Kate Hinds appears in the following:
TN MOVING STORIES: Ford and Toyota to Collaborate on Hybrids, and the Country's Most Famous Parking Garage Gets a Plaque
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Top stories on TN:
After months of political wrangling, Amtrak finally gets its $450 million to upgrade power on the Northeast Corridor. (Link)
New York Mayor Bloomberg wants red light cameras at every intersection -- and speeding cameras, too. (Link)
The wickedly hot summer is causing more tire debris to litter Texas highways. (Link)
Authorities repeatedly closed two San Francisco BART stations yesterday as protests against the transit agency continue. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Ford and Toyota will collaborate on a hybrid system for pickup trucks and SUVs, so the companies can share costs and bring the technology to the market sooner. (Detroit Free Press)
The feds say New York is behind schedule and over budget on two big projects (East Side Access and the 2nd Avenue Subway); the MTA disagrees. (AM New York)
Boston named an interim manager for its transit system. (WBUR)
BoltBus is relocating its West 33rd Street stop nine blocks south -- news which surprised many Chelsea residents. (DNA Info)
Inside Metro's 'bus rehab' program, where DC buses with 250,000 miles on them get a midlife facelift. (Washington Post)
The Star Ledger and PolitiFact fact check a statement about exactly how much NJ Transit has raised fares.
The parking garage where “Deep Throat” met Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward and helped uncover the Watergate scandal has now received its own Civil War-style historical marker. (Washington Post)
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is standing by her promise to lower gas prices below $2 a gallon if elected president -- a pledge that one Republican rival said isn't "real world." (The Hill)
Monday, August 22, 2011
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a press conference Monday he thought red light cameras were "very effective" and that using that technology instead of cops on corners made sense a lot of sense.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Months of political wrangling came to an end today, when US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the release of nearly $450 million to upgrade rail electrical systems and tracks between Trenton, New Jersey and New York City.
(Update, 5:12 pm: Amtrak is the recipient of the $450 million. An additional $295 million is going to the New York State DOT to improve the Harold Interlocking rail junction in Queens, where a new flyover will separate Amtrak trains traveling between New York and Boston from Long Island Railroad and Metro-North commuter trains, and NJ Transit trains accessing Sunnyside Maintenance Yard.)
“These grants are a win for our economy and a win for commuters all along the Northeast Corridor,” said Secretary LaHood in a statement. “We are creating new construction jobs, ordering American-made supplies and improving transportation opportunities across a region where 50 million Americans live and work.”
The Northeast Corridor is the busiest passenger rail line in the country. Pre-construction work on the upgrade is expected to begin later this year.
The money -- which had been initially rejected by Florida Governor Rick Scott -- was obligated to the Northeast Corridor in May. But in June Republican congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, who represents New Jersey, proposed diverting the money away from the Northeast toward flood-ravaged states in the Midwest. This spurred New Jersey's senators, Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, to write Ray LaHood a letter, urging him to release the money so work on the high-speed rail project could move forward.
Senator Lautenberg expressed relief in a press release. “It is great news for New Jersey that this funding has been saved from Republicans’ chopping block and awarded to Amtrak. Rail service is the lifeblood of our state’s economy and it is our responsibility to protect and strengthen it for our commuters,” he said. “This federal funding will significantly upgrade the rail lines for New Jersey Transit and Amtrak commuters, reduce delays that plague the Northeast Corridor and make our state home to the fastest stretch of high speed rail in the country.”
And rail delays seem particularly prevalent this summer. A derailment disrupted service on NJ Transit earlier this month (and renewed sniping over the canceled ARC tunnel), and in June, power problems hobbled service on both NJ Transit and Amtrak for three consecutive days.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Today, while kicking off this year’s television season (23 series are being filmed in New York City, including the upcoming Pan Am), Mayor Michael Bloomberg was asked about red light cameras in New York City.
Some background: in 1988, New York enacted legislation that permits red light cameras in cities of over 1,000,000 people. There are currently 150 cameras across New York City, and the New York Daily News reports that they brought in $52 million in fines last year.
Even though studies show that red light cameras save lives, many people oppose them, saying that they represent a Big-Brotherish invasion of privacy and that the motivation behind them is driven by revenue, not safety concerns. Houston, Texas, is poised to become the second large city in America to turn off its red light cameras.
You can listen to the mayor's comments here, or read the transcript below.
Question from reporter: There are reports that the city might want to install 40 more red light cameras.
Mayor Bloomberg: I think we should have them on every corner if we could. Using technology instead of having cops makes a lot of sense, and something, because of the economics, that we really have to do, and it does show that they are very effective.
Question: I had read that after a while people know where the red light cameras are...
Mayor Bloomberg: Well, if that were the case, the fines from the red light cameras would be diminishing, and it's not. So, just the evidence that you have, says whoever wrote that doesn't know what they're talking about. I'm sure there's somebody -- but if you know that there's a red light camera there, and you stop, rather than running through the light -- isn't that what we like? So I hope they're right, although the evidence says so far they're wrong. But if they watch you on television, I know they're going to say 'I'm never going to go through a red light again.' And incidentally, if people didn't go through red lights, you'd save a lot of lives, of elderly and kids and that sort of thing.
The mayor went on to say that it's a particular safety issue for seniors. "I can tell you as I get older, you don't hear as well, see as well, you don't react as quickly, and a disproportionate percentage of people who get hit from people running red lights are ... the seniors."
Another reporter: what about speed cameras?
Mayor Bloomberg: A lot of places are using these...we can fight this all we want. But the world as you saw in the studio is going towards using technology. We cannot afford to put a cop on every corner, a firehouse in every place -- we have to find ways to do more with less...we just can't afford to pay to have people do a lot of things that society needs done.
Question: back to city speed cameras...
Mayor Bloomberg: I have no idea. But we'd certainly need Albany legislation, because ... we can't impose a fine without Albany acquiescing. We can put up cameras, and in fact you do see places where there's a sign that says 'you're going 30 miles an hour, the speed limit's 20.' But we can't fine you unless Albany agrees. That's the thing. We can put red light cameras on every single intersection -- you just can't use them. Maybe what we should do is do it and start publishing in the paper who does it and then the list of the senators and assemblymen who keep us from having cameras, and every time there's somebody hit, say 'okay, assemblyman and senator so-and- so didn't think that person's life...this our lives of our people we're talking about, this is not something cute, and we've got to do something about it.
Monday, August 22, 2011
This morning's Brian Lehrer Show took a look at the recent Brookings Institution study about Americans who live without cars or access to transit. One-third of the no-car owners live in the New York/New Jersey/Pennsylvania region, and Brian spoke to Adie Tomer of Brookings about people in the tri-state region who don't own a car by choice -- or could really use one, but their finances don't permit it.
Brian also took calls from listeners -- like John from Long Island, who called in to talk about his neighbor -- a house cleaner who gets to work either by bus or by bike. "The other day she rode from Massapequa to Islip to clean someone's house." (Google Maps says that's 16 miles, one way.) And Lisa in Croton, who moved out of transit-rich Brooklyn to save money on rent. But, she says: "The money I'm saving I'm spending more on transportation."
You can listen to the conversation below.
TN MOVING STORIES: London's Bicycle Economy, BART Protests Continue, and End to Libyan Conflict Could Mean Lower Gas Prices
Monday, August 22, 2011
Top stories on TN:
The Port Authority's toll and fare hike vote: a case study in how to rush something through -- or hot to get two tax-averse governors to raise revenue to pay for big infrastructure projects? (Link)
When red light cameras get switched off, violations skyrocket. (Link)
Over 30,000 homes in Houston have no cars -- and no access to buses, trains, or park and rides. (Link)
Transit advocates in Los Angeles say cuts to that city's bus service violate civil rights, and call for a federal investigation of the city's transit agency. (Los Angeles Times)
The Democrats are trying to breathe life into the stalled highway bill. (Wall Street Journal)
An end to the conflict in Libya could mean lower gas prices. (Marketplace)
A new light rail system opened this weekend in Virginia's Hampton Roads. (The Virginian-Pilot)
Houston's Metro received $900 million in federal grants for its light rail lines -- but that money will be doled out over a five year period of time, if cuts are avoided. And that's a big IF. (Houston Chronicle)
Buying an apartment in NYC? Make sure it's near one or more subway lines. (New York Times)
It's contract negotiation time between NYC and the transit workers union. (New York Daily News)
The New York Times profiles a law firm that specializes in defending bicyclists.
Bicycling generates £3 billion a year for the British economy, according to a new study. (The Guardian)
ProPublica separates fact from fiction in its guide to prevalent economic myths.
More protests may disrupt San Francisco's BART today. Meanwhile, BART's board will meet on Wednesday to consider adopting a policy that would govern when -- and if -- the transit agency may switch off its cell phone network service. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Friday, August 12, 2011
TN Top Stories:
A derailment is sparking fierce debate over the future of rail between NY and NJ -- and a re-hashing of the old ARC tunnel bile. (link)
Who are those yellow-vested guardians of the crosswalk in lower Manhattan, battling Holland Tunnel traffic? Pedestrian traffic managers. (link)
Want a carbon emissions calculator with your transit directions? HopStop's got one. But will it change behavior? (link)
Transit ridership is surging in the Bay Area. (San Jose Mercury News)
Employment in the auto industry in Michigan is expected to grow, with the Detroit Three hiring workers at a faster rate than anywhere else in the country. (Detroit Free Press)
President Obama urged voters to pressure Congress to pass a "road construction" bill. (The Hill)
Mayors and county commissioners from across metro Atlanta missed the deadline to approve the region’s most important infrastructure plan in decades. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)
There's been a sinkhole under Boston's Big Dig I-90 connector tunnel for four years, but state transportation officials are just notifying the public now. (Boston Herald)
In a first for the Chicago area, express buses that can drive on expressway shoulders to maneuver around rush-hour congestion are scheduled to roll in November. (Chicago Tribune)
NJ Governor Christie shore tour: he told voters he's against drilling offshore the Jersey shore, and reiterated his wait-and-see approach on Port Authority toll hikes. (The Star-Ledger)
Florida governor Rick Scott, who rejected a high-speed rail line, was asked about his decision by the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (The Hill)
If you're not a car owner and you rent cars, insurance can be ... complicated. (Greater Greater Washington)
Thursday, August 11, 2011
In the neighborhood around the Holland Tunnel, just west of SoHo, a recent study found pedestrian cross-walks blocked one hundred percent of the time, and horns honking at a rate of 500 times an hour. (Keep reading for more on this study.)
The Hudson Square neighborhood, which stretches roughly from Houston down to Canal Street, from Sixth Avenue to the Hudson River, was once, like neighboring SoHo, largely industrial. It was the center of the city's printing district, and most people knew it only as they drove through it on their way to the Holland Tunnel.
The neighborhood was rezoned in 2003 , and real estate developers aggressively courted media companies (including New York Magazine and WNYC, which relocated here in 2008). Trump built a condo/hotel in the neighborhood, and gourmet food trucks now ply Varick Street.
Crossing the six lanes of Varick Street has become a daily challenge for the 30,000 people who now work in the neighborhood.
Now the local business improvement district has added a function that might, in flusher days, have been taken on by the NYPD -- private "Pedestrian Traffic Managers."
Hudson Square Connection, the local BID, has hired the yellow-vested guardians of the crosswalks at a cost of $90,000 for a the six-month trial project. (Disclosure: WNYC's president, Laura Walker, chairs the BID Board.)
"Although we recognize the need to balance the needs of the regional transportation facility," said Ellen Baer, president of the Hudson Square Connection, "and of the Jersey-bound motorists with the needs of the local community...our concern is really for the people in this neighborhood, so it is the pedestrians [we're] trying to accommodate."
The BID hired Sam Schwartz Engineering to manage the program. Prior to the start of the pilot, which began this week and runs through January, Schwartz's firm measured three variables on Varick Street: the number of times cars blocked the pedestrian crosswalks; the number of times cars blocked the intersection, preventing east/west traffic; and the number of times drivers honked their horns. They found that during the worst of the evening rush hour, intersections were blocked nearly 100% of the time, and horns honked at the rate of 500 times an hour.
Sam Schwartz said his firm has been providing Pedestrian Traffic Management in high-volume areas for about two years, in locations like Queens Center Mall, the World Trade Center, and Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards. "We've crossed an estimated 70 million people already," he said. Schwartz said all the PTMs he hires are retired law enforcement personnel, and they receive two days of training. Because they're not police, however, they have no enforcement ability, and can't hand out tickets. "Traffic management is a police department function," said Schwartz. He says the job of the PTM is to be the first one in the crosswalk and the last one out -- sort of a cross between a traffic cop and a school crossing guard.
After six months, the Hudson Square BID will evaluate the program. Right now, the Pedestrian Traffic Managers are out on Varick Street from Wednesday through Friday, 3pm to 7pm. You can read more about the program here.
TN MOVING STORIES: NJ Gov Christie Says Maybe to Port Authority Toll Hikes, and 10 Indian Cities Could Get Bike Share
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Top Transportation Nation Stories:
Anatomy of a Toll Hike Proposal (link)
Drivers are Ruder Than Cyclists, but Taxi Drivers Are Rudest of Them All (link)
Wanted: Someone Brave (Foolhardy?) Enough To Lead the MTA (link)
Both Parties Grapple With Furloughed FAA Workers' Back Pay (link)
Chicago's transit authority won't raise fares this year, but will make no promises for 2012 -- especially because the state owes the authority over $102 million. (Chicago Tribune)
The Dutch may charge drivers a tax for each mile they drive, and the government is piloting a meter that tells car owners the cost to society in the form of pollution, traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and wear and tear on roads. (New York Times)
Former PA Gov. Rendell op-ed: to save our economy, we must invest in transportation. (Wall Street Journal)
NJ Governor Christie says he won't rule out toll hikes on Port Authority bridges; he'll wait to hear from the public and talk to Governor Cuomo. (The Star-Ledger)
Author Margaret Atwood gets involved in Toronto's bike lane removal controversy. "Are people like me welcome in this city?" (The Guardian)
A NYC council member says that East Harlem will get protected bike lanes in a year or so; the DOT is more vague. (DNA Info)
The FBI is investigating Portland's parking manager after allegations that he took kickbacks related to a parking meter contract. Said manager is now "on leave." (Portland Business Journal)
A plan for bike share in ten Indian cities gets a thumbs-up in an op-ed in The Hindu -- but a reminder that cities need to plan to be bicycle-inclusive.
A sociologists discusses urban bike messengers on today's Brian Lehrer Show.
Thinking about a career change? The intelligent transportation system industry -- the information and communication technologies that reduce traffic congestion and improve safety -- could expand U.S. employment by as many as 6,400 jobs annually through 2015. (Bloomberg)
TN MOVING STORIES: Atlanta Transpo Future in Doubt, Rain Falls Inside NYC Subway Station, and Oil Prices Down
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
A New York Times editorial calls Cuomo and Christie's 'surprise' at the Port Authority's proposal "gubernatorial theatrics."
Just days away from a state-mandated deadline to finish a list of transportation projects for voters next year, Atlanta officials have put off key decisions on road projects while counties lobbied to keep their favorite projects alive. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Oil prices are down almost 20 percent this month -- which means gas prices will be going down as well. (Marketplace)
A computer glitch shut down BART trains for two hours Monday night -- but no one understands why it happened, and it could point to deeper, system-wide flaws. (San Francisco Chronicle)
And what hath Tuesday's rain wrought upon the NYC subway system? Video below.
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
Two weeks of back pay for some 4,000 Federal Aviation Administration employees remains in limbo, though everyone seems to agree the FAA employees, sidelined because of a funding dispute, should be paid.
Congressman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) unveiled legislation (pdf) Tuesday that would pay the missing salaries and benefits of the furloughed employees. “For the past two weeks it was important to get these workers back on the job. Now my focus is to get them back pay and to ensure this avoidable situation never happens again," said Congressman LoBiondo in a statement. ("Never" could be as early as September, when Congress must vote again to authorize the agency.)
For their part, Senate Democrats had introduced a bill two weeks ago to ensure the employees would receive back pay, when Senator Jay Rockefeller had included it as part of his plan to reauthorize the FAA's funding.
Both parties' versions would use money from the Airport and Airways Trust Fund to provide the employees' back pay. The trust fund is the mechanism which collects airline taxes -- $30 million a day worth of them -- and provides the FAA with the lion's share of its budget. Jason Galanes, a spokesman for Congressman LoBiondo, said the fund has "plenty of money in it" and can afford a payout. Galanes also said that the FAA and DOT are still determining whether the agency has the authority to provide back pay. "This (legislation) is in case they don’t. If they do, then this legislation is moot and it will be at the secretary’s discretion," said Galanes.
In a blog post last week, US Department of Transportation head Ray LaHood wrote "we will...do everything we can to get Congress to provide our furloughed employees with the back pay they deserve." A DOT spokesperson said today that they were waiting to see what action Congress was going to take.
The House and Senate are in what's called a pro forma session -- meaning members can gavel in and gavel out and pass legislation by unanimous consent. Spokespeople for both parties said that providing furloughed employees with back pay has bipartisan support, but there's no firm schedule on when that will happen.
Meanwhile, the AP reports that all major U.S. airlines have rolled back fares to about the same prices they were charging before federal ticket taxes expired two weeks ago. Airlines had raised fares to match the amount of the expired taxes; now they're collecting taxes again, they've dropped their fares.
For TN's complete coverage of the FAA shutdown, go here.
White House: Fuel Economy Standards for Trucks Will Save $50 Billion, Reduce Oil Consumption by 530 Million Barrels
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
Trucks of every stripe -- semis, garbage trucks, delivery vehicles, even fire trucks -- will have to meet pollution standards and trim fuel consumption for the first time, under standards announced today that will begin to be phased in by 2014. You can read the White House's announcement below.
White House Announces First Ever Oil Savings Standards for Heavy Duty Trucks, Buses
Saving $50 billion in fuel costs and over 500 million barrels of oil
WASHINGTON – Today, President Obama will meet with industry officials to discuss the first of their kind fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas pollution standards for work trucks, buses, and other heavy duty vehicles and to thank them for their leadership in finalizing a successful national program for these vehicles. This meeting marks the Administration’s announcement of the standards, which will save American businesses who operate and own these commercial vehicles approximately $50 billion in fuel costs over the life of the program. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed the standards in close coordination with the companies that met with the President today as well as other stakeholders, following requests from companies to develop this program. The cost savings for American businesses are on top of the $1.7 trillion that American families will save at the pump from the historic fuel-efficiency standards announced by the Obama Administrations for cars and light duty trucks, including the model year 2017-2025 agreement announced by the President last month.
“While we were working to improve the efficiency of cars and light-duty trucks, something interesting happened,” said President Obama. “We started getting letters asking that we do the same for medium and heavy-duty trucks. They were from the people who build, buy, and drive these trucks. And today, I’m proud to have the support of these companies as we announce the first-ever national policy to increase fuel efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas pollution from medium-and heavy-duty trucks.”
“Thanks to the Obama Administration, for the first time in our history we have a common goal for increasing the fuel efficiency of the trucks that deliver our products, the vehicles we use at work, and the buses our children ride to school,” said Secretary LaHood. “These new standards will reduce fuel costs for businesses, encourage innovation in the manufacturing sector, and promote energy independence for America.”
“This Administration is committed to protecting the air we breathe and cutting carbon pollution – and programs like these ensure that we can serve those priorities while also reducing our dependence on imported oil and saving money for drivers,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “More efficient trucks on our highways and less pollution from the buses in our neighborhoods will allow us to breathe cleaner air and use less oil, providing a wide range of benefits to our health, our environment and our economy.”
Under the comprehensive new national program, trucks and buses built in 2014 through 2018 will reduce oil consumption by a projected 530 million barrels and greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution by approximately 270 million metric tons. Like the Administration’s historic car standards, this program – which relies heavily on off-the-shelf technologies – was developed in coordination with truck and engine manufacturers, fleet owners, the State of California, environmental groups and other stakeholders.
The joint DOT/EPA program will include a range of targets which are specific to the diverse vehicle types and purposes. Vehicles are divided into three major categories: combination tractors (semi-trucks), heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, and vocational vehicles (like transit buses and refuse trucks). Within each of those categories, even more specific targets are laid out based on the design and purpose of the vehicle. This flexible structure allows serious but achievable fuel efficiency improvement goals charted for each year and for each vehicle category and type.
The standards are expected to yield an estimated $50 billion in net benefits over the life of model year 2014 to 2018 vehicles, and to result in significant long-terms savings for vehicle owners and operators. A semi-truck operator could pay for the technology upgrades in under a year and realize net savings of $73,000 through reduced fuel costs over the truck’s useful life. These cost saving standards will also reduce emissions of harmful air pollutants like particulate matter, which can lead to asthma, heart attacks and premature death.
By the 2018 model year, the program is expected to achieve significant savings relative to current levels, across vehicle types. Certain combination tractors – commonly known as big-rigs or semi-trucks – will be required to achieve up to approximately 20 percent reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by model year 2018, saving up to 4 gallons of fuel for every 100 miles traveled.
For heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, separate standards are required for gasoline-powered and diesel trucks. These vehicles will be required to achieve up to approximately 15 percent reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by model year 2018. Under the finalized standards a typical gasoline or diesel powered heavy-duty pickup truck or van could save one gallon of fuel for every 100 miles traveled.
Vocational vehicles – including delivery trucks, buses, and garbage trucks – will be required to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 10 percent by model year 2018. These trucks could save an average of one gallon of fuel for every 100 miles traveled.
Beyond the direct benefits to businesses that own and operate these vehicles, the program will also benefit consumers and businesses by reducing costs for transporting goods, and spur growth in the clean energy sector by fostering innovative technologies and providing regulatory certainty for manufacturers.
White House Announces First Ever Oil Savings Standards for Heavy Duty Trucks, Buses
TN MOVING STORIES: First Fuel Efficiency Standards for Trucks, Lobbyists Spent $50 Million On FAA Bill, and Stock Market Drop Could Impact UAW Talks
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
Stock market declines could make it harder for the UAW -- currently in contract talks with GM, Ford and Chrysler -- to win concessions from automakers. (Detroit Free Press)
More than $50 million has been spent so far this year on lobbying for a long-term funding bill for the Federal Aviation Administration, a new report says (The Hill). FAA shutdown fact: last month's budget impasse was caused in part by a disagreement over $16 million in rural air subsidies.
As thousands of federal employees move to a new Defense Department complex in Alexandria (VA), a task force will manage traffic, notify commuters of coming construction projects and coordinate transit options. (Washington Post)
A new anti-distracted driving app disables texting when it determines a user is in a moving vehicle. (NY Times)
Slate profiles NYC DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan -- and she writes about her vision for New York's future. "If you're in a car, we're deploying the latest traffic-management technology to keep you moving. If you're walking, you can take advantage of a comprehensive information system geared specifically to navigating New York on foot. If you're making a trip that is just too far to walk but not worth a cab or subway ride, you will soon be able to hop on one of our smart public bikes."
The bicycle is a tool of liberation for women in Zimbabwe. "I was no longer a hostage to religion, tradition or men. I was free. On my bicycle I felt like I was in a room of my own." (The Guardian)
Maryland has its first solar tracking electric vehicle charging station. (WAMU)
When it comes to making the subway system wheelchair accessible, NYC has a long way to go. (DNA Info)
TN MOVING STORIES: New Rail Lines For Salt Lake City, Staten Islanders Want Bayonne Bridge Rebuild to Have Rail Link to NJ, and Is There a Truck Driver Shortage
Sunday, August 07, 2011
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is seeking steep toll and fare increases -- making PATH trains more expensive than the NYC subway, and substantially increasing the cost of Hudson River crossings. (WNYC)
Staten Islanders are pushing for a rail link to NJ as part of the Bayonne Bridge rebuild; Port Authority officials remain noncommittal. (Star-Ledger)
New Jersey's Morris County is studying whether or not it can re-establish commuter rail service along a freight line. "Traffic on Route 23 is absolutely horrendous and getting worse," said one official. "Rail service along this line could help alleviate the congestion."(Star-Ledger)
Will there finally be regional transit cooperation in Detroit? Area officials are looking at extending that city's planned light rail line out to the suburbs. (Detroit Free Press)
Two new light rail lines opened in Salt Lake City -- ahead of schedule and under budget -- but the Utah Transit Authority says it must simultaneously cut bus service by 10% (Salt Lake Tribune). Utah newspapers weigh in: The Deseret News writes that the opening of the TRAX lines represents a transit success story; The Salt Lake Tribune says the lines don't do enough for people living within Salt Lake City proper -- and don't help mitigate sprawl.
Residents in a historically black community of Virginia's Fairfax County are fighting a proposal to widen one of the major roads in their neighborhood. (WAMU)
There are fewer qualified truckers on the road -- and now shipping loads are increasing, there could be a driver shortage. (Marketplace)
The former head of the Democratic National Committee is working on a deal to produce electric and hybrid cars in China. (Washington Post)
Taking one of Heathrow Airport's pod cars out for a spin -- or, rather, it takes you. (New York Times)
TN MOVING STORIES: FAA Standoff Over -- At Least For Now, Battle Over LAPD Ticket Quotas, and MA Green Line Extension Delayed
Friday, August 05, 2011
The FAA standoff has ended--at least for now. To read TN's coverage, go here.
US Department of Transportation head Ray LaHood is "thrilled" and "very, very happy" the shutdown is over. (video from CNN)
Of the 100 most-delayed flights in the US, 40 take off from or land at Newark Airport. (Wall Street Journal)
Massachusetts' planned extension of the Green Line out to Somerville will be delayed by at least four years; hundreds of angry residents signed a petition in protest. (Boston Globe)
Some LAPD officers are suing the city over what they say are traffic-ticket quotas -- which are illegal under California law. (Los Angeles Times)
Meanwhile, hundreds of unmarked NYPD cars are without proper registration because of a battle with the city’s Finance Department over $1 million in unpaid tickets owed by cops. (DNA Info)
DC's Metro will be paying more than $100 million in back wages and pensions to unionized employees. (WAMU)
What can NY's MTA learn from Hong Kong's transit system? Tune in to the discussion on today's Brian Lehrer Show. (WNYC)
The DOT awarded California, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Missouri $336.2 million to buy trains for passenger rail corridors in routes shared with freight railroads. (Journal of Commerce)
What does it mean to be a "bicycling ambassador?" (The Guardian)
High-speed rail goes pop: the new album by Fountains of Wayne features the song "Acela." Sample lyric: There's a train on a track / Painted silver, blue and black /Heading to Massachusetts /And then it's coming back. Hat tip to Eric McClure of Park Slope Neighbors for the heads-up!
TN MOVING STORIES: US Airlines Probably Won't Roll Back FAA-Related Fare Hike, and Korean Automakers on the Rise
Thursday, August 04, 2011
U.S. airlines probably won't roll back their FAA standoff-related fare increases because the industry could net more than $1 billion in unexpected revenue. (Reuters)
An FAA employee talks about the furlough. (The Takeaway)
A New York Times editorial blames the Republicans for FAA standoff.
The mayor of Los Angeles is kicking off his one-year term as MTA chair by pushing bus-only lanes. (Los Angeles Times)
General Motors made $2.5 billion in the second quarter, beating estimates. (Detroit Free Press)
Through the first seven months of 2011, Hyundai and Kia have sold more vehicles to Americans than all European automakers combined, and are growing faster than any other automaker. (Jalopnik)
One New York politician wants to raise the fine for fare beating. (New York Daily News)
Ray LaHood writes about tribal transit grants on his blog.
Pedestrians and cyclists try to figure out how to share the 72nd Street entrance to Riverside Park. (DNA Info)
A bike sharing program is coming to Oklahoma City. (NewsOK)
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
All subpoenas in the lawsuit against Brooklyn’s Prospect Park West bike lane have been withdrawn and the lawsuit is now awaiting judicial action. No new court dates have been set.
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
From the Department of Weird Coincidences desk: today -- August 3rd -- is the 30th anniversary of the air traffic controllers strike.
Now, you know from reading this Transportation Nation post that air traffic controllers are on the job right now, despite the FAA shutdown. So they are not directly affected by current events -- but no doubt this date is on their minds.
From a document (pdf) on the FAA's website:
August 3, 1981: Nearly 12,300 members of the 15,000-member Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) went on strike, beginning at 7 a.m., EST, grounding approximately 35 percent of the nation's 14,200 daily commercial flights. Shortly before 11 a.m. on August 3, President Ronald Reagan issued the strikers a firm ultimatum: return to work within 48 hours or face permanent dismissal. The government moved swiftly on three fronts -- civil, criminal, and administrative -- to bring the full force of the law to bear on the strikers.
According to a 2006 NPR story, the 1981 strike "redefine(d) labor relations in America."
Labor is one of the sticking points in the current battle over a long-term, full FAA authorization bill. TN's Todd Zwillich wrote last week that while a dispute over funding rural air service is the ostensible reason for the breakdown in authorization: "it has little to do with the actual shutdown. That’s a full-blown fight over union organizing rules in the aviation and rail industries."
Zwillich continues: "A long-term, full FAA authorization bill is stalled in House-Senate negotiations over a partisan disagreement about federal rules governing how workers can vote to unionize. Last year the National Mediation Board altered rules so that only a majority of workers voting would be needed to unionize a shop. Previously unions had to muster a majority of all workers." That makes it easier to unionize. Republicans want to overturn the ruling. Democrats don't.
There's a big difference between furloughed employees and strike actions. But the similarities? Someone's off the job, and someone's not getting paid at the FAA.
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
New research says red light cameras in Texas have dramatically reduced crashes in that state.
The findings: crashes in which drivers run red lights dropped by 25 percent, and the most severe type of crash -- crashes in which one car hits the side of another -- dropped by 32 percent. TTI says reductions were seen across the board on all types of roadways.
But red light cameras are not always popular, and opponents of the cameras say they're revenue generators, not safety devices. Voters in Houston narrowly rejected red in last November's election, but a federal judge invalidated the ballot measure and the cameras were turned back on.
The new study, commissioned by the Texas State Department of Transportation and conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute, looked at 275 intersections statewide where the cameras were in place, and compared crash frequencies before and after installation of the cameras.
One type of collision actually rose: rear end collisions. The report attributes that to tailgating.
“These findings show clearly that red light cameras offer significant safety benefits,” says Troy Walden, the author of the TTI study. “Most important, they help prevent the most severe and deadly type of intersection crashes.”
You can download a copy of the report here (pdf),
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
All subpoenas in the lawsuit against Brooklyn's Prospect Park West bike lane have been withdrawn, and the lawsuit is now awaiting judicial action. No new court dates have been set.
Justice Bert Bunyan could issue a ruling on discovery -- or on the Article 78 merits of the case -- at any time.
That was the outcome of a court hearing in Brooklyn State Supreme Court Wednesday, which focused on the subpoenas Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes/Seniors for Safety attorney Jim Walden had issued to officials including NYC Department of Transportation head Janette Sadik-Khan and New York City Council member Brad Lander.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit claim the city manipulated data and didn't seek adequate community input before install the 2-way protected bike lane along a 1.1-mile stretch of roadway along Brooklyn's Prospect Park.
But the city notes the local community board requested the lane, repeatedly approved it, and says the bike lane is a proven success. The city says automobile speeding has dwindled dramatically, and that bike riding on the sidewalk has diminished to almost nothing.
Last week the city requested a temporary restraining to block subpoenas to "non-parties" in the case -- including Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman and Transportation Alternatives chief Paul Steely White. Walden withdrew those subpoenas last week.
After today's hearing, Walden withdrew all the other ones, and agreed not to issue any further subpoenas without judicial approval.
Karen Selvin, assistant corporation counsel with the NYC Law Department, said in an emailed statement: "We are pleased with today's developments, which will go a long way toward ending the harassing theater that has surrounded this case. We look forward to the judge's decision and are confident that we will prevail on this important New York City project."
For his part, Jim Walden said that he agreed to go back to the judge before issuing any subpoenas as a show of good faith. "Obviously, we're always going to accommodate a request from the court." But Walden said he believed that the judge will ultimately grant discovery.