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Anthony Santaniello: a eulogy for a lover of subways.

In what is a first for American Dirt—and what I hope not to become a regular occurrence—I offer a tribute to a fellow urbanist and friend.  Longtime employee of Philadelphia City Planning Commission and then Philadelphia Streets Department, Anthony Santaniello passed away on October 21st.  Anthony wasn’t just a casual follower of the work on

Streetery of Wheaton Mall: a dining concept that pedestrianizes a garage?

Throughout the life of this blog, I’ve come down hard on malls.  And I’ve done this, not because I fundamentally dislike them—they’re a paradigm for consumerism in the automobile era, whether we wanted it or not—but because malls in general have shown a diminishing ability to adapt to the shopping patterns of the last twenty

North Fillmore in Arlington: a street whose traffic flow changes mid-block.

The expansive, oddly shaped downtown district of Arlington, Virginia (it’s a county, even though it feels like a city) features some unusual intersections, which no doubt confuse motorists and pedestrians who are unfamiliar with the area.  These intersections were nowhere near as precarious back in the day, when most of the area consisted of low-slung

Chestnut Hill switching station: a subtle shield for an ugly use, or a waste of space?

Public utilities are a tough nut to crack, especially in urban settings, where the population density is greater—and so, consequently, is the demand for electricity, gas, water, wastewater, fiber optics, and so forth.  With higher density comes greater intricacy of the conduit; there’s more of it, and it must be more economical with its use

Storefront movie theaters are icons. So why is it so hard to keep the lights on?

It’s hard to imagine any American town of a certain size—small enough that most would still consider it just a town, but big enough that it probably fits the political classification of a city—that doesn’t have, or at least had, an old storefront movie theater as part of its main street.  Everyone knows the type:

Demo cluster in Alexandria: why tear down respectable homes in a prosperous city?

Alexandria, Virginia, a place I cover frequently in this blog, is a medium sized city of considerable affluence.  Sitting directly across the river from the District of Columbia, it predates the founding of our nation’s capital by a good forty years, meaning it never intended to function as a suburb.  Neither a national capital nor

Temporary outdoor seating: bringing pep to parking lots when indoor dining was too risky.

I think the majority of Americans would at this point would agree that, in most respects, day-to-day urban life has deteriorated since COVD-19: higher costs to everything, escalating crime, visible vandalism, irregular cleaning and maintenance, and—perhaps this is just me (but probably not)—a general malaise that is either a cause or the effect of those

Hoboken NJ: gentrification in a time-lapse overdrive, but without all the improvements.

Hoboken, New Jersey isn’t a particularly obscure suburb.  Peering right across the Hudson River toward Greenwich Village, it’s a fortuitously located municipality that basically everyone in metro New York knows.  Odds are good that most adults living in the tri-state area have passed through it at one point in time.   Tiny though it may

Anthony Santaniello: a eulogy for a lover of subways.

In what is a first for American Dirt—and what I hope not to become a regular occurrence—I offer a tribute to a fellow urbanist and friend.  Longtime employee of Philadelphia City Planning Commission

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