TN Moving Stories: Atlanta Wants More Transit, Controller Reforms, China Bans Time Travel

Monday, April 18, 2011

New rules for air traffic controllers take effect this week, increasing the time between shifts in an effort to reduce sleeping on the job. U.S. Transportation Secretary says he won't pay controllers to doze off. (CBS)

A European plan to cut carbon emissions by 60 percent over 40 years argues for grounding short air flights in favor of high-speed rail. (Guardian)

Atlanta wants "wider, safer roads. They want better sidewalks and more bike paths. But most of all, they want mass transit," at least according to a "wish-list" being sent to the state Dept. of Transportation. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

That squares with this survey from realtors that shows Americans overall prefer smart growth to sprawl. (Infrastructurist)

Auto theft is the most common crime in Houston, possibly because first time offenders get a slap on the wrist. So Texas law enforcement officials want to make it a felony with mandatory jail time. (KUHF)

States want the right to sue polluters, including power plants. (Marketplace)

If you missed this video on Friday, get clicking. The latest escalation of the crackdown on cyclists in New York City led cops to arrest a man for "ridiculing" the cyclist they were ticketing, captured on tape by snarky neighbors. (Gothamist)

Meanwhile a broad inquiry may snare hundreds of NYPD officers for helping people get out of traffic tickets. (New York Times)

Gas prices have climbed for more than three straight weeks pushing average prices above $4-per gallon in six states already, including NY. (WAMU) So why isn't inflation rising? (Marketplace)

Meet the missionary owners of electric cars. This ain't no Volt. This crowd drives retro-fitted older vehicles, letting people kick the tires in hopes of making a few converts. (WAMU)

It's not exactly an electric car, but it is alternative fuel. Here's a wood-powered El Camino. Not sure it's the kind of alternative fuel that helps the environment though. (Gas2)

Lightning powered DeLoreans are now banned from China. The government there has made it illegal to travel ... through time. (TV Guide)

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In case you missed it on Transportation Nation

--We made a rustic podcast of six public radio stories on transportation from last week. Have a listen.

-- In killing high-speed rail, Governor Rick Scott misstated what Florida spent on the project. (Link)

-- NTSB preliminary report on the Bronx bus crash that killed 15 finds speeding, a guardrail that didn't guard, and no evidence for the driver's version of events. (Link)

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Jerusalem Train Moving Forward Despite Politics

Sunday, April 17, 2011

(Jerusalem --Patricia Willens, WNYC) The tag line for Jerusalem’s transportation master plan is “everything is connected,” a resonant phrase for such a complicated place. Palestinians and Israelis; Science and Faith; Politics and Religion. It’s all connected here but in a tenuous and tense way. Still, everyday life continues and the bald fact for many Jerusalemites is that traffic is terrible. It’s hard to get around even though the city is small, with a population of about 800 thousand people.

Listen to the radio story.

Many residents rely on public transportation here, meaning buses. According to the city’s own count, there are 500 thousand trips per day. The main artery -- Jaffa Street -- at one point had 200 buses running in one hour, moving at about 5km/hour. Central Jerusalem was polluted, noisy and inefficient, according to transit official Nadav Meroz.

“So we took this corridor which was the main corridor for private cars and public transport and we brought it back for the people of Jerusalem,” he said.

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Plug It In! NYC Cruise Ships Getting Greener Energy

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2 is one of the ships that calls at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. (Photo CC flickr user Jill Clardy)

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) Cruise ships that dock at New York's Brooklyn Cruise Terminal will get a little greener. New York will connect three berths for the massive vessels with plug-in power from the city's electrical grid, allowing the ships to shut off their diesel generators.

"By bringing the first cruise ship shore power operation on the East Coast to Red Hook [Brooklyn], we'll lower fossil fuel emissions and improve air quality for local residents," NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement.

The City says, cruise ships typically berth for up to eleven hours while passengers load and unload. The Mayor's office estimates the shift from high-sulfur diesel to electric grid power for as many as three ships at a time could result in the elimination of 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

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Weekend Listening: Six Transportation Stories of the Week

Saturday, April 16, 2011

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) It's been a busy week on the radio side of Transportation Nation. So we thought we'd assemble the great reporting work our partners have been doing from around the country into one ad-hoc podcast for your weekend listening pleasure.

It's about half an hour long, just right to keep you company making that Sunday brunch, or driving home from visiting mom.

What's in the Transportation Nation ad-hoc podcast you ask?

WNYC had reporters in New York City and in Denmark compare the copacetic world of cycling in Europe with the contentious attempts to build a bike lane network back home.

The Takeaway tackled the details of the latest budget deal that appear to have derailed high-speed rail funding in many ways.

KALW introduces us to the most dangerous mile of public transit in the San Francisco area, gun shots, on-board assaults and all.

Marketplace checks in on the trend of cash-strapped cities trying to privatize their parking spots. Hint: it looks like you'll be paying more for meters.

The Takeaway also looked into the latest spat over sleeping air traffic controllers. Just how overworked are they? And hasn't this always happened occasionally on the night shift?

WNYC tried to find out what regulations need to change to improve bus safety after a series of crashes left 17 dead. Here, the former head of the NTSB says he doesn't need to wait for the official report, the whole industry needs to change. (TN version of the story)

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Feds Say Tour Bus Was Speeding Before Fatal Bronx Crash

Friday, April 15, 2011

(New York, NY -- Jim O'Grady, WNYC) A report by federal investigators says a tour bus that crashed on Interstate 95 in the Bronx last month was speeding at 78 miles per hour shortly before it struck a highway signpost, killing fifteen passengers. The bus was returning to New York on a pre-dawn trip from a Connecticut Casino.

Driver Ophadell Williams said the March 12 accident began when a tractor trailer truck cut him off and struck the bus. But investigators say they found no evidence of an impact between the bus and another vehicle. And sensors on the bus' engine show it was moving at top speed down a southbound lane of the Hutchinson River Parkway only 45 seconds before impact.

Listen to an interview on this with Transportation Nation's Alex Goldmark.

According to the report, the bus swerved to the right off the highway, crossed an eleven-foot wide shoulder and smashed into a three-foot-tall steel guardrail. The bus plowed through the guardrail for 480 feet as it toppled onto its side. The bus' windshield hit the post of a massive highway sign, which sheared the bus in two along the base of the passenger windows almost all the way to the rear. The bus came to rest on top of the crushed guardrail, its wheels in the air, facing the highway.

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Connecticut Governor Blasts Infrastructure Cuts, Says "This is Not a Time to be Timid"

Friday, April 15, 2011

(New York, NY -- Anna Sale, It's A Free Country)  In a political climate with a chorus for cutting, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy is underscoring that he's going a different way.

"We need to argue our case," he told a regional planning gathering in New York City on Friday. "This is not a time to be timid."

He said decisions not to invest in infrastructure — roads, bridges, transit and electrical grids —is "where the most damage is being done in our country."

Without naming names, Malloy blamed "governor after governor, legislature after legislature," for making short-sighted decisions,b but noted, "I'm more than happy, even as I decry what's happening in our nation, to put in my bid to get any dollars Florida or New Jersey or any other state wants to send back to Washington."

He spoke at the annual gathering of the Regional Plan Association, a research and planning advocacy group focused on New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. Malloy urged other decision makers to continue investing, "never considering the expense of an item as too great as to hold back a generation of growth for this region.  For the full story, click here.

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NTSB Report on Bronx Bus Crash that Killed 15

Friday, April 15, 2011

The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary finding from their investigation into the March 12th Bronx tour bus crash that killed 15.

Here's the report.
Bronx Bus Crash NTSB Preliminary Report 04-14-2011

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UPDATE: Metro Committee Approves Contract, Despite Ethics Questions

Friday, April 15, 2011

(Washington D.C. -- David Schultz, WAMU) Metro is moving forward with a $200 million contract extension for the company that operates its MetroAccess transit service for people with disabilities -- despite some questions about whether the contractor may have engaged in unethical lobbying.

Documents obtained by Transportation Nation partner, WAMU, show the contractor, MV Transportation, hired a lobbyist who until recently served as one of Metro's top executives and a member of its Board of Directors. The lobbyist, Emeka Moneme, sent emails to several of the advisers to the Metro Board requesting meetings to talk about MV, just nine months after he left the agency. Metro's ethics rules prohibit its executives from working on Metro-related business for at least a year after they leave.

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One of the advisers who received an email from Moneme forwarded it to WAMU. Through a public records request, WAMU has obtained a copy of a second email sent from Moneme's office to another Metro Board adviser. The second email also requests a meeting to discuss MV, and is almost identical to the first.

WAMU has contacted all the advisers to the Metro Board, but almost half have not responded. Of those who did, all -- including the two who received emails from Moneme -- say they did not agree to a meeting with him nor with anyone representing MV Transportation.

Moneme has refused to discuss the matter. MV says it hired him to do "community outreach," not to lobby his former co-workers.

Metro's General Manager Richard Sarles says he believes its contracting process has not been compromised, and a formal investigation has not been launched. Sarles says the advisers to Metro's Board of Directors serve in a voluntary capacity not on Metro's payroll. Therefore, Sarles says, Metro's ethics rules do not govern them.

Sarles acknowledges that, in government contracting, sometimes the mere appearance of impropriety can be as damaging as actual impropriety itself. “I’m always concerned that we have the appearance of proceeding the way we should with regards to our procurement rules," he says.

But Sarles says, because none of the advisers agreed to meet with Moneme, he's confident Metro's ethics procedures are being followed. "To my knowledge" he says, "thus far, those procedures have not been violated.”

MV Transportation's contract extension is scheduled to come up before the Metro Board for a final vote later this month.

(To see a copy of the email Moneme sent, visit WAMU's website.)

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Florida Senator May Ask State Supreme Court to Reopen High Speed Rail Case

Friday, April 15, 2011

HSR in Florida No More

(Orlando, Fla. -- Mark Simpson, WMFE) The Central Florida lawmaker who sued Governor Rick Scott’s administration for scrapping Florida's high speed rail plan says he feels vindicated after the Governor’s office admitted it mis-stated how much money the state had spent on the project.

But Senator Thad Altman says he’s not sure what legal course to take now that the rail money is being offered to other states.

Melborne Republican Thad Altman argued before the Florida Supreme Court last month that Governor Rick Scott had a constitutional duty to carry out the high speed rail program which had been approved by the previous governor.

As part of the counter-argument, the governor’s legal council  told the court that the state had spend $110 million already on the project. But this week, the governor's office said that number was too high.

Senator Altman was not surprised, "Clearly we were right. We argued that only $30 million had been spent. We had appropriated $130 million. [In effect], that money had been impounded, that he in effect was trying to veto something that the previous governor had approved and that the project was being held up."
After hearing all the arguments, the Florida supreme court ruled Governor Scott did have the authority to reject $2.4 billion in federal money for the high-speed train.

Senator Altman says he may consider asking the  Court to reopen the case -- but he thinks there’s little chance to get the federal money back.

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Should Cities Sell Off Parking Meters and Garages to Make Money?

Friday, April 15, 2011

A downtown Manhattan parking meter--whose rates ARE rising (Kate Hinds)

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) So far, only Chicago (a few years back) and Indianapolis (beginning this spring) have completed deals to lease out their parking meters to private companies.  Chicago got more than a billion dollars in cash up front, but the  deal was widely criticized after the private company, Morgan Stanley, immediately raised rates.

The Mayors of Los Angeles and Pittsburgh, pleading empty coffers, tried to lease out their systems -- but those plans were resoundingly rejected by city councils, who said long-term leases to manage parking were just a ruse to raise rates.

But is raising rates such a bad idea?  Rachel Weinberger, of the University of Pennsylvania, says  paltry rate hikes in many cities, like Boston, which raised rates a quarter after 25 years, is a mismanagement of an asset that cities can no longer afford.  She says don't privatize the systems -- just use them to collect more money.

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But the Deputy Mayor of Indianapolis, Michael Huber, says the private sector has the capital to make technological improvements that the city can't, and that maybe its not such a bad idea to hire private companies as a buffer.   Hear the full story here, on Marketplace.

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Winter Park Planners Working on Central Florida “Complete Streets”

Friday, April 15, 2011

Supporters of "Complete Streets" say this type of situation could be avoided with regulation changes

(Orlando, Fla. -- Mark Simpson WMFE)

Advocates of the “Complete Streets” movement hope they are on the verge of gaining ground in Central Florida.  Planners at the City of Winter Park, located north of Orlando, say they have drafted a “Complete Streets” resolution for the city.  Mayor Ken Bradley is also supporting the measure which is expected to come up for a vote in about two weeks.

Dan Burden, executive director of the Walkable and Liveable Communities Institute was in Winter Park this week to discuss improvements that could be made to local roads.  He says a complete street is a thoroughfare “where a person can just naturally switch seamlessly from mode to mode”. That means encompassing walking, biking, driving, and even moving big trucks down the road. Burden presented those concepts to Winter Park commissioners while in town.

Listen to Dan Burden explain how "road" psychology impacts driving speeds

dan burden on visual friction

Meanwhile Orlando land use attorney Rick Geller is pursuing an effort to tack “complete streets” language to a state transportation bill, while the legislature is still in session this year. He says “complete streets” are needed at the state level to set standards for local communities to emulate. It’s not clear if Geller’s language will be picked up before the session concludes May 6th, but he says he’ll back next year if it’s not.

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TN Moving Stories: FAA Resignation, 2,500 m.p.g. Buggy, Rail Freight Up

Friday, April 15, 2011

The official in charge of air traffic control at the FAA resigned yesterday, following a second controller falling asleep on the job. (Politico) An overhaul to the whole system is coming. (Marketplace)

Can mayors save the planet? We published our first Portuguese language post ever yesterday on this topic, but if you want a related post in English asking the same question, well, that's OK too. NYC Mayor Bloomberg teams up with Bill Clinton to take the C-40 cleaner cities initiative global. (WNYC)

The struggling commuter rail line in Minnesota's Twin Cities, the North Star Line, is doing a little better at meeting ridership expectations. Part of the reason is higher gas prices. (Pioneer Press)

Motor Trend tested out the Chevy Volt. After 818.3 miles, the team testing it say they used 6.6 gallons of gas. That's worse than expected. But Motor Trend concludes, it's worth buying. (Motor Trend)

A tougher test for one hybrid vehicle is coming up. A team plans to enter the most punishing race on four wheels, the Dakar Rally, with a hybrid-electric truck. Can the delicate electronics survive the sandy trek? (Autoblog)

Look how shiny and new. San Francisco gets a new airport terminal. (SF Gate)

"The good news is the dam is still there and it's holding steady..." A North Dakota dam is in danger of collapse, which would flood 30 homes. (AP, via Infrastructurist)

Yesterday in this post, we linked to a report that trucking freight was down 1.5 percent in February. So here's some cargo data that points in the opposite economic direction. Rail freight was up 7.9 percent in the last quarter of 2010. (Bloomberg)

The tightly watched ticketing of cyclists in New York City for road offenses continues, now handbags are a hot button issue. The dean of students at an elite prep school was ticketed for riding with a handbag on her handlebars. (NY Post) And apparently, you can blame all the bike beef on Paris. NYC Mayor Bloomberg was smitten with the bike network there after a visit and came back with the idea to replicate it in NYC. (NYT)

Next month, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood will deliver the commencement address at Boston College. Chances he tells the graduates not to text and drive? Very high. (Boston Globe) Or maybe he'll tout the good work students can do. Like this impressive bunch form California in a contest to build a vehicle that uses the least fuel possible. Last year's winners got almost 2,500 m.p.g. Yes. 2,500. (Wired)

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Bikes and Weddings: Linked?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Caitlin Thompson, Editor of our sister site It's a Free Country, points out that it's not just that bikes are being used to sell things...they're, as she says "a very popular theme for wedding invitations."

Why? Thoughts? Examples? -- Andrea Bernstein, TN

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High Speed Rail To Leave the Station in U.S.? And...Are Air Traffic Controllers Overworked?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Military Air Traffic Controller

Two interesting Transportation Nation stories on The Takeaway today.

One of President Obama's signature policy initiatives has been to connect 80 percent of Americans to high speed rail within 25 years. However, the 2011 budget allocates no further funding to high speed rail projects. Furthermore, in states like Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin, Republican governors have returned money for high speed rail projects, which was given to them as part of the stimulus. Is high speed rail dead?

Florida Governor Rick Scott rejected $2.4 billion on ideological grounds, saying the state cannot afford a major infrastructure project. Now Congress will only allow the Department of Transportation to redistribute $2 billion of that money. John Hockenberry breaks it down with Transportation Nation's Andrea Bernstein.

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After another incident of an air traffic controller falling asleep while on the job alone, the FAA announced yesterday that it will now post an extra staffer on overnight shifts in 27 control towers across the country. The incident in Nevada early Wednesday morning is the sixth time this year an air traffic controller has fallen asleep while working alone during a night shift.

Reading about the story on Transportation Nation, a commenter named "Matt," who identified himself as an air traffic controller had this to say:

It is not surprising that one of my fellow controllers succumbed to the issues at hand… Most facilities across the nation can barely staff the day shift, much less the overnight shift. I have been working 6 day weeks just to fill our staffing levels. While 6 day weeks might not sound bad, it has a devastating effect mentally on controllers.

Are air traffic controllers indeed overworked? Barbara Peterson, senior aviation correspondent for Conde Nast Traveler, says they are and it's only getting worse.

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Prefeito de Nova Iorque, Michael Bloomberg, visita São Paulo

Thursday, April 14, 2011

O Prefeito Do Nova Iorque, Michael Bloomberg, em Hong Kong

(New York, NY -- Gisele Regatao, WNYC & Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) For all our readers in Brazil – obrigada.  This one’s for you.

O prefeito de Nova Iorque, Michael Bloomberg, estará em São Paulo no mês que vem para uma conferência internacional sobre cidades e mudança climática. Bloomberg, que é o líder do C-40, um grupo das maiores cidades do mundo trabalhando em questões de mudança climática, diz que está ansioso para colaborar com o prefeito de São Paulo, Gilberto Kassab.

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“Nós todos reconhecemos que as cidades – aonde, pela primeira vez na história, mais da metade da população do mundo vive e que respondem por mais de 70 porcento da emissão de gases que provocam o efeito estufa – são as responsáveis pelo futuro da humanidade”, disse Bloomberg numa conferência em Hong Kong no começo do ano. O prefeito de Nova Iorque estava então falando para uma platéia de muitos dos prefeitos que estarão em São Paulo para a reunião do C-40.

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Community Board Unanimously Supports Prospect Park West Bike Lane, With Changes

Thursday, April 14, 2011

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  Park Slope's community board six voted unanimously yesterday evening to support the bike lane along Prospect Park West, with modifications.

This is now the third local community board vote supporting the bike lane. In New York, community boards are elected to advise the city, mostly on community planning issues.  Though they have little direct authority, their decisions are meant to express community will to city government.

The board voted to support modifications  to the lane recommended by the NYC DOT: including creating additional parking spaces, raised pedestrian islands, bike rumble strips and clearer signage.

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The lane has drawn opposition from some prominent local residents, including the former City Transportation Commissioner, Iris Weinshall, and her husband, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, who live along Prospect Park West.  A group formed to file a lawsuit to remove the lane, Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes, is charging the city manipulated safety data.

Jim Walden, the attorney for the plaintiffs, isn't backing down in his dismissal of the community boards recommendation.

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Does Europe Like Bikes More Than New York?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

(Kate Hinds and Nancy Solomon, Transportation Nation) Since 2006, New York City has added 250 miles of bike lanes in an effort, Mayor Bloomberg says, to improve traffic, air quality, and ultimately, public health. But while polls show support for bike lanes, opposition has been loud -- and vehement -- around the city.  So WNYC's Transportation Nation team got to wondering: do Europeans just like biking more than New Yorkers?

Bicycle parking outside a Copenhagen train station (photo by Jim Colgan)

We spoke to Danes and New Yorkers to see if we could figure this out.

On a recent trip to Aarhus -- Denmark’s second largest city -- all of the guests at a dinner party have kids, cycle to work and do most errands by bike, even though each family owns a car. Lars Villemoes said he prefers to bike even when it's raining.

“It’s a really good feeling, I love it in the morning, I go faster every morning and I love it when I see the line of cars and I just go past them, that’s such a good feeling,” he said.

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“The safety has to be considered because in order to take your children you have to be absolutely safe about this,” said his friend Lone Maribo. She added: “And I think taking your children is the first step to changing the culture, isn't it?"

The culture she is referring to is not just a small subculture. Eighteen percent of Danish commuters bike to work. Busy thoroughfares have bike lanes separated by a curb and traffic lights just for bikes. The lanes get a steady flow of cyclists -- young, old, women, white collar workers in suits -- and the story is the same in Holland and Germany.

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TN Moving Stories: China's (Less) High-Speed Rail, Sleeping Controllers, Carsharing Meets Stock Market

Thursday, April 14, 2011

If you're wondering how all these contentious budget deals are affecting plans -- and money -- for high-speed rail, Transportation Nation's Andrea Bernstein combed through the reports to find out. (The Takeaway)

China is also putting the brakes on high-speed, but for another reason. China slows down its bullet train over safety concerns. (WSJ)

After a second air traffic controller fell asleep working the lonely night shift, the FAA has announced it will add a second controller overnights at 26 airports, including D.C.'s Reagan National. (WAMU) But are air traffic controllers just plain overworked? (The Takeaway)

ZipCar, the country's largest carsharing company, has gone public, raising more than 31 percent above the expected offering price. (Bloomberg) That's all without the company actually making a profit. Marketplace explains that's not because the model doesn't work, but because buying all those cars to expand to new cities keeps the company in the red.

If it still ruffles your feathers to pay to check a bag while flying, consider that you don't get a refund on that fee when the airlines loose your luggage. Well the DOT wants to change that. (AP) Security pat-downs are also under review. After a You Tube video showed a six-year-old enduring a security pat-down, the TSA is considering changes to the policy. (Denver Post)

IBM and U.C. Berkeley are teaming up, and using smart phones, to tackle traffic jams. (Wired)

If freight trucking is an economic indicator, this isn't the best news. Road freight shipments fell 1.5 percent in February. (TruckingInfo)

(Photo: Asian Development Bank)

The city of Mandaluyong in the Philippines just launched a plan to use electric tricycles as public transportation. It's part of a wider effort to reduce air pollution. (TheCityFix)

The Texas Rangers are suing a former team owner for planning to price gouge fans for parking at the ballpark this season. (Dallas Morning News)

Like many transit systems facing budget cutbacks, D.C. area Metro is considering cutting bus routes, increasing weekend wait times, and eliminating subsidies. It is not considering fare hikes... now. (WAMU)

Maryland has voted down a gas tax increase. They did, however, raised taxes on alcohol. But, the booze surcharge won't go to transportation projects. (WAMU)

And on NYC bike lane usage, Streetsblog takes the same data as the NY Post, but draws the opposite conclusions. People use the bike lanes a lot, they find. (Streetsblog)

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Bill Clinton: China is "Doing Great" on High-Speed Rail [UPDATED]

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

(File Photo CC by World Economic Forum)

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) President Clinton was in New York City today to join NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg in announcing the merger of  C40 cities, a global coalition of world capitals led by the Mayor to head off Global Warming and the Clinton Climate Initiative.

At the announcement at Gracie Mansion, President Clinton gave high marks to China's high-speed rail progress. "Just as our Congress is defunding rapid rail, they have tested a train that runs 306 m.p.h almost 100 m.p.h. faster than the fastest Japanese and German trains. I would give them a good grade on that. They are doing great."

Listen to Bill Clinton on China's high-speed rail.

Clinton also spoke about green jobs among other environmental topics, WNYC's Bob Hennelly asked the President, "In this last budget deal to keep the government open, one of the things that took s terrible hit was both the EPA and the kind of green jobs you talk about. How can we overcome the kinds of setbacks and develop this long term view?"

Listen to Bill Clinton on green energy and jobs:


One of the real challenges that the President faces in negotiating with the Republicans--and it’s a similar to what I faced in 1995--was captured in the Wisconsin debate. That is, there’s a difference between finding the most effective way to reduce the deficit and the debt and using that to further some ideological goal.

Now, a lot of people in the new majority don’t believe in climate change and don’t believe in green energy. In the tax compromise at the end of the year, the only bad thing about it was they got rid of that payment which was the equivalent of a 30 percent per employee tax credit for green manufacturing jobs.

But, you know, neither the mayor nor I can have an enormous amount of influence on that. I hope that there will be some thought given to that. All this business about they have to subsidize green energy. That’s just, more than others, not true.

Coal doesn’t pay for the air pollution, external costs that they make. We give…  the administration is supporting, and the Republicans voted for subsidizing nuclear giving them big low interest loan.

And in 2005, the Congress recognizing that no insurance company would write insurance on a nuclear power plant, basically said the federal government would do it. How much bigger subsidy can you get?

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Brooklyn Community Board To Vote on PPW Bike Lane Modifications Tonight

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) At tonight's Community Board 6 meeting in Brooklyn, among the many items on the agenda is a vote on whether to support the New York City Department of Transportation's proposed revisions to the Prospect Park West bike lane. These include the installation of raised pedestrian median islands, the installation of rumble strips, and the configuration of the Ninth Street loading zone.

The community board will also be making some suggestions of its own, like asking the DOT to reconsider the signalization of the bike lane and adding louvers on the flashing yellow signals so only bicyclists, not motorists, would see them.

The board would also like the DOT to identify opportunities to restore some parking spaces.  "I think parking was probably one of the biggest issues on our residents' minds," said Craig Hammerman, the district manager for Community Board 6, who said that the board would like to DOT to "consider changing the configuration of some of the traffic islands. Instead of being these 70 - to 80- foot-long safety zones, that they instead be potentially cut in half to allow for parking spaces in between."

You can read the resolution here.

Before the meeting even starts, Jim Walden, the attorney for the group suing to remove the bike line, is sending a letter to be read at tonight's meeting. Walden says he'd like the board to defer voting on the lane's reconfiguration until "after a full and meaningful discussion about alternative configurations, which will include more pointed questions for DOT about the various decisions it made to 'sell' a dangerous bike lane to your community."

PPW Letter to C Hammerman and D Kummer

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