Tag Archives: transportation

(1135) Cycling along the poverty line

This is a moving feature on the role a bicycle can play for lower income folks living in the sprawl.  Los Angeles is the place but we know for a fact lives like this are found in Canadian communities as well.
How low income cyclists go unnoticed. There really is a world where people pedal to work, use bikes for everyday transportation and by riding, form close communities of friends and neighbors – and it exists right in your town
bicycling.com
image: bedrocan via Flickr/CC

(1075) In the bones


One of the big ideas around here is that poverty and social difficulty are built right into the very structure of sprawl.
The hidden inequality of America’s street design. New data shows that pedestrians in the U.S. are more likely to die if they’re poor, a person of color, uninsured, or old
fastcodesign.com
The injustice of subsidizing jobs people can only reach by driving
streetsblog USA
image: photograntner via Flickr/CC

(1038) Busways can help

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While busways may not be as cool as LRT and HSR lines, regional rail networks or subways they certainly seem to have a place in addressing suburban poverty.  How so?  By helping carless/low income workers get around better.  At any rate, here is a specific US example of the busway benefit.

How Montgomery County’s bus rapid transit can alleviate suburban poverty
streetsblog.net

image: BeyondDC via Flickr/CC

(1024) Dallas

99705683_3bb5aa39ab_z”That’s how life goes along the poverty line in car-centric cities like Dallas, whose 20th-century growth birthed highways that became developmental skeletons for suburbs where the middle class have fled for decades. Left behind is an urban core with housing and socioeconomic problems — and infrastructure built for cars that many poor people can’t afford.”

Reminicisent of other encounters with what it’s like to get to work in the sprawl, a feature from the Dallas News follows a worker to work.  And it ain’t easy.

Stemming poverty in Dallas requires rethinking mobility

image: Broken Piggy Bank via Flickr/CC

(1020) Taking hits

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Accidents involving walkers and bicycle riders struck by motor vehicles are a troubling, costly aspect of sprawl.  They appear to be  built right into the whole matter of community life structured around automobiles and the infrastructure provided for them.  This bodily damage really has to be stopped.
More than 1000 cyclists and pedestrians hit on Toronto streets since June 1. New statistics show vulnerable road users struck at rate of one every two and a half hours
thestar.com
The morbid and mortal toll of sprawl.  The ‘elephant in the living room’ of rising and preventable US traffic deaths is government funded roads in drive-only places
cnu.org/publicsquare

image: davidd via Flickr/CC

(989) Aging in place, kinda winging it

station wagon” …car-centric suburban neighbourhoods with multi-level homes and scarce sidewalks are a poor match for people who can’t climb stairs or drive a car.”
Here’s a feature that profiles a boomer-age man in a subdivision dating from what appears to date to the 1970s through 1990s.  Like millions of other people in the United States and Canada his mind is turning to the latter stages of life when such things as income and mobility go into decline as health and social services needs go up.  Such a great turning is bound to influence our communities in every possible way.  Some thought and planning has gone into this realigning of things but we get the feeling it isn’t yet enough.  This item does a very nice job of setting out the basic proposition with a brace of statistics and writerly turns of phrase.  Recommended reading.
Many boomers in denial over problems they face growing old in suburbs
miamiherald.com

(978) Sprawl & poverty: by design

parking lot
Two strong features from the US that show us car-dependent sprawl is configured quite deeply against those with low incomes.
No Driver’s License, No Job? Conservative policymakers urge those in need to get work. But for those without driver’s licenses—who are by and large people of color—that’s not such an easy task
citylab.com
Poor people pay for parking even when they can’t afford a car
washingtonpost.com

Image: alden Jewell via Flickr/CC

(949) More fun with cars: cardboard NY license plate

NewYorkplate
And always there’s the cars.  Workers are screwed by them and screwed without them.
A semi-disposable Internet moment caught suburban-poverty.com’s attention yesterday.  It illustrates succinctly one of the themes we’ve come back to often.
Seems a young woman in Western New York ran afoul of the sheriff for having to resort to making her own license plate.  Her cardboard plate looks like something a kid would do in art class.  Even has the little New York state map in the middle of a crooked row of letters and numbers.  It’s kinda cute.
Mainstream media networks picked up the story.  This “going viral” prompted Erie County resident, Amanda Schwieckert, to come forward and tell The Buffalo News her side of the story.  Looks like she struggles a bit to get by.  Insurance, registration fees and a parking ticket had whacked Amanda financially.  Yet, she could not keep her hotel industry job without her car.  The state took her plates.  Amanda made her own.
This kind of moment is straight from the pen of Barbara Ehrenreich or Linda Tirado, two popular writers chronicling how tough it is for working people to get by in America these days.  Amanda exemplifies the dual nature of working class motoring.  The expenses for a set of wheels often take things from bad to worse, can be unpredictable and enormously consequential.  Amanda is facing some steep charges including felony counterfeiting.  Ouch.
We can’t help but think that a little Jane Jacobs would go a long way in the life of Amanda and the millions of workers like her.  Community design, or the general lack thereof, reinforces poverty.  So much of North America is so totally car dependent its inhabitants cannot function in their native landscape without cars.  Many cannot even intellectually conceive of life organized at any other level than that of total mediation by automobile.
Hopefully Amanda’s resourcefulness is a sign she’ll be okay.
Single mother gives real reason for fake license plate that went viral

See also: (689) Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America [Book review]