Also: The company shaping American police policy, and Boston City Hall at 50.

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What We’re Following

Crazy train: California’s dream of a high-speed rail line running from San Francisco to Los Angeles in under three hours got a rude awakening on Tuesday when Governor Gavin Newsom announced plans to scale back the scheme significantly. “There simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to L.A. I wish there were,” he said, alluding to the significant engineering, legal, and political challenges facing the project.

The 700-mile route linking California’s northern and southern metropolises has enjoyed fairly consistent public support since voters approved it back in 2008, though cost estimates have ballooned. Now, by limiting the plan to a 110-mile section in the Central Valley—the state’s agricultural heartland, where the train enjoys the least amount of political support—the rail project has earned a new nickname from detractors: “the train to nowhere.” But not everyone has interpreted the governor’s words as bleakly. California State Senator Scott Wiener, known for his transit-friendly housing proposals, tells CityLab’s Laura Bliss, “Let’s take this for what it is: step one.” Read her story: Where California High-Speed Rail Careened Off Track

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Police Policy for Sale

Lexipol, a private for-profit company, has quietly become one of the most powerful voices in American law enforcement policy.

Scott Morris

The Problem With a ‘Smart’ Border Wall

To resolve Trump’s impasse, many lawmakers have proposed boosting surveillance technology to create a virtual border wall. Is that more humane and effective?

Tanvi Misra

We Found Love in the Gig Economy

“I never thought I’d marry a man through Uber.”

Nicole Javorsky

Tate Modern Visitors Can Keep Looking Into Rich People’s Condos, Legally

The decision by the British High Court was an abrupt end to a heavily publicized stand-off between private wealth and a public art institution.

Feargus O'Sullivan

For Boston City Hall’s 50th Birthday, a Commemorative Pin

The city’s most polarizing building is now officially middle-aged and a couple of fans have reproduced a pin that was given out during its opening week celebrations in 1969.

Claire Tran


What We’re Reading

How the census will reach new urban Millennials (Stateline)

Why Amazon is caught in an unexpected brawl for New York’s HQ2 (New York Times)

Coming of age in cohousing (Curbed)

Women account for 15 percent of the transportation workforce (Streetsblog)

All this snow isn’t slowing down St. Paul’s pedestrian plan (Next City)


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