Apologies to everyone for the light posting – over the next few weeks I may be a bit busy with job and internship applications (any suggestions for work or job offers would be very much appreciated!), but hopefully I’ll still be able to put up a few posts a week. But for now, all you get is this mammoth link dump:
1. Vancouver’s laneway housing program (which we discussed earlier) has been off to a brisk start, and though planners are looking to liberalize sewer rules, they’re also considering only allowing one-story houses as-of-right, and limiting the amount of new laneway houses per block.
2. Former Market Urbanism contributer Sandy Ikeda writes about the urban origins of liberty at the Freeman.
3. The Dukakis Center has released a report suggesting that the gentrification caused by new light rail lines might cause driving to increase, defeating the purpose of TOD. Megan McArdle has also been discussing gentrification. Hopefully I’ll write something about this and gentrification more generally soon, but I wanted to post this in case I don’t get around to it. Any thoughts from the commenters on why this is and how it can be avoided?
4. North Korea “declare[s] war” on its version of the jitney, the “servi-cha.”
6. Disabled riders file a class-action lawsuit against NYC’s MTA “for not spending a federally mandated 20% of [subway] station rehabilitation budgets on improvements like elevators and ramps.” The ADA’s impact on mass transit and urbanism is something that I’d eventually like to discuss more in depth, but I haven’t seen much research or even many anecdotes about it – perhaps our commenters have some insight?
7. Delhi is getting 345 km of new BRT lanes, although they seem to be coming at the expense of private buses, which were taken out of service as a test during the Commonwealth Games in a move that will now become permanent. The most common complaint appears to be safety, and though the private Blueline buses are going to be replaced in the short-run by private contracted service, it looks like the city is seeking to socialize mass transit in the long-run. This seems to echo the pattern seen in many developing countries of municipalizing transit service, with examples both recent (Santiago, Chile, now and then) and from America’s own past. Some dense Asian cities bucked the trend, but they seem to be the exception rather than the rule. Mass transit, perhaps more than any other industry, has escaped the recent global trend towards privatization.
8. Developers working on a large new affordable housing development in Brooklyn claim that it wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for a “mayoral override of the parking requirement,” which allowed them to not build a single parking space. I’m happy that they were granted the exemption, but I wonder how many smaller or less politically-connected developers are oversupplying parking or deciding to not build at all because of the requirements.
9. Sam Staley suggests that the Tea Party movement might get involved in local land use decisions. But given their wishy-washy libertarianism and overwhelming suburban/rural orientation, I doubt they’d break out of the standard pro-car NIMBY mold and advocate for a true market in land use and transportation.
10. “Development specialists” have convinced Cambodia to privatize its interurban passenger and freight rail service, though land title issues for settlements that have sprung near tracks may pose difficulties.
11. New York City passes a pedicab regulation bill, which Meredith Sladek criticizes for giving local community boards the power to restrict pedicabs from operating in their neighborhoods, as well as for its outright ban on motors (which have at most half the power of a lawnmower) to assist the cyclist.