Check out this Texas Monthly piece that includes a description of, and photos from, photographer John Langmore’s book about daily life in East Austin before gentrification.
Apropos our discussion today of protection against storm surges, see this story in the Texas Tribune about a proposal to build a massive levee and gate system to protect Houston.
This WaPo story reports survey findings about what sort of people respondents would most like to see autonomous vehicles avoid running over. The very trolley problem we were discussing the day we talked about self-driving vehicles!
Here’s a little animation showing the logic of diverging diamond interchanges, which came up in class last time. There are a bunch of these explainers online, many produced by departments of transportation trying to head off driver terror and/or protests in the months before such an interchange opens in their jurisdiction. I picked this one because it shows the arduous route any pedestrian would have to take to get through. But as there are commonly few pedestrians at such interchanges, the faster, safer throughput for cars probably makes it all worth it. So long as the signal lights don’t go out.
A little urban political economy for your edification at the New York Times: “How the Koch Brothers Are Killing Public Transit Projects Around the Country.” Note how your opinion(s) of the Times or the Koch brothers informs your thinking on the subject.
We’ll be talking about sprawl and traffic next time. As bad as I-35 can get for Texas State students, at least you’re not stuck in the unending traffic jams of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
In our discussion of traffic congestion, we’ll be looking at data from the Texas A&M Traffic Institute. Their methodology is rigorous, but not without critics, such as the number crunchers at City Observatory who have calculated a Cappucino Congestion Index.
Next idea: in some places, cities have revamped formerly car-centric roadways and areas to make them more pedestrian friendly, or to remove the cars entirely. Here’s a slide show of Google street view images showing some examples of such changes.
Click above for the March of Time story about the building of Levittown. Also, the video below, “Crisis in Levittown,” provides contemporary coverage of the controversy surrounding the first black family moving in to Levittown in 1957.
We talked last week about bicycles and the good roads movement at the turn of the last century. Here’s a recent article about that era in San Francisco. Note the now quaint notions about propriety and women’s dress: “Sex and Cycling: How Bike Craze Aroused Passions in 1890s San Francisco.”
Regarding our discussion of the changing use of streets by pedestrians, bicyclists, trolleys, cars, etc., see this New York Times item, “The Pedestrian Loses the Way.” And then here’s an interesting op-ed from an urban planning perspective about the look and feel and sheer cultural centrality of parking lots.
This is the song Heller mentioned in the essay you read for today. The Smiths were everything to a certain kind of high school kid in the 80s.