Streams

Andrea Bernstein

Andrea Bernstein appears in the following:

Illinois Governor Quinn Announces Increased Bicycle Safety Reporting

Monday, April 25, 2011

Governor Quinn at Harvard Avenue Bike Shop last summer Photo: Flickr/Harvard Avenue Photostream

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  This just in from the Governor of Illinois -- one of the first statewide efforts we're aware of to track a serious safety concern for cyclists -- when motorists suddenly open doors into bike traffic, frequently knocking cyclists to the ground.   Illinois officials says the database is an effort both to track the number of incidents and educate motorists about the practice, so they can train themselves to check for cyclists before they open doors into bike traffic, much as motorists now check for cars.  Illinois says a database will go online in about a month, and will have data -- so far as it's recoverable -- dating from May 2010.  Police will now be asked to note any incidents where they're called when a cyclist is hit by a motorist opening the door of a car.

UPDATE:  The knowledgeable Caroline Sampanaro of the NYC-based Transportation Alternatives says she hasn't heard of any such state-wide efforts to track "dooring."  If you know of local efforts that we're missing, let us know.

New Tracking of “Dooring” Crashes Will Identify Problem Areas

CHICAGO -- April 25, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn announced today that the state will begin tracking “dooring” crashes -- accidents involving bicyclists who are struck by opened doors from parked cars. The change will take effect immediately to help determine locations where road improvements and public outreach efforts may be necessary to protect bicyclists from these dangerous collisions.

“As more people are riding bicycles and embracing other green modes of transportation, we need to ensure that Illinois collects data that presents a complete picture of what is happening on our roads,” said Governor Quinn. “This new initiative will address a major safety issue for bicyclists and drivers, and will make our roads safer for everyone.”

The new policy is the result of collaboration between Governor Quinn, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Active Transportation Alliance. Prior to the change in policy, dooring collisions went unrecognized in IDOT’s annual reporting of traffic statistics because a moving motor vehicle was not involved.

The data collected and analyzed by IDOT can be used to plan for improved roadway designs and additional communication with motorists in areas with high concentrations of bicyclists.

“We appreciate Governor Quinn’s action on this issue,” said Ron Burke, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance, an advocacy organization that works to improve conditions for walking, biking and transit. “Data on dooring problem spots will help communities take steps to reduce these collisions. We are grateful IDOT will track these crashes, and look forward to working with them to increase safety and education surrounding dooring.”

To assist police in submitting the correct information, IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety is reaching out to law enforcement agencies across the state with instructions on how to begin recording dooring crashes. Police departments that have already have begun tracking dooring collisions, including Chicago, will have their data included in the state’s traffic statistics, retroactive to May 2010.

“We are committed to working with our partners in law enforcement to make roads safer for bicyclists,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig said. “Safety always will be a top priority at IDOT. The recognition of dooring accidents is another step in the right direction.”

Read More

Comment

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.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

Read More

Comment

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.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

Read More

Comment

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.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter

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.

Read More

Comment

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

Read More

Comment

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.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter AND:

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.

Read More

Comment

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.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter

“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.

Read More

Comments [1]

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.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter

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.

Read More

Comments [2]

Budget Deal Derails High-Speed Trains

Thursday, April 14, 2011

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? 

Comments [3]

BLOOMBERG: Ped Plazas Reduce Air Pollution by 40 to 60 Percent

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

This in from NYC Mayor's Office:

MAYOR BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES LATEST RESULTS OF HEALTH DEPARTMENT AIR QUALITY STUDY THAT SHOWS AIR IN TIMES SQUARE IS CLEANER AND HEALTHIER SINCE PEDESTRIAN PLAZAS WERE OPENED

PlaNYC Report Shows Reduction in Harmful Pollutants that Can Irritate Lungs, Worsen Asthma, Emphysema, and Increase Risk of Premature Death

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley, Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and the Mayor’s Sustainability Director David Bragdon today released the results of the most recent Health Department air quality study which shows the impact of traffic on neighborhood air pollution across New York City.  The report documents an immediate and substantial air quality improvement in Times Square after the creation of a pedestrian plaza. The data are contained in the latest report from the New York City Community Air Survey (NYCCAS), a comprehensive survey of street-level air quality in the five boroughs created as part of PlaNYC. A quarter-million pedestrians enter Times Square each day and have the potential to benefit from the cleaner air. After the pedestrian plaza was created, concentrations of traffic-related pollutants were substantially lower than measurements from the year before and were less than in other midtown locations.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter

Read More

Comment

Get Married, Ride Off...On a Bike? Bike Used to Sell Bridal Wear

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  Spotted in Soho, New York City, the grandma of all artsy-trendy neighborhoods in the United States...a white bike used to hawk bridal wear.   I'm spotting this more and more, bikes popping up in movies and fashion-spreads to signify uber-chicness.  Seen this trend?  Post your photos.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter

Read More

Comment

In Surprise Inspections, US DOT Finds 1 in 10 Coach Buses Unsafe

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

This in from the US DOT:

U.S. DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and State Law Enforcement Agencies Conduct Thousands of Surprise Passenger Carrier Safety Inspections Nationwide;  Strike Force Inspections Remove 289 Unsafe Passenger Buses and Drivers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and its state and local law enforcement partners across the nation recently conducted 2,782 surprise passenger carrier safety inspections over a nine-day period that resulted in 289 unsafe buses or drivers being removed from our roadways.

Read More

Comment

SLIDE SHOW: The Willis Avenue Bridge's Final Journey

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

(New York, NY -- Stephen Nessen, WNYC) The 109-year old Willis Avenue bridge drifted down the East River early Tuesday morning as it headed for Jersey City. It was replaced last July as part of a $612 million project. Full slide show here.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter

Read More

Comment

On Central Park Traffic Lights, NY Cycling Club Begs To Differ

Friday, April 08, 2011

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) We reported yesterday that the NYC DOT is denying it's making special arrangements for cyclists in Central Park, who've been subject to a heavy blitz of traffic tickets lately for running red lights on the park loop, even when the park is closed to cars.

“The current light synchronization for 25 mph is not a new timing plan," the NYC DOT told us.  "DOT adjusted the timing for several signals on March 26 on Central Park’s drives after an inspection determined that some had fallen out of synch.”

Well, turns out the New York City Cycling Club has a different interpretation:   It issued this statement:

"NYCC and other members of the cycling community have been meeting with a number of concerned parties, including City Council members, Community Boards, staff from the DOT and others.  It's our understanding that this pilot program has been arranged to allow cyclists some time in Central Park to do the kind of training laps that we've been accustomed to doing.

"We are appreciative and understand our responsibility to be safe cyclists.  This pilot program will encompass the early morning hours from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m. Monday through Friday when there are few pedestrians in the Park, so we do not foresee any problems."

Keep us informed on how it's going.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter

Read More

Comment

Cuomo Says He’ll Put a Stop to Parking Placard Abuse

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

WNYC

Governor Andrew Cuomo said the practice of issuing parking placards to state employees and elected officials "is prone to abuse" and he is planning to overhaul the entire system.

Comments [1]

Full Text of Cuomo's Remarks on Parking Placard Abuse

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) When we reported last week that Governor Cuomo was continuing to issue thousands of parking placards a year, his office told us he was "reviewing" the matter.  That's a pretty standard brush-off that politicians give reporters -- they don't want to magnify a story by giving you a quote, and they hope by saying they're reviewing it the whole story will go away and they will never have to think about it again.

But that wasn't the script here.

To recap, we reported that the the state division of homeland security was continuing to issue some 3500 placards a year, despite Cuomo's election slogan of promising to "end business as usual."  The placards say the bearer is on "official police business," even though, in many cases, the placards go to elected officials and state staffers who have no law enforcement responsibilities.

With them, staffers can (and sometimes do) park anywhere, any time in New York City, where to say parking is at a premium is like saying water is valuable in the Sahara.

And having a placard means it's that much easier to drive to work, or on an errand, rather than use mass transit, at a time when many officials are encouraging people to reduce carbon emissions and relieve congestion by taking mass transit.

Despite repeated requests, we couldn't get the division of homeland security -- or anyone in the Cuomo administration -- to explain who got the placards, or why.

But it turns out, the matter really was under review. The state inspector General, Ellen Biben, has investigated several instances where placards were reported to be used in appropriately. Her conclusion: the whole system is flawed and needs to be redesigned. Cuomo agreed -- his remarks follow.

Here's the full text of Governor Cuomo's remarks on parking placard abuse, from a question-and-answer session with reporters in Albany today.

And here's the audio if you want to listen along.

"Police Placards are actually an abuse that goes back fifteen, twenty years I’ll bet when you look. Every nine months there’s a story on abuse of a police placard.  It’s one of those situations that the design of the system is prone to abuse.

"There are a number of specific case of alleged abuse of police placards.

"Police placards are issued to state employees, elected officials, to be used when they are on official business and they are put in the windshield of the car and the car is allowed to park in areas.  They are also used to gain admission to secure areas.

"A number of specific incidents were being investigated by the inspector general. The inspector general has reported that she believes the entire system is flawed and that unless you redesign the system you will have those incidents of abuse recurring.

"And that does make sense to me and we’re going to follow the recommendation of the inspector general and reform the system.  We will be announcing that shortly."

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter

Read More

Comment

BREAKING: Cuomo Says He'll Rein in Placard Abuse

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

When we reported on this last week, the Governor was, essentially, mum.  But now he says he'll act to contain abuse of parking placards by government officials.

From the Associated Press:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he expects to overhaul the use of placards that some politicians have used on their cars to avoid parking tickets in New York City.

Cuomo says he'll act on recommendations from his inspector general, who's expected to release her report soon. The placards placed on dashboards are issued by the state Homeland Security Department.

Cuomo says Wednesday he suspects the placards proclaiming the car is parked "for official police business" have been misused by some elected officials and state workers for 15 to 20 years. They are used to snag a good parking spot without fear of a ticket.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter

Read More

Comment

California Applies for High Speed Rail Funds

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Here's the CA release:

CALIFORNIA SUBMITS APPLICATION FOR BILLIONS

IN RAIL CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

State, Governor send strong signal that California is ready to put federal dollars to work

SACRAMENTO – The State of California submitted its application today for the federal High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program for billions in rail construction projects, including a request for funding to complete construction of the “backbone” of the planned statewide high-speed rail system.

The federal government recently announced that states can apply for Florida’s returned $2.43 billion in high-speed and intercity passenger rail funding. This funding includes $1.63 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding and $800 million in Fiscal Year 2010 Department of Transportation funding. Applications were due today.

“California’s application seeks funding for projects that will be the building blocks for a statewide network of rail lines linking high-speed and intercity rail lines to regional rail lines,” wrote California Governor Edmund G. Brown in a letter introducing the state’s application. “The projects will provide the foundation for a transportation system that will improve mobility, help the environment, reduce energy dependency, and put Californians to work.”

The California High-Speed Rail Authority submitted its application for the entirety of the re-allocated funds, including a primary ask for funds to extend initial construction of its statewide system into downtown Merced and to downtown Bakersfield, including both stations and the complicated area of track known as the “Wye”, requesting $1.44 billion and offering a 20 percent state match from the Proposition 1A (2008) funding. This application seeks final design and construction funds for civil infrastructure, including track work, and two stations.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

Read More

Comment

US DOT: No Tarmac Delays Longer Than Three Hours in February, down from 60 in Feb 2010

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

This in from the US DOT:

The nation’s largest airlines reported no flights in February with tarmac delays of more than three hours, down from 60 flights in February 2010, according to the Air Travel Consumer Report released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

Data filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), a part of DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, showed there have been only 16 total tarmac delays of more than three hours reported from May 2010 through February 2011 by the airlines that file on-time performance data with DOT, compared to 664 reported from May 2009 through February 2010.  In February, the carriers also reported that .0400 percent of their scheduled flights had tarmac delays of two hours or more, down from the .0600 percent reported in January 2011

February was the 10th full month of data since the new aviation consumer rule went into effect on April 29, 2010.  The new rule prohibits U.S. airlines operating domestic flights from permitting an aircraft to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours without deplaning passengers, with exceptions allowed only for safety or security or if air traffic control advises the pilot in command that returning to the terminal would disrupt airport operations.  The Department will investigate tarmac delays that exceed this limit.

During February, when large parts of the country experienced severe winter weather, the carriers canceled 4.9 percent of their scheduled domestic flights, compared to 5.4 percent in February 2010 and 3.9 percent in January 2011.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

Read More

Comment

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo Applying for High Speed Rail $$

Monday, April 04, 2011

And now, this in:

Albany, NY (April 4, 2011)

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced he is seeking approximately $517 million in federal funding for eight projects that advance New York's high-speed rail plans.

"Days after my election as Governor, I began pushing for more federal money for high-speed rail because New York has projects across the state that are ready to go," Governor Cuomo said. "New York is embracing high-speed rail as a faster way to move people and products and drive our economy in the 21st century, and these federal resources would help us achieve these goals."

The projects cover an array of vital infrastructure upgrades across New York that will continue to lay the groundwork for wide-scale high-speed service in New York. The federal government has made $2.4 billion in high-speed rail funding available after it was returned by the State of Florida.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

The projects include:

Northeast Corridor Congestion Relief: Harold Interlocking: The largest application is for $294.7 million for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) Harold Interlocking plan.

Read More

Comments [2]