Fragile junction: As recent derailments force attention on Amtrak's safety issues—amid perennial funding and infrastructure woes—the railroad faces new threats under a Trump budget that proposes slashing money for long-distance routes and a new Hudson River rail tunnel. The New York Times reports:
Today, Amtrak finds itself at a crossroad: Is the 46-year-old national railroad at the cusp of a new era of investment as it pushes to build a train tunnel between New York and New Jersey — one of the country’s largest infrastructure proposals — or will service deteriorate to levels that could damage the economy in the corridor between Washington and Boston?
Paris revolts: Violent protests broke out in Paris after Sunday’s vote advancing far-right candidate Marine Le Pen to the second round of France’s presidential election. Parisians overwhelmingly rejected Le Pen in favor of centrist newcomer Emmanuel Macron, but her party made unprecedented gains in surrounding rural regions. (The Independent)
Confederate teardown: New Orleans has started dismantling four prominent Confederate memorials, becoming the latest Southern institution to detach itself from symbols that many view as representing racism and oppression. (Times-Picayune)
The rebel of ride-sharing: The New York Times chronicles the risk-taking leadership style that’s helped Uber CEO Travis Kalanick carve out a new transportation industry: eschewing rules and regulations, capitalizing on legal loopholes, and sometimes pushing his company “to the very brink of implosion.”
Let’s talk Amazon: Why is the massive online retailer so often the elephant in the room for urbanists’ conversations on the perils of big box retail? Strong Towns argues for keeping watch on Amazon’s local impacts on taxes, jobs, and main streets.
Death of the diner: A New York City photographer is documenting the last vestiges of the city’s diner culture, with about 215 of the retro eateries now remaining in a city that once hosted thousands of them. (The Guardian)
The urban lens:
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