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Posts from the "Streetsblog Chicago" Category

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Today’s Headlines

  • Quinn and Rauner Discuss Viewpoints on Public Works Investments at Forum (Tribune)
  • Predictably, Motorheads Gripe About Quinn’s Veto of 70 MPH Speed Limits (Tribune)
  • Barrington Hills Board May Vote to Ban Bikeways From the Village Altogether (Herald)
  • Think 311 Is a Joke? City Hall Is Seeking Input on How to Improve It (Sun-Times)
  • Resident Gets Nonbinding Belmont Flyover Referendum Added to November Ballot (DNA)
  • Kamin Dubs the Batavia Woonerf a “Handsome Success” (Tribune)
  • Despite Loop Ban, Cheerios Sponsoring Rush Hour Pedicab Rides From Union Station (DNA)
  • CTA Tips for New College Students (RedEye)
  • Wrigley Renovation Work Will Involve Parking Restrictions, Traffic Headaches (DNA)
  • Vacant Lot is Being Turned into an Green Learning Center for Avondale Fest (DNA)
  • Routes Unveiled for Active TransFour-Star Bike & Chow, a Calorie-Neutral Bike Ride

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Are There Any Affordable Cities Left in America?

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When you factor in both housing and transportation costs (H+T) as a percent of area median income, the car-dependent cities in the right column look expensive. But are DC, SF, and NYC that much more affordable, even if you count the benefits of transit? Source: Citizens Budget Commission

Are Washington, San Francisco, and New York the most affordable American cities? A new report from the New York-based Citizen’s Budget Commission [PDF], which made the rounds at the Washington Post and CityLab, argues that if you consider the combined costs of housing and transportation, the answer is yes.

But a closer look at the data casts some doubt on that conclusion. Between the high cost of transportation in sprawling regions and the high demand for housing in compact cities with good transit, very few places in America are looking genuinely affordable these days.

The CBC report uses a better measure of affordability than looking at housing costs alone. Transportation is the second biggest household cost for the average American family, and looking at what people spend on housing plus transportation (H+T) can upend common assumptions about which places are affordable and which are not. Regions with cheap housing but few alternatives to car commuting don’t end up scoring so well.

There are some problems with the CBC’s methodology, however. While abundant transit is absolutely essential to keeping household transportation costs down, and it provides a lifeline to low-income residents of major coastal cities, the report still tends to exaggerate overall affordability in these areas.

According to the report, for example, New York City ranks third in affordability among 22 large cities. A “typical household” in New York City, the CBC finds, spends 32 percent of its income on housing and transportation combined. Part of the reason New York comes out looking good, though, is that CBC used a regional measure of income but looked at typical rents only in the city itself. Because median incomes in the whole region are higher than median incomes in the city ($62,063 vs. $51,865, respectively, according to 2008-2012 Census data), NYC appears more affordable than it really is.

Another issue, flagged by Michael Lewyn at his CNU blog, is that by looking at average rents, which in some cities include many rent-stabilized units, the calculation doesn’t necessarily capture what someone searching for shelter is likely to pay. If you’re trying to find an apartment in New York now, getting a place for the average rent would probably be extremely difficult.

What really stands out in the CBC report isn’t that New York, San Francisco, and DC are affordable — it’s that car-dependent areas that may have cheap housing turn out to be so expensive once you factor in transportation.

Read more…

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Today’s Headlines

  • Tons of CTA Construction Projects Going on this Fall (RedEye)
  • Man Killed in Humboldt Park is 4th Person Fatally Struck on North This Year (DNA)
  • Driver Kills Pedestrian in Southwest-Surburban Rockdale (Sun-Times)
  • Should Metra Be Doing More to Prevent Suicides? (Tribune)
  • Opinion: Milwaukee’s Bublr Bikes Are a Better Deal Than Chicago’s Divvy (Tribune)
  • Plan Commission Approves River North Towers With Relatively Low Parking Ratios (DNA)
  • Meeting on Logan “Micro Apartment” Proposal 6:30 Tomorrow at Haas Park (DNA)
  • CDOT Repaving State Street in Loop for the First Time in Many Years (Sun-Times)
  • Man Caught on Security Cam Stealing Bike Parts Outside Sox Park Station (DNA)
  • 10 Ways You Can Avoid Driving Like a Jagbag (Tiny Fix)

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Ta-Nehisi Coates on Race, Sprawl, and Car Culture

Atlantic Senior Editor Ta-Nehisi Coates was in Cleveland last week talking about his acclaimed long-form article, “The Case for Reparations,” which reviews the history of economic and social oppression of African Americans.

I got to attend the talk, and late in his speech Coates made a few points that touch on the subjects we cover at Streetsblog, drawing a direct connection between racism, sprawl, global warming, and the array of social problems faced by cities like Cleveland. You can watch that part in the clip above, and here’s the whole speech.

Below is a look at how wealth is dispersed in the Cleveland area — essentially the farther from the central city you go, the richer residents are. Why does that pattern persist, even as other cities have seen a reversal? What are the outcomes for Cleveland’s large African American population, concentrated in the central and east-central parts of the region? Why isn’t the relationship between sprawl and segregation discussed more often, with more frankness?

The light portion in the center of this map is Cleveland. Image: census.gov

The light portion in the center of this map is Cleveland. Image: census.gov

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Today’s Headlines

  • Quinn Vetoes Bill for State Regulation of Ride-Share Services (Sun-Times)
  • IDOT Laid Off 58 “Staff Assistants” After IG Reported Patronage Abuses (Tribune)
  • FOIA Reveals CTA Pension Officials Spent Over $20K on Trip to Hawaii (Sun-Times)
  • Meet the Divers Who Are Helping Build the Chicago Riverwalk (Tribune)
  • NIRPC Launching Feasibility Study for Bikes on the South Shore (Active Trans)
  • Portage Park Getting Fewer Divvy Stations Than Previously Announced (DNA)
  • Here Are the Upcoming Edgewater Bike Share Locations (DNA)
  • Injury to Worker Near Roosevelt Causes Delay on Green Line (Tribune)
  • OEMC Workers Shepherd CTA Riders During Blue Line Closure (DNA)
  • Delays on Metra BNSF Line This Morning (Fox)
  • Aurora 5th Grader Wins Metra’s Train Safety Essay Contest (Tribune)
  • Sorry Romantics, CDOT Will Remove Your “Love Locks” From Moveable Bridges (DNA)

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Today’s Headlines

  • A Month After Alta Said Divvy Probably Wouldn’t Expand in 2014, CDOT Confirms It (Tribune)
  • To Soften the Blow, Mayor’s Office Releases Full Map of New Station Locations (DNA)
  • Alleged Bagman in RedFlex Bribery Scandal Is Cooperating With the Feds (Tribune)
  • Park Ridge Alderman Delay Installation of Additional Red Light Cams (Tribune)
  • 2 Hurt in Pileup on Tri-State Tollway Near Blue Island (Sun-Times)
  • Lawrence Avenue Road Diet Entering Its Final Phase (DNA)
  • Well, Owl Be Darned! 4th Grader’s Metra Safety Poster Offers Wise Advice (Tribune)
  • Bike Light Giveaway 7:30-9 P.M. Tonight at Irving Park & California (DNA)
  • RedEye Catches Wind of the AMA “No Bike Parking” Sign Fiasco
  • Timber! Bunyanesque Bike Thief Cuts Down Tree to Steal Fixie (RedEye)
  • John Discusses the Metra-Politan Perimeter Ride on Outside the Loop Radio

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Today’s Headlines

  • Development With 426 Parking Spaces Proposed for Logan Mega Mall Site (Curbed)
  • Alderman Arena Discusses Jeff Park P-Street Proposal (DNA)
  • RedEye Takes a Tour of the Bloomingdale Trail
  • Barrington Hills NIMBYs Continue to Freak Out Over Bike Lane Plan (Herald)
  • Fagel Gets Judge to Nix 2 Red Light Tickets But Loses 3 Speeding Tickets (Expired Meter)
  • 49th Ward Launches Logo Design Competition for 100 Rogers Park Bike Racks (DNA)
  • Uptown Residents Vote on Mural Designs for Wilson, Lawrence Viaducts (DNA)
  • Defunct News Kiosks Will Be Converted Into Healthy Food Stands (Tribune)
  • Cool Photographs From the CTA’s Past (Time Out)

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Today’s Headlines

  • Tribune Poll: Majority of Chicagoans Think Red Light Cams Should Be Retained
  • City Is Looking Into Selling Parking Lots, Garage in River North (Tribune)
  • 35th Ward Hosting 3 Meetings to Discuss Plans for Logan Circle, Milwaukee Ave. (DNA)
  • New Eatery at Halsted Green Stop Will Provide Job Training for Teens (RedEye)
  • CTA Working on Getting New Tenants for Granville, Morse (DNA)
  • Cyclist Doored in Riverside Wins Settlement (Keating)
  • Fill Out Active Trans‘ Survey to Help Them Advocate for Secure Bike Parking
  • Lakeview Chamber Hosts Bike Scavenger Hunt This Sunday (DNA)
  • Checking Out a Chicago-Made City Bike (Ding Ding)

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Talking Headways Podcast: Zoned Out

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Welcome to the dog days of summer! Before skipping town, Congress passed a transportation funding patch so they wouldn’t have to deal with the real problem of the unsustainable way our nation builds and pays for infrastructure. I give the briefest possible rundown of where we are now before Jeff and I launch into discussions about the issues of the day: zoning and ride-share.

Houston is famous for its wild-west attitude toward zoning, but that laissez-faire approach was put to the test recently when residents of a single-family neighborhood protested the construction of a 23-story apartment building. No matter how the situation resolved itself, it was bound to have ripple effects.

We also talk about new services offered by Lyft and Uber that bring them a little closer to true ride-sharing — though, as we note, they’re still a far cry from the platonic ideal: hitchhiking.

The comments section is open for your witty comebacks and retorts. Check us out on iTunes and Stitcher, or sign up for our RSS feed.

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Today’s Headlines

  • I-55 Bus-on-Shoulder Pilot Touted as a Success, May Expand to Other Roads (Southtown)
  • CTA to Award $42 Million Contract for Brown Line Slow Zone Work Tomorrow (RedEye)
  • Man Dies After Crash on Southwest Suburban Bike Trail (Tribune)
  • 7 Injured in Van-Car Crash on I-57 Near Matteson (RedEye)
  • Baby Ejected, Critically Hurt When Van Strikes Pole in West Garfield Park (RedEye)
  • Metra Shows Why Walker Was Foolish to Kill High-Speed Rail in Wisconsin (Cap Times)
  • Ventra Machines Malfunction After Taking in Too Much Cash (RedEye)
  • Public Meeting This Friday on Proposal for Edgewater-Rogers Park Boardwalk (DNA)
  • Logan Stop’s Yellow Figures on Blue Background Mural Is Being Replaced (DNA)

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