What the urban exodus in San Francisco bodes for car dependency and public transit

August 19, 2020 by  
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What the urban exodus in San Francisco bodes for car dependency and public transit Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 08/19/2020 – 01:45 For someone living in San Francisco for over a decade, the latest numbers showing an exodus from the notoriously hard-to-live-in city are jaw-dropping. Housing vacancies are skyrocketing. Rent prices are dropping. Parking spots in my neighborhood are suddenly empty. The numbers are complicated but also worrisome when it comes to encouraging car-dominant housing in a state that has seen the relentless rise (until very recently) of transportation-related carbon emissions.  San Francisco is unique in that the city had some of the highest housing prices in the nation, combined with serious urban issues such as an entrenched homeless crisis and a difficult school system. Many residents were already on the edge of ditching the city before the pandemic, and the squeeze of the public health crisis — and its negative affect on transit, nightlife and density worries — have become too much for many. Other high-priced cities, such as New York, are facing similar trends. I get it. I, too, have longed for greener pastures. And who knows, maybe I’ll join in the farewell.  But anecdotal evidence suggests that former San Francisco residents are fleeing for the suburbs and even more rural areas in the state. Tens of thousands of tech workers employed by Google, Apple, Twitter and more are planning to work from home until at least summer 2021 and maybe permanently.   A rise in the traditional suburbs built around car ownership is not the answer to any state’s ingrained housing and transportation problems. They can theoretically live wherever they want while working online. Homes in Tahoe — San Francisco’s northern mountain paradise — are flying off the shelves .  A strong demographic trend of families moving from regions where they don’t need to rely on car ownership to regions where they do could exacerbate California’s transportation emissions issues. Car sales in the Bay Area already have been on the rise in recent months as families buy “COVID cars” and avoid transit, ride-hailing and carpooling.  But the shifting demographic numbers are also complicated. If many workers are no longer commuting at all, will that result in a sustained, long-term dampening of California’s transportation emissions? It sure did during the shelter-in-place period this spring.  We just don’t know yet what the bigger picture looks like, how city services such as transit will adapt to our new world and just how long this whole thing will last. In addition, some smaller cities, not nearly as expensive as San Francisco and New York, have not seen the same type of exodus. Seattle, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Miami haven’t yet seen a sizable shift from urban to nearby suburban housing. I’m also hoping tech and innovation could provide new tools that could help. Fast broadband connections and services such as Zoom, of course, are enabling telework. But a substantial rise in electric vehicles also could help combat the emissions associated with a growth in car ownership. Perhaps we might see more new car-free communities , such as Culdesac Tempe in Arizona, prove popular for residents and lucrative for developers. What we do know is that a rise in the traditional suburbs built around car ownership is not the answer to California’s or other states’ ingrained housing and transportation problems. We need to think of new solutions that prioritize residents’ needs but also don’t embrace a car-dominant future. This article is adapted from GreenBiz’s weekly newsletter, Transport Weekly, running Tuesdays. Subscribe here . Pull Quote A rise in the traditional suburbs built around car ownership is not the answer to any state’s ingrained housing and transportation problems. Topics Transportation & Mobility Public Transit Featured Column Driving Change Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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What the urban exodus in San Francisco bodes for car dependency and public transit

Can protecting land promote employment?

October 4, 2019 by  
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In New England, the answer is yes.

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Can protecting land promote employment?

Episode 191: DuPont melds innovation and tech, climate conundrum for shipping, steel

October 4, 2019 by  
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Featured this week: Alexa Dembek, the chief technology and sustainability officer for DuPont, and Ned Harvey, managing director at Rocky Mountain Institute.

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Episode 191: DuPont melds innovation and tech, climate conundrum for shipping, steel

Why batteries need artificial intelligence

August 21, 2019 by  
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From Toyota to Tesla to tech startups, improving battery life is key to unlocking sustainable transportation. Many see AI as the answer.

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Why batteries need artificial intelligence

Why batteries need artificial intelligence

August 21, 2019 by  
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From Toyota to Tesla to tech startups, improving battery life is key to unlocking sustainable transportation. Many see AI as the answer.

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Why batteries need artificial intelligence

5 ways to shift consumers towards sustainable behavior

August 21, 2019 by  
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How can we translate this consumer sustainability buzz into actual action?

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5 ways to shift consumers towards sustainable behavior

Bioplastics and circularity: Why can’t we be friends?

June 28, 2019 by  
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Flexible plastics enable the modern world and food access — but they shouldn’t contaminate or overrun it. Could bioplastics be the answer?

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Bioplastics and circularity: Why can’t we be friends?

How can we get more electric trucks on the road?

April 30, 2019 by  
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New standards and new technologies could be the answer.

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How can we get more electric trucks on the road?

Get set for take-off in electric aircraft, the next transport disruption

April 30, 2019 by  
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In Australia, electric vehicles — including airplanes — are growing rapidly. It’s time to prepare technologically and infrastructurally.

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Get set for take-off in electric aircraft, the next transport disruption

Episode 157: McDonald’s as muse, next-gen cleantech, Honda’s open-garage policy

February 1, 2019 by  
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Plus, what do you get when you cross solar panels with radiative cooling technology? Some Stanford engineers are working on the answer.

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Episode 157: McDonald’s as muse, next-gen cleantech, Honda’s open-garage policy

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