March 17, 2017
A growing tech industry is often considered the ultimate sign of a healthy local economy. By that measure, the Bay Area still stands at the top of the heap in the United States, but our survey of the metropolitan areas with the strongest tech job growth turns up some surprising places not usually thought of as tech meccas.
March 2, 2017
The latest Federal Highway Administration data indicates that nearly 23,000 cars are handled by each freeway lane on the average day. Among the larger urban areas, only San Jose and close-by Riverside-San Bernardino have a volume of more than 20,000 daily. . . At the same time, public policy in California is calling for significant urban densification that will put an even greater strain on the roadway network. Any assumption that a more dense Los Angeles will be anything less than an even more horrific traffic environment is simply folly. . . despite the addition of a substantial urban rail system in Los Angeles County has been accompanied by a general decline in transit ridership on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority services compared to predecessor services operated by the Southern California Rapid Transit District in 1985. In 2016, ridership was even lower than the year before, despite the extensions of rail service to Santa Monica on the Expo Line and to Azusa on the Gold Line.
Feb. 22, 2017
One of the impediments to housing production in California is a state environmental quality act that requires developers to assess the local environmental impacts of new housing. The result is that little new housing has been built in California, forcing people to move to places like Arizona and Texas. But California’s temperate climate means that greenhouse gas emissions there are far lower than in interior states. “If California’s restrictions induce more building in Texas and Arizona, which require far more artificial cooling,” says the paper, “then their net environmental [effects] could be negative in aggregate.”
Feb. 7, 2017
For decades there has been an assumption that transit is an alternative to the automobile throughout the metropolitan area. The University of Minnesota Accessibility Observatory shows any such conception to be at best an exaggeration. Indeed, transit and walking provide only a small fraction of the access available by automobile. This is not likely to change at any practical level of public funding. As Professor Jean-Claude Ziv and I estimated that it could take all of an urban area’s gross domestic product each year just to provide the point to point access available by cars.
Feb. 5, 2017
Nowhere is this dynamic more evident than in California, where the state government has all but declared war on single-family homes by banning new peripheral development, driving up house prices throughout metropolitan areas. Regulatory fees typically add upward of $50,000, two-and-a-half times the national average; new demands for “zero emissions” homes promise to boost this by an additional $25,000.