New Roundup: July 10, 2013

Comparison of the road networks in LA and Paris using the new tool "Urban Observatory." 

Comparison of the road networks in LA and Paris using the new tool "Urban Observatory." 

Out, Damned Spot (Slate)

In a feature piece, Matt Yglesias brings together many of the points he's made across various short blog posts to make a cohesive argument against minimum parking regulations. Parking spaces are an amenity like granite countertops or fitness centers, he says, and should reflect that by allowing the market to decide what the appropriate amount of parking should be. More importantly, parking minimums lead to a subsidy and clear preference for those who commute long distances by car, at the expense of those who walk and bike, much like downtown highways.

Curb parking and garage parking aren't the same (Greater Greater Washington)

A great complement to Yglesias' article, by David Alpert, on the separate markets for off-street and on-street parking. He notes that, despite the arguments of some, it's not hard to park; it's hard to park on the street. Even in D.C. there remain parking spaces open for daily use and rent, they're just in garages rather than on the side of the road. At the same time, people are buying $35/year permits for street parking in their neighborhoods and renting out the parking at their homes or apartments for $100-200 a month--preserving on-street parking and keeping it cheap does nothing to solve this problem.

In Cargo Delivery, the Three-Wheelers That Could (New York Times)

I've been a huge fan of the freight-bike movement that's developed in recent years and it's great to see it getting more press. The idea is simple: in cities where distances between homes and businesses are relatively short, a human riding an electric-assist cargo bike can move large amounts of goods pretty easily, and with much more maneuverability and speed, and far less pollution than delivery vans and large semitrailers. Here's to hoping this idea continues to spread and grows large enough to be a more commercialize-able business model.

Be Brave Child, Open the Closet, Look Under the Bed (Walkable Dallas-Fort Worth)

I posted this on Twitter with the title "The bold TxDOT plan to fight congestion by spending $60 billion on encouraging more driving," and I think that sums it up pretty well. Lots of really great analysis into the numbers of what TxDOT is actually proposing when they request an extra $2 billion a year to build more and bigger highways as the answer to a growing congestion problem. In the end all they're going to accomplish is increasing the number of drivers in the area, losing tens of billions of dollars, and ending up with even more congestion than before--particularly on local roads.

Prepare to Waste Your Day With This Fascinating City Comparison Tool (Atlantic Cities)

This title is dead on. I'm definitely looking forward to wasting a bunch of time playing with this comparison tool, and I bet you are too.