Breakfast links: Empty parking, screw peds and bikes
We told you so, New York: Back in 2004, Mayor Bloomberg turned over a city-owned market filled with small vendors to a big-box developer to build an auto-centric mall in the Bronx. Despite being near public transit, the developer, Related Companies, built giant parking lots, narrow and winding pedestrian access, and a design that turned its back on nearby neighborhoods. Now, they're surprised to find out that more people are arriving by transit than by car, and the tiny pedestrian ramps are busy while the garages sit empty. (Streetsblog NYC)
College Park-ing still a failure: A new $9.3 million, 288-space parking garage in College Park currently gets only about 20 cars at any one time, and has only earned $9,000 in its first two months. The city is now considering raising rates at other lots to entice people to this one. But Councilmembers who were certain the parking would bring people to downtown are disappointed. How about planning for an actual downtown instead of a motley low-density strip? (The Diamondback, Doug T.)
Mean parking lots: About 22% of car-pedestrian crashes occur in parking lots, says Montgomery County, and they're starting a campaign to educate drivers and pedestrians about the dangers. They also are thinking about pushing for some separated pedestrian paths in parking lots. That's a fine idea if the paths are convenient, but terrible if it means pushing the pedestrians along a circuitous route at the edge so cars can go fast without worrying about hitting people. (Post)
Just coal for pedestrians, bikers: Leesburg will remove all parking meter and garage charges for the holiday season. Michael Perkins notes that when they've done this in the past, many of the spaces just got filled up with cars parked for weeks without moving. (Post, Michael P)
Who needs to maintain bikeways? Not Montgomery: Ike Leggett's savings plan for the current year (large PDF) completely eliminates of bikeway maintenance ($100
million thousand) while cutting only 0.5% of road maintenance (another $100 million thousand).
NIMBY, literally: Residents of Fort Washington, Maryland are fighting extension of a bike trail, the Potomac Heritage Trail, from the Woodrow Wilson Bridge to Oxon Hill to Accokeek. Longstanding easements permit building the trail, but some neighbors are saying it will cut into their backyards and bring crime. Trail advocates say trails don't cause crime. (Gazette)
Massive widenings are expensive, even in Tysons: Tysons growth could require $15 billion in new infrastructure, says Lisa "sprawl is your dream" Rein. But reading further, it looks like most of that cost comes not from the local roads and buses to make an urban area, but
the new Beltway lanes, widening of major arterials, and overpasses rail projects that aren't actually in Tysons at all. Here's a more detailed analysis. (Post)
Future Amtrak: Wireless, yummier, and more annoying: Amtrak's 5-year plan to improve its service includes Wi-Fi on trains and better food, both sorely needed items. They'll also add "random and unpredictable patrols" and more baggage screening. Because clearly what passengers need is more inconvenience. Everybody's doing it! (WBJ)Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
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