Urban bites

  • You know that loft living has gone mainstream when it appears in Rocky Mount and Clayton, N.C.
  • Residential parking districts in Boulder allow 2-3 hour free parking during the day and sell parking permits to businesses and commuters — at 5X and 18X the resident price, respectively. The system still favors residents without excluding other users. (The first breach in Chicago’s obscenely underpriced RPP is the $300 citywide permit, available to people like real estate agents and home health aides.)
  • Fred Camino at MetroRiderLA diagnoses the problem with TOD as practiced in LA: parking. “Providing ample parking for vehicles orients people away from transit. But the developers don’t care because they know they won’t be able to sell their units at a ridiculously high price to the Dr. Cosmatos of the world without providing ample parking for residents and their guests. Essentially they are saying fuck transit. So Transit Oriented Developments in Los Angeles, as they stand now, are indeed bullshit and do not help reduce traffic, pollution, congestion or incease transit usage.”
  • Denver appears to be the first city to have instituted a “label match-up” law requiring motorcycles to have exhaust systems that meet EPA noise control standards. (Current laws usually rely on decibel meters, which are expensive, time consuming, and hard to use.) Motorcycle groups inevitably cried foul, citing a “double standard,” but at least one publication agrees:

    Instead of basing the requirements on the actual equipment, [legislation] tend[s] to specify sound levels, but those are hard to measure properly and require enforcement agencies to buy the necessary equipment and train personnel in its use. If legislators started by requiring exhaust system to bear the same markings found on stock pipes that show they meet EPA sound-level requirements as well as a measured noise standard, it would be easier for police to enforce. It would also give aftermarket exhaust manufacturers reason to start creating legal systems. We believe that this would be the most effective tactic… At the moment, many law-enforcement agencies find their hands tied. They cite a motorcyclists for an obviously loud exhaust, but in court they lose because the wording of laws makes the standard unclear or the measurement requirements too difficult. Art Friedman, Motorcycle Cruiser, 30 June 2003

    Apparently, Alderman Natarus asked the city to investigate “sound cameras” to issue citations based on a built-in decibel meter — another problem with enforcement is that vehicle noise is always on the move and thus hard to track. Interesting idea, although avoiding cites for emergency vehicles, etc. might be a challenge.