Some things you just can’t make up … like this: NYC Subway Elevator Inoperable After Being Urinated In Too Much.
I’ve heard of “vertical sprawl” before, but now we’ll have to add a new term to the lexicon: “vertical urinal problem.”
“An elevator at a Long Island Rail Road station was number one when it came to being inoperable last month. And number one had a lot to do with it. The elevator at Woodside Station in Queens was only in operation 58 percent of the time. That is because it has been urinated on so much, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials have said urine has actually rusted the floor and gotten into some of inner workings of the lift, causing problems.”
Yet another reason why people do not embrace the transit-oriented vision of Smart Growthers.continue reading
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Tuesday he will not be sticking around for President Barack Obama’s second term, according to Roll Call. Many of us first got to know LaHood when George Will wrote that this mediocre legislator had been transformed: “I think we can change people’s behavior.”
LaHood was talking about getting people out of their cars and onto rail transit. However, he was not talking about people voluntarily leaving the road. His determination was to coerce people out of their cars. Since then he has funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to wasteful projects in pursuit of the Portlandification of America. Good riddance!continue reading
From the Silicon Valley Mercury News: “Happy 25th birthday of light rail, VTA: Now let’s make it work!”
Analogous to the parents who say to their kid living in the basement, “Honey, you’ve hit 25 … think you can look for a job now?continue reading
For two years citizen-activists have been gathering signatures to force the Vancouver City Council to put on the ballot a public vote on light rail. The proposed rail line would extend TriMet’s MAX line from Portland to Vancouver. They apparently had the signatures, turning in a certified petition with the names of 5,479 city residents, seven more than were required.
But the county’s supervisor of elections, Tim Likness, has invalidated the petition “because of a technicality, according to the Vancouver Columbian. Apparently, 94 signatures were set aside because they didn’t have a tally total at the bottom of the page.
This is obviously an example to the wedge rail transit creates in a community … not between blacks and whites or the haves and the have-nots or any other division we typically see on political matters. This division is between those with elite visions of transforming our communities and those who foot the bills in the communities we already have and kind of like the communities as they are. And the elites must not allow the little people to vote on their extravagant visions!continue reading
More data is coming out about the conditions of the housing markets in the United States. Business Insider is the latest, offering its list of the Top 10 Turnaround Housing Markets based on the increase in price between late 2011 and the end of 2012 for a median priced home. The percentage beside the city represents that change.
- Las Vegas 27.5%
- Seattle 24.0%
- Phoenix 21.8%
- Oakland 21.0%
- San Jose 20.8%
- Salt Lake City 20.5%
- Atlanta 18.9%
- Sacramento 17.9%
- Fresno 17.7%
- Tacoma 17.7%
What’s not determined is what is behind the price escalation. Is it a function of demand outpacing supply? Is it the impact of excessive regulation? More to come.continue reading
The Street publishes the five most-affordable housing markets in the U.S.
- St. Louis
The analysis looks at only the 25 largest cities in the U.S. and calculates the amount one would pay each month for a median-priced home, assuming 20% down and a 30-year fixed mortgage that charged the local average interest rate. None of these cities would be considered a Smart Growth City although Minneapolis perhaps comes close. Using similar methodology, we also see the five least affordable markets:
- San Francisco
- New York
- San Diego
- Los Angeles
Certainly San Fran and New York qualify as Smart Growth Cities, but there’s enough “plausible deniability” to keep the label off the others. In fact, Miami and Los Angeles generally have a poor reputation among planners who see them as sprawling cities. Yet, both Miami and Los Angeles share key characteristics of Smart Growth: Density and Public Transportation.
A generation ago, both cities began building new roads less and invested much more in public transit, including rail transit. Both cities have also promoted super high densities as a way to contain outward growth. In fact, let’s look at these ten cities to show how the densities (i.e., people per square mile) relate to affordable housing. Using 2010 Census data:
- San Francisco 17,179 people per square mile (unaffordable)
- New York City 11,138 people per square mile (unaffordable)
- Los Angeles 8,231 people per square mile (unaffordable)
- Minneapolis 7,088 people per square mile (affordable)
- St. Louis 5,157 people per square mile (affordable)
- Detroit 5,144 people per square mile (affordable)
- Miami 5,129 people per square mile (unaffordable)
- San Diego 4,020 people per square mile (unaffordable)
- Atlanta 3,154 people per square mile (affordable)
- Phoenix 2,797 people per square mile (affordable)
If we were to broaden our search beyond the Top 25, the relationship between density and affordability would become even clearer. Better yet, Wendell Cox has already published the 2012 Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey.continue reading