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Andrea Bernstein

Andrea Bernstein appears in the following:

NJ Transit to Hire Biggest DC Lobbying and Law Firm to fight FTA

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Gov. Chris Christie

(New York, NY -- Jim O'Grady, WNYC)

Here come the lawyers.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has hired a law firm to challenge a $271 million tab the federal government says the state owes for the canceled ARC rail tunnel. Christie says he's approved the selection of the high-powered Washington, D.C. firm of Patton Boggs.

New Jersey Transit, which oversaw the trans-Hudson tunnel project that Christie killed in October, could ratify a contract with the firm at its meeting a week from Thursday.

Christie's office said yesterday the state would challenge the federal bill for money already spent on the project, known as Access to the Region's Core, or ARC.

The November 24 bill seeks payment within 30 days.

A Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak defended the hire, saying "We're much better off using a firm like this than using our own in-house attorneys or attorneys general. Not to knock their expertise, but let's face it, that's what these attorneys [at Patton Boggs] do for a living."

Read the rest of the story here.

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Christie Hires Big DC Lobbying/Law Firm to Argue Transit Tunnel case

Thursday, December 02, 2010

From Governor Christie's Press Office (analysis coming):

Governor Chris Christie Approves Retention of Law Firm to Protect Taxpayers from Unreasonable FTA Demands

For Immediate Release

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Trenton, NJ – Furthering his commitment to protect New Jersey taxpayers, Governor Chris Christie today approved New Jersey Transit’s retention of a law firm to challenge the Federal Transit Administration’s attempt to bill the state $271 million in connection with the Governor’s cancellation of the ARC Tunnel project with its billions in potential cost overruns.

In cancelling the tunnel project, Governor Christie sought to protect taxpayers from an open-ended bill for a project whose final costs were unknown and unpredictable and which left New Jersey responsible for all cost overruns.  Now, Governor Christie will extend his pledge to protect taxpayers by challenging the federal government in its demand for more money from New Jersey.

“It’s not surprising that the same federal transit agency that had no clear way to pay for cost overruns of a project already hurt by poor planning and inequitable cost sharing is relying on bureaucratic power plays to wring even more money from New Jerseyans,” Governor Christie said.  “New Jersey and its taxpayers should not be responsible for these costs, which is why our Administration is making every effort to fight the FTA’s unreasonable demands.  I simply cannot allow our state to be taken advantage of any further over this highly flawed project.”

The Governor also said he was gratified to see bi-partisan support emerging from New Jersey’s Congressional delegation in support of the move to challenge the FTA and protect New Jersey taxpayers.

The Governor has authorized New Jersey Transit to retain the Washington, D.C. law firm of Patton Boggs, LLP.  NJ Transit will consider ratifying the contract at its regular board meeting on December 9.

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Remainders: Traffic EVERYWHERE

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's the busiest traffic day of the year, whaddya expect?   But if you're a glutton for punishment, you can check NYC traffic conditions via live cam here.  Here's the CalTrans link, Houston is here.  Doesn't look so bad in Washington.  Downtown Minneapolis? NotSoGood.  But hey, you can buy your way out of congestion in the Twin Cities.  Or, if you're stuck in the Lincoln Tunnel, trying to get out to New Jersey, you can dream about a  new train under the Hudson.    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! -- Transportation Nation

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Is Your Flight Delayed?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The FAA has this cool new map to check airport delays.  The live link is here.

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NY Deputy Mayor: Bike Share Isn't about More Bike Lanes, High Rises Could Pay for Transit, and Other Ideas...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Installing the First Avenue Bike Lane photo: Marianne McCune

(Andrea Bernstein) WNYC's Brian Lehrer asked his listeners today for suggestions to help New York City Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith raise money for New York City.  Two ideas were suggested by BL callers: 1) make business improvement districts contribute to the MTA, based on the theory that high rises directly profit from all the transit riders the subways bring to their doorsteps and 2) charge cycling licensing fees.  Here's Goldsmith's answer, and a back-and-forth on bike lanes and bike share.

(You can listen to the segment here, the transit discussion starts about 15 minutes in and the answers excerpted below begin at 16:45.)

BL:  And the buildings with proximity to transit?

SG: You have a great show, these ideas are great.  So there is for new development a kind of a concept that you have transit-aided development, so if you have a subway stop in a place, it's going to create value for the buildings that are around it.  It does create value.  Without that stop, the buildings have less value.  And it's legitimate then to create a district to take part of that increment into generally the capital budget of that project.  Whether you could do that on the operating side is an interesting one, particularly with

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Comments on Bike Share: Cost Effective? Safe?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Interesting web conversation going on at our sister site, WNYC.org on bike share.    You'll see both the questions -- isn't it too expensive?  What about the helmets? Will I really use it?  and the listener-generated answers.  Check it out. -- TN

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New York to Get Bike Share

Monday, November 22, 2010

WNYC

New York City is preparing to set up the largest bike share system in the nation. The city is issuing a request for proposals for one-way, short-term bike rentals, a system that has augmented the transportation network in dozens of European cities as well as in Denver, Minneapolis, and Washington, DC.

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New York City to Issue Bike Share Request for Proposals

Monday, November 22, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  New York City's Department of Transportation is about to issue a request for proposals for the largest bike-share program in the U.S., following Denver, Minneapolis, and Washington, DC -- all of which have installed large scale bike share programs.

With greater density than any of those cities, New York believes it can make a profit.

New York City's transportation commissioner wouldn't comment on the details of the request for proposals, to be released Wednesday morning.  But Janette Sadik-Khan frequently speaks at conferences promoting the idea of bike share.

“We’re ideal for it," Sadik-Khan says. "We have the density. We’re flat.  Eighty one percent of people in the central business district of Manhattan don’t own a car.  In this age of  transit cuts, this is an ideal way to add to New York's transportation system."

The city is looking to set up a twenty-four hour network of around 10,000 bikes, with the entire bill footed by the private sector, but with the city sharing in any revenues.  In other cities with bike shares, sponsorships and advertising help pay for the bikes.  Earlier generations of bike share in many European cities required subsidies, but the city believes that wireless technology, gps, and solar-powered bike stations, a system in New York can be run far more efficiently.

"New York is made for bike share," said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives,"  so this announcement is very exciting. The characteristics that make bicycling an everyday form of transportation, New York has in spades: density, flat terrain, temperate climate, lots of short trips and an on the go lifestyle. This nimble and inexpensive way to get around will fit easily into New Yorkers’ constantly shifting errands and schedules."

The city hopes for the system to be running in 2012.  In the past year Denver, Minneapolis, and Washington, DC have launched bike shares, and Boston is preparing to start one soon.  Montreal was the first North American City to have bike share, which is up and running in dozens of European cities.

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DOT Adds Cameras to Express Bus Service Routes

Monday, November 22, 2010

Starting Monday, cameras will be watching out for the special bus lanes on First and Second Avenues in Manhattan. Drivers will now get a $115 ticket if a camera catches them driving in the bus lane.

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NYC Health Commissioner: Urban Design is a Public Health Issue

Friday, November 19, 2010

(New York, NY -- Jim O'Grady, WNYC)  New York City's Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, was the keynoter at the Transportation Alternatives Speeding Summit today, pledging a major new public health emphasis on urban design.

"After quitting smoking, there's probably no behavior that promotes health more than regular physical activity," Farley said. "Okay, that's great. So what are we going to do about that? To me, the answer to that is thoughtful urban design and transportation infrastructure. "

Though the NYC Health Department last summer released a report saying 25 children's lives are saved a year because fewer New York City children ride in cars than in other cities, most of New York's traffic safety campaign has rested on the shoulders of NYC DOT, and its commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan.

It's Sadik-Khan who's taken fire from protesters, like Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and more recently, some orthodox Jews in Brooklyn's Borough Park.  But Farley signaled that with a report coming out Monday on traffic injuries and urban design, he'll join Sadik-Khan in promoting public health benefits of slower driving speeds and more pedestrian-friendly environments.

Farley also said he would send staff to community board meetings to explain the safety benefits of bike lanes.

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NYC MTA To Offer Audio Tours of Grand Central Terminal

Friday, November 19, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  Now going to Grand Central is going to be a little bit more like going to the Met Museum.  Beginning Tuesday, the NYC MTA will begin offering audio tours of Grand Central Terminal, put together by "an internationally experienced team," according to MTA spokeswoman Marjorie Anders, who noted in a release that the same group has also done the Great Wall of China and the Acropolis.

"We know there's a market" for the 45-minute tours, Anders says, "because we see people coming on big tours."  Anders noted the Grand Central Partnership and the Municipal Art Society will continue to offer free tours.

The tours, which will cost $5 and be available in three languages starting Tuesday, will point out how to find hidden features, like the "dirty patch" on the terminal sky, and contain factoids like this one: some 700,000 people travel through GCT each day, more than the entire population of San Francisco.

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NYC To Raise On-Street Parking Fees

Thursday, November 18, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  New York City's Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, will phase in on-street parking increases over the next six months.  The move is part of the Mayor's so-called "budget-mod," an amendment to the existing budget to close projected shortfalls.

The city will up the rates from $2.50 to $3.00 south of Manhattan's 86th street, and north of 86th Street parking will go from $0.75 an hour to $1.00 an hour.

City hall officials are noting the city's rates are still way below market rates for parking, which can run around $20 an hour in Manhattan. The city is also looking to increase the deployment of muni-meters, which allow for differential pricing according to demand.  Officials say this isn't just about increasing revenue, but also helping retailers by ensuring greater turnover, and thus more open spots for potential customers.

Look for more so-called market flexible parking pricing in your future.

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NYC DOT to Begin Camera Enforcement of Fast Bus Lanes

Thursday, November 18, 2010

From the NYC DOT:

Immediate Release RELEASE # 10-057

Thursday, November 18, 2010

NYC DOT AND MTA/NYC TRANSIT ANNOUNCE CAMERA ENFORCEMENT OF 1ST/2ND AVENUE BUS LANES BEGINS MONDAY

Authorized by Albany, bus lane cameras will speed transit by deterring unauthorized use

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman/CEO Jay Walder today announced that bus lane camera enforcement of the new, exclusive Select Bus Service bus lanes along First and Second avenues will begin Monday to further enhance bus service and speed travel for the 54,000 daily riders of the M15.

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Bloomberg: New Tunnel Could be "Even Better" than ARC

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mayor Bloomberg at a Press Conference with Spiderman, announcing Comic Book for Job Seekers

(New York, NY -- Jim O'Grady, WNYC) ARC is dead. Long live ARC in a different guise.

Yesterday’s announcement that the city is seriously exploring sending the 7 subway line to New Jersey spent today rippling through press conferences and urban planning groups. At a press conference to announce a comic book to help job seekers, the mayor said the crush of riders between New York and New Jersey continues to rise, and that reality demands more cross-Hudson transit capacity.

“The problem hasn't gone away,” said Bloomberg. “You still have to make sure that people from New Jersey can get into the city for jobs and for shopping and entertainment and New Yorkers can get out of the city to go to do things in New Jersey.”

The mayor stressed that sending a subway into New Jersey would create a connection like the ARC commuter train tunnel but at half the price. Whereas ARC would have stretched from New Jersey to Herald Square, a 7 train extension would be shorter. It would start at 11th Avenue and go west, saving costly boring under Manhattan.

Bloomberg said his staff is reaching out to discuss the idea with Governor-elect Cuomo and Governor Christie, who have yet to give the project any support. Cuomo told reporters today “I only know what I read in the newspapers. Obviously it’s a proposal that I would need to research before I have an opinion.“

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NY Governor-Elect Cuomo: Transit Money "Fungible"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  It's been a bit of an unhealed wound for transit advocates -- the redirection last year of some $160 million in revenue collected by the NYC MTA to New York State's General Fund.  Facing its own multi-billion budget gap, the state Senate helped itself to some $160 million in dedicated revenues for transit, driving the MTA's budget gap to $800 million and helping bring about the most severe transit cuts in more than a generation. At a press conference today announcing an environmental settlement, New York Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo was asked if he'd do the same.  Here's his answer:

Cuomo: "I understand the concern. Everyone -- especially in a declining budget environment, where we are now, everyone -- we just met with the environmental groups. They're very concerned that nobody raids the funds that should be going to the environment.

"People who are involved in transit want to make sure nobody raids the funds that are involved in mass transit.  I understand the concerns, and that's the balance of putting together the budget."

REPORTER: That means you're not committed to allowing the money --

Cuomo: "You can't say -- money is fungible to a certain extent. There are a lot of needs the state has to fund and it's the balancing of those needs that will be done through the budget process."

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Subway to Secaucus

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Andrea Bernstein, WNYC reporter and director of the Transportation Nation blog, talks about the Bloomberg administration's tentative plan to extend the 7 train to New Jersey.

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Son of ARC: Mayor Bloomberg Wants to Extend Subway Across Hudson

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) New Jersey Governor Chris Christie killled the ARC tunnel twice, but it still won't die.

Now New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to build a transit tunnel under the Hudson, extending the number 7 subway train -- a new line under construction -- to New Jersey.  The project is projected to cost $5.3 billion, about half the ARC's pricetag.

Once, it  almost seemed like Mayor Michael Bloomberg was indifferent to the project's death.  "We are not a party to this," the Mayor said at a city hall news conference as the ARC tunnel was flatlining.  "This is a Port Authority Project...They have their own financial problems and they can afford some things and not others."

But around the same time

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Mayor Bloomberg Explores Extending Subway to New Jersey

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration is seriously exploring extending the No. 7 subway line to New Jersey. The project would connect New York transit riders to New Jersey at about half the price of the ARC tunnel, and would ease congestion and reduce carbon emmissions.

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NY Governor-Elect Cuomo Announces Transportation Transition Team

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Heavy on builders, light on planners (with the exception of NYU's Mitchell Moss).  Represented are members of the  airplane, truck, and  long distance bus industries. Missing:  advocates for biking, walking, and mass transit, unless you count real estate executive Peter Kalikow, the former MTA chief. From the press release:

Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure

  • Kendra Adams, Executive Director, New York State Motor Truck Association
  • Dave Barger, C.E.O., President and Director, JetBlue
  • Eugene Berardi, Jr., President and CEO, Adirondack Trailways
  • Lillian Borrone, Chairman, ENO Transportation Foundation
  • Martin Dilan, New York State Senate
  • David Gantt, NYS Assembly
  • Robert Gioia, former Chairman, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority
  • Gail Grimmett, Senior Vice President, Delta Air Lines
  • Peter S. Kalikow, former Chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • Gary Labarbera, President, Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York
  • Cheryl McKissack, Recording Secretary, Women Builders Council
  • George Miranda, Vice President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, President, Teamsters Hispanic Caucus
  • Mitchell Moss, Director, Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management, Henry Hart Rice Professor Urban Policy and Planning at New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service
  • Andrew Murstein, founder, Board Member, and President of Medallion Financial Corp
  • Vincent Polimeni, Founder, President and C.E.O., Polimeni International, LLC
  • Denise Richardson, Managing Director, General Contractors Association of New York
  • Jay Simson, President, American Council of Engineering Companies of New York
  • Rodney Slater, former Secretary of U.S. Department of Transportation

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SERIES: BRT (as in Bus Rapid Transit)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

BRT in Colombia (photo by Gabriel Mendoza Ardila)

Folks, these aren't new, but a reader requested the WNYC series on BRT from 2009.  And if you're interested in transit models from around the world, the stories still hold.

Bogota, Cleveland, Los AngelesThe Bronx

And: a bonus interview with Enrique Penalosa.

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