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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 72,992

Journal Archives

Bahamas issues US travel advisory over racial tensions

The Bahamas has issued a rare travel advisory for its citizens visiting the US, recommending particular care for young men in cities affected by tensions over recent police shootings.

The advisory warns citizens to not get involved in protests and avoid crowds.

It comes after two black men were shot dead by police in Minnesota and Louisiana, and five officers were killed at a protest in Dallas.

Some 90% of the Bahamas population is black, according to the CIA.

The advisory comes as the country, a former British colony, celebrates its Independence Day holiday, on 10 July, a time when many locals travel abroad, including to the US. ................(more)


The Beginner's Guide to Open Streets

from We Are Mode Shift:

DETROIT -- If you stood next to the main street in your city or town today, what do you think you would hear? Chances are, it would be the sound of cars driving past, perhaps a honking horn or two. What if, instead of traffic, you heard the sounds of bike bells ringing, rollerblades stroking, and people laughing? There’s a movement happening in cities throughout the U.S. and the world to bring this latter scenario to life.

They go by many different names – Open Streets, Ciclovias, BikeDays, Streets Alive, Summer Streets, and Summer Sundays – but all focus on one thing: closing city streets to vehicle traffic and making them available for people to walk, run, bike, rollerblade, and skateboard.

Open Streets programming often takes place on Sundays from early to mid-morning through mid-afternoon, as this tends to be a day and time of the week with the least amount of vehicle traffic.

In addition to turning the streets over to people, Open Streets often include complementary programming at locations along the route, such as yoga, dancing, basketball, and other health and wellness activities.

You may not realize it, but Open Streets programs have already started to pop up in Michigan. Every summer, Wayne County Parks hosts Saturday in the Park, where the County closes six miles of Hines Drive to traffic from 9:00 am – 3:30 pm. In 2007, a group of cyclists worked with the City of Ann Arbor to close just over a one-mile stretch of Huron River Drive to cars and open it up to cyclists for several hours. .............(more)


Reorienting our discussion of city growth

(The Transport Politic) Every few months, the U.S. Census releases new data on population change, chronicling the rise and fall of America’s cities, counties, and regions as they grow and shrink. The data are fascinating, bringing us useful insights about migration flows and economic shifts. They also point to fundamental changes in the places Americans live: Houston over Chicago, Phoenix over Philadelphia, and so on. And they produce breathless news reports that emphasize that the fastest-growing places are 15 cities you’ve never heard of.

Yet as data are released and evaluated, the trends as described by the levels of information presented by the Census often fail to directly represent underlying facts about how cities are changing–or they at least do not do so adequately. Comparing the changes in population size in the Birmingham and Buffalo regions, for example, explains very little about the health of their respective center cities. Comparing how the cities of Houston and New York have grown overall tells us little about how their in-town neighborhoods have held up over time.

This post delves into the question of how to measure population growth in urban environments by examining frequently used measures of demographic change and comparing them to alternatives. It is geared toward a discussion of demography rather than transportation, but its implications are important for how we think about cities and their component parts, including transportation. Indeed, as I’ll delve into in this article, the question of what cities are growing and what cities aren’t is at the core of some of the most pressing debates in today’s urban planning–so understanding how a place’s population change is occurring is essential.

Levels of data reporting

The U.S. Census collects data about people, either as a full sample (on decennial years) or using sample-based estimates (through the American Community Survey). These data are aggregated by the Bureau to different geographical levels. Depending on the sample used and the year collected, they are aggregated to the block, block group, tract, place (city), county, metropolitan statistical area (region), and other geographies, which are then used by analysts to make conclusions about the way in which the country’s population is changing.

The typical way for demographers to make comparisons between centers of population is to use regional (MSA) data and to track their changes, as MSAs provide a broad view of a place’s demographics and offer insight into how that place is evolving, regardless of political boundaries. The justification for this approach is based on the fact that boundaries in different places work differently. ........................(more)


Is this What Hit Housing in San Francisco, Manhattan, and Miami? Suddenly, Foreign Investors Pull...

Is this What Hit Housing in San Francisco, Manhattan, and Miami? Suddenly, Foreign Investors Pull Back…
by Wolf Richter • July 7, 2016

[font color="blue"]Chinese investors buy fewer homes in the US.[/font]

Oh no, we thought when we read the report from the National Association of Realtors. Not now! Not when there’s a huge unstoppable condo glut building up in the teetering housing markets of San Francisco, Manhattan, and Miami, when sales and prices are already dropping. Foreign investors are now needed more than ever to absorb this new high-end inventory and bail out these markets.

That’s what everyone has been praying for. The last thing we need is for Chinese investors to stay away from San Francisco and Manhattan; and Canadian, European, and Latin American investors to stay away from Miami.

But that’s what they’re starting to do – for the first time since the Financial Crisis.

The data for the just released NAR report is based on a survey of 5,960 realtors that covered “transactions with international clients during the 12-month period between April 2015 and March 2016.


But San Francisco, Miami, and Manhattan are steeped in an epic condo glut. New high-rise developments are hitting the market, and those still in the pipeline will hit the market this year and over the next few years. Developments where construction has already begun can no longer be stopped without huge losses. They were planned in good times. And now the tide has turned.

It’s already happening. Condo prices in Manhattan, as new high-end developments flood the market, have tumbled 14% in three months. .............(more)


Brexit Plows into British Consumers, Economy to Spiral Down

Brexit Plows into British Consumers, Economy to Spiral Down
by Wolf Richter • July 8, 2016

[font color="blue"]Consumer confidence plunges the most since 1994.[/font]

Britons’ economic sentiment, already sagging since the summer of 2014, has dropped after the Brexit vote at the steepest rate since 1994!

We can’t blame them. The pound sterling plunged 25% over the last 12 months in anticipation of the Brexit vote, and in its aftermath. A bevy of usual suspects, including Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, and Citigroup, are now proclaiming that the pound could fall another 7% to 11%. Deutsche Bank figures the pound, now at $1.29, could drop to $1.15 by the end of the year.

The initial plunge after Brexit was a reaction to Brexit, they say. But now there’s a second wave of selling on the way in reaction to the Bank of England’s reaction to Brexit.

Forecasters have a history of being wrong, but the current level is real. The destruction of the pound may be good for UK exporters, but it’s terrible for consumers. They buy a lot of imported stuff, and that stuff is about to get more expensive. And forget about going abroad this summer. Can’t afford it anymore. .............(more)


Chicago: New TIF Districts May Greenlight Belmont Flyover, Other Transit Projects

IL: New TIF Districts May Greenlight Belmont Flyover, Other Transit Projects

Mary Wisniewski On Jul 7, 2016
Source: McClatchy

July 07--New legislation that will allow the city of Chicago to create special taxing districts to pay for rail projects should greenlight the CTA's massive Red-Purple Line modernization project, which includes the controversial flyover north of Belmont station.

That's because revenue generated as a result of the legislation will create a pool of local matching funds needed to release federal dollars for the project, which would create a bypass carrying Brown Line trains over Red and Purple Line trains. Until now, the planned flyover and other major transit projects hadn't gotten off the ground because of state budget problems.

Last week's passage of the bill, which Gov. Bruce Rauner's office said he will sign, came as a relief to public officials and transit advocates, who have been agonizing over the lack of matching funds and the risk of leaving federal transit money on the table. It also handed Mayor Rahm Emanuel a victory in a time of rising crime and other civic problems.

"The good news is we have a match, and this taps the federal dollars which we had no way to get otherwise," Emanuel said in a telephone interview. He said he has booked a trip to Washington, D.C., next week to meet with Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx about transit funding. ................(more)


A car-free Motor City? Detroit to try Open Streets program

(Metro Times) Car-free streets in Detroit? Say whhhhat?

Yup, the dawning of a new day is upon us, and with the ever-increasing focus on non-automotive forms of transportation, it should come as no surprise that the Motor City may be putting the kibosh on motors in some places. Well, at least for a couple of days.

Starting this fall, for two Sundays, Michigan Avenue and Vernor Highway from Campus Martius through Corktown and Mexicantown could be closed to traffic. That depends on whether the organizers of Open Streets, an advocacy project led by The Street Plans Collaborative, get their permits OK'ed by the city.

Essentially what this means is that this stretch of road would be open to pedestrian and bike traffic only on Sept. 25 and Oct. 2, according to the News. They would only be zoned for several hours, rather than all day.

Open Streets' goal as a program is to "share information about open streets and increase the number, size, and frequency of initiatives occurring across North America" and is already active in over 100 cities around the world, including Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City. Portland just recently won the bid to host the 2016 National Open Streets Summit, the goal of the event is to bring national and international leaders working to start more Open Street-style programs. ...................(more)


In Awe at How Fast Deutsche Bank is Coming Unglued

I’m in Awe at How Fast Deutsche Bank is Coming Unglued
by Wolf Richter • July 6, 2016

[font color="blue"]Bond-buyback miracle-nonsense flops. Shares, CoCo bonds plunge.[/font]

Deutsche Bank – “the most important net contributor to systemic risks,” as the IMF put it last week after a lag of several years – is having a rough time. Shares dropped 4.2% today to close at a new three-decade low of €11.63, down 48% since July 31 last year, lower even than the low during the doom-and-gloom days of the euro debt crisis and the Global Financial Crisis.

It’s not the only European bank in trouble. Credit Suisse dropped 1.7% today to CHF 9.92, another multi-decade low, down 63% since July 31. Other European banks are getting mauled too. The European Stoxx 600 banking index dropped 3% today to 117.69, approaching the Financial Crisis low of March 2009.

If July 31, 2015, keeps showing up, it’s because this was the propitious day when Draghi’s harebrained experiment with negative interest rates and massive QE came unglued, when European stocks, and particularly European bank stocks began to crash.

Deutsche Bank is so shaky that German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble found it necessary to stick his neck out and explain to Bloomberg in February that he has “no concerns about Deutsche Bank.” Finance ministers don’t say this sort of thing about healthy banks. ..................(more)


Not bad for an old man.

LONDON -- Roger Federer's bid for a record eighth Wimbledon title remains alive after he came from two sets down and saved three match points Wednesday before overcoming Marin Cilic in five sets, advancing to the semifinals at the All England Club for the 11th time.

Playing his best when he absolutely needed it most, the seven-time champion finished with his 27th ace to complete a 6-7 (4), 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (9), 6-3 victory on Centre Court against the player who knocked him out in semifinals of the U.S. Open two years ago.

"Well, a lot happened out there," Federer said, summing up the 3-hour, 17-minute battle filled with tension, momentum swings and crucial points.

"I knew I was in so much trouble in the third, and then again in the fourth," he said. "I'm really, really pleased and just ecstatic I was able to come through somehow."

It was the 10th time in Federer's career that he has erased a two-set deficit to win in five sets. This was also his 80th match win at Wimbledon, which equals Jimmy Connors' record. Federer also matched Connors' record of reaching the Wimbledon semifinals 11 times. ..............(more)


Next stages of DC Metro repair effort will affect travel to National airport

(The Hill) Officials are scrambling to help mitigate expected travel disruptions during the next two weeks of Washington Metrorail’s massive repair effort, which will affect passengers traveling to and from Reagan National Airport.

The subway’s yearlong maintenance plan, which began in June, has mostly affected daily commuters thus far.

But during the next phase of work, which begins Tuesday at 8 p.m., train service on the Blue and Yellow lines will be halted for seven days between Reagan National and Braddock Road, one stop south of the airport.

Then, from July 12 to 18, no trains will run between the airport and the Pentagon City station, which will close the Crystal City stop to the north.

Airport officials are warning air travelers to plan for extra traffic, crowded airport parking facilities and longer lines at taxi stands. ..................(more)


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