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Safer streets

By Angie Schmitt
Portland will reduce residential speed limits to 20 miles per hour

This article originally appeared on Streetsblog USA

To improve traffic safety and make streets more welcoming for walking and biking, Portland will lower speed limits on nearly all of its residential streets to 20 miles per hour, in most cases replacing a 25 mph limit.

The change was approved unanimously Wednesday by the Portland City Council. About 70 per cent of the city’s street mileage will have the new 20 mph limit.

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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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Mandatory minimums

By Angie Schmitt
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.

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Unsafe streets

By Angie Schmitt
CDC: America falling behind other nations on traffic safety

This article was originally published on StreetsBlogUSA.


 

How is the U.S. doing on traffic safety?

To hear a lot of people tell it, we’re making great strides. President Obama recently referred to the reduction in American traffic deaths as a success story of sorts, contrasting it with the rise in gun deaths.

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Hitting the streets

By Angie Schmitt
Cycling booms in London, and the city’s not looking back

This article was originally published on StreetsBlogUSA.

Boris Johnson says that one of his goals as mayor of London was to make cycling “more popular and more normal.” As Johnson’s eight-year tenure winds down, it looks like the progress he made in his second term has accomplished that mission.

If current trends continue, bike commuters will outnumber car commuters in central London by 2018, according to a recent report from Johnson’s office [PDF]. Citywide, Transport for London estimates people already make 645,000 bike trips on an average day.

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The Koch brothers’ war on transit

By Angie Schmitt
How many local transit projects are drawing fire from the Koch political network?

This article was originally published by StreetsBlogUSA.

Transit advocates around the country were transfixed by a story in Tennessee this April, when the state chapter of Americans for Prosperity made a bid to pre-emptively kill Nashville bus rapid transit. It was an especially brazen attempt by Charles and David Koch’s political network to strong-arm local transportation policy makers. But it was far from the only time the Kochs and their surrogates have taken aim at transit.

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