Streams

Jim O'Grady

Jim O'Grady appears in the following:

PHOTOS: London's Tower Bridge Framed by Fireworks as Olympics Kick Off

Thursday, July 26, 2012

 Kaboom! (photo by Steven Z. Ehrlich)

Let other countries brag of the High Modern sleekness of their spans: Amsterdam's sinuous Python Bridge; Korea's space-age Media Bridge; even the skeletal steel lines of New York City's George Washington Bridge, which, aesthetically, have worn well.

The Brits want none of that. They'd rather invest their identity in that dowager of All Built Things, that dowdy Queen of Crossings: London's Tower Bridge.

First, it's a drawbridge. Second, it has castles. Third, look at it.

 Zoom! (photo by Steven Z. Ehrlich)

Now come the London Olympics. Which means it's time to bathe the old girl in bordello lights, drape a five-ring necklace on her collarbones and shoot fireworks from her head. We know that sounds like they've gone and made her up like a tart, and they have, but we like it.

 Gasp! (photo by Steven Z. Ehrlich)

Do you? Leave us a comment.

Read More

Comments [1]

Train Tix Get Longer Shelf Life...and Refund Time

Monday, July 23, 2012

WNYC

Starting in September, Long Island Railroad and Metro-North riders have more time to use their tickets.  Tickets will be valid for two months, up from its current two week lifespan.

Comment

Tix On NY Commuter Trains Will Be Valid Longer...But A Refund Will Still Cost $10

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tickets on this Metro-North train will be valid longer, starting in September. (traingeek/flickr)

(New York, NY - WNYC) Starting in September, Long Island Railroad and Metro-North riders will have more time to use their tickets. Tickets will be valid for two months, up from their current two week lifespan.  And riders will have two months to seek a refund, also up from two weeks.

But a refund will still cost ten dollars — even if the price of the ticket was less than $10.

The policy irks Bill Henderson of the Long Island Railroad Commuter Council. He says Macy's doesn't charge its customers for a refund and neither should the NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority. "There's things that are part of the cost of doing business and we think refunding the cost of a ticket ought to be one of them," he said.

Henderson pointed out that riders seeking a refund on a ticket worth less than ten dollars could conceivably end up owing the railroad money.

The NY MTA countered, saying the charge is needed to partially cover the "the administrative expenses of issuing and mailing [refund] checks." The authority also said it will cost $6 million a year to extend the validity of its train tickets.

(Ten-trip tickets will remain valid for six months, and riders will have six months to refund them.)

The two-week validity and refund periods on tickets began in December 2010. The MTA says it enacted the changes "to reduce revenue loss from uncollected tickets and...partially cover the actual cost of processing the refund." But in an unusual admission, the authority said, "These policies generated numerous complaints from customers and elected officials" and led to today's about-face.

The changes will take effect on September 4.

Read More

Comments [1]

Advocates: Thanks, NY MTA, For Restoring Some Bus / Train / Subway Cuts. Now Where's The Rest?

Friday, July 20, 2012

G, thanks, MTA for restoring some service. But where's the rest? (photo by bitchcakesny / Flickr)

(New York, NY - WNYC) Want to know what transit advocates think of the news that the New York MTA is expanding and restoring bus and subway service? We at TN collected the responses and fed them into the Scrambletron 5000, a machine that transforms numerous opinions into a single collective sentiment. (Stick with us on this one.) Here's what came back:

"Thanks, NY MTA, for restoring a third of the service you cut two years ago. But we still we want the other stuff back."*

Most responses from NY metropolitan area transit-watchers began with praise, like this line from the The Working Families Party, which had agitated by online petition for making a temporary extension of the G train permanent:

"We're very excited that the MTA made the right decision."

That means, yes, the G train will retain the five extra stops that take it deeper into brownstone Brooklyn. And the NY MTA's announcement brought more bounty: five new bus routes serving neighborhoods with sharp population growth, including the Far West Side of Manhattan and the Brooklyn side of the East River between Greenpoint and Williamsburg; 25 bus lines' service will be restored or extended; enhanced off-peak service on some Metro-North and Long Island Railroad lines.

About those upgrades, City Council Speaker and likely mayoral candidate Christine Quinn said, "I applaud [NY MTA Chairman Joe] Lhota for his plan to restore critical service and urge the [NY MTA] Board to approve the proposal without delay."  (The board is scheduled to vote on the plan next Wednesday.)

She further lavished praised on a new bus line serving the "Tech Triangle" between NYU's planned tech campus in Downtown Brooklyn, the burgeoning hive of internet start-ups in nearby DUMBO and, next to that, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, home to Steiner Movie Studios. She also applauded increased bus service to "underserved" Red Hook, a Brooklyn waterfront neighborhood with no subway.

She then raised the specter of the "devastating" 2010 service cuts that the NY MTA enacted to plug a hole blown in its budget by the recession. Those cuts saved the NY MTA about $90 million a year. The proposed service restoration, which rolls back the cuts by a third, will cost $29.5 million--that's out of the $6.4 billion the authority takes in annually from subway, bus and train fares, and tolls on its bridges and tunnels. So relatively little is being spent to generate a fair amount of goodwill.

But Quinn, echoing several advocates, pointedly called for the changes to be a "first step toward restoring full service."

Another reason the NY MTA can afford to increase service now is the seven percent fare hike scheduled for 2013, which is expected to generate $450 million a year for the agency. Chairman Lhota knows upcoming public hearings about the hike will bring heat down on the authority, so he's creating some goodwill now--in part by postponing a planned fare hike from January 2013 to March. He acknowledged that political reality at a press conference yesterday: "It's really hard to go into a period of time where you're talking about a fare increase when you're reducing service or you're not increasing service."

Tri-State Transportation Campaign, in its statement, described the MTA's p.r. problem: "Unfortunately, next year’s looming fare increases cast a shadow over the good news."

Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign pointed out another rider-unfriendly aspect of the 2010 cuts: allowing more crowded subway lines. Russianoff reminded the public and the press that the new package of service changes "leaves in place less generous 'loading guidelines... that allow more standees and less service on subway lines."

And City Councilman Brad Lander--who lobbied for, and got, more buses to Red Hook--immediately started calling on the MTA to restore the B71 bus, a line that the MTA has decided to leave in mothballs, at least for now.

That's a sampling of reaction. Stay tuned for more.

*Quote generated not by an actual person but the Scrambletron 5000, a made-up thing.

Read More

Comments [2]

BREAKING: NYC Transit Says G Train Expansion Permanent, Adds New Bus Routes

Thursday, July 19, 2012

(New York, NY -- WNYC) UPDATED New York's MTA will  add five new bus routes, restore one route, extend 13 existing bus routes and add midday, night or weekend service on 11 bus routes in all five boroughs. The temporary extension of the G subway line to Church Avenue during reconstruction of the Smith/9th Street station will be made permanent.

Full list here.

In all, the service enhancements add new routes to rapidly growing neighborhoods like Williamsburg, Dumbo, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard (home to Steiner movie studios)  where new housing and warehouses have been added to the city at a rapid clip. Manhattan's Far West Side, the South Bronx, and Brooklyn's East New York will also get brand new routes.

As unusual as the service additions are in a national environment where transit service is being routinely cut, they don't fully restore service to the level it was two years ago, before the NY MTA cut two train routes and dozens of bus lines, the biggest cuts in a generation.

In addition, Metro-North Railroad will enhance service on the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven l with increased half-hourly frequency. West of the Hudson, a new round-trip peak train will be added on the Pascack Line.

The Long Island Rail Road will provide increased service from Ronkonkoma every 30 minutes on weekdays after the morning rush and during some weekend periods. Extra trains will accommodate increased rider demand on the Long Beach, Port Jefferson and Montauk branches. Trains from Atlantic Terminal will also be extended until 2 a.m.

Brooklyn is getting two new bus routes -- including one along the fast-growing Williamsburg waterfront and another connecting Dumbo, Downtown Brooklyn, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, home to Steiner movie studio

Services will be also restored on the following routes:

Bx13, Bx34, B2, B4, B24, B39, B48, B57, B64, B69, X27, X17, M1, M9, M21, Q24, Q27, Q30, Q36, Q42, Q76, S76, S93, X1, X17

 

Read More

Comments [2]

Bayonne Bridge Will Be Raised In Time for Super-Ships: PA

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The New York-New Jersey Port Authority says the roadway of the Bayonne Bridge will be raised in time for the arrival of the next generation of extra-large container ships. The $1 billion project has been fast-tracked by the Obama administration, putting it six months ahead of schedule.

Comments [1]

Duane Reade Moves To Electrify Some of its Fleet

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

(photo by Edgar Zuniga Jr. via flickr)

(New York, NY - WNYC) Duane Reade, the largest drug store chain in New York City, says it will electrify a quarter of its truck fleet .

The company claims converting 14 of its 60 trucks to electricity will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by about 20 percent.

(Which they say is, in technical parlance, "the nitrous oxide equivalent of 1,000 tailpipes removed.")

Environmental group Mission Electric is working with Duane Reade to let the public vote on the first seven stores to get the green trucks. The company will be rolling out the voting Wednesday at an event held in conjunction with Mayor Bloomberg's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability.  Office director David Bragdon said "Duane Reade’s investment in electric vehicles will help meet our ambitious PlaNYC goal of reducing NYC's green house gas emissions."

Duane Reade says the move will reduce air pollution, noise, and congestion. One added benefit -- especially welcome to sleep-deprived New Yorkers: "Because the new trucks do not require combustion, their operation is almost silent, reducing noise levels from overnight deliveries."

 

Read More

Comment

Private Ferry, Floated By Municipal $, Flourishes In New York

Monday, July 16, 2012

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn ride the East River Ferry with the Williamsburg Bridge in the background. (photo by Jim O'Grady)

(New York, NY - WNYC) Several Brooklyn-to-Manhattan commuters were baffled at 7:45 this morning to find an unexpected boarding ritual taking place at the head of the gangway leading to their ferry. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a likely candidate for mayor, stood there waiting to shake hands.

"Congratulations!" Quinn told the riders, one by one. "You're among the million passengers to take the East River Ferry!"

That's a million paid customers in just over a year, more than double the initial projection of 409,000 annual riders. But that success comes at a price to the city: a $3.1 million subsidy per year over the three-year life of the pilot program.

The money comes from the city's Economic Development Corporation. Private ferries that criss-cross the Hudson River, connecting New Jersey to various parts of the harbor, do not receive subsidies.

The East River Ferry started with 12 days of free service last June. From the beginning, it proved popular with New Yorkers and tourists. The boats follow a route that goes from Wall Street to East 34th Street in Manhattan with stops along the way -- four in Brooklyn and one in Queens. Then they ply the trip in reverse. (Bloomberg and Quinn boarded at the North 6th Street stop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for a three stop ride to Wall Street.) In spring and summer, the ferry adds a Brooklyn harbor loop and makes the short hop from Lower Manhattan to Governor's Island.

Weekend service is especially popular in the warm months. Billy Bey, the company running East River Ferry, says it has had to operate larger vessels on the weekends to hold the crowds, and a new landing at Brooklyn Bridge Park has been fitted with wider gangways to speed boarding and disembarking.

The ferry isn't cheap: $4 for a one-way trip, compared to the $2.25 base fare per subway ride with a Metrocard; and the ferry charges $140 for a monthly commuter pass, compared to $104 for a 30-day unlimited ride MetroCard.

But sometimes a passenger like Bloomberg can catch a break. The mayor ordered a $2 cup of coffee from the on-board concession stand, which a woman who gave her name as Jennifer served up gratis. Jennifer said she was happy to do it "because he's the mayor," although she initially called him Mayor Giuliani. But Jennifer also noted a Bloombergian particularity: the mayor added milk to his Joe but, true to his crusade against empty calories, no sugar.

Read More

Comment

The Single Switch Routing 1/3 of All LIRR Trains, Down for a Month

Monday, July 09, 2012

Long Island Railroad train barrels through a crossing. (photo by ynkefan1 / flickr)

(New York, NY - WNYC) About 5,000 riders on Long Island Railroad will see their evening rush hour train either cut or delayed for as long as a month starting Monday.

The NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the LIRR,  is taking a single switch in Queens out of service so it can dig the next length of the East Side Access Tunnel — a project designed to bring LIRR trains to Grand Central Terminal by August 2019.

Switch 813 regulates 1/3 of all eastbound train traffic as it passes through a massive switching yard called The Harold Interlocking.

The switch can't be operated while a giant boring machine is tunneling beneath it. With only two tracks remaining to handle the evening rush, train traffic must be juggled.

The NY MTA said riders can expect the following changes:

  • The 4:52 PM train from Penn Station to Babylon will be canceled.
  • The 5:20 PM train from Penn Station to Long Beach will be canceled.
  • The 5:40 PM train from Penn Station to Seaford will be canceled.

The four PM Peak trains with adjusted schedules include:

  • The 5:36 PM train from Penn Station to Babylon, which will depart Penn Station one minute later (at 5:37 PM) and arrive Babylon two minutes later at 6:42 PM.
  • The 5:55 PM train from Penn Station to Long Beach will arrive at Long Beach one minute later at 6:52 PM.
  • The 5:59 PM train from Penn Station to Babylon will arrive at Babylon five minutes later at 7:04 PM.
  • The 6:44 PM train from Babylon to Patchogue will operate two minutes later, departing Babylon at 6:46 PM and arriving Patchogue at 7:16 PM as a result of its connecting train from Penn Station (the 5:37 PM) arriving two minutes later at Babylon.

The NY MTA has been alerting riders to the changes through an alert on its website, fliers posted at stations and dropped on trains seats, and email alerts to the 30,000 customers who subscribe to them.

Those efforts weren't enough for the Long Island Railroad Commuters Council, which urged the LIRR to post workers in stations and on platforms during the first days of the schedule changes.

LIRR spokesman Sal Arena said that will now happen. "Railroad president Joe Calderone said to The Riders Council, 'You're right. Let's do it.'" Arena said riders confused by the changes can expect to see LIRR workers in reflective vests at Penn Station in Manhattan, Jamaica Station in Queens and Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn.

For more on East Side Access, go here.

Read More

Comments [1]

LIRR Rush-Hour Cuts, Delays to Begin Monday

Sunday, July 08, 2012

WNYC

About 5,000 riders on Long Island Railroad will see their evening rush hour train either cut or delayed for as long as a month starting Monday.

Comment

US DOT To Spend $29 Million On Improving Transportation Options For Vets

Monday, July 02, 2012

Wounded veterans ride bicycles and hand bikes on the South lawn of the White House during the kicking off the 2010 Wounded Warrior Soldier Ride. (Flckr / William D. Moss)

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced 64 grants to help vets get around once they're back in the United States. Most of the money will go toward making it easier for veterans and their families to get transportation information by using smartphones and computers.

A typical grant was the $50,000 going to the Jacksonville Transportation Authority to help vets "connect to transit services through a single call or a single visit to a web page. Services include support organizations, social service agencies, car and van pools, volunteer driver programs, bicycles, walking, and taxis."

In all, 33 states and the Northern Mariana Islands will receive the awards. One of the largest went to the San Diego Association of Governments, which will receive $2 million to create a free mobile transportation app and 20 interactive transportation kiosks at military facilities and other veterans sites.

LaHood said vets need the assistance because of injuries suffered during service and because "the unemployment rate for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is more than 12 percent, more than four percentage points above the national average."

He gave the example of The Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority in Dayton, Ohio, which is home to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and more than 80,000 veterans. "The $450,000 grant announced today will make it easier for returning and retired veterans and those who have disabilities to arrange for rides by phone, smart phone or on the web," LaHood said.

Peter Rogoff, Administrator of the Federal Transportation Authority, which will administer the grants, said, “America’s war heroes deserve a chance to support their families, participate in their communities, receive job training and get to work. It’s vitally important that we remove barriers to success by making transportation available wherever our veterans choose to live, work and receive care.”

Read More

Comments [1]

Diamond Engagement Ring Is Lost And Then, Against Long Odds, Found On Long Island Railroad

Friday, June 29, 2012

Long Island Railroad passenger Brooke Bene shows off her recovered engagement ring.

(New York, NY - WNYC) Here's an uplifting story on a hot summer day. It begins with a young woman placing her hand on a metal pole in a New York City subway and sickeningly realizing that the sapphire and diamond engagement ring on her finger didn't make a sound...because the ring was gone. We'll let this understandably breathless press release from Long Island Railroad describe what happened next:

The owner of the dazzling ring, Brooke Bene – who was recently engaged in April – inadvertently left the ring on the train as she disembarked at Atlantic Terminal [in Brooklyn] for her daily subway trip to her Wall Street job.

"I removed the ring and placed it on my lap to apply hand lotion while on the LIRR train,” said Ms. Bene. “When I stood up to leave the train, it must have fallen without me realizing. It wasn’t until I grasped the hand bar on the No. 2 train out of Atlantic Terminal and didn’t hear the metal of the ring touching the bar that I noticed it was missing – and that’s when the panic set in."

After a frantic search through her belongings, Ms. Bene realized the ring was gone. She immediately contacted the LIRR upon arriving at her office.

That’s when the LIRR’s Deana Teemer jumped into action and called the LIRR’s operation center to find out where Ms. Bene’s LIRR train was next headed – which turned out to be the Hempstead Branch. She requested the operations center to contact the crew of the train via radio and also called the Hempstead Station ticket office for the train to be searched.

Following a regular routine, Ms. Bene sat in the same seat in the same car each day – this aided in the hunt for the ring.

LIRR conductor Tim Parrett found the ring in the space between the seat cushion and the seat back, after pulling the seat cushion away. He radioed word to the operations center that the ring was found and brought the ring to the Penn Station Customer Service office.

Upon hearing the good news from Deana Teemer later that morning, Ms. Bene gave a sigh of relief and immediately headed to Penn Station to re-claim her cherished ring. Then, she told her fiancé about the ordeal and the happy ending.

“I just love them,” Ms. Bene said about Teemer and Parrett. “They were incredible – how amazingly fast everything was done and the ring was found!”

Deana Teemer has worked for the LIRR for 13 years, starting as a ticket clerk and for the last two years in the Customer Service office. Tim Parrett has 15 years on the job.

Read More

Comment

After Long Fight, Congress Passes 2-Yr Surface Transportation Bill

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Tappan Zee Bridge (photo by Joseph A. via Flickr)

Congress approved a two-year, $100 billion transportation and infrastructure bill just days before the federal highway trust fund was set to expire.

The legislation comes after more than 1,000 days of wrangling by Republicans and Democrats over issues like Keystone oil pipeline approval allowing transit agencies to use federal capital funds for operating expenses during periods of high unemployment. (Neither provision made it into the final bill.)

Senator Barbara Boxer praised the legislation, after leading the Democratic side of negotiations in the Senate. She said it would save about 1.8 million jobs by keeping aid for highway and transit construction flowing to states and create another 1 million jobs by using federal loan guarantees to leverage private sector investment in infrastructure projects.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called it “a good, bipartisan bill that will create jobs, strengthen our transportation system and grow our economy."

But Advocacy group Transportation for America said the bill "disappointing." In a statement, the group said: "We are pleased Congress has averted a shutdown, and the associated loss of jobs -- but this is literally no way to run a railroad...Despite never passing their own bill, House leaders were able to eliminate dedicated funding for repair of bridges and highways; cut vital transportation dollars for cities and local governments; slash funding available to prevent pedestrian deaths; and erode public input and local control in the planning of major transportation projects.

 

Read More

Comments [1]

Red Hook, Brooklyn, A Transit Cul De Sac, Gets Real Time Bus Info

Friday, June 29, 2012

The B61 bus now has Bus Time, a technology that lets riders know the location of their ride.

(New York, NY - WNYC) Service on the sole bus route serving Red Hook, Brooklyn, may be erratic and over-crowded during peak hours,  but riders can now use a smartphone to figure out where their bus is dawdling on the neighborhood's waterfront grid.

Or maybe it's approaching. To find out, riders can fire up the NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Bus Time technology.

Red Hook is subway-less, surrounded by New York harbor on three sides and cut off from the rest of Brooklyn by the Gowanus Expressway as it approaches the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.

The program fits out buses with GPS units. That allows riders to check the Web or send a text to find the location of the nearest bus.

It's already in place borough-wide in Staten Island, on the M34 Select Bus Service in Manhattan, and was originally piloted on the B63 in Brooklyn in early 2011.The MTA says every line in the city will have it by the end of next year.

Red Hook residents have long complained of living in a transit semi-desert. It got worse last year, when the  MTA cut costs by eliminating three bus lines serving Red Hook and nearby neighborhoods. Some residents adapted by making the long walk to the subway stop at Smith and 9th Streets in Carroll Gardens. But with that stop now undergoing a year-long renovation, many Red Hook commuters have had no choice but to use the problem-plagued B61.

City Councilman Brad Lander and Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez, both vocal about beefing up Red Hook's bus service, say they're pleased by Bus Time's arrival. “Bus Time will help Red Hook residents with their commute by providing real time information on buses’ locations,” Velázquez said.

Lander similarly praised it, then reminded the authority that further improvements are needed on the line.  "I look forward to taking further steps to making the line a great bus for the neighborhoods it serves.”

Read More

Comment

Court Rules NYC Taxis Need Not Be Wheelchair Accessible

Thursday, June 28, 2012

(New York, NY - WNYC) A federal appeals court has struck down a ruling that would have required New York City to give taxi licenses only to wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act doesn't require the city to demand that cabbies serve the disabled, only that the city not discriminate against disabled people seeking a license to drive a cab. That's despite the fact that only 2 percent of the city's yellow taxis are wheelchair-accessible.

See the court's decision here.

The city can keep moving toward a contract with Nissan to provide New York with a "Taxi of Tomorrow": a mini-van with transparent roofs, USB chargers and extra legroom--but no easy access to people in wheelchairs.

Mayor Bloomberg praised the decision to let the new cab project move forward. “This ruling is consistent with common sense and the practical needs of both the taxi industry and the disabled, and we will continue our efforts to assist disabled riders,” he said.

Assuming Nissan signs a contract with the city, it will become the sole provider of New York's yellow taxis. The new models would be rolled out beginning next year, as older cabs are retired.

But the Taxis for All Campaign decried the ruling in a statement: "New York City has more taxis than any city in America. Yet only 232 (1.8%) out of 13,237 taxis are accessible to people who use wheelchairs. Because subway stations are also inaccessible, the lack of accessible taxis has left wheelchair users with no viable way to travel in New York City."

The lower court ruling had called access to wheelchair-friendly cabs "a basic civil right." Disability Rights Advocates’ attorney Sid Wolinsky, who represented some plaintiffs in the case, blasted the city for not delivering on that right. “The Bloomberg administration has been astonishingly hostile to people with disabilities," he said. “The notion that New York City would now have a taxi fleet that is mostly not accessible when cities like London have had a 100 percent accessible fleet for over a decade is pretty shameful.”

Wolinsky believes his group could still win the case through other arguments that weren't addressed by the appeals court.

Edith Prentiss of the Taxis For All Campaign agreed. “This ruling will not stop us," she said. "We have been fighting for the rights of persons with disabilities to use this public transportation system for a decade, and the fight will continue."

Read More

Comment

Mermaids, Mermen Ride the NYC Subway

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Many of the thousands of half-human / half-mythical / one-quarter-clad creatures marching in Saturday’s 30th Annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade will arrive not by dolphin or clamshell but by subway.

Send in your photos of the Mermaid Parade to pics@wnyc.org and we will include them in our slideshow.

Comment

Mermaids, Mermen Ride The NYC Subway

Friday, June 22, 2012

(Courtesy of the NY MTA)

(New York, NY - WNYC) Many of the thousands of half-human / half-mythical / one-quarter-clad creatures marching in Saturday's 30th Annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade will arrive not by dolphin or clamshell but by subway.

(Courtesy of NY MTA)

Coney Island-Stilwell Avenue is the last stop of the D, F and N lines, and one of several beachside stops on the Q.

(Courtesy of NY MTA)

A pleasure of the festivities is to watch summertime's version of a Halloween-themed perp-walk pour off the trains and make its flesh-flaunting way to the boardwalk. And before that, as the trains ply the rails toward la playa, straphangers see some of the year's most arresting scenes in public transport.

(Courtesy of NY MTA)

The New York Transportation Authority knows it and has decided to show it off with a fabulous Flickr page. It's here. Enjoy.

Read More

Comment

US DOT Doles Out $500 Million to Transportation Projects Around U.S.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is on a conference call right now talking to reporters about the latest round of TIGER grants. Here's a press release describing some of them. Click here to see a map of their distribution around the country.

U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces Funding for 47 TIGER 2012 Projects as Overwhelming Demand for TIGER Dollars Continues


WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced that 47 transportation projects in 34 states and the District of Columbia will receive a total of almost $500 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) 2012 program.

“President Obama’s support for an America built to last is putting people back to work across the country building roads, bridges and other projects that will mean better, safer transportation for generations to come,” said Secretary LaHood.  “TIGER projects mean good transportation jobs today and a stronger economic future for the nation.”

The TIGER program is a highly competitive program that is able to fund innovative projects difficult or impossible to fund through other federal programs.  In many cases, these grants will serve as the final piece of funding for infrastructure investments totaling $1.7 billion in overall project costs.  These federal funds are being leveraged with money from private sector partners, states, local governments, metropolitan planning organizations and transit agencies. 

TIGER has enjoyed overwhelming demand since its creation, a trend continued by TIGER 2012.  Applications for this most recent round of grants totaled $10.2 billion, far exceeding the $500 million set aside for the program.  In all, the Department received 703 applications from all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

The grants will fund a wide range of innovative transportation projects in urban and rural areas across the country:

• Of the $500 million in TIGER 2012 funds available for grants, more than $120 million will go to critical projects in rural areas.

• Roughly 35 percent of the funding will go to road and bridge projects, including more than $30 million for the replacement of rural roads and bridges that need improvements to address safety and state of good repair deficiencies.

• 16 percent of the funding will support transit projects like the Wave Streetcar Project in Fort Lauderdale.

• 13 percent of the funding will support high-speed and intercity passenger rail projects like the Raleigh Union Station Project in North Carolina.

• 12 percent will go to freight rail projects, including elements of the CREATE (Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency) program to reduce freight rail congestion in Chicago.

• 12 percent will go to multimodal, bicycle and pedestrian projects like the Main Street to Main Street Multimodal Corridor project connecting Memphis and West Memphis.

• 12 percent will help build port projects like the Outer Harbor Intermodal Terminal at the Port of Oakland.

• Three grants were also directed to tribal governments to create jobs and address critical transportation needs in Indian country.

TIGER projects will also improve accessibility for people with disabilities to health care, education and employment opportunities. 

Over the next six months, 27 projects are expected to break ground from the previous three rounds of TIGER.  In addition, work is under way on 64 capital projects across the country.

On November 18, 2011, the President signed the FY 2012 Appropriations Act, which provided $500 million for Department of Transportation national infrastructure investments.  Like the first three rounds, TIGER 2012 grants are for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure and are awarded on a competitive basis.  This is the fourth round of TIGER funding.

Under all four rounds combined, the TIGER program has provided $3.1 billion to 218 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.  Demand for the program has been overwhelming, and during all four rounds, the Department of Transportation received more than 4,050 applications requesting more than $105.2 billion for transportation projects across the country.

The fiscal year 2013 appropriations bill currently under consideration in the U.S. Senate provides $500 million for a future round of TIGER grants. 

Click here for additional information on individual TIGER grants http://www.dot.gov/tiger/fy2012tiger.pdf

###

Read More

Comment

In a Heat Wave, Don't Expect the MTA to Cool Subway Platforms

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

WNYC

Every summer, as the heat builds and the atmosphere in the subway acquires the texture of a hound dog's mouth, straphangers wonder why stations aren't air conditioned. If train cars are reliably cooled, the thinking goes, why can't something be done to cool customers while they wait for them?

Comments [4]

Don't Expect Cooling On NYC Subway Platforms -- Especially During a Heatwave

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Safety bumps on a platform's edge look like proverbial fried eggs on a hot day in the subway. (Photo by Susan NYC / flickr)

(New York, NY - WNYC) Every summer, as the heat builds and the atmosphere in the subway acquires the texture of a hound dog's mouth, straphangers wonder why stations aren't air conditioned. If train cars are reliably cooled, the thinking goes, why can't something be done to cool customers while they wait for them?

The NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority's answer: "Unfortunately, air conditioning of subway stations is not feasible due to the open nature of their construction and the impossibility of cooling an infinite space." Spokeswoman Marjorie Anders explained that the system is open, in part, to cool it: the movement of trains pushes hot air from the tunnels out through vents in city sidewalks.

The exception is Grand Central Terminal, which has air conditioning in The Main Concourse, an enormous central space through which 75,000 to 100,000 passengers pass daily. Anders said seven huge cooling towers on the terminal's roof work in tandem with dozens of temperature sensors to cool the hall. She said that's easier to accomplish at the start of summer because "the building isn’t heat-soaked yet. The concrete, limestone and marble are still cool to the touch."

Ms. Anders spoke by phone from an office at the NY MTA's Midtown headquarters that had been darkened, she claimed, to save energy. She said that though The Main Concourse is air-conditioned, the gigantic underground train shed at Grand Central Terminal, which holds 123 tracks and 46 platforms, is not.

Ushers keep doors between the terminal and the platforms closed when trains aren’t actively boarding or unloading. And conductors on the trains only open one door per car when a train is in Grand Central.

The NY MTA is also coping with the heat wave by reducing the speed of subway trains and reducing electrical usage by shutting down several substations that supply power to the system's third rails. That means subways are moving a little bit slower.

The authority says it cuts back on power during heat waves between noon and 6 pm at the request of the New York State Power Authority.

On subway lines, passengers may notice reduced elevator and escalator service, to conserve energy. Some contracts with energy providers require the NY MTA to reduce power consumption during heat waves.

The authority will also be running trains at reduced speed on Metro-North's New Haven Line, which is powered by overhead catenary wires that droop in extreme heat. "Trains are slowed so that pantographs – arm-like apparatus on the roof of the trains that draw the power from the catenary - do not get ensnared in catenary wires," a spokesman said.

Read More

Comments [2]