Category Archives: Politics and Society

Transit Observations from Philadelphia

I was in Philadelphia last summer for about five days. I have few observations as a pedestrian: I stayed in West Philadelphia, in the gentrifying zone radiating out of University City, and traveled to Center City, and both neighborhoods seemed … Continue reading

Posted in Pedestrian Observations, Politics and Society, Regional Rail, Transportation, Urban Transit, Urbanism | 59 Comments

Loopy Ideas Are Fine, If You’re an Entrepreneur

There is a belief within American media that a successful person can succeed at anything. He (and it’s invariably he) is omnicompetent, and people who question him and laugh at his outlandish ideas will invariably fail and end up working … Continue reading

Posted in High-Speed Rail, Incompetence, Politics and Society, Transportation | 560 Comments

Tel Aviv Needs a Subway, Done Right

After decades of false starts, Tel Aviv is finally building a subway-surface line. The political opinions of activists and urban planners in Israel are divided between supporters, who believe the line is long overdue, and opponents, who instead believe buses … Continue reading

Posted in Israel, Politics and Society, Regional Rail, Transportation, Urban Transit | 29 Comments

Quick Note: Why Quinn is Unfit to be Mayor

The Triboro RX plan calls for using preexisting freight rail rights-of-way with minimal freight traffic to build a circumferential subway line through the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn. It was mentioned as a possible project by then-MTA head Lee Sander and … Continue reading

Posted in Construction Costs, Incompetence, New York, Politics and Society, Transportation, Urban Transit | 9 Comments

Quick Note: More on Urban Absolutism

In previous posts, I brought up the theory that American cities are run in a feudal fashion, despite the nominally democratic system, and that the failings of feudalism are leading proponents of livable streets and public transit to demand elected … Continue reading

Posted in New York, Politics and Society, Transportation, Urban Transit | 36 Comments

Who are the Opponents of Transportation Alternatives?

Streetsblog has traditionally lashed at multiple factions that oppose bicycle and transit infrastructure, but reserved the harshest criticism for entrenched community groups and NIMBYs, and their representatives including most of the high-profile Democratic mayoral candidates in New York. Early community … Continue reading

Posted in New York, Politics and Society, Transportation | 17 Comments

Quick Note: Why the Focus on Penn Station?

Penn Station is in the news again: the Municipal Art Society ran a public competition for a rebuilt station house, involving proposals by four different architectural firms. This does not include any track-level improvements at all: only the concourses and … Continue reading

Posted in Incompetence, New York, Politics and Society, Transportation | 81 Comments

The Different Cities We Inhabit

I do not know many people who live in Boston proper. I know about a hundred who live in the Greater Boston area, but only a small minority lives in the city proper, as is of course true in general. … Continue reading

Posted in Personal/Admin, Politics and Society, Providence, Urbanism | 13 Comments

Infrastructure and Democracy

Two stories, one recent and one older, have made me think about the undemocratic way the US builds infrastructure. The older story is California HSR’s cost overrun coming from scope creep; the biggest overruns were in the Bay Area, where … Continue reading

Posted in High-Speed Rail, Incompetence, New York, Politics and Society, Regional Rail, Transportation | 50 Comments

Immigration Choice

Houston booster and blogger Tory Gattis has a theory of what he calls opportunity urbanism, i.e. a focus on upward mobility as the primary goal of urban policy. Responding to a post of his on The Urbanophile, in which the … Continue reading

Posted in Personal/Admin, Politics and Society | 11 Comments