The lull in commuter traffic during the pandemic gave Houston's transit agencies time to implement new projects and redesign downtown roads to better accommodate transit users.
Dug Begley reports on Houston's newest bus-only lanes, slated to cover over two miles of downtown streets "as part of a three-phase project to freshen the bus-only lanes managed by Metropolitan Transit Authority. Paint could be spread across four blocks of Travis by fall, though the total project will take up to a year, and up to $1.5 million."
According to Kimberly Williams, Metro’s chief innovation officer, "[t]he goal is to take advantage of the slowdown in traffic downtown while it lasts to freshen the existing bus lanes." Williams said the agency sees this "very much as a safety project, as well, because it creates structure among all the users downtown." The project "is one of many changes under construction, planned or being considered downtown as Metro, Houston Public Works and the Houston Downtown Management District accelerate work while many offices are unoccupied."
"City, downtown and Metro officials, meanwhile, are working on plans to stop allowing vehicles to share light rail lanes along Capitol and Rusk. If redesigned, only trains and, perhaps some buses, would occupy the lanes, turning them into transit byways of the street grid in the central business district." A 2019 report assessed the dangers inherent in sharing lanes and "suggested eliminating the shared lanes and allowing only trains to use them. Removing cars and trucks, however, will require further study of the safety benefits and the effects on traffic, including the need for turns across the tracks."
Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes
The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.
4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design
With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.
LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water
The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.
An Affordable Housing Model for Indigenous Americans
Indigenous people make up a disproportionately high percentage of the unhoused population, but many programs designed to assist them don’t reach those most in need.
Oregon Bill Would Ban E-Bikes for Riders Under 16
State lawmakers seek to change Oregon e-bike laws following the death of a 15-year old last summer.
Northeastern Waterways More Polluted After Wet Year
Intense rains washed more runoff into local bodies of water, while warmer temperatures contributed to the growth of an invasive bloom.
Tufts University Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
City of Grand Forks, North Dakota
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
City of Birmingham, Alabama
City of Laramie, Wyoming
Colorado Department of Local Affairs
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.