10 American cities.

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