Neighborhood tours

Today’s links.

1. Lee Diamond’s celebrated Chicago neighborhood bike tours go online. Particularly worth a look: Hyde Park — contrast with my own campus and neighborhood tours. And while you’re there, swing by the area’s best playgrounds.

2. Interesting maps from the USDA showing the impact of urban sprawl in the 1990s, among other things.

3. Jeff Wegerson puts together a frequent-transit-service map for Chicago (via Human Transit) — or rather, a series of maps of transit stops that see service every X minutes.

4. Those on-street bike parking corrals in Montreal’s Plateau cost about $5000 each. At that price, they’d be quite affordable for larger landlords or SSAs — oh, in cities that actually own their curbside parking, that is.

5. Blair Kamin calls the new park at Adams & Sangamon “a good end product because they ran a good process. They didn’t impose their design. They worked closely with the West Loop Community Organization, which polled neighbors on their preferences.” Quite a bit different from some other park-use proposals I’ve seen recently, I’d say.

6. Random: I think North Korean propaganda is hilarious, and now they’ve launched a Twitter feed.

7. Chris Leinberger calls the Infrastructure Bank proposal a triple win. I’d add two additional wins:
– The interest rates being paid out on bonds right now is just unbelievably low. Investors are desperate to invest in anything that guarantees even a modicum of income right now — even the sketchiest of junk bonds. The Infrastructure Bank presents a golden opportunity to raise billions of dollars for investments that will eventually lead to higher productivity. Now, if only Republicans understood that borrowing money to build for the future is a wiser investment than borrowing money to buy bombs.
– The bank will add a big push for cost-effectiveness in transportation spending, which the private sector will demand if it’s to match funds. The most easily monetized infrastructure proposals are more likely to be urban/suburban than rural, simply because there will be more fee-paying users. As long as the bank balances cost-efficacy with appropriate environmental considerations (and perhaps with the ability to tap into value capture), metro areas will tend to win from this proposal. (Contrast that to the established pattern for state DOTs, which take tax receipts from metros and splash out the cash on exurbs and rural areas.)

8. Dave Schlabowske from Milwaukee writes that, on average, it’s drivers, not bicyclists, who are the scofflaw criminals on city streets:

Get ready for a big shock, but the fact is that people riding bikes are more law-abiding than people driving cars. The percent of people riding bicycles that made illegal maneuvers (ran red lights, rode on sidewalks, or rode against traffic) through the intersections where we did the counts varied from 11% to 48%. To say it another way, the majority of people who ride bikes obey the law. This definitely runs counter common perceptions… In some speed studies, the median speed is at or just below the posted speed limit by a mile or two per hour, which means that in the best case scenario a little less than half of the drivers are breaking the law by speeding… before Whitefish Bay installed the in-street yield to pedestrian signs, 94% of motorists failed to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. The study then checked twice after the signs were installed and a there was a media campaign to alert people about the law requiring motor vehicles to yield to pedestrians. In the final check, the yield compliance rate increased to 39%, which is a big jump, still not very good odds if you are betting your child’s life when they walk to and from school… [B]efore Whitefish Bay installed the in-street yield to pedestrian signs, 94% of motorists failed to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. The study then checked twice after the signs were installed and a there was a media campaign to alert people about the law requiring motor vehicles to yield to pedestrians. In the final check, the yield compliance rate increased to 39%, which is a big jump, still not very good odds if you are betting your child’s life when they walk to and from school.

9. David Rider in the Toronto Star investigates how the well-meaning Toronto a la Cart program to bring ethnic street food (in carts! not trucks!) failed.

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