Sunday, June 25, 2023

Drive-thrus causing too much trouble?


Magnets of traffic and congestion, drive-thrus discourage walking, public transit use and visits to neighboring businesses. They also lead to accidents with pedestrians, cyclists and other cars, and contradict the environmental and livability goals of many communities.

A host of cities and regions want the sprawl to stop: Atlanta lawmakers will vote this summer on whether to ban new drive-thrus in the popular Beltline area. Minneapolis; Fair Haven, New Jersey; Creve Coeur, Missouri; Orchard Park, New York, and other cities have banned new drive-thrus in recent years

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If we want to prevent urban sprawl and turning our cities over to cars instead of people, we need to take steps to make local access more reliable.


Saturday, June 10, 2023

Houston tackles the homeless problem


Then we made three crucial decisions. First, we decided to work together as a collaborative system, aligned around a standardized set of goals, processes and strategies, rather than as individual organizations and government entities each trying to chip away at the problem. Today, more than 100 entities in the Houston area are working together and combining their efforts and resources to move the needle on reducing homelessness. Our collaboration includes using a centralized database to capture information and track the service needs of people experiencing homelessness and using a standardized assessment to determine which housing and/or service interventions best suit each household.

Second, we embraced the data-proven best practices of Housing First, a strategy focused on getting individuals and families out of homelessness and into permanent housing before helping them address any other problems. We do this via voluntary wraparound support services, e.g., mental health or substance abuse counseling, health care, job training and so on. The services help keep the person housed, and the housing is what makes the services effective.

Third, we housed the most vulnerable people first. When the average person sees someone experiencing homelessness and struggling with mental illness, they assume that individual is dangerous or needs hospitalization. Our experience is that most of these folks stabilize in housing with the appropriate level of services. 

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Treating people with dignity and respect, just that goes a long way.  Houston is looking like a good test case for holistic solutions.


Tuesday, June 6, 2023

You can have a city that is human-centric instead of car-centric


The tram has exclusive right of way and has priority at crossings so is never stuck in traffic jams. This combined with the fact that it’s free encourages more people to use it. Bausch sees it as a measure of the success of Luxembourg’s transport transformation.

Cars haven’t completely disappeared and the country still has the highest car ownership per household in Europe. Around 230,000 people cross the border into Luxembourg each day for work and 75 per cent of these journeys are made by car.

“You shouldn’t argue against something, but for something,” Bausch says.

“I do not make policies against cars, but for another mobility system in which the car has its place.”

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    Luxembourg has spent years working on making their cities more livable by turning away from cars as the major mode of transport.  It's working!