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November 13th, 2008
On the Grid

Rick Karr, Blueprint America correspondent

To paraphrase the geniuses at the BBC’s Top Gear, we got loads and loads of letters asking about the best blogs that tackle infrastructure issues.

Okay, we don’t. But there’s a lot out there. Some of the best from the past week:

Matt Yglesias, who blogs for the left-leaning Center for American Progress, regularly posts on transit issues. Lately he’s been taking on cycling quite a bit. But he’s also interested in transit — what’s the best way for agencies to measure whether a road’s being used “efficiently”? and are trolleybuses the answer to the problem of bus pollution? (Note to Matt: You’ll find that San Francisco’s MUNI system has been using trolleybuses for more than 70 years.)

Another left-ish blogger, Duncan Black, a/k/a Atrios, also touches on transit issues quite a bit. My favorite thread of his involves stupid payment systems for public transit – inscrutable ticket machines, lack of locations to buy tickets and tokens, and so on. (My own beef on this front: The machines on Chicago’s CTA, on which the buttons A, B and C do not correspond, as they should, to “Add Value”, “Buy New Card”, and “Check Value”.) I believe he’s also the blogger who coined the word SUPERTRAIN (all caps, all the time) to refer, a bit snarkily, to high-speed rail initiatives, like the one California voters passed on Election Day.

Not all transit initiatives did well: Proposition M, the St. Louis-area proposal that we covered just before the election, didn’t do well at all. We’ll stay on top of whatever cuts St. Louis Metro makes to service.

Two last things: The wonderful and strange Strange Maps blog recently had a great post on the relative sizes of cities. Strange Maps turned me on to the wonderful BLDGBLOG, which, in turn pointed me to a story – and slideshow – that I’d missed in the New York Times: a look at the ancient – and now unused – Hudson and Manhattan Tubes at Ground Zero.

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