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What WeÃ¢â‚¬re Following
Testing the waters: In a special election this week, the residents of Toledo, Ohio, took the unusual step of adopting a bill of rights for a lake. A ballot measure will amend the cityÃ¢â‚¬s charter to establish that Lake Erie has the right to Ã¢â‚¬Å“exist, flourish, and naturally evolve,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ giving legal rights to the source of drinking water for 11 million people.
ToldeoÃ¢â‚¬s move makes it the first municipality in the country to adopt a Ã¢â‚¬Å“rights-of-natureÃ¢â‚¬ï¿½ law over a certain ecosystem. The action is already being challenged in court, but if it stands, it will allow citizens to sue polluters on the Great LakeÃ¢â‚¬s behalf without having to demonstrate injury to a human. Past problems with Lake ErieÃ¢â‚¬s water quality prompted activists to find new ways to safeguard it. Ã¢â‚¬Å“For three days in 2014, we lost access to our drinking water, and we didnÃ¢â‚¬t see any action come out of that,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ one organizer tells CityLabÃ¢â‚¬s Nicole Javorsky, Ã¢â‚¬Å“We wanted to do something for ourselves.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½
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Red Carpet Treatment
ThereÃ¢â‚¬s a simple reason why commuters typically prefer trains over buses: Buses have to share. The rubber-tired coaches could almost run as reliably as rail if not for all those other vehicles on the road. ThatÃ¢â‚¬s why city leaders should be bullish about building dedicated bus lanes, or to Ã¢â‚¬Å“tactical transit lanes,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ to whip up bus-only infrastructure on the cheap, according to a new report from UCLAÃ¢â‚¬s Institute of Transportation Studies. Simply by running pilots with cones, a city can figure how much faster buses can run when they have their own lane. Once people see the benefits, cities can lay down a coat of red paint and just add service. CityLabÃ¢â‚¬s Laura Bliss has the how-to guide: To Build a Better Bus Lane, Just Paint It
What WeÃ¢â‚¬re Reading
New York leaders urge Bezos to reconsider Amazon dumping the city (Bloomberg)
How tiny shotgun houses could help solve DallasÃ¢â‚¬s housing crisis (Dallas News)
Op-ed: The new Ã¢â‚¬Å“dream homeÃ¢â‚¬ï¿½ should be a condo (New York Times)
Ã¢â‚¬Å“TheyÃ¢â‚¬re cutting everythingÃ¢â‚¬ï¿½: As coal disappears, Appalachians lose access to basic services (Southerly)