Streams

New York Gets Its First Public EV Charging Station

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

(WNYC, New York) Own an electric car? Thinking about buying one? Until now, you've been, um, running on empty if you're stuck in New York City with a low battery.

But starting today, California company Coulomb Technologies plans to install 300 of the stations—called ChargePoints—in the New York metropolitan area by October 2011.

Carmakers Chevrolet and Ford, as well as smart USA, distributor of the "Smart Car,"  plan to bring Electric Vehicles—known as EV in industry parlance—to New York City streets in the coming months.

"We want New York City to be prepared when people start buying them," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a press conference unveiling the station today.

Motorists will be able to pay about $2 to fill an empty battery -- enough for about four hours of driving. The charging stations look like gas pumps -- but are much narrower and more elegant.

Read More

Comments [1]

You can Learn a Lot from a Dummy in a Museum

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Vince and Larry, who tirelessly promoted seat belt use in the '80s and '90s will now live forever, as part of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.  "There may be later generations of crash test dummies that are more lifelike and have better technology," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland, "but it's hard to imagine any dummies having a greater impact on safety."  Above, Vince laments, "I feel like I'm just banging my head against a wall" with his safety messages.  Today, Strickland notes as many as 84% of Americans buckle up when they get in the car.  --Collin Campbell

Read More

Comment

A Bridge Floats Down the Hudson

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

flickr user: Pro-Zak (by-nc)

(New York, NY - Collin Campbell, Transportation Nation)  A 350-foot bridge floated into New York harbor under the cover of night this morning. It’s the replacement span for the Willis Avenue Bridge and was built near Albany and sent down the river.

New York City’s Department of Transportation assembled the bridge in Coeymans, New York to avoid the impact that construction

Read More

Comment

TN Moving Stories: NYC MTA fares up, FL motorcycle deaths down, and a bridge floats up a river

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New York's MTA is planning to cut back on its bulk discount metro cards, which is especially bad news for passengers who buy monthly passes  (WNYC).  Meanwhile, above ground, the replacement span for the Willis Avenue Bridge is floating into New York Harbor and will be towed up the East River next month.

Up to 30 people were stranded on an Alaskan highway since it flooded this weekend. (Anchorage Daily News)

A California court judges puts a halt to a suicide barrier on a  Santa Ynez Valley bridge and orders the  state DOT to recirculate a portion of the environmental impact report.  Opponents of the barrier say it will obstruct views -- and won't prevent suicides.  (Santa Barbara Daily Sound)

The Florida DOT says its state safety program helped reduce motorcycle fatalities in that state by almost 25% after a decade of increases.  (Sun Sentinel)

How is the Maryland Transportation Authority compensating passengers stranded on last month's "hell train?"  With free...train passes.   But if you're a monthly pass holder, you can't take full advantage of the offer.  (Baltimore Sun)

Early tests seem to suggest that the Toyotas cited for sudden acceleration may have done so because the drivers hit the gas pedal instead of the brake.  (Wall Street Journal)

Read More

Comment

Some Detroit Truckers say Financial Pressures Push them to Neighborhood Streets

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

(WDET, Detroit) Detroit's public radio station wraps up its series on trucks in residential neighborhoods talking to some truckers who say they can't afford NOT to stray from established routes.    Also in the series:   A multi-generational fight to keep trucks off residential streets.   Live in Detroit? WDET-FM is looking for your help in tracking trucks in residential neighborhoods.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Spending is Target of Waste Watchdogs

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

(Washington, DC - Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation)  The enemies of pork barrel spending are taking aim at the latest transportation funding bill. That’s despite the fact that earmarks in the bill are lower than ever.

Spending watchdog Citizens Against Government Waste says the Fiscal 2011 appropriations bill for the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development is carrying 459 pet projects as it makes its way to the House floor later this summer.

Those earmarks, including $500,000 for a solar-powered Berkeley, Calif., ferry service championed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,

Read More

Comment

TN Moving Stories: Unpaving paradise, ice cream trucks come to one CT town, and should Chicago embrace congestion pricing?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Will they unpave paradise and put up a park?  Plans to remove the Bronx's Sheridan Expressway gain momentum.  (New York Times)

American Airlines wants to coordinate its trans-Atlantic flights with two European carriers.   The plan has been approved by U.S. regulators; Europeans are mulling it over.  (Marketplace)

Denied: Naples, Florida, won't officially become a bicycle-friendly city until it meets several recommendations.  (Naples Daily News)

Big changes in Connecticut:  Starting August 1, the state may no longer require motor vehicle registration stickers.  Meanwhile, ice cream trucks -- banned from Stratford's streets for decades--return tomorrow, introducing a new generation of children to "the thrill of music that builds to a crescendo as the truck rolls closer, a sign that the ice cream man is coming and cold brown-and-white chocolate Mickey Mouse ears on a stick will soon be in hand."  (Connecticut Post)

A federally-funded study encourages Chicago to embrace congestion pricing.  (Chicago Tribune)

Worldwide, tunneling projects usually cost more than a third over estimate.  This makes Seattle--which is spending over $1 billion for a highway viaduct tunnel -- nervous.  (Seattle Times)

Read More

Comment

St. Paul is Next on High-Tech Bus Bandwagon

Monday, July 12, 2010

More federal money helps get "transit signal priority" and countdown clocks for bus riders.  The former lets drivers running late on their route make a red light change or holds a green light longer, thanks to $1.2 million from Washington.  The latter will take some guesswork out of waiting for the bus, as more signs will tell riders when the next one is coming.  -- Dan Olson, MPR News

Read More

Comment

Audio Diary of a Distracted Driver

Monday, July 12, 2010

(Houston, Texas - Melissa Galvez, KUHF)  Houstonians live in a largely-lawless world when it comes to using a phone and driving.  The federal push and coverage of distracted driving's dangers has yet to change the mind of Texas lawmakers.  The KUHF News Lab has been profiling the enforcement challenge faced by cops and the national regulatory environment surrounding talking and texting while driving.  But I also sent a query out to my KUHF colleagues: would anyone be willing to go cell-phone free while driving, for three full days-- and then talk with me about it?  Two drivers recorded their thoughts, which we've turned into audio.

Read More

Comment

TN Moving Stories

Monday, July 12, 2010

Rusty signs and heedless drivers at 50 of Chicago's most dangerous rail crossings.  (Chicago Tribune)

Texas gubernatorial candidates asked to lay out transportation plans.  (Dallas Morning News)

Legally blind blogger working to improve pedestrian safety around DC (Wash Post).

NY Times drives the return of the Mercedes gullwing, with a $186,000 price tag.

Raleigh-to-Richmond high-speed rail?  The conversation continues in North Carolina.  (WUNC)

New York's transit cuts reach a museum.  (NY Times)

Will the Giro d'Italia come to DC?  (WAMU News)

Read More

Comment

California High Speed Rail Authority opts to ignore ridership problems

Friday, July 09, 2010

(Nathanael Johnson, KALW,  San Francisco) The California High Speed Rail Authority met Thursday  to review the findings of an analysis on ridership projections for the $40 billion Los Angeles-San Francisco high speed rail.  But despite serious questions about whether ridership and revenues will meet goals, the members of the authority essentially dismissed these findings as academic quibbling.

These academic quibbles, however, could have big consequences. The consultants who performed the ridership analysis have defended themselves by pointing out that they conformed to industry standards. On this point, the peer reviewers agreed. The problem is that the industry standard is fairly terrible —

Read More

Comment

A Life Refining, Mining and Drilling into the Earth

Friday, July 09, 2010

Refineries, open-pit mines, and mining camps can seem like remote locations. Unless they are your father's photographic obsessions. Over at the WNYC culture page, writer Carolina Miranda muses on her engineer father's five decades of snapshots of oil refineries, open pit mines, and mining camps.  At left, a view of the Caletones copper smelting project in the Andes, as captured by Felipe Miranda in 1968.

We write about oil and energy, all the time at Transportation Nation, but these photos tell the story from a whole new angle. Literally.  --Andrea Bernstein

Read More

Comment

Spotting a BlackBerry from 20 feet Away: Notes on Texting Ban Enforcement

Friday, July 09, 2010

(Houston, TX - Melissa Galvez, KUHF News Lab)  For most drivers in Texas, it is legal to both talk on a cell phone and text while driving — except in school zones and certain cities. There are some who say one or both of those should be outlawed. In the second of a series on distracted driving, a look at how such a law could be enforced.

Read More

Comment

TN Moving Stories

Friday, July 09, 2010

Five flights had tarmac delays of more than three hours in May, the first full month with new, steep federal fines.  (USA Today)

California high-speed rail planners defend ridership estimates, as critics tell them to "do it right." (LA Times)

Duck boats high-and-dry nationwide after Philly fire, crash leaving two missing.  (SF Chronicle)

WSJ publishes letters from INFRASTRUCTURIST, new urbanists, others critiquing its "Myth of the Back-to-the-City Migration" piece.

Read More

Comment

California Wakes up to Fallout From Transit Shooting Verdict

Friday, July 09, 2010

(The Takeaway) California jurors have found transit police officer Johannes Mehserle guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 shooting death of Oscar Grant. Mehserle, a BART cop, shot and killed Grant, an unarmed train passenger, early in the morning on New Year's Day, 2009. The video of the shooting, caught on cellphone camera, instantly went viral on the internet.  Oakland residents demanded to see a guilty verdict, many had hoped Mehserle would be convicted on stronger charges: either second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter.  Last night, more than 50 people were arrested in largely peaceful protests.

This morning, The Takeaway spoke to Jack Leonard, a reporter with the Los Angeles Times who was in the courtroom when the verdict was announced, Oakland radio reporter Bob Butler, and Rev. Byron Williams, a pastor and columnist.

Earlier, the show also got the views of Adimu Madyun, correspondent for Oakland Voices, a community journalism project supported by the Oakland Tribune.  He says the community feels under attack by "police terrorism," that everyone up to the Obama Administration refuses to address.

Read More

Comment

Breaking News

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Former BART police officer faces five to 14 years in prison in the shooting death of unarmed man on New Year's Day 2009: KALW News, Southern California Public Radio.

Looting in LA, Oakland, but outcry mostly peaceful: KALW News, Oakland Local.

Read More

Comment

Charlotte, NYC, Boston Bike Share big winners in new federal grant program

Thursday, July 08, 2010

PowerPoint - 34th Street Transitway(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) UPDATED POST Charlotte is getting $24 million for a streetcar, New York City has half the funding in hand -- $18 million -- for a 34th street Bus Rapid Transit line , the only true BRT planned for New York City, (NYC DOT rendering above) and Boston's bike share gets $3 million. Those are some of the grants announced in a $300 million package unveiled by the Federal Transit Administration Thursday.

The funding comes from the federal "liveability" program. The feds say localities applied for $3 billion in funding, with $300 million available.

And it comes as localities are reeling from budget cuts. New York's MTA just cut two train lines and cut or modified 76 bus lines, and the city and state budgets aren't much rosier. So the $18 million is "huge boost" says New York City DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. It will comprise half of New York's funding for the 34th street project, with the rest coming from the MTA, the city, and another funding stream.

The 34th Street busway, is envisioned as what Sadik-Khan has called "the first real Bus Rapid Transit corridor" in New York -- it will be the only place in the city where bus lanes will be fully physically segregated, end-to-end, blocking the usual NYC practice of just driving, walking, or biking, wherever you want, whenever.

Read More

Comments [1]

New Rail Cars In DC? Not If They're Made In Japan

Thursday, July 08, 2010

(Washington, DC - David Schultz, WAMU News)  Metro, the D.C. area's embattled transit agency, needs new rail cars. Bad.

A third of its fleet of more than 1,100 cars have been in use since Metro trains began running -- that was in 1976.  Even before last year's deadly train crash, federal safety regulators declared these 34-year-old cars unsafe. Apparently, they are prone to severe "telescoping" - crumpling upon impact - when involved in a crash.

For years, Metro tried to replace these aging cars - as the National Transportation Safety Board had urged it to - but couldn't shore up the funding.

But in late May of this year,

Read More

Comments [1]

Houston Considers Cars, Phones and their Future

Thursday, July 08, 2010

(Houston, TX - Melissa Galvez, KUHF News Lab)  The diary of a distracted driver:

"Day 2. I consider myself to be a light phone user while driving, I have to suppress a need to check my phone every few minutes. I see my right hand inching toward my purse in the passenger seat, snatch it back, repeat. Day 3: I almost broke today..."

Houston is a place almost totally free of laws against talking or texting while driving.  But Texas and other states stand in the path of a federal push to change that, and research showing distracted driving is a deadly problem and, potentially, an addiction.  So, we asked drivers to keep a diary, and let us in on the experience of distracted driving as part of a series looking at how Texas view this debate.

Read More

Comment

TN Moving Stories: Transit ridership up, but so are costs, Winnipeg votes yes to light rail but no to BRT

Thursday, July 08, 2010

What a difference a year makes: Ford CEO's success is apparently getting him noticed in DC. (Detroit Free Press)

Yuma County's public transportation gets a financial shot in the arm, but it's still on life support. Legislators cite tension between short-term viability, long-term sustainability. (Yuma Sun)

Chicago, Dallas expected to win big when Ray LaHood announces transit grants winners this morning. UPDATE: They did, as did Cincinnati's streetcar project. Complete list of grantees here.

Local transit agencies are providing more rides to more people -- but that number is outpaced by costs, especially in DC. (Washington Examiner)

Winnipeg says yes to light rail, no to BRT. (Winnipeg Free Press)

Disabled duck boat hits barge in the Delaware River; two passengers are missing. Regulations governing duck boats are characterized as "complex." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

North Charleston mayor gets his way: railroad tracks rerouted, neighborhood preserved...but it all hinges on "several potentially expensive" land acquisitions. (Post & Courier)

Read More

Comment