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The battle for talent: what cities are doing to attract urban professionals

Lee Chilcote | The Line Media

Participants in C-Change, a year-long professional development program offered by the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, expect to learn new things. Yet sometimes the results are surprising. Recent participants include the heads of two construction firms that won a joint bid to build the city’s streetcar project, and young professionals who used the program as a platform to network their way to their next job.

C-Change participants have become lifelong friends – and even partners. Recently, the program celebrated an unusual milestone, the first time two of its graduates got married.

Programs like C-Change are important because today’s young professionals want more than a job. They want a city they can make their own, whether it’s through renting a unique downtown loft or giving up a car to embrace a city’s public transportation system. They want dense urban amenities that allow them to leap in and have fun when they’re not working, and they want a thick labor market so they can find their next job when they’re ready. Read more

Dr. Maya Angelou Became San Francisco’s First Black Streetcar Conductor

Something about the poet and author Dr. Maya Angelou escaped most people’s attention, until now. She was once employed by our namesake, Market Street Railway Company, Muni’s old competitor, as a streetcar conductor. The first black female conductor in San Francisco history, in fact.

She said this decades ago in “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” when she describes in some detail standing on the back platform of a 7-Haight streetcar collecting nickels from boarding passengers. But now it has become national news, because she talked about it with Oprah. Here’s a clip from that interview, courtesy Harpo Productions. Read more and watch video

Area agencies urge commuters to “Dump the Pump” and try transit

North Texas commuters can save money on gasoline prices just by riding public transit, representatives from three area transit agencies said Wednesday.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), The T in Fort Worth, and the Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) are working to spread that message in June during the ninth annual national Dump the Pump campaign.

The three agencies encourage commuters to try public transit the week of June 16-20 and on National Dump the Pump Day, Thursday, June 19. The slogan of this year’s campaign is “Dump the Pump.  Save Money.  Ride Transit.” Read more

Homeless youth and public space: Is there a design for that?

Knute Berger |

The coming boom spurred by a new Sound Transit light rail station and a possible rezone of the University District for transit-oriented development poses some interesting challenges. Here’s one: With density and possible gentrification in the offing, can inclusive public spaces such as parks and plazas be part of the plans? Or will efforts to include public space be derailed by the mad desire for density and worries about abetting the District’s homeless youth population?

One much-discussed concept to add open space is the U District Square proposal. A group of architects and university residents wants to close off Brooklyn Ave. at the new light rail station and turn it into a public plaza. Their concept drawings show a two-block stretch alongside University Tower (and between 45th NE and 43rd NE) that would be closed to most traffic and host a variety of community-building activities, including the neighborhood’s farmer’s market. The space would feature trees, benches and an area for outdoor concerts or films. Some of the plaza would be taken up by the large entrances to the underground station, but the plan’s proponents say these surface eyesores could be incorporated into their concept. Read more

Tappan Zee Bridge bus plan won’t work, grad students say

Theresa Juva-Brown |

The state’s plan for a robust bus system around the Tappan Zee Bridge won’t reduce congestion in the next five years and fails to address the difficulty of getting people out of their cars, a group of Columbia University urban planning graduate students says ina new report.

“There is no one solution that will solve congestion on the corridor. You have to look at a combination of approaches,” said student David Perlmutter. “You have to look at a transit in a holistic way. You can’t plop a line down and expect the region to be transformed.” Read more

Transit experts unveil recommendations for Pittsburgh

Molly Born | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A panel of experts told transit officials and the public Friday that the future of transportation in Pittsburgh must focus on customer service, advancements in technology and, if Port Authority can swing it, really cool bus shelters.

The group commissioned by the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Urban Land Institute presented these and several other recommendations during a presentation at the Omni William Penn Hotel, Downtown. The findings were based on nearly 80 interviews with public officials, neighborhood leaders and others. It also included tours of the bus and rail systems. Read more

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