(WNYC Newsroom). Trucks making deliveries after seven pm and before 6 am shaved an average of forty eight minutes on their routes. That's according to the results of a pilot program by the New York City Department of Transportation. City Transportation Comisssioner Janette Sadik-Khan says the off-hour delivers also resulted in fewer parking tickets, down from$1000 per truck to almost nothing. The four month pilot enlisted thirty-three companies around Manhattan, including Foot Locker, Whole Foods, and Cisco. Some businesses have expressed reluctance to schedule off-hour deliveries because it can cost more in overtime and make last-minute deliveries more difficult. And some have said it's not an option for perishables.
Questions about DC Metro not put to rest, as train gets misrouted, bewildering riders. (Washington Post)
Brooklyn's Prospect Park West Bike Lane, now installed, inspires dueling facebook groups, con and pro, a meeting in U.S. Senator Charles Schumers' Prospect Park West building, opposition from both his daughters, and his wife, Iris Weinshall, the former NYC DOT Commissioner. (Streetsblog and NY Daily News.) But the Brooklyn Paper does a 180, and decides the lane is a good thing. Schumer's office isn't talking.
Auto industry says its misses incentives, starting at sales down almost 11 percent. (LA Times)
BART chooses route into downtown Livermore over more tracks near freeway. Density, transit-oriented development-backers rejoice. (Contra Costa Times)
A tour of Delhi's dazzling new airport terminal, set to open tomorrow (BBC News)
(Casey Miner, KALW) After months of preparation and public service announcements, on Thursday morning Caltrans and the Bay Area Toll Authority officially debuted congestion pricing on the Bay Area’s bridges. The system, used in several cities around the world but relatively new to the US, sets prices at different levels based on the volume of traffic, rather than a flat rate across the board.
Tolls on all but one of the region’s seven bridges rose to $5; on the Bay Bridge, the toll during peak commute hours – 5am-10am and 3pm-7pm – went to $6. The extra revenue will be used to pay for seismic retrofits on the Antioch and Dumbarton bridges.
It’s a major change, and one that’s required a good deal of planning.
(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation). His former Vice President, Al Gore, is known for going on about the environment, but I'm straining to remember when I ever heard Gore go on about transit. I can't ever remember hearing the current President, Barack Obama, (even as a candidate) talk about mass transit in the way you can see former President Bill Clinton speak here.
Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising. Clinton's ClimateWorks foundation has made international low-carbon transit a priority. But still, he says "bus rapid transit."
The video was screened at at gala Wednesday night for the mass-transit touting Institute for Transportation Development Policy.
Please correct me if I'm wrong: Anyone seen anything comparable from Barack Obama, Vice President Biden, former Vice President Al Gore, or anyone from the U.S. Senate?
(Nathanael Johnson, KALW)
For months, watchdog groups and critics of the California high speed rail project have claimed that a study of projected ridership on the proposed super-train was wildly incorrect. The High Speed Rail Authority has acknowledged that one of its numbers was off by an order of magnitude, but has maintained that the model still produces valuable information. These statistical models are incredibly complex, and it’s impossible to assess these competing claims without considerable expertise and a lot of time. So California's Senate Transportation and Housing Committee commissioned a peer review from engineers at UC Berkeley and UC Irvine, to put an end to the debate once and for all. The California High Speed Rail Authority paid for the review.
Now this group has released it’s findings. In their report, the professors wrote: “we have found some significant problems that render the key demand forecasting models unreliable for policy analysis.” They go on to tear the study apart, shred by carefully-worded shred.
Why does this matter?
(Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation, Washington, DC) National transportation programs get a $3.7 billion dollar boost over last year in the House’s latest appropriation bill funding the Department of Transportation.
The increase includes new money for highway repairs and improvements, which have been in limbo with Congress unable to reach agreement on transportation or highway policy bills.
The House Appropriations Committee released a summary of the bill Thursday as the bill works its way through the legislative process on its way to the floor later this summer. DOT would get a total of $79.4 billion in Fiscal 2011, which begins Oct 1. That’s $3.7 billion more than the agency’s budget this year and $1.7 more than requested by President Obama.
Most of the money in the bill—$45.2 billion--goes to federal highway maintenance and construction. It’s a $3.1 billion increase designed to help fill a hole left by the stalled transportation reauthorization bill.
(David Shultz, WAMU) DC Metro will meet its funding deadline this evening. Metro needed to finalize a funding agreement between DC, Maryland. and Viginia. by the end of the day or it would default on a billion dollar contract for new rail cars. Thelma Drake, the director of Virginia's Department of Rail and Public Transit, tells WAMU she will sign off on the agreement later tonight - meeting the deadline by just a few hours. For more than a month, Virginia Governor McDonnell had refused to approve Metro's funding agreement.
(Charlie Herman, WNYC) Auto sales increased solidly in June from a year ago when the economy was mired in a deep recession, but fell from the previous month as worries about the economy led to car buyers to put the brakes on purchasing a new car.
Total sales increased by more than 14 percent compared to a year ago but fell nearly 11 percent from May to June. At the current sales rate, more than 11 million cars will be sold in 2010. A year ago, the sales rate was 9.7 million. Sales declined in part because automakers offered few incentives to buyers. Incentives were down over 1 percent from May to June. With few automakers offering deals going into the July 4 holiday weekend, analysts believe sales could be off to a slow start in July as consumers continue to worry about the economy and their own finances.
(Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation, Washington, DC) Transit systems across the country would have to abide by a common set of safety standards under a bill that cleared a Senate panel this week.
The bill forces public transit systems receiving federal money to adopt new minimum safety standards created at the Department of Transportation. The agency could conduct ad-hoc safety reviews, and it also gets new powers to conduct safety investigations and issue subpoenas after transit accidents.
The bill was approved by the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee earlier this week. It was largely motivated by the last year’s Metro crash in Washington, DC that killed 9 people.
It’s one of several transit safety bills circulating in Congress now. Another beefs up funding and clout at the National Transportation Safety Board.
Meanwhile, the Homeland Security Department is trying to give rail safety a boost. DHS Sec.Janet Napolitano was in New York’s Penn Thursday morning launching a new safety campaign for Amtrak.The campaign is based on the “See Something, Say Something” message familiar to New York City subway riders.
(David Schultz, WAMU) The Administration of Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell has threatened to withhold funding from Metro's budget if they don't get more authority over the transit agency's operations. This is a big problem for Metro, because it just signed a multi-billion dollar contract with Kawasaki to purchase new, badly-needed rail cars. If Metro's regional funding agreement is not in place by the contract's deadline, the transit agency could default.
That deadline is tomorrow. Metro needs to have its funding agreement in place with Virginia on board and with the FTA's approval by today so it can tell Kawasaki to move forward with the cars by close-of-business tomorrow.
This morning, in a hastily-called emergency meeting, Metro's Board of Directors approved a final version of the funding agreement after reaching an 11th hour compromise with Virginia.
Writers love road trips. From Homer to Kerouac, travel is work and grist for their mill. It was the same for David Foster Wallace, who chronicled everything from the ugliness of luxury cruises to getting car sick on rides at the Illinois State Fair. The tables are turned in the new book, "Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace." David Lipsky, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, got to ride with Foster Wallace, as he went on book tour with his hit "Infinite Jest" in 1996. The best part is, Lipsky never got to write a story about it, and the recordings he made of the trip were never aired. Until now. This morning, Lipsky, his tape and Foster Wallace's sister appeared on The Takeaway.
Ford stock hits seven-month low, as company funds pension, pays off $4B debt. (Free Press)
Commuter-airline that serves United, US Airways faces $2.5 million penalty for maintenance lapses. (WSJ)
Sappy, wet kiss from Washington Post to Secretary LaHood.
(Azi Paybarah, WNYC) As if Toyota needs more bad publicity.
A ring of car thieves who stole vehicles from the tri-state area and shipped them to Senegal was able to get into the automobiles using keys obtained from Toyota car dealers, authorities said.
Seventeen people in the ring -- including two employees of car dealerships -- which stole about 500 cars were arrested early this morning. That's according to Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who is running for Governor.
Here’s how it worked, he said: The thieves would get an “order” for a particular kind of car “down to the accessory package.”
Kids are better off riding the subway than driving. A report by New York's health department shows that children are about half as likely to die as a result of injury in New York City as they are in the rest of America, mostly because they use public transportation. Traffic accidents are the leading cause fatal injuries in American children one to twelve years old. The report also called attention to disparities within city groups. Children in the highest income neighborhoods are less than half as likely to die from injuries as children in areas with the lowest incomes. - TN
Tesla's IPO takes off; the company is the first American automotive manufacturer to go public since Ford. It's electric! (New York Times)
Paris mayor wants to close or slow some expressways on the Seine. (New York Times)
Ice cream trucks grow up: gourmet purveyors are on the rise on New York's streets. Can I get a scoop of salted caramel, please? (WNYC)
JFK's longest runway reopens; repaving cost $348 million and took four months. Next on the airport's construction wish list: a satellite-based air traffic control system. (Business Week)
Yellow light, shades of gray: new research decodes how drivers decide to speed up or slow down. (Washington Post)
Virginia legislators to enjoy a "real commuting experience" today when they ride the Metro's Orange Line during rush hours (WAMU). Meanwhile, Alexandria raises the cost of its parking meters -- and considers eliminating free parking for the disabled. New policy is called "All May Park, All Must Pay."
Nature--and New Yorkers--abhor a vacuum. Today's Brian Lehrer Show talks about the private vans cropping up to replace subway and bus cuts.
(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) Senator John Kerry's spokeswoman, Whitney Smith, emails the following in response to our query about including transportation emissions caps in the new senate energy and climate bill:
"Majority Leader Reid will bring a final comprehensive energy and climate package to the floor this July, but the final details of what will be included in that package have not been determined.
Politico is reporting that Democrats have agreed "to scale back their ambitious plans to cap greenhouse gases across multiple sectors of the economy," but says President Obama is holding firm on setting a "price for greenhouse gases." In a Q&A with reporters, Senator John Kerry (D-Mass) didn't specify whether setting caps in the transportation sector would remain part of the bill. More soon. (And don't forget to read Todd Zwillich's full post on the behind-the-scenes maneuvering.)
(Washington, DC - Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation) Nearly a quarter of the United States Senate is expected at the White House this morning to meet with President Obama on energy and climate legislation, though the form that legislation will take--and whether it will have the votes to pass--is very much in doubt.
Twenty-three senators from both parties, as well as Independents, are due to meet with Obama shortly before 11 AM. While broad energy legislation is the main topic, the fate of global warming legislation in the form of carbon regulation hangs in the balance. That balance may include no direct attempts to control carbon emissions in the transportation sector.
Guilty plea expected in JFK Airport bomb plot case (New York Times).
The Guardian asks: If the BP oil spill causes Americans to reconsider driving, how will they do that when many states are slashing public transportation? (The Guardian)
Shuttering two subway lines wasn't enough: New York's MTA plans to sell $600 million in bonds to close $800 million spending gap. (Business Week)
And in Atlanta, the MARTA board votes to kill 40 bus lines, 29 station bathrooms, and shuttles to Braves games. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Kalamazoo ponders why bus ridership is down for the 5th consecutive month. (Grand Rapids Press)
Oh, if only: one Berlin subway station (helped by Volkswagen) offered its commuters a choice: walk down a flight of stairs -- or slide down. (The Infrastructurist, video)
Once hot, now not: the last Chrysler PT Cruiser will roll off the line in July. (Detroit Free Press)
Domestic planes are now prohibited from languishing on runways. So when a Virgin Atlantic flight recently sat for four hours on the tarmac--without working air conditioning--it wasn't breaking any rules. Legislation including foreign carriers is in the works. (New York Times)