These are the best — and worst — places to go car-free in the U.S.A. | Thursday Morning Coffee

Lime, a scooter ride share company, is hoping to expand into Pennsylvania by mid-summer, but needs law changes to start offering their wheels to riders. (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

Good Thursday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

If you’re thinking about going car-free to save the environment, save some coin, or avoid encounters with the local gendarmerie when your celebrations turn a bit too … ahhh … vigorous, here’s some insanely useful data to help you make up your mind.

Working with some colleagues, Richard Florida, of the compulsively readable site CityLab, put together a map of the best — and worst — places to go car-free in these United States.

And if you take a quick look at Pennsylvania in that graphic down there, you won’t be surprised to learn that the big cities, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, remain pedestrian-, bike-, and scooter-friendly. The rest of the Keystone State? Not so much.

(Map via CityLab)

The map, as Florida reports, takes into account “four key variables: the share of households that don’t have access to their own vehicle, the share of commuters who take transit to work, the share of commuters who bike to work, and the share of commuters who walk to work.” And it’s based on the findings from the Census’ data-rich American Community Survey. The map covers all 382 U.S. metropolitan areas, according to Florida.

As the map makes clear, “the wine- and rust-colored metros where people are most able to go car-free,” Florida writes.”The two largest car-free clusters are those stretching down the Northeast’s Acela corridor, from Boston to Washington, D.C., and the Pacific Northwest, from Seattle to Portland. By contrast, much of the Deep South is highlighted in light orange or pink, signifying much higher car dependency.”

Philadelphia, you may be interested to know, makes the cut of the Top 10 best places to go car-free. Pittsburgh, however, does not.

Too many hills, maybe? Too spread out-y?

If you’re from Pittsburgh and want to register a grievance, or have an explanation, hit me on Twitter @ByJohnLMicek or email [email protected].

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Our Stuff.

Elizabeth Hardison has the big things you need to know to sound smart about the Senate Judiciary Committee’s marathon hearings on gun-violence measures.

Veteran conservative activist Matt Brouillette is in it to win it for ex-Sen. Mike Folmer’s 48th District seat. Sarah Anne Hughes has the details. Hardison has the details on the Jan. 14 special election for the vacant Senate seat.

Immigrant advocates are calling on Gov. Tom Wolf to veto a bill that expands E-Verify to all Pa. construction workers, Stephen Caruso reports.

U.S. Sens. Bob Casey (D) and Pat Toomey (R) both voted  to block President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency along the southern U.S. border, Washington Bureau Chief Robin Bravender reports.

And Casey came out Wednesday with his call for an impeachment inquiry. Your humble newsletter author has the details on that one. U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., it will not surprise you to learn, feels otherwise.

On our Commentary Page, Opinion regular Anwar Curtis has the story of a very special night at Club XL in Harrisburg. And New Castle, Pa. lawyer Matt Mangino has had more than enough of gun violence.

Elsewhere.
It may surprise you to learn that income is up, and poverty is down, in Philadelphia. The Inquirer has the story.
Campaigning in Pittsburgh, Democrat Beto O’Rourke lit into President Donald TrumpThe Post-Gazette has the details.
“Fighting words:” Gun violence reduction advocates say House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rob Kauffman’s remarks about a red flag law are the start of the battle – and not a final pronouncement, PennLive reports.
The Morning Call has its own look at the current state of play on the debate around gun violence reduction.

Here’s your #Lake Erie Instagram of the Day:

WHYY-FM has a look at efforts to address food insecurity in Philly through urban startups.
The PA Post goes deep on the lawmaker who holds this fall’s gun debate in her handsSenate Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Lisa Baker, R-Luzerne.
Thanks to Congress, community health centers are on the financial brink, Stateline.org reports.
Politico looks at ‘Nancy Pelosi’s long road to impeachment.’
What was with Donald Trump saying Nancy Pelosi is no longer speaker? Roll Call takes a look.

What Goes On.
10 a.m, Soldiers and Sailors Grove:
 HIspanic Heritage Month event

WolfWatch.
Gov. Tom Wolf
 road trips it to western Pennsylvania for a pair of stops. At 10 a.m., he’s in Greenville, Pa., to pitch his Restore PA plan as a way to stop flooding in Mercer County. At 1:30 p.m., he’s off to scenic Monongahela, Pa., to celebrate some of the state’s historic communities.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
It’s an All-Leadership kind of day.
7:30 a.m.: Breakfast for House Speaker Mike Turzai
8 a.m.: 
Breakfast for Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa
11 a.m.: 
Golf outing for Senate Majority Leader Jay Corman
Ride the circuit, and give at the max, and you’re out … wait for it … an absolutely offensive $36,000 today.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s an absolute classic from The FacesIt’s “Ooh la la.”

Thursday’s Gratuitous Soccer Link.
Oxford United 
thrashed West Ham 4-0 in Carabao Cup play on Wednesday. This is kind of like a single-A baseball team beating an MLB club, if you’re looking for a comparison.

And now you’re up to date.

An award-winning political journalist with more than 25 years' experience in the news business, John L. Micek is The Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. Before joining The Capital-Star, Micek spent six years as Opinion Editor at PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa., where he helped shape and lead a multiple-award-winning Opinion section for one of Pennsylvania's most-visited news websites. Prior to that, he spent 13 years covering Pennsylvania government and politics for The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa. His career has also included stints covering Congress, Chicago City Hall and more municipal meetings than he could ever count, Micek contributes regular analysis and commentary to a host of broadcast outlets, including CTV-News in Canada and talkRadio in London, U.K., as well as "Face the State" on CBS-21 in Harrisburg, Pa.; "Pennsylvania Newsmakers" on WGAL-8 in Lancaster, Pa., and the Pennsylvania Cable Network. His weekly column on American politics is syndicated nationwide to more than 800 newspapers by Cagle Syndicate.

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