Sunday, October 31st, 2010
The latest edition of Lapham’s Quarterly is dedicated to the city. It’s worth checking out for sure.
1. The Guardian: London Bike Share Program to Turn Profit. It’s early days yet, but it is looking like the London bike share program is trending towards fully covering its operating costs in three years, and then implementation costs after that. Pretty impressive.
2. Rust Wire: Erie, PA Expatriates Seeking Jobs…in South Korea
Indianapolis Parking Meters
The city of Indianapolis made some changes to the proposed parking meter lease in response to public criticism. Among these are adding the ability to terminate with a penalty at ten year intervals. While I give the city credit for making some modest improvements to the contract, I still urge the council to vote it down. Key reasons are:
- Parking meters are still the wrong asset to be signing a long term lease on.
- The benefits to the public are modest even in the best case. This will only generate $20 million in upfront money (only 5% of the $400 million the water company transaction spun off). I cannot understand why the city is so strongly pursuing a deal with this little gain to the city given the nearly universal disapproval of the deal by everyone outside the administration.
- The city’s claim that it cannot afford to do the upgrade itself and keep 100% of the money for the public instead of giving away over half the value to a private vendor has been completely discredited by recent events. The city just found $8M/yr in downtown TIF money to send to the CIB, another $2.5M/yr for libraries, and has found millions more to subsidize the North of South and Clarian developments. There is simply no way to plead poverty on a $10M one time upgrade (and that cost is likely inflated) in light of all that.
- The contract terms remain poor for the city
Bike Share Status
There’s a very cool online application that shows the real time status of bike share systems. Here’s a sample of London, but they’ve got quite a few cities in there:
And here’s another really cool one called the Bike-O-Meter, which gives real time stats on system utilization in cities around the world. This screen shot shows some sample cities:
I see there’s a divide by zero error in the code.
Where the World’s Brains Are
Richard Florida posted this very cool map of where the world’s top brains are located. You can also check out his accompanying commentary.
The Spiky Social Network
Richard Florida also has an interesting take on the NetProspex 2010 Social Business Report city rankings. Here’s the graphic as a teaser:
World and National Roundup
The Guardian: Europe on track for Kyoto targets while emissions from imported goods rise – Unsurprisingly, while regulation in Europe reduced carbon emissions there, the savings were offset by importing more products from carbon havens. These programs are not helping the environment, but are only feeding the offshoring of industry from the developed world to places with weak environmental protections. If you want to reduce carbon, a global Carbon Added Tax is the way to go.
Forbes: Municipal pension tabs average $15,000 per household – It’s a whopping $42,000/household in Chicago.
David Brooks: The Paralysis of State
National Affairs: The Trouble with Public Sector Unions
Governing: Inefficient Government Rules and Regulations
Megan Cottrell: How Segregation Actually Caused the Housing Crisis
Richard Florida: Suburban Renewal
Virginia Postrel: The Bike Helmet Wars
Greater Greater Washington: What will autonomous cars mean for cities?
Detroit Blog: Blues Streak
Lynn Becker: Chicago Architects’ Post-Mortem on Daley: Too Much Sugar? – A “manifesto for fresh thinking”
Chicago Tribune: David Brooks on Chicago’s social fabric
There’s an interesting discussion in the comments on this thread at Glass House Conversations: What are the opportunities and risks of these emerging geopolitical constellations, and how should we prepare for an urban, post-national future?
Indian Railways Advertisement
Here’s a wonderful one minute ad for Indian Railways. (If the video doesn’t display, click here)
Halloween Critical Mass in San Francisco
Copenhagenize posted this fun video of last year’s San Francisco Critical Mass ride on Halloween. (If the video doesn’t display, click here).
I’ll end on a sad note. I was walking down Damen Ave. near my house in Chicago last week when I saw the bicycle death memorial below. According to a note posted at the site, Liza Whitacre was a 20 yer old junior at Loyola University and barista at Metropolis Coffee Company. She was killed on October 21 when she was riding by this spot and “she slipped off her bike and fell under a truck.” It makes me sick to see this happen, but sometimes, despite all that we do to create a safer city, tragedy strikes anyway. My condolences to Liza’s family and friends.