Streams

June Car Sales Up From a Year Ago, Down from Last Month

Thursday, July 01, 2010

(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.

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Transit Safety Bill Clears U.S. Senate Panel

Thursday, July 01, 2010

(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.

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Showdown over DC Metro Funding

Thursday, July 01, 2010

(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.

But...

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On the Road with David Foster Wallace

Thursday, July 01, 2010

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.

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TN Moving Stories

Thursday, July 01, 2010

State bans on texting and driving start today in Michigan, Georgia and Kentucky.

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.

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Cuomo: Car Dealer Employees Boosted Theives

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

(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.”

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Subways Yield Safer Kids, in Review of Child Fatalities

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

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

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TN Moving Stories: VA Legislators to Experience the "Orange Crush," Tesla's IPO is Electric, and is Detroit a Bicyclist's Paradise?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

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)

Chicago takes tentative steps towards a bike sharing program  (Streetsblog).  Meanwhile, is there an upside to Detroit's population drain?  Wide open, empty streets are a "bicyclist's paradise."

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.

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Kerry Spokeswoman: No decision on Transportation Carbon Caps Yet

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

(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.

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Politico: Dems Agree to Scaled-Back Energy and Climate Bill

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

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.)

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Senators to White House with Energy Agenda Unclear

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

(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.

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TN Moving Stories: The Guardian asks: How can you reconsider driving when transit is slashed? Also, Berlin's subways are much, much cooler than ours

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

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)

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Prince Harry Causes GrId-lock at Governors Island Dock

Monday, June 28, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) Governors Island lies in New York harbor a short ferry ride from Brooklyn and Manhattan, within spitting distance of the Statue of Liberty. It's one of the jewels in the crown of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's New York, a shared public space accessible only by (free) boat, one you can get around only on foot, bike, or tram. A space filled with public art, free hammocks, and award-winning street vendor food.

But yesterday, thanks to the Prince of England, that vision of a plebian park paradise collided with, well, royalty.

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MTA Cuts Get Lost in Translation

Monday, June 28, 2010

(Matthew Schuerman, WNYC) Tens of thousands of New Yorkers faced longer and more inconvenient commutes this morning as a result of the MTA’s bus and service cuts. They were most poignantly felt, however, by immigrants who had no idea that the changes were coming because they don’t speak or read English well or at all. (More here)

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What Can a Park and Ride Do For You?

Monday, June 28, 2010

The proposed Park-and-Ride site, near Manvel, Texas

(Houston, TX - Wendy Siegle, KUHF News Lab) Houston's traffic has been ranked sixth-worse in the nation this year.  So residents getting a park & ride, say in the Pearland area, may be pretty happy to know that cars could be coming off roads.  But if you live near the 12-acre parcel of land where that park and ride may go, there's another debate around you.  One concerned with more traffic on your main street, crime and  property values.

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TN Moving Stories

Monday, June 28, 2010

Great benefactor to West Virginia leaves behind Robert C. Byrd Freeway, Robert C. Byrd Highway, Robert C. Byrd Appalachian Highway System, Byrd Locks (Charleston Gazette)

Tony Tesla Motors increases number of IPO shares by 20 percent.  Will be first by a U.S. automaker in a half-century.  (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

VP Biden in Louisville today, looking for "green publicity" at appliance plant, political distractions for White House. (Wave3)

71-year old subway newspaper vendor explains himself.  (SF Chronicle)

1940s-era video game-like LA freeway gets redesign, new name.  (LA Times)

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What's getting cut in NYC: A guide

Friday, June 25, 2010

(Matthew Schuerman, WNYC)  : Beginning Sunday, 38 bus routes will be cut entirely, while another 76 will run shorter routes or shorter hours. Off-peak subway service will be reduced on 11 subway lines starting Sunday, while two others will be eliminated as of Monday. Along with reductions on commuter railroads, the cuts are expected to save the MTA $93 million annually. The MTA is facing a $750 million budget deficit this year. 

The majority of bus routes will remain the same, however, and every subway station will continue be served, though some of them less frequently.

On air, we've used a somewhat vaguer number.  Our count here includes express buses and routes in the MTA Bus Company. Also, we consider a route eliminated when its number is retired, even if service is improved on a neighboring route to pick up some passengers.

MTA TRIP PLANNER WEBSITE is here.

NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT INFORMATION LINE: (6 am- 10 pm) 718-330-1234.  Ask for "customer service" when you get a prompt.

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Why is Transit in Such a Fiscal Hole?

Friday, June 25, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) There's not a transit system in the nation that isn't under water. MARTA in Atlanta is looking a cutting a quarter of its service. The board of the Caltrain, through Silicon Valley, is reserving the option of ceasing to exist entirely. But why is the NYC MTA, the nation's marqee transit system, facing an $800 million budget gap?

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TN Moving Stories

Friday, June 25, 2010

Virgin pilot says U.S. Customs threatened to arrest passengers if he let them get off in Hartford.  Diverted Trans-Atlantic flight spent four hours on tarmac, with passengers fainting.  (AP)

Say hello to "AT&T Station" in South Philly.  Transit agency will make more than $3 million for naming rights deal, which wipes name of former governor Pattison off the SEPTA map. (Philadelphia Enquirer)

U.S. DOT dropping proposed ban on peanuts on airplanes.  Turns out they don't have the authority to do it.  (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Hey, where’s MY bike share?  Minneapolis’ program has been up and running less than two weeks.   But people who don't have bike share stations in their neighborhood are already feeling left out.   (MPR News)

The perils of drinking and floating laid bare, as man rescued one mile out into Gulf, on pool float.  (St. Petersburg Times)

"Is mass transit good for the Jews?"  L.A. publication wonders, debates.

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