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Crossroads: “Build better infrastructure” might be the most common refrain of urban bike advocacy. No doubt, protected bike lanes and street design are essential to cycling safety in a city. But pushing for infrastructure as an end in itself creates blind spots—especially because it may overlook other challenges to improving bike access for immigrants and people of color.
In her upcoming book, Bicycle/Race: Transportation, Culture, & Resistance, urban anthropologist Adonia Lugo describes how cycling resembles a border, with different experiences for privileged and marginalized people. Drawing on her experiences as a biracial bike advocate in Portland, D.C., and Los Angeles, Lugo explains how “human infrastructure” could be key to bridging equity gaps, and argues that bike advocacy needs to also grapple with broader issues such as housing, policing, and economic justice. CityLab’s Tanvi Misra spoke with Lugo about what needs to be on the agenda to address bike advocacy’s blind spot.
Chaz Hutton has a delightful yarn on Twitter today about how New York’s street grid got its quirks. Starting as New Amsterdam, you can see the ad-hoc beginnings of a few grids appearing along Wall Street, but later development required a more coordinated plan, with the 1811 Commissioners’ Plan. At a certain point, the new commissioners’ plan begins to intersect with the older grids, producing New York’s distinctive triangular blocks. The story culminates in the city’s dispute with the Hess family over using their plot of land for a new subway station. While the city seized most of the property, it somehow missed a triangular plot of land not much larger than a pizza slice and covered in mosaic tiles. The family later refused to hand the plot over, creating the infamous “Triangle of Spite.”Also: We recommend Hutton’s “Map of Every City.”
Democrats push for big government response to soaring rents (Washington Post)
Cities face tough bets on driverless cars (New York Times)
Give the curb your enthusiasm (Slate)
The “Brady Bunch” house is ready for a new story (NPR)
Who gets left out of the urban tech boom? (New York Times)
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