Ryan Holeywell | @RyanHoleywell | December 18, 2015
While the Urban Edge strives to provide readers with daily news and insights about urban policy, we’re also voracious readers of city news ourselves. As part of a new weekly feature, Senior Editor Ryan Holeywell highlights the week’s most interesting articles from around the web about urban policy and city life.
With restrictions on fundraising and the lack of a monopoly on candidates, state political parties don’t quite have the political clout they used to, Governing reports. One of their biggest setbacks: the rise of super PACs, which have undermined their power. “State parties have become really a shadow of what they used to be,” says GOP consultant David Carney. “It’s kind of tragic.”
A new type of walk signal is designed to reduce collisions between drivers turning right when a light turns green and pedestrians trying to cross the road perpendicular to that traffic. Pedestrians can push a button to trigger a yellow border around the walk sign. The goal is to draw drivers’ attention to the walk signal and remind them there may be someone crossing. The system is being piloted in Northern California, City Lab reports.
A planned $200 million development near the Texas Rangers’ ballpark could get $50 million in city funds and another $50 million in tax incentives, the Dallas Morning News reports. City and team officials have hoped to develop the site since at least 1991, several years before the stadium even opened. Today, the ballpark is mostly surrounded by parking lots.
The mayor of Flint, Mich. declared a state of emergency after it was revealed that its water has elevated lead levels, which could have lasting effects on children, Vox reports. The city essentially went broke several years ago, so to save money, it ended its water contract with Detroit and started drawing water from the Flint River last year. Though residents had long complained that the water causes health problems, the city insisted everything was fine.
In 2013-2014, U.S. high schools had an 82 percent graduation rate, NPR reports. That’s a record high and the fourth-straight year of improvement. Why’d the numbers improve? NPR attributed it to “both genuine progress and some questionable strategies that mask continuing problems.”
The Bayou City sometimes has a reputation for failing to protect its history. But its city council just gave seven properties “landmark” status, KUHF reports. The properties include a former gas station that dates to 1926; an early high-rise that was completed in 1913; and a brick water reservoir that dates to 1928. Click the link to see a slideshow of all the newly-named historic sites.