Weekly Links: The EPA Loves the NHL, Snow Leads to Better Urban Design, and Atlanta’s World-Class Traffic

The NHL has an impressive environmental scorecard

Atlanta Thrashers

RIP Atlanta Thrashers

From The EPA and The Balance. Not only is the National Hockey League the only professional sports league in the United States to issue a sustainability report, it’s also the 25th largest consumer of green energy in the country. In addition to receiving the Leadership Award from the EPA in 2015, the NHL has an ongoing partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council dating back to 2008. As of 2016, 148% of it’s electricity use comes from biomass and wind energy. That 148% is not a typo.



Maybe you’ve heard: Atlanta has bad traffic

From INRIX. According to the INRIX Traffic Scorecard, Atlanta has the eighth worst traffic in the world. What’s most concerning is that it’s sandwiched between Paris (9th) and London (7th); cities that not only have two to three times the population of metro Atlanta, but much higher density levels as well. Somehow these cities have managed to support more people and commerce while having the same amount of traffic as Atlanta. Density and transportation diversity have something to do with it.


What’s better, a traffic circle or a 4-way intersection with protected turn signals?

From Kottke. Speaking of traffic, the developers of the game Cities:Skylines created a pretty fun video of traffic patterns at different types of intersections. While traffic circles are more efficient than a standard 4-way interchange, they take up much more land and are poorly designed for pedestrians.


Reducing property taxes will solve the affordable housing crisis

From The AJC. Opinion writer Kyle Wingfield believes that high property taxes are the culprit for the increasing lack of affordable housing in metro Atlanta. It’s a take that many can support, though it’s not the whole story. While reducing property taxes or preventing them from escalating too quickly would directly help owners, it doesn’t solve the problem of too little housing in good neighborhoods. Reducing an owner’s property taxes may cause the owner to reduce rental rates, but it may not. High demand with a lack of supply will drive prices up in an unregulated market. His point, though, is important in the ongoing debate over affordable housing.


Gerrymandering met its match in Pennsylvania

PA Congressional DistrictsFrom The Economist. Several weeks ago the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down districts gerrymandered to help Republicans as a violation of the state’s constitution. Pennsylvania Republicans asked the US Supreme Court to step intervene. The Court declined the invitation since the districts were struck down under the state constitution and not under the US Constitution. The US Supreme Court currently has several cases on it’s docket to determine if political gerrymandering is a violation of the US Constitution. While many Republicans may be disappointed with the ruling, it’s important to remember that both Democrats and Republicans gerrymander when given the opportunity. And that’ bad for all of us.


A Snowy Street May Lead to Better Urban Design

Converted StreetFrom 99% Invisible. It turns out that noticing where cars drive after a snowfall can lead to better designed streets. Snowfall makes it pretty clear that cars do not need the amount of road currently provided. Among various other conversions, the space not used by vehicles can be converted to lush street islands that have a traffic calming effect and encourage pedestrian activity. That’s exactly what happened in Philadelphia. We missed our opportunity, Atlanta!



Cover photo by: Onehiroki via Wikipedia Commons


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