US transit projects are way more expensive than those in similar countries. Addressing the reasons why could help us build more transit.
The Case for More Traffic Roundabouts — "Here’s why: Using simple principles of physics, roundabouts dramatically reduce crash rates, as well as injuries and deaths. They diminish vehicle emissions. They are a more effective use of road space, and cost less to maintain than traditional four-way intersections. And it’s time that America learns to love them."
Seattle's unbelievable transportation megaproject fustercluck — "In short: There is no plan to resolve the dispute over cost overruns, which are ubiquitous on projects like this; at $4.2 billion, it's the most expensive transportation project in state history. The tunnel will have no exits - no ingress or egress - throughout the entire downtown core (which makes the support of downtown businesses all the more mystifying). It won't allow transit, only cars. It will be tolled, highly enough, by the state's own estimates, to drive nearly half its traffic onto the aforementioned side streets. It will be a precarious engineering feat, the widest deep-bore tunnel in history, digging right between a) Puget Sound and b) the oldest part of Seattle, with vulnerable buildings and God-knows-what buried infrastructure. Also: Pollution. Climate change. It's the 21st f'ing century. On and on. People said all this and more, in real time, to no avail." [more inside]
As Americans, we pick a place to live and then figure out how to get where we need to go. If no way exists, we build it. Roads, arterials, highways, Interstates, and so on. Flexible and distributed transportation networks are really the only solution compatible with that way of thinking. Trains, which rely on a strong central network, never had a chance. We were destined for the automobile all the way back in 1787, when we first decided to carve up the countryside into tidy squares.Town, Section, Range, and the Transportation Psychology of a Nation [more inside]
Worcy Crawford ran the only bus company that would transport colored passengers in pre-Civil Rights Act Birmingham. Mr. Crawford recently passed away and now the buses sit in disrepair.
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Jesus Boots perfected! NYT: In the last 150 years, Americans have patented about 100 water-walking inventions. The first, in 1858, was by H. R. Rowlands, who lived in Boston, not far from where Mr. Rosen resides, in Newton, Mass. Most of the subsequent patents, Mr. Rosen said, are iterations of that same idea. "Unfortunately," Mr. Rosen observed, "none of them actually work."