1. Coalitions to which no one wants to affix their name are in trouble. Thankfully, it appears that the anti-BRT on Ashland people are just such a coalition. (In case you haven’t heard, the CTA and Chicago Department of Transportation want to take one lane of car traffic in each direction on Ashland and turn it into an express-bus-only lane with train-style stations every half mile, which would decrease bus travel time by 80% and increase car travel time by less than 10%. It’s a good idea for all sorts of reasons, which I might elaborate on some other time.)
Streetsblog Chicago really deserves kudos for the work they’ve been doing on this; the city absolutely needs smart, independent reporting and advocacy on transit issues, and they’ve been giving us that.
2. Just like unions and taxes can’t explain Detroit’s problems – guess who else has unions and high taxes? New York! Boston! Most other successful cities in America! – neither can lots of parking lots downtown. Because, you know, Dallas and Houston and so on, which may not be urbanists’ ideas of paradise, but which are providing a lot of people with jobs and affordable places to live and are very, very far from having Detroit-level fiscal and demographic problems. We do ourselves a disservice to pretend otherwise.
3. This is a good thinker on the 25th anniversary of the first permanent New Urbanist town, from Greater Greater Washington.
4. From Greater Greater Education: test scores are up in DC, but why? Is instruction improving, or are demographics just changing? (Remember that despite hype around charter schools and innovative teaching methods, the number one predictor of academic success in the U.S. remains economic status.) Answer: unclear, but probably demographics have something to do with it. Gonna do something similar for Chicago. Watch for it.
5. Finally, this from David Holmes at The Urbanophile is pretty sweet.