Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Tuesday he seriously considered ordering a shutdown of the entire Washington Metro subway system last week and may still do that if local officials don't follow Transportation Department safety directives.
"We have the ability to withhold (federal) funds from Metro. We have the ability to shut Metro down, and we're not afraid to use the authority we have," Foxx said told reporters. "This is serious business." — AP
"Local officials have yet to identify the root cause of incidents involving electrical arcing, smoke and fire, and so have no plan for how to fix the problem, he said."For more on the dilapidated state of American infrastructure:U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx on the troubled...
As Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct sat free of cars overhead and drivers attempted to move around the city during the roadway’s planned 2-week closure, a new drone video Tuesday showcased again what all the fuss is about. A view inside the SR 99 tunnel won’t get much better than this until you’re actually able to drive through it. [...]
The 4-minute video captures what has been built behind nearly 1,600 feet of mining along Seattle’s waterfront. — geekwire.com
"The idea that you can replace the 10 trips with one autonomous car and travel less distance, that’s the biggest misconception," says Fagnant. "You can get rid of vehicles, but not vehicle miles traveled. Without ridesharing, there's an 8 to 10 percent increase in vehicle miles traveled based on simulations we've run in Austin. You’re not replacing trips [..] the vehicle has to bounce between locations, and relocate to where it’s needed. Those in-between miles will create a lot of extra travel." — curbed.com
Related stories in the Archinect news:How prepared are American cities for the new reality of self-driving cars?The U.S. just got $4 billion to spend on self-driving carsMore Americans are becoming "mega-commuters", U.S. Census stats show
As a child, Anthony Foxx knew he couldn’t ride his bike far from home without being blocked by a freeway. By the time he became U.S. transportation secretary he understood why.
“We now know — overwhelmingly — that our urban freeways were almost always routed through low-income and minority neighborhoods, creating disconnections from opportunity that exist to this day,” [...] “I really believe that this is an issue that has been on the shelf collecting dust for a long time,” Foxx said. — washingtonpost.com
Related stories in the Archinect news:The U.S. just got $4 billion to spend on self-driving carsWhy American infrastructure funding keeps facing such an uphill battleRobert Moses vs. Jane Jacobs: The Opera
Infrastructure was once at the heart of American public policy. Works such as the Los Angeles Aqueduct, Hoover Dam, and the Interstate Highway System transformed the economy. Today, we spend significantly less, as a share of G.D.P., on infrastructure than we did fifty years ago [...] polls show that infrastructure spending is popular with a majority of voters across the income spectrum. Historically, it enjoyed bipartisan support from politicians, too. If it’s so popular, why doesn’t it happen? — newyorker.com
America faces a two-part problem. It’s no secret that the country has fallen behind on infrastructure spending. But it’s not just a matter of how much is spent on catching up, but how and where it is spent. Advanced economies in Western Europe and Asia are reorienting themselves around robust urban clusters of advanced industry. Unfortunately, American policy making remains wedded to an antiquated political structure of 50 distinct states. — Parag Khanna | the NY Times
More on the infrastructural mess in the US:How prepared are American cities for the new reality of self-driving cars?DC in grid lock after unexpected Metro shutdownShould the children of Flint be resettled?Dispatch from Flint: How architects can help, on Archinect Sessions #54
Sitting atop Lake Washington, the new State Route 520 is now the longest floating bridge in the world—beating its predecessor, the old State Route 520, by 130 feet [...].
This new bridge has stronger pontoons than the last one, and can withstand more buffeting from wind and waves. It also has a stormwater collection system, bus lanes in both directions, a path for bikes and pedestrians, and the capacity to someday accommodate a light rail system. — atlasobscura.com
Related stories in the Archinect news:Seattle builds village for the homelessSeattle's proposed 101-story 4/C Tower considered as too tall by the FAASusan Surface, the "humble pioneer" for socially responsible design
In Tijuana, another architect is devising a plan to turn the Tijuana River channel into a solar farm that could provide power to as many as 30,000 homes.
Rene Peralta, co-founder of the Tijuana firm Generica and director of an architecture master's program at San Diego's Woodbury University, thinks that his city can transform this unwieldy piece of infrastructure into a renewable energy plant and water-cleaning station. — The Los Angeles Times
February 2016 was the hottest month in several thousand years, so it seems like a good idea to start transforming erstwhile urban heat islands into power-generating rivers. Below, Generica's rendering of the proposed redesigned Tijuana river channel:For more on projects that turn seemingly...
A rising number of daredevil stunts such as scaling skyscrapers and parachuting from tall structures is being fuelled by competition for online acclaim, according to “urban explorers”, who warn more people are dying as a result.
The immense popularity of online videos of people climbing the world’s tallest buildings, including the London Shard, had turned urban exploration, which traditionally involves surreptitiously exploring the off-limits corners of towns and cities, into an extreme sport — the Guardian
Urban exploration, or "urbex," has a long and interesting history, involving clandestine networks of people sharing skills and knowledge of the infrastructure of cities. But, driven more by a desire for likes than exploration, people are increasingly getting themselves into dangerous...
The seven American cities that made the shortlist in the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Smart City Challenge are now deciding their strategies for winning the $40m prize fund...Transportation is the focus, so judges will be interested in self-driving and 'connected' cars, as well as 'smart streets' fitted with sensors. The aim will be to cut accidents, reduce pollution and increase commuter convenience. — Global Construction Review
The DOT shortlisted seven finalists instead of the originally planned five. They are:Austin, TexasColumbus, OhioDenver, ColoradoKansas City, MissouriPittsburgh, PennsylvaniaPortland, OregonSan Francisco, CaliforniaThe winning city is expected to be announced in June.More related to transportation...
After officials announced that Metro, Washington’s subway system, would be shut down for 29 hours, riders began preparations for another problematic travel day in a city already well known for its cramped and sometimes dangerous train commutes.
The controlled chaos began early Wednesday and will continue until 5 a.m. Thursday, affecting 91 Metro stations that provide 700,000 rides each day in the city and its suburbs. — the New York Times
DC residents took to Twitter and other social media to voice their frustration with the unexpected shutdown, which was prompted by an emergency inspection of some 600 electrical cables.Residents have been left to face grueling traffic, delayed buses, or surge-priced Ubers. The Department of...
A US government agency says it has attained the “holy grail” of energy – the next-generation system of battery storage, that has has been hotly pursued by the likes of Bill Gates and Elon Musk.
Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (Arpa-E) – a branch of the Department of Energy – says it achieved its breakthrough technology in seven years. — The Guardian
The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (Arpa-E) was founded back in 2009 as part of President Obama's economic recovery plan. So-called "moonshot projects" are often too risky for private investors, but this state-run initiative may have unlocked a new technology that others, from Elon Musk...
In 1997 two architects set out to rethink Lagos, an African megacity that had been largely abandoned by the state. Amid the apparent chaos and crime, they discovered remarkable patterns of organisation. Two decades later, Rem Koolhaas and Kunlé Adeyemi discuss the past, present and future of the city – and reveal why their own project never saw the light of day — theguardian.com
"...it was the ultimate dysfunctional city – but actually, in terms of all the initiatives and ingenuity, it mobilised an incredibly beautiful, almost utopian landscape of independence and agency." - Rem KoolhaasRelated stories in the Archinect news:Koolhaas guides viewers through bustling Lagos...
American infrastructure is deferred home maintenance on a massive scale. We just keep putting it off until something major — and often catastrophic — happens, and then it ends up costing twice as much [...]
A century later, we’ve lost our collective faith in the power of great projects like the Golden Gate, not to mention our trust in the government to fix a pothole on time and on budget, let alone create an inspiring bridge. How can we restore that faith in possibility? — mobile.nytimes.com
Allison Arieff, editor and content strategist for SPUR (and former judge for Archinect's Dry Futures competition), pens this piece for the Times calling for infrastructure to reprioritize the "bold and courageous," with a look at a few awe-inspiring urban infrastructure projects around the...
It would be helpful if there were another word for “infrastructure”: it’s such an earnest and passive word for the blood vessels of this country, the crucial conveyors and connections that get us from here to there (or not) and the ports that facilitate our trade (or don’t), as well as the carriers of information, in particular broadband...
The word “crisis” is also overused, applied to the unimportant as well as the crucial.
But this country has an infrastructure crisis. — the New York Review of Books
Elizabeth Drew considers several recent books on American infrastructure, with an eye to both the material reality and the political system producing it. She concludes that fixing our infrastructural systems "may require even more widespread paralyzed traffic, the collapse of numerous bridges, and...
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