Welcome back from the winter break! I hope your New Year is off to a good start, and/or you have made peace with a new definition of “good”.
Here are the most notable items our writers and readers came across in the past seven days…
Strong mayors: The mayor of America’s largest city, Eric Adams, biked to work for his first day in office. And the mayor of the small Bay Area city of Emeryville, California, John Bauters, went viral for a tweet that said he’d remove one on-street parking spot for each complaint he receives from someone who doesn’t want to share the road with bicycle users.
People over cars: The editorial board of the Seattle Times has come out in strong support of an effort to make famous Pike Place Market a carfree zone.
Race and policing: A story by Willamette Week found that a new Portland Police policy to not cite people for low-level traffic infractions has not had an impact on racial disparities.
Big trucks suck: Author Angie Schmitt has a piece in The Atlantic where she makes the case that American automakers (and their customers) are fueling a deadly mega-truck trend and government regulation is the most sensible response.
The French model: Speaking of forcing automakers’ hands, a new law in France will require automakers to include a message in car advertisements that encourages viewers to consider alternatives like biking, walking, and transit.
Honest car commercial: An alternative weekly newspaper in Seattle (inspired by the carfree Pike Place Market idea) says cars are so unhealthy for humans and cities they should be treated like cigarettes when it comes to advertising.
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Don’t Look Up: The satirical Netflix blockbuster captures the frustration of climate change scientists and could help more people open their eyes to the ongoing crisis.
Caught phone-handed: A new traffic camera in use on a trial basis in the UK can reportedly catch drivers using cell phones with much more clarity than anything else on the market.
Great context on Covid’s urbanism impacts: Wired has a very relevant roundup of how pandemic-related culture changes have “shifted people’s perceptions of what a city can be”.
Thanks to everyone who shared links this past week.