Tag: 2019-10-nn-roundup

Less disruptive passenger pick-ups and drop-offs for ride-hail apps

September 5, 2019

The final report of a University of Washington pilot study on Curb Allocation Change indicates that creating a designated space for passenger loading (PLZ) can discourage double-parking and reduce traffic conflicts. Geofencing is used to increase driver compliance by setting a GPS or RFID boundary around an area, thus triggering a response when a mobile device enters or leaves the area. Data was collected in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, an area with considerable congestion and TNC use. A second phase study has been proposed to test geofence and PLZ strategies in a high traffic, transit corridor.

Read the press release here.

SB 330 has passed the California Legislature and is on the governor’s desk

The new law will spur development of affordable housing, limit fees on affordable housing, prohibit demolition of affordable and rent-controlled units unless they’re replaced, and give existing tenants first right of return.

The votes were 67-8 in the Assembly and 30-4 in the state Senate.

The paragraphs below explain the thrust of the new law and are excepted from an August 30 Op-Ed by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), author of the bill and the California Senate majority whip.

The successful approach of “city and county officials [in] the aftermath of the Tubbs fire to expedite the rebuilding of thousands of homes,” wrote Skinner, … inspired me to introduce Senate Bill 330

“The bill accelerates housing construction in the state during the next half-decade by slashing the time it takes for developers to get building permits, limiting fees on housing, and barring local governments from reducing the number of homes that can be built…

“SB 330 is based on the premise that much of the housing we need has already been planned for by our local communities. California cities and counties have approved zoning for 2.8 million new housing units, according to a 2019 report by UCLA’s Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies…

“Recent studies have also pointed out [that] cities and counties often levy burdensome fees that can reach $50,000 per unit on housing projects, and developers can face delays of up to four years after they submit their applications to build housing…

“SB 330 is designed to help California communities swiftly build much of the housing the state needs without altering local zoning rules. Until 2025, cities and counties [will] have to slash the time it takes to process housing applications to no more than 90 days for most market-rate housing projects and to 60 days for affordable ones after a project application is deemed complete and it complies with local zoning rules. The bill also limits the number of public hearings on a project to five. In addition, cities and counties would be barred from hiking fees after the project applicant has submitted all preliminary required information.

“For five years from the time the bill becomes law, urban areas throughout California [will] be prohibited from changing design standards for how housing should look, reducing the number of housing units allowed, establishing a cap on the number of people who can live in a community, or implementing a moratorium on new housing construction.

“The bill also includes anti-displacement measures, including a ban on the demolition of affordable and rent-controlled units unless developers replace all of them and pay to rehouse tenants and offer them first right of return at the same rent.”

You can read the text of the bill here. 

Main-Street Modern: How Columbus, Indiana, became a design capital

Excerpts from an article by Kriston Capps, CityLab (with 8 large color photos, September 3, 2019)

“Just 45 minutes south of Indianapolis, Columbus is in most respects a quaint Hoosier town brimming with main-street appeal. But in one vital way, it is unlike any other place in the country. It is a mecca for Modernism, a repository of mid-century architecture. As unlikely as it sounds, Columbus, Indiana, is a citadel of design.

Image: Exhibit Columbus 2019, Miller Prize, Frida Escobedo Studio

“For the next three months, I.M. Pei’s plaza [at the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library] is even more inviting than usual. It’s the temporary home for Untitled, an elevated garden terrace designed by Mexico City’s Frida Escobedo Studio. Next to the 1969 library, Escobedo’s platform is a complement in elegance and a contrast in materials (and ideas).

“More than a dozen other additions and pairings across town make Columbus an ideal destination for lovers of high design. ‘Exhibit Columbus’ has turned the lens around on architecture, and on itself. Social factors are as key to contemporary design as glass was to the Modernist era, and this biennial reflects that trend.”

How did Columbus become what it is today, with “One map of Columbus listing 97 projects of architectural significance, dating from 1942 to the present day”?

“J. Irwin Miller was executive and chairman of Cummins, a diesel-engine [and now Fortune 500] company headquartered in Columbus. After World War II, prospects for the business were strong, but Miller saw that teeny Bartholomew County was struggling to attract the world-class engineering talent that the growing company needed.

“So in 1954, under Miller’s stewardship, the Cummins Foundation offered to subsidize any new, public, Modernist building in this Bible Belt town by paying for the architectural fees. Miller generated (confidential) lists of preferred architects for each project, which he offered like a menu to institutions such as the school board. From the 1950s on, the program furnished exceptional buildings with the goal of putting Columbus on the map. The Saturday Evening Post dubbed the city “Athens on the Prairie.”

READ MORE in the CityLab article: “Exhibit Columbus looked to architects who focus on community — and designs that would provoke as much as they delight — to elevate the city’s historic architecture. Mostly missing is the high-strung academic bafflegab that attends events in New York or Paris or Dubai. The language of design is accessible here.”