• Part of the Gas Tax Should Pay for Alternative Transportation

    Posted in Beyond Parking on May 02, 2013

    There is an ongoing debate in this country about how to pay for our transportation infrastructure and who should pay what? Many people assume that non-drivers (bus and transit riders) do not pay their fare share and that drivers do, through fuel taxes. There is new evidence to the contrary. In a Planetizen blog post this week, Todd Lipman of the Victoria Transportation Institute points to U.S. government stats that show user fees cover a shrinking portion of the costs of roads, about half as of 2007. The rest includes non-user fees and bonds. Once you factor in the other costs of vehicular tra...

  • New Book Pushes Walkability as Key to Healthy Cities

    Posted in Beyond Parking on Apr 02, 2013

    A book published late last year should be required reading for all U.S. urban planners. In "Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time," author Jeff Speck equates walkability with a city's health, economic and otherwise. Speck proposes a 10-step plan for making cities more walkable, from building a mix of destinations within walking distance, to investing in public transit, to constructing sidewalks that are not just safe but pleasant to use. These are variations on familiar themes, but no book in recent memory so thoroughly assembles scores of studies and analyses to cre...

  • Major Cities Racing to Be the Most Bike Friendly

    Posted in Beyond Parking on Mar 15, 2013

    Over the past decade, we have heard a lot about America's transportation infrastructure and how it is in dire need of repair. We have also heard that we cannot even begin to afford to fix it. Some studies put the price tag near a trillion dollars, and that doesn't include new roads and bridges. Yet during this same period, we have seen a remarkable jump in spending on bicycle infrastructure. Cities are vying to be the next bike-friendly city. New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Portland, Minneapolis, Washington D.C., Atlanta, and many more are all in a race to be the next great cycling city. A...

  • Atlanta Streetcar Laying Tracks, Eying Expansion

    Posted in Beyond Parking on Mar 06, 2013

    An effort that Lanier started nearly 10 years ago reached a major milestone this week. Crews began laying track that will carry Atlanta's first streetcar line in more than 50 years. In today's front-page, above-the-fold story in the AJC, city officials are already talking of plans to extend the line, we hope along Peachtree to connect Downtown, Midtown, and Buckhead. Ideally, that line would have come first, but only the east-west tourism line earned federal stimulus funds to make it possible. See photos of the track work The story is drawing the usual complaints about boondoggles and waste, b...

  • Networked Chargers Bring Convenience and Reliability to Electric Vehicle Commuting

    Posted in Beyond Parking on Feb 12, 2013

    As Lanier's VP of Alternative Transportation, I'm always looking for ways to encourage commute alternatives. Encouraging people to drive an electric vehicle to work certainly qualifies. Yesterday, we dedicated three EV charging stations in a garage at our Atlanta headquarters. This marks the entry of ChargePoint, owner of the world's largest electric vehicle network, into the Atlanta market. This is news because these are Atlanta's first networked, searchable EV stations, and this is a market-based initiative, not a government-subsidized experiment. Lanier facilitated the placement of six Ch...

  • TransportationCamp Tackles Mobility Issue with Unique Format

    Posted in Beyond Parking on Feb 05, 2013

    This Saturday night, TransportationCamp South comes to Atlanta, allowing participants to delve into the issue of transportation in a unique way, through an "unconference." Unlike a traditional conference where speakers talk and participants listen, the unconference "provides an opportunity for every attendee to be a participant in shaping and leading the event." I cannot say I have ever been to one of these unconferences, but I am certainly intrigued on two levels. First, the initiative aims to harness the talents of multidisciplinary teams such as developers, designers, journalists, project l...

  • Major Cities Privatizing On-Street Parking with Mixed Results

    Posted in Beyond Parking on Jan 28, 2013

    In the shadow of the not-so-popular Chicago parking privatization experience, other cities are grappling with the question of whether or not to privatize their on-street meter program. New York City announced today that they are not going to pursue privatization of their 85,000 on-street meters. “New York City is scrapping plans to privatize management of its street-parking system, the latest sign of growing wariness in U.S. cities of initiatives to address budget woes by selling off the rights to run meters and lots,” reports the Wall Street Journal. Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Sacramento, an...

  • "Complete Streets" Not a Partisan Concept

    Posted in Beyond Parking on Oct 31, 2012

    The affluent Atlanta satellite city of Dunwoody recently approved a plan to convert a lightly used, four-lane road through a dated retail development into a two-lane, signature street, complete with sidewalks and bike lanes. The plan is designed to attract mixed-use development with office, residential, and street-front retail. This has prompted outrage from folks clinging to the concept of "capacity enhancement," meaning a preference for roads that are bigger and wider. One complainant, in a letter to the community newspaper, equated the plan with a left-wing conspiracy. "Compliments of the D...

  • How Much Parking Do We Really Need, and What Should it Cost?

    Posted in Beyond Parking on Sep 22, 2012

    Did you know it costs five times as much per space to build a parking garage as it does a surface lot? It's seven times as much to build parking underground. And yet, many of us still believe we are entitled to free and available parking. Why do our public policies still require even our new, walkable, mixed-use developments to devote a fourth of the property for parking? Can't office and residential components share? These are some of the relevant issues presented in a four-part video series produced for the San Francisco Bay Area's Metropolitan Commission (MTC). "Smart Parking" sets out to c...

  • Beyond the Games – Back Home in Atlanta

    Posted in Beyond Parking on Aug 13, 2012

    I am back in Atlanta following an incredible experience working the London Olympics. With the games now over, the world is heaping praise on London for hosting such an excellent spectacle. After the well-publicized anxieties about London's preparedness in the days before the games, the years of planning kicked in, and the pieces fell into place. I saw this first-hand as I consulted with the Olympic Delivery Authority and Sparrowhawk, Inc., who were responsible for the planning and implementation of the off-site park-and-ride lots. The first half of my trip meant long hours, but as the days wen...

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