On Other Blogs Today
On Other Blogs Today: Living Smaller, Driving Less
Our daily roundup.
1. The Seattle Times has a story about aPodments headlined, "Critics of micro-housing calling for a moratorium." The story itself isn't as unbalanced as many previous Times development stories—for one thing, it actually quotes fans of the small, shared-kitchen units, although it relegates them to the very end—but the framing (here's what critics have to say) is standard stuff for the paper, which has been waging a verbal war against small, affordable housing (see: small-lot developments).
And as I noted in my piece about the same hearing the Times story covers, it's quite a bit tougher for those with hourly jobs (that is, people who need affordable options like aPodments) to take several hours off in the middle of the day to give public testimony than people who are retired, salaried, or independently wealthy. Framing of a story shouldn't be dictated by who shouts the loudest.
2. Speaking of framing, this is rich: The libertarian Washington Policy Center says two recent accidents in which people walked in front of Link Light Rail trains (one was injured, one killed) "raises safety concerns" about light rail in general. "Light rail's impact on public safety," the WPC's Paul Guppy writes, "is a significant concern."
The WPC, of course, is one of the loudest proponents of road expansion for cars—which, unlike rail transit, kill about 35,000 people (including about 4,300 pedestrians), according to the Centers for Disease Control, every year. (In comparison, according to the FTA, there were 382 light-rail related public fatalities in the six years between 2003 and 2008, including just 39 pedestrians.)
3. As a new report (via KING-5) concludes that traffic congestion in Seattle went down last year, Streetsblog reports that Americans continue to drive less and less—a trend that has held for the past seven years. For seven straight years, the number of miles driven by Americans, adjusted for population, has declined, and is now 8.75 percent below the 2005 peak.
For perspective, that's 50 percent longer than the five-year-long decline in driving during the 1970s gas crisis. Researchers say the decline is independent of gas prices, and correlates strongly with the fact that young people are far less likely to drive than their baby-boom parents.
5. Additionally, TVW reports, Inslee's proposal to crack down on repeat DUI offenders—the latest, scaled-back version of the bill omits a provision that would bar three-time DUI offenders from buying alcohol for 10 years, calls for mandatory arrests only of drivers suspected of being repeat offenders, and scales back ignition-interlock requirements—has stalled in the house, where the public safety committee delayed a vote on the measure today.