A few months back, University of Iowa School of Law professor Greg Shill released a comprehensive paper titled “Should Law Subsidize Driving?” The paper explains, in infuriating detail, the many ways, some more obvious than others, that we;be built a society that essentially forces people to own and drive cars.
It’s a great work of scholarship and everyone should read it, but it’s over 90 pages long and most people aren’t in grad school! Fortunately, Professor Shill wrote a condensed version of the paper for The Atlantic and the result, ”Americans Shouldn’t Have to Drive, but the Law Insists on It,” is a must read. Share it widely, share it often!
A Balanced View On TNCs
Uber and Lyft, often referred to as Transportation Network Carriers (TNCs) are controversial services with potentially dubious business models. But given the forced reliance on automobiles, TNCs provide options for people who can’t drive, and a way out of personal ownership for people who can.
A recent study from the University of Connecticut looked at aggregate data for TNC trips in New York City (from 2014-2107) and found “[r]ideshare trips starting in the outer boroughs have exploded, increasing to 56 percent of the market in neighborhoods that are typically home to minority and low-income households that do not own vehicles of their own.”
Professor Carol Atkinson-Palombo, the lead author, says the study may show unmet demand for transit and other services. Relying on these companies is problematic, according to Atkinson-Palombo, because “mobility is so important and you can’t be held to ransom….they’re not accountable to anybody and, at the end of the day, their remit is not to provide public transit. Their remit is to make profit.”
Sounds a lot like the pre-TNC status quo!
Ramp Halted in Minneapolis!
And now for some exciting parking news! Folks in Minneapolis have been organizing to oppose the Federal Reserve Bank’s plan to build an 800 stall parking garage (or ramp in the local parlance) on the bank of the Mississippi River.
It sounds like the hearing was a great one, full of strange claims by the Fed and lots of good testimony and zingers. I can’t wait until it’s online. A write up by Wedge Live! tells the story with good context and details.
In the end, the planning commission denied all the requests from the Fed. The proposal isn’t dead, but it’s certainly going back to the drawing board.