Selling Homeless Shelters to the Public

As homelessness rises to record highs, community opposition to proposed shelters remains deep-seated and, for local elected officials, implacable. In Brooklyn last week, residents blasted the mayor’s proposal for a shelter in Crown Heights, and in Salt Lake City, residents are pleading with the state to intervene in the city’s plan to place a  shelter near Downtown. In Los Angeles, communities are opposed to even storage facilities for items belonging to the homeless. Similar themes have cropped up in almost every city; no one wants a homeless shelter in their backyard.

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The Missing Piece in NY’s Ferry Plan

The Mayor is excited about New York’s new “Citywide Ferry” service that is slated to begin this summer. These new ferries are designed to bridge the gap between existing transit solutions and the rapid pace of development, which has resulted in new jobs and residences along waterfront neighborhoods, which are relatively far from transit. City officials eventually project as much as 4.6 million trips per year (about 1.5 days worth of the weekend ridership on the subway, for perspective).

Much ink has already been spilled on smart transportation policy and what it will take to get a New York ferry system right. Ferries must be plugged into the existing transit network, fast and easy to use in order to attract significant amounts of ridership. The nation’s best public ferry is actually already up and running here, it travels between Manhattan and Staten Island, and should serve as a replicable model for how to connect far flung neighborhoods like Far Rockaway to other parts of the city.

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Is Los Angeles Ahead of Everyone Else?

Los Angeles, long the poster-child for sprawling low density development, has quietly built a strong case for the country’s leading transit planning city. While no one would dare argue that today’s Los Angeles offers serious competition to the likes of New York, Boston or Washington DC, the city is doing what no one else has been able to: think big and build big.

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Bike Theft is Becoming a Transportation Crisis

I don’t use the word crisis very often, certainly not to describe a transportation problem, but that’s the only applicable word that come to mind, which describe the levels of bike theft plaguing cities today. Long ignored by police and policy makers, the theft of bicycles has now become a common, tolerated, fact of urban life. While great progress has been made in building bicycle lanes, bicycle security has been largely gone unmentioned. No one has tackled the thorny problem that results in many fewer cyclists on the streets and millions in lost property.

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Anatomy of a Subway Meltdown

If you follow me on Twitter or read my last post, you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t taken kindly to the notion that Uber and other car sharing services are somehow responsible for the decline in subway service. To me, that’s attacking the symptom and not the disease. Yes, it’s true that there has been a slight decline in Subway ridership, but that’s because there has also been an admitted decline in Subway service, especially on the weekend, where the dip was significant (Weekday service is actually higher than ever).

Ironically, the day after my post on the subject, I was given the unfortunate opportunity to document what a such a decline looks like from the perspective of a frequent rider.

Below is an annotated photo essay. In the notes section I’ll briefly explain the problem, the cause ,and what (if anything) is being done about it.

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