Two Major Setbacks for New York’s Homeless Shelter Plan

Last week, in Downtown Brooklyn, a judge issued a stinging injunction against the city’s plan to open a homeless shelter on Crown Height’s Bergen Street. The planned shelter, the first of 90 new locations, would house 104 men over the age of 62. Since being announced, the facility has encountered fierce opposition from local residents who complain that there are already too many shelters in the neighborhood.

Other proposed shelters have also been announced for the community, with predictable reactions. On Friday, city councilwoman Laurie Cumbo and residents blasted the city’s plan to house homeless families at a residential building currently under construction on 267 Rogers Avenue.

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Houston Inches Closer to Bike Overhaul

Houston is poised for a major investment in bicycle transportation.

Last week the city’s lawmakers approved a plan to add more than 1,200 miles of bicycle lanes and trails to the nation’s fourth largest city. Though the $300 million program has yet to receive funding, the city council’s approval is a critical step. Possible funding sources include private donations, voter approved bonds, along with incorporation into existing (and funded) capital projects.

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Bluegogo Suspends Bay Area Service: Five Observations

After much initial hubub and curiosity, Bluegogo, a venture Chinese bikeshare start-up, announced it would suspend operations in the Bay Area market. The move comes amid heavy scrutiny from city officials, bike advocates and public space managers, especially with regard to the company’s somewhat notorious operational model, which consists of unloading tens of thousands of bikes into the urban streetscape, with little regard for how they’re organized or maintained.

Though company officials are maintaining a brave public face, this development can only be viewed as a substantial setback. San Francisco, with its bike-friendly and tech- forward culture, was viewed as one of the most promising locations for this new breed of bikeshare start-ups, and these early setbacks don’t bode well for future competitiveness in the market.

Here are five observations:

Continue reading Bluegogo Suspends Bay Area Service: Five Observations

Judge Temporarilly Blocks New Crown Heights Shelter

On Friday, a judge temporarily blocked the planned opening of a new homeless shelter on 1173 Bergen Street in Crown Heights. The ruling stands until another judge can issue a more permanent ruling, which will decide the project’s fate. DNA Info has a great write-up about the judge’s order, which you can read here

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Cuomo’s Initiatives Shed Light on Need For Regional Plan

Last night, the New York Times ran a local reaction story that seemed pretty typical for those who’ve grown accustomed to following development and infrastructure in the region. Times reporters questioned local residents about Governor Cuomo’s plan to replace the Sheridan Expressway with a more neighborhood friendly boulevard and, predictably, found a range of opinions. Many loved the idea, others expressed concerns. Among those who weren’t so sure, a common refrain was used: Is this the best way to spend $1.8 billion?

That’s a good question.

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Bike Share Newcomers Face Rough Road In US & Europe

Recently when Bluegogo, a Chinese bikeshare company, announced plans for a Bay Area launch, public officials responded with a public smackdown. To the chagrin of public space managers, Bluegogo intended a repeat of their Chinese strategy; setting loose up to 100,000 bikes onto city streets, which would then become disorganized clutter on sidewalk racks. Citing this, city officials threatened to clip the company’s bikes and to, essentially, outlaw its operations. In response, Bluegogo resorted to a far more conservative operational model, but that hasn’t stopped the city from pursuing additional punitive measures, with the hopes of deterring copycats.

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Affordable Housing Crisis Hits The Bronx

While some New Yorkers may have been lulled by a recent small dip in rental prices, the city’s long term housing market is still grim. A new report published this month by the Regional Plan Association demonstrates just how urgent the situation remains.

The report, which examines census tracts that are at risk of displacement by escalating housing costs, finds that 70% of the census tracts in the Bronx are at risk of displacement as the borough’s dense, walkable neighborhoods become attractive to wealthier residents who themselves are being squeezed out of pricier neighborhoods in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

Continue reading Affordable Housing Crisis Hits The Bronx