The proposed Green New Deal wants to reduce plane travel and increase trips by high-speed train. Atlanta's plan to cap three-quarters of a mile of downtown freeway with green space is moving forward. Swiss voters have rejected a plan to limit sprawl over concerns it would worsten its housing shortage.
Green New Deal for trains: One of the proposed Green New Deal's most ambitious transportation goals is to “build out high-speed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary.” Planes, cars, and shipping are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US. Proponents point to Japan and Europe as successful case studies, and China, with its high-speed rail system being the world's largest, showcases how even large countries can build out an efficient system. (Umair Irfan | Vox)
Atlanta wants to “stitch” together its core: A plan to cover the I-75/85 connector in downtown Atlanta with green space will soon be unveiled. On March 1, the Urban Land Institute will release its feasibility analyses to develop atop a half-mile stretch of a 14-lane highway. The plan is to construct the development in phases without shutting down traffic. Though it may take more than a decade to complete, the project is expected to be an incredible boon to the local economy. (Sean Keenan | Curbed Atlanta)
Swiss voters accept sprawl: On February 10, Switzerland rejected a referendum to limit sprawl by freezing the size of construction zones, which would have protected open spaces from development. A new building zone would only have been allowed if another area of at least the same size was no longer set aside for construction. The Swiss government and parliament opposed the plan over concerns that it ignores regional differences and may worsen the nation's housing shortage. (Michael Shields | Reuters)
America's forgettable mid-rises: Blocky apartment buildings are emerging in “one of the most dramatic changes to the country's built environment in decades.” The uniform look stems from stick framing, a familiar method of construction that involves nailing together softwood two-by-four frames. This method is cheap and easy to construct, plus strict building and zoning codes leave little room for deviation. However, all the wood framing is highly flammable, particularly during construction. (Justin Fox | Bloomberg)
California's bullet train was scaled back: Governor Gavin Newsom announced this week that he was pulling back on plans to construct the California High-Speed Rail, promising to complete the initial phase from Merced to Bakersfield. Melanie Curry at Streetsblog points out that completing the entire system at once was never the plan, and Newsom is not abandoning the project. Rather, the governor plans to hold contractors and consultants more accountable and transparent in handling taxpayer funds as plans for the whole system move forward. (Melanie Curry | Streetsblog CA)
Quote of the Week
“These problems are systemic. But the way we think about accessibility needs to change as well. Accessibility isn’t charity, it is the law, outlined in the American Disabilities Act (ADA) signed in 1990. Not following it costs lives. But we, as a nation, have spent so much time debating semantics and marginalizing disabled people’s needs as “special” that many nondisabled folk do not realize they have many of the same needs.”
Imani Barbarin in the The Philadelphia Inquirer discussing the importance of accessibility in public transportation.
This week on the podcast, Ryan Westrom from Ford Smart Mobility and Greenfield Labs joins us at the Brooklyn Podcast Festival