Jeff Wood
Urban Reads

The End of Autopia?

All the city news you can use.

By - Oct 19th, 2019 11:43 am
Automobiles lining up for fuel at a service station in the U.S. state of Maryland in the United States, in June 1979 during the second oil crisis. Photo is in the Public Domain.

Automobiles lining up for fuel at a service station in the U.S. state of Maryland in the United States, in June 1979 during the second oil crisis. Photo is in the Public Domain.

Want more links to read? Visit The Overhead Wire and signup. Every day at The Overhead Wire we sort through over 1,500 news items about cities and share the best ones with our email list. At the end of the week, we take some of the most popular stories and share them with Urban Milwaukee readers. They are national (or international) links, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.

Every Bus in the US Needs a Lane: Earlier this month, New York City transformed 14th Street into a bus-only crosstown thoroughfare. In just two weeks, the M14 now runs twice as fast as other crosstown routes, the street is calmer and safer, and no adverse affects on other nearby streets have been found. This busway, and other experiments elsewhere in the US, prove that dedicate bus lanes are a much-needed solution to slow buses. One bus lane in Los Angeles in moving 70 buses per hour. In Denver, goes further by developing a double bus lane. Especially as cities try to curb emissions, these relatively low-cost solutions should be more in the spotlight. (Alissa Walker | Curbed)

The Most Detailed Map of Auto Emissions: The New York Times mapped data from Boston University’s Database of Road Transportation Emissions, visualizing the most detailed estimates of local on-road carbon emissions in 2017 throughout the United States. Nearly 60% of transportation emissions come from private automobiles and even as cars become more fuel efficient, Americans have been driving more, offsetting any benefits. (Nadja Popovich & Denise Lu | New York Times)

The Future of the Gas Station: In the United States alone today, there are about 130,000 gas stations service 268 million cars. This soon may change though as electric alternatives to the combustion engines rise and dense, transit-oriented cities grow. In Europe, there were some 116,000 gas stations operating in Europe, but this number had fallen to 77,000 by the end of 2017. As our transport demands shift, the gas station typology, including their size, aesthetics, and number, is in flux. (Niall Patrick Walsh | ArchDaily)

Millennials Come to America’s Small Towns: For the fourth consecutive year, census figures show that millennials and younger Gen X-ers are leaving big cities, with an average of about 30,000 residents between 25 and 39 leaving big cities annually. According to an Upwork survey, telecommuting is one of the main factors that many are finding smaller cities that cater to their lifestyles. Another reason for the migration is the rising cost of living in cities, especially for families. (Liz Farmer |

The Twlight of Autopia: The 1970s saw an energy crisis that seem to have destabilized America’s car culture and oil-dependent politics. Americans saw its first-ever peacetime gas shortage in 1973 as demand for fuel outstripped supply; gas station queues become crowded. Oil companies like Exxon and Shell stoked consumer fears with limited business hours and ten-gallon limits. This irked motorists, who began to verbally and even physically abuse service station attendance and perceived line cutters. Experts at the time found the shortage as an overdue warning for a car-dependent nation, but the US did not listen. (Gabrielle Esperdy | Places Journal)

Quote of the Week

But the room was full, and not of the usual engineers and lobbyists who come to watch and see where the money is going so they can plan what’s next. A lot of them were people of color. There was a lot of energy.

-Transit Activist Oni Blair in the Texas Tribune on pushback on freeway expansion in the Houston region.

This week on the podcast Eric Jaffe of Sidewalk Labs talks about the company’s Quayside plans in Toronto.

Want more links to read? Visit The Overhead Wire and signup. (

Categories: Urban Must Reads

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