Enter into the creative process as a group attempts to build a prototype of a bike lock that secures your bike against a post -- then raises it up.
Yes, the video is entirely in German, but I think we can all agree that the desire to build a better bike lock is universal.
New York City ponders how to reconnect two neighborhoods that were severed years ago by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. (WNYC)
Second Avenue Sagas talks budget woes with the MTA's Jay Walder.
The Guardian is providing live updates from the U.N. climate change summit, which opens today in Cancún. Last year's summit was described as an "unmitigated disaster" or a "moral outrage," so it's probably fair to say that expectations for consensus on reducing carbon emissions is low.
A proposed high-speed rail link between Milwaukee and the Twin Cities is the topic of two public meetings, with the first one scheduled for today in St. Paul. (Minnesota Public Radio)
The TSA says Thanksgiving travel went smoothly (Washington Post). But it might go even more smoothly in the future, when the FAA overhauls its air traffic control systems and institutes intelligent flight paths. (Smart Planet)
Mass transit is expanding in Los Angeles. “The whole old-school L.A. thinking that people don’t ride subways, that’s a thing of the past.”(New York Times)
Bicycle commuting has tripled in big cities over the past two decades."It's almost like a snowball effect...People see other people cycling and they say, 'Wow!' (NPR)
Your parking history lesson for the day: Think vertical parking lots are futuristic? Check out this Chicago lot, circa 1930.
If you're reading this before stepping into your car tonight, know that you won't be alone. According to the American Automobile Association, 42.2 million Americans are making trips of 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving holiday.
(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) Spirit Airlines' computer system has crashed. A visit to their website this morning at 11:13am revealed this image:
According to CNN, the crash is creating long lines at airports, because the airline has been "going back to old pencil and paper system - checking people in manually. Instead of checking people in on a first come, first serve basis, agents have been taking people into groups and checking them in based on their departing times. That has led to agents being unable to give passengers approximate wait times."
In other news...
Did two of New York's largest construction companies finesse minority hiring requirements in order to win contracts? Federal authorities are investigating Schiavone and the U.S. unit of Swedish construction company Skanska AB. Skanska is working on a number of transit projects, including the Brooklyn Bridge rehabilitation, the 2nd Avenue Subway, and the PATH terminal at the World Trade Center site. (Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New York Daily News)
DC Metro shakeup in the works? The governors of Maryland and Virginia and the incoming D.C. mayor directed their top transportation officials to come up with a detailed plan for carrying out broad changes in how Metro is run. (Washington Post)
After your Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt dies, what will happen to its lithium-ion battery? Automakers are trying to find ways to monetize old batteries. (Wired)
Riders at NYC's Union Square subway station might wonder: does this train go to Hogwarts? (New York Daily News).
The number of bicyclists in Portland continues to rise--8% increase over 2009. 190% increase (yes, 190%) since 2000. (KPTV)
Have you gotten scanned or patted down?
If you're one of the estimated 24 million people flying over the Thanksgiving holiday period, there's a chance you may get to experience the TSA's new security measures. If you encounter the full-body scanners or receive the "enhanced" pat-down, we want to hear from you.
Text your airport story to 69866 with the word SCAN in the message. And if you have an iPhone, snap a photo for us with our app.
There are 358 full-body scanners at 68 U.S. airports (list here). You only get the pat-down if you opt out of the scanning machine or if you set off the metal detector. The pat-downs take longer (one to two minutes compared to five seconds for the body scans), which is why some people against the scans are calling for people to cause disruptions by opting out.
(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg sent a letter to Governor Christie today. "The No. 7 Subway proposal...merits serious consideration," he writes, urging the governor to begin a dialogue about it with the various partners. Read it below.
NYC transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan spoke with WNYC's Richard Hake this morning about the city's plans to operate a bike share program. (The RFP can be found here.) You can listen to the interview here; the transcript is below.
Richard Hake: New York City today takes the first step toward launching the largest bike-share program in the country. New Yorkers will be able to rent bikes one-way for short term rides all over Manhattan. The idea is that the program will be entirely privately run, but the city will share the revenues. Joining us now is the city's transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan.
Tell me how this program would work. If I get off work today, I'm here on Varick Street and I want to take a bike up to Union Square, would that be possible?
Janette Sadik-Khan: The system would be similar to the bike share format we've seen in Paris and London and Washington where heavy-duty bikes would be located at docking stations every few blocks throughout the system, and they can be ridden and dropped off at any other docking station in the system. So we're asking for companies to come in and give us their ideas where the best place would be to site a bike share system.
RH: So where would these docking stations be? Would they be in major sections like Union Square? Would there be one in Times Square? Have you investigated how that would work?
JSK: Well, the RFP does not specify the number of bicycles or the precise geographic area to be covered. But we do have preliminary research that says south of 60th Street in Manhattan in the central business district would be an ideal match for New York's geography because we've got high density and a growing bike infrastructure there.
RH: Now are you looking at this more for tourists, for people who just want to leisurely go around the city or could this be done for people who want to go to work and get some errands done?
JSK: We expect it to serve bothgroups. Bike share would give New Yorkers many more transportation choices as the city's population continues to grow and as traffic congestion increases. And it would be privately funded, so taxpayers will not be on the hook for coming up with dollars to support this, but they would share in any profits. And we think this is really the best deal in town for on-demand travel and a nice complement to our transit system.
RH: So when you say privately run, does that mean, there would be different companies or maybe one large company would actually purchase the bikes, maintain those bikes and actually rent the bikes out to people that want them?
NJ Governor Christie says extending the #7 subway across the Hudson is “a much better idea” than the ARC tunnel, but he hasn't yet spoken to Mayor Bloomberg about it. (AP via New York Times)
Traffic fatalities in NYC are at an all-time low, but pedestrians make up the majority of those killed. (NY1)
NYC transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan is one of Esquire Magazine's "15 Genuises Who Give Us Hope."
Talk about paving roads with good intentions: as BART extends to San Jose, "construction crews plan to use at least 250,000 old tires, ground up into 3-inch chunks and laid under large sections of the tracks, to act as shock absorbers, reducing vibration and noise along the route." (San Jose Mercury News)
London's iconic bus--the Routemaster--is getting updated. "The new bus has three doors: joining the single rear entrance are a front and a side door. There are also two staircases, solving a major congestion problem, and a source of missed stops on full buses." (Wired - Autopia)
Do electric cars spell cash or calamity for utility companies? "Plugged into a socket, the Nissan Leafs and Chevrolet Volts can draw as much energy from the grid as a small house." (The Takeaway)
NYC deputy mayor Steven Goldsmith is on today's Brian Lehrer Show.
With all the news about new TSA screening procedures, the Washington Post has assembled a good, sober guide of what to actually expect at the airport. This Saturday Night Live video takes a more...whimsical approach:
The Wall Street Journal digs into New York's bike lanes. "The city has discovered...that remodeling its streets and increasing ridership is the easy part of building a bike town. It's a far greater challenge to change the habits of drivers, bikers and pedestrians in a dense urban environment with congested streets."
WAMU reports on the transportation challenges facing DC residents who moved to the suburbs for lower rent.
CT governor Jodi Rell has requested $100 million in additional high-speed rail funds. (Boston Herald)
Crain's profiles NYC DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. "Admirers hail the 50-year-old as the most innovative leader the Department of Transportation has ever had. She has transformed an agency long associated with humdrum tasks like filling potholes into an organization that is executing, on a sweeping scale, some of the globe's hottest urban-planning concepts."
Brookings has produced a State of Metropolitan America interactive map--which allows you to visualize commuting data. For instance: which city has the highest number of people driving alone to work? (Answer: Akron, OH)
The Star Ledger is intrigued by the 7 train proposal. "Can this really work? At this stage, who knows? But let’s kick the tires and find out." Meanwhile, the New York Times looks at Flushing and Secaucus: "These two very different places might one day be knitted together by a single rumbling artery: the No. 7 subway line."
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa promises to make Los Angeles homes electric car-ready in under seven days (Los Angeles Times). And he also wants to make public transit free for kids on field trips. (Daily Breeze)
The Albany Times-Union devotes an editorial to Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch's depressing transportation analysis. "What his report doesn’t clearly say is that the state must stop playing the game of using money meant for construction to pay for operating expenses."
Is Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood looking at scrambling calls in cars? "There's a lot of technology out there now that can disable phones and we're looking at that," he told MSNBC. (Fast Company)
Charlotte scales back light rail expansion plans, looks at public-private partnerships. (Charlotte Observer)
The Federal Aviation Administration is preparing for a busy Thanksgiving holiday travel week by working with the Department of Defense to clear the way for commercial aircraft to fly in airspace normally reserved for the military. (FAA)
BMX whiz Danny MacAskill goes "Way Back Home" from Edinburgh, Scotland, to his hometown of Dunvegan, on the Isle of Skye.
(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) Here's your transportation levity for the day. Get out of the way, the bus of the future is here!
(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) GM Turns a page today, issuing a $16 billion IPO that has (as the New York Times puts it ) "Wall Street panting." But on the day the automaker crawls out its hole, the man who set the stage for the deal crawls into one.
Former auto czar Steven Rattner will pay $6.2 million as part of a settlement deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He has also accepted a two-year ban from the securities industry. Meanwhile, in separate proceedings, New York State Attorney General and Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo has filed two lawsuits against Rattner for $26 million dollars. Read the story at WNYC.
Richard Bamberger, Andrew Cuomo's director of communications, issued this statement: “Mr. Rattner now has a lot to say as he spins his friends in the press, but when he was questioned under oath about his pension fund dealings he was much less talkative, taking the Fifth and refusing to answer questions 68 different times. Anyone who reads the extensive facts laid out in our Complaint will understand that Rattner’s claims that he did nothing wrong are ridiculous and belied by the fact that he is paying the SEC $6 million today.”
(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch released a report today that says New York needs billions of dollars just to maintain its aging infrastructure--and "has no credible strategy for meeting future needs."
"Because of the constraints on the State’s resources, New York must refocus its transportation program to emphasize state-of-good-repair, safety and security, more efficient and cost-effective project delivery, and better regional planning," he writes in the report. "While politicians often speak of doing more with less, the fiscal reality of the next decade may dictate that New Yorkers learn to do less with less."
We'll have more analysis later. You can read the full report below.
New York's current lieutenant governor, Richard Ravitch, will release a report today that lays out the transportation challenges facing incoming governor Andrew Cuomo. Such as: failing to come up with a long-term plan to fund transportation infrastructure "means surrendering any plausible chance for a prosperous future for New York." (Wall Street Journal)
Bus Rapid Transit debuts in Atlanta. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Exxon Mobil agrees to clean-up a multimillion gallon, underground oil spill that has vexed Greenpoint (Brooklyn) residents for decades. (WNYC)
You may want to temper your #7 subway-to-Secaucus hopes. According to the New York Daily News: "The chances of a subway line running to New Jersey anytime soon hover between slim and none, a top transportation official said Wednesday."
Besides: MTA head Jay Walder says they can't afford a fourth "megaproject." (AM New York)
NJ Transit may privatize parking at some locations. "Under the SPACES (System Parking Amenity and Capacity Enhancement Strategy) initiative, firms would vie for the exclusive right to collect parking revenues at the sites throughout the decades-long agreement." (The Times of Trenton)
ARC tunnel, we just can't quit you: The New York Times takes a look at the mayor's plan to run the number 7 train under the Hudson River to New Jersey. And while Mayor Bloomberg didn't shed many tears when the ARC died...when it comes extending his beloved number 7 line? Si se puede! (WNYC)
Do Europeans do a better job of traffic safety than Americans? A new report says yes. "It's not that they have technologies that we don't have; it's that they use them more extensively and they manage their highway safety programs more [intensely] and better than we do." (NPR)
General Motors returns to the stock market; is expected to expand its initial IPO by 31%. (Wall Street Journal)
The head of the Transportation Security Administration went before Congress yesterday to defend new airport screening procedures. (NPR)
A NYC Transit supervisor is suing his former employers; says he was fired after reporting safety and security hazards on the subway. (NY Daily News)
The National Transportation Safety Board wants all states to adopt motorcycle helmet laws. One cyclists' group calls the move "disturbing." (Wall Street Journal)
Good Magazine has images from the 15 finalists in its Best Bus Route in America contest.
Virgin's Richard Branson has formed a high-speed rail consortium; wants to bid on contracts in Florida. (Forbes)
(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) Are you smarter than a fourth grader? If you don't know what New York's speed limit is, the answer is probably "no."
As part of a school education program, city transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan met today with fourth graders from Brooklyn's P.S. 261. Standing on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Hoyt Street, they used speed scanners to determine how fast cars were going -- and at least one car was driving fifteen miles over the speed limit of 30.
The commissioner told the fourth graders she was impressed with what they’ve learned.
“You guys know more than seven out of 10 New Yorkers,” she said. “You know why? Because seven out of 10 New Yorkers don't know what the speed limit is.”
Are you smarter than a fourth grader? If you don't know what New York's speed limit is, the answer is probably "no."
UPDATED WITH NEW COMMENTS FROM JANETTE SADIK-KHAN (Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) We've been following New York City's plans to build protected bike lanes on Manhattan's east side. These lanes were initially planned to stretch from Houston Street in the East Village up to 125th Street in East Harlem, but construction has stopped at 34th Street. Last week supporters held a rally urging the city to move forward on the lanes' full implementation. So when we saw the city's transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, in Brooklyn this morning, we asked her if the lanes would be extended north of 34th street. Here's the exchange.
KH: Are there plans to build out the East Side bike lanes?
JSK: We’re working on what we’re working on right now. We’ve got a full plate.
KH: I know you had said in the summer it wouldn’t happen in 2010; is it on the table for 2011?
JSK: Not at the moment.
KH: Not at the moment?
JSK: No. Our plans are our plans and we continue to work with communities about what’s the right set of tools and what works best, tailored to meet community needs.
(You can hear the exchange here.)
KH: Why did the city back away from the original plan to go north of 34th street?
(answer after the jump)