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from Data Dive:

The expense of sprawl

It’s expensive to live in a big city. But what if it’s more expensive to live in a small city? The Citizen’s Budget Commission, a non-profit financial watchdog organization in New York, took a look at housing costs in US metro areas recently, then added in transportation costs. By these two metrics, New York City (and most dense metro areas with good public transportation) is one of the cheaper urban options.

This is what housing and transportation costs look like for a typical household in various urban areas around the country (New York is highlighted because that’s  the CBC's focus)*:

housing-transport2

Added together, that looks like this:

housing-transport1

Obviously more goes into the cost of living than just these two data points, but it does highlight just how expensive urban sprawl can be.

(h/t City Lab)

*What's a "typical household"? From the report: "This policy brief uses data for what HUD defines as the “typical regional household.”2 This household is a statistical creation based on average values for selected characteristics – median income, household size, number of workers in the household, and commuting patterns for the workers – of households in the area. For example, a typical household in New York City has 2.69 people, 1.2 commuters, and annual income of $63,915."

from Data Dive:

Data’s drawbacks: The best way to commute is not always the fastest

What’s the fastest way to get from point A to point B in a major American city? It’s probably a bike, according to a new joint project of the MIT Media Lab and the Social Computing Group (also at MIT). In the You Are Here data visualization, interactive maps show the fastest way to get from wherever you are in any one of 12 cities to other parts of the city. It’s a really fascinating way to visualize how cities in the US are laid out, and possibly has policy implications in helping to understand how important bicycles and associated infrastructure can and should be to the future of urban transportation.

DC Manhattan Brooklyn SF(Fastest transport mode by color: red is cars, yellow bikes, blue transit, and green walking; cities clockwise from top left: Washington, D.C., Manhattan, Brooklyn, San Francisco)

from Breakingviews:

China’s subway splurge only half on right track

By John Foley

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Take a trip on Beijing’s subway during rush hour and it’s clear that building more lines is a good idea. Asking international capital markets to pay for them, though, is not. Beijing’s issue of a $190 million bond to finance urban transit has been a hit with investors. But in general, public funding for public transport still looks the best route.

from The Great Debate:

A road paved with sand

Bills have been introduced into both the House and the Senate to dismantle the federal government’s role in interstate highways and leave that massive responsibility to individual states. Tea Party adherents and other conservatives are applauding this effort. The Interstate Highway System, they argue, was largely completed in the 1980s and local communities should provide their own transportation needs.

The new transportation bill proposed by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Representative Tom Graves (R-Ga.) however, tragically misses the mark when it comes to our national infrastructure needs. Their legislation would abandon the highway trust fund just when our roads and highways are most in need of reconstruction, repair and expansion.

from Counterparties:

The dark side of the TLC taxi court system

I had a little bit more complicated interaction with the Taxi and Limousine Commission court than Josh Barro.

Back in May, I was riding my bike home from work when a cab driver got really upset when I moved out of the bike lane to pass another cyclist, blocking him from accelerating quickly toward the impending red light.

from Shane Ferro:

The darker side of the TLC taxi court system

I had a little bit more complicated interaction with the Taxi and Limousine Commission court than Josh Barro.

Back in May, I was riding my bike home from work when a cab driver got really upset when I moved out of the bike lane to pass another cyclist, blocking him from accelerating quickly toward the impending red light.

from Breakingviews:

Review: Walking cure for cash-strapped U.S. cities

By Martin Langfield
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Many American cities, from Detroit to San Bernardino, are under financial pressure. Jeff Speck, an urban planner, has a suggestion: make them more pedestrian-friendly. His book “Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time” makes the case. Provide it, and they will come.

from The Great Debate:

Ray LaHood was, surprisingly, the right man for the job

Urbanists were excited by President Obama’s election in 2008, as it heralded the first time in a century that a president would come from a major city. And Obama was not just a resident of Chicago, he had worked as a community organizer. On the campaign trail he promised groups such as the U.S. Conference of Mayors that – after years of neglect under Republicans – his tenure would feature federal cooperation with, and attention to, cities.

So they were dismayed when Obama picked Ray LaHood, a Republican congressman from Peoria, Illinois, for Secretary of Transportation. It appeared that Obama had subjugated urban interests to his desire to appear bipartisan.

from Reihan Salam:

For states, Washington’s budgetary seduction proves too hard to resist

Federalism’s days appear to be numbered. The reason isn’t so much that the power of the federal government has increased, though that’s part of it. Instead, the slow-motion death of federalism flows from the fact that a wide array of federal programs have seduced state governments into playing Washington’s tune.

This week, for example, Ohio Governor John Kasich, a conservative who first came to prominence as one of the foot soldiers of the 1994 Republican Revolution, announced that he supports the federal expansion of Medicaid, one of the central pillars of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA). Opposition to ACA, and to the enormously expensive Medicaid expansion, had until recently been considered a conservative litmus test.

from Breakingviews:

Heathrow needs decisive capacity fix

By Chris Hughes

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Heathrow spent more than 36 million pounds on improving its snow defences after the chaos in 2010. The result? More bad publicity for London’s hub airport when this winter’s first blizzards hit. Heathrow’s operational upgrades have failed to address the fundamental problems it faces.

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