Laura Bliss

Laura Bliss

Laura Bliss is CityLab’s West Coast bureau chief. She also writes MapLab, a biweekly newsletter about maps (subscribe here). Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Los Angeles magazine, and beyond.

a photo of cyclists riding beside a streetcar in the Mid Market neighborhood in San Francisco, California.

San Francisco’s Busiest Street Is Going Car-Free

A just-approved plan will redesign Market Street to favor bikes, pedestrians, and public transit vehicles. But the vote to ban private cars didn’t happen overnight.

a photo of a semi-autonomous dockless scooter

One Way to Keep the Sidewalk Clear: Remote-Controlled Scooter-Bots

A new mobility technology company called Tortoise promises to bring semi-autonomous scooters and e-bikes to market. Why?

A Micromobility Experiment in Pittsburgh Aims to Get People Out of Their Cars

The Pittsburgh Micromobility Collective will create all-in-one mobility hubs near transit stops, to compete with Uber and Lyft and help commuters go car-free.

MapLab: Life on Shaky Ground

A biweekly tour of the ever-expanding cartographic landscape.

a photo of a Bay Area Voom helicopter

The Urban Helicopter Dream Is Rising Again

Voom, a new and more “affordable” aerial taxi service, has launched in the Bay Area, with a promise to democratize a mobility mode with an elite reputation.

a photo of smoggy Fresno, California.

The Home of California’s Dirtiest Air Braces for Trump’s Smog War

As the EPA threatens to pull the state’s highway funding over air quality, Central Valley residents fear the dispute could render their region even more polluted.

a photo of homes in Fresno, California.

California’s Poorest Big City Faces a Different Kind of Housing Crisis

Housing costs have been a relative bargain in inland cities like Fresno. But a sharp rise in rental costs is making life less affordable for low-income families.

MapLab: The Best Midwest

A biweekly tour of the ever-expanding cartographic landscape.

Lyft’s New App Features Real-Time Public Transit Info

Like its rival Uber, the ride-hailing company wants to be a one-stop mobility shop that integrates buses, trains, subways, and scooters.

a photo of a child drawing an anti-Amazon protest sign at the Climate Strike march in San Francisco.

Why Climate Strike Protesters Targeted Amazon Go

Amazon’s automated convenience store became a meeting point—physically and philosophically—for climate and labor protesters on Friday.

a photo of a bus stop in Paris, France.

Very Bad Bus Signs and How to Make Them Better

Clear wayfinding displays can help bus riders feel more confident, and give a whole city’s public transportation system an air of greater authority.

a photo of a woman on a SkyTrain car its way to the airport in Vancouver, British Columbia.

In the City That Ride-Hailing Forgot, Change Is Coming

Fears of congestion and a powerful taxi lobby have long kept ride-hailing apps out of transit-friendly Vancouver, British Columbia. That’s about to change.  

MapLab: Trump’s ‘Mutilated’ Storm Map

A biweekly tour of the ever-expanding cartographic landscape.

People walk along a new elevated park that winds through a historic urban area.

How to Build a New Park So Its Neighbors Benefit

A new report from UCLA and the University of Utah surveys strategies for “greening without gentrification.”

A photo of President Donald Trump displaying an altered map of Hurricane Dorian's anticipated track on September 4.

Yes, Maps Can Lie. But Not Like This.

Mark Monmonier, the author of How to Lie With Maps, has seen a lot of misleading and deceptive maps. But Trump’s doctored Dorian forecast is a new one.

A photo of a man along a walkway near a beach in Barcelona.

The Life-Saving Benefits of Barcelona’s Car-Free ‘Superblocks’

A new study estimates that a citywide plan to limit cars and capture nearly 70 percent of street space for bikes and pedestrians could save 667 lives per year.

a photo of a steam locomotive

This Is What a Transportation Revolution Looks Like

To understand a true transportation revolution, I wanted to drive a coal-fired locomotive. On the Nevada Northern Railway, I found one.

a photo of a New Orleans pothole

Here’s a Pothole Stunt for the Ages in New Orleans

Tired of waiting for the city to fix their street, residents of the Irish Channel neighborhood furnished their pothole and listed it as an Airbnb rental. It worked.

MapLab: Why Google Hopes You’ll Walk

A biweekly tour of the ever-expanding cartographic landscape.

A photo of a scooter rider in Los Angeles.

A Controversial Scooter Data Tracking Program Gains Traction

As more cities adopt a controversial scooter tracking system pioneered by Los Angeles, concerns about rider data privacy are spreading.

a photo of a woman on an electric scooter

A Bad New Argument Against Scooters: Historic Inappropriateness

The argument over whether electric scooters belong in Old Town Alexandria reflects an age-old rationalization against change.