1. An excellent Wikipedia article about the old DC streetcars. I wish there were more economics, and I’d also like to know about the state-mandated consolidation that they talk about in the mid-1890s. Also note that streetcar use reached its peak in the mid 1910s – when people talk about interstate highways and the Great American Streetcar Conspiracy, they’re starting the story decades too late.
2. A dissenting (heh) view of Ed Glaeser’s book. My criticism of Glaeser would be that sometimes he starts speaking very generally and starts sounding a little whacky (which I think is what the reviewer here is picking up on). Perhaps his work wouldn’t be so popular if not for this tendency to paint in broad strokes, but I would like to see more specific analysis of land use laws and how Glaeser would like to change them. I haven’t read the book, though – does it get more nuanced than the excerpt in the Atlantic?
3. Human Transit publishes a reader comment and gives some great analysis of transit agency’s staffing and frequency. Apparently labor is the biggest constraint on frequency outside of peak hours, but many systems have labor and safety regulations that force transit agencies to overstaff trains. The efforts of unions to keep the unnecessary second man on transit vehicles are almost a century old, despite massive advances in transportation technology that have long since obviated the need.
4. This is cool.
5. DC’s gas stations are not long for this world as the condo onslaught continues. Urban gas stations rarely seem to me to be efficient uses of space (the gas station on Houston Street in Manhattan is the prime example) – does anybody know how rigid the zoning guidelines they fall under generally are? Are they zoned only for gas stations, necessitating a lobbying effort to develop?