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Kate Hinds

Kate Hinds appears in the following:

TN MOVING STORIES: NJ Gov Wants to Borrow Billions To Fix Transpo Infrastructure, Transit Decifit Looms in San Francisco

Monday, November 21, 2011

Top stories on TN:

A NYC school bus strike is looming. (Link)

A transpo funding bill -- without high-speed rail -- gets the president's signature. (Link)

How one TN reporter learned to stop worrying and love a California freeway. (Link)

Lincoln Tunnel helix in 1955

Governor Christie wants the state legislature to okay borrowing billions to upgrade the state's transportation infrastructure. (The Record)

And: a year-long, $88-million overhaul of the Lincoln Tunnel's helix will close lanes and divert traffic onto local roads. (The Star-Ledger)

Will the head of San Francisco's transit agency and the city's new mayor collide over how to reduce MUNI's deficit? (Bay Citizen)

Women are at a greater risk of being injured in car accidents than men, according to a new report. (NY1)

DC has more license plate readers than anywhere else in the country -- and how it's using that information is spurring privacy concerns.  (Washington Post)

If it's illegal to use a cell phone while driving, it's illegal to use it while stopped at a red light. (New York Times)

Brooklyn's Prospect Park tries to slow bicyclists after two serious bike-pedestrian collisions. (New York Times)

NPR kicks off a series on CAFE standards with a look at electric cars -- and why people aren't buying them.

Philadelphia joins Chicago on the list of cities moving to open fare payment for transit systems. (Inquirer)

The world's cheapest car -- India's Tata Nano -- gets a makeover after disappointing sales. (BBC)

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Chicago Transit System Gears Up For Fare Collection By Phone, Debit Card

Friday, November 18, 2011

Chicago turnstiles today (photo by John Borgman via Flickr)

The Chicago Transit Authority is taking a page out of the "have it your way" marketing book: it's adopting an open fare payment system that will allow riders to pay with credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards and even cell phones.

The contactless system -- which can be described as "tap and go" or "wave and pay" -- will be put in place by 2014. The CTA chose Cubic Transportation Systems, the company responsible for the fare collection systems of many transit agencies, including New York, San Francisco, and Brisbane, Australia, to implement the system. The $454 million, 12-year contract was approved by the CTA board this week.

(image courtesy of Cubic Transportation Systems)

The new system will do away with the "swipe"-style magnetic-stripe cards currently used for fare payments. Dave Lapczysnki, Cubic's senior vice president for services, says the goal "is to make it more convenient for the average transit rider." He added that "the biggest improvement is that we’re going to be massively expanding the retail side of the system.”

Currently there are 700 locations in Chicago where riders can purchase prepaid fare cards. Cubic says that number will increase to 2,000 under the terms of the contract.

Eric Reese, CTA's general manager for business development, said it was important to grow the retail operation even while expanding fare payment options. "We’re trying to make it more convenient for more riders to access the fare systems should they not have a personal credit or debit card," he said. Dave Lapczysnki said a significant percentage of transit riders don't have credit cards. And while the rail system will move to a 100% contactless fare collection system, cash fares will still be accepted on buses.

The CTA said it estimates the new system will save $5 million a year -- and get the authority out of the banking business. According to the CTA's press release, the new system will "shift the risks associated with fare collection to the contractor, including credit/debit card processing fees, increased operating expenses and security breaches."

The CTA said it will conduct a marketing campaign six to twelve months in advance of the system changeover to prepare the public. Cubic's Dave Lapczynski said he's a good example of why that's necessary. "Commuters do not like change," he said. "Being one, I am one of those. I get on the same car every morning, and exit at the same place.”

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TN MOVING STORIES: DC Uses Decoys to Catch Bike Thieves, Toyota Plant Opens in Tupelo, Congress Approves Gateway Tunnel $

Friday, November 18, 2011

Top stories on TN:

For transit agencies, climate change could cost billions. (Link)

House Republicans marry domestic energy drilling to transportation funds. (Link)

Congress zeroes out high-speed rail funding. (Link)

Bike racks outside DC Metro (photo by Palmetto Cycling Coalition via Flickr)

Republicans hail "the end to President Obama’s misguided high speed rail program." (The Hill)

An East Side Access tunnel worker was killed by falling concrete under Grand Central Terminal. (New York Times)

Congress formally approved $15 million for the trans-Hudson Gateway Tunnel; engineering work will now begin. (The Star-Ledger)

DC's transit police are using decoys to catch bike thieves. (Washington Post)

Rethinking public transit, especially in rural areas, doesn't have to be expensive. (New York Times Opinionator)

"Secret" Port Authority bonuses are being investigated by the NY Comptroller's Office. (The Record)

A long-awaited Toyota plant is finally opening in Tupelo, Mississippi. (Atlantic Cities)

Staten Islanders will protest tolls tomorrow. (SILive.com)

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TN MOVING STORIES: Detroit Mayor Wants to Privatize Bus System, OWS Takes to the Subways Today

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Top stories on TN:

House Republicans will unveil a five-year transportation bill today. (Link)

The Dulles Airport Metrorail link plan got another step closer to reality. (Link)

A Wyoming highway lowers its speed limit to help wildlife. (Link)

from OccupyWallSt.org

Occupy Wall Street protesters have vowed to shut down several subway stations today. (DNA Info, WNYC, New York Times, NBC)

Detroit's mayor says the city will run out of money this spring and that he wants to privatize some city services -- like the bus system.(Detroit Free Press, Changing Gears)

The new head of the Port Authority (Pat Foye) says the agency can help pull the region out of its financial doldrums -- a role he says it played during the Depression. (The Star-Ledger)

Meanwhile, NJ Governor Christie continues to blast the agency's previous head, Chris Ward, calling his leadership of the agency "awful." (The Record)

A pedestrian safety activist in Queens was struck and killed by a car. (New York Times, Streetsblog)

NY Daily News editorial: NYC's taxi dispatch plan for wheelchair users, which comes five days before a court hearing, is too little too late.

The head of the TSA has backed off a commitment to conduct a new independent study of X-ray body scanners used in airports. (Pro Publica)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a series of reforms to keep state highway construction projects on time and on budget. (Democrat & Chronicle)

The federal government and Minnesota officials agree that if high-speed rail comes to that state, its route will run along the Mississippi. (Winona Daily News)

Is a road use fee -- like vehicle miles traveled -- too "creepy" to work? (Atlantic Cities)

Planners say Sao Paolo, Brazil, needs a major infrastructure makeover -- including razing the Minhocao, an elevated highway known as the "Big Worm. (NPR)

A bus accident in China killed 18 children, prompting anger toward the government and renewing concerns about safety. (NPR)

Gas prices are up. (Marketplace)

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TN MOVING STORIES: Highway Bill Vote This Week, E.U. Bans Airport Body Scanners, Detroit's Buses Get an 'F'

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Top stories on TN:

Where -- and when -- did transit over the Tappan Zee Bridge go? (Link)

The New York MTA and the Transit Workers Union opened contract negotiations. (Link)

As police cleared Zuccotti Park, bicyclists helped reinforce Occupy Wall Street protesters. (Link)

The Capitol (photo by Skibum 415 via Flickr)

The House is almost ready to vote on a highway bill. (The Hill)

And: lawmakers say the FAA bill will be ready to go by the end of the month. (Politico)

There are more vehicles on the roads in the DC area -- but more of them are passenger cars, not SUVs. (Washington Post)

One road in London is doing away with curbs and sidewalks in an effort to be more pedestrian-friendly. (Good)

Montreal unveiled a $16.8 billion plan to increase transit ridership, but funding it is going to be a problem. (Montreal Gazette)

Back in the day, new MTA head Joe Lhota wanted City Hall to control the city's transit system. (New York Times)

The Illinois state legislature signed off on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s call for speed cameras near schools and parks. (WBEZ)

A transit advocacy group says half of Detroit's buses are either late or don't arrive at all. (Detroit Free Press)

WNYC looks at the economic benefits of hydrofracking.

The Canadian government ruled out federal funding for a high-speed rail line between Windsor and Quebec. (The National Post)

The European Union banned U.S.-style body scanner machines in European airports. (ProPublica)

A bike room grows in lower Manhattan.  (New York Times)

How many riders must high-speed rail attract to offset the construction emissions? (Atlantic Cities)

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Why Transit Was Dropped From the Tappan Zee Bridge Plan

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WNYC

For nearly a decade, planners and local officials in Westchester and Rockland Counties thought new plans for a Tappan Zee Bridge would include rail or bus rapid transit. But when Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans for a new bridge last month, transit on the bridge had disappeared, leaving local elected officials and transit backers irate. When did the governor decide to take transit out of the plans?

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When -- and Where -- Did Transit Over The Tappan Zee Bridge Go?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Governor Cuomo at the Tappan Zee Bridge on November 15, 2010 (photo by Richard Yeh/WNYC)

Soon after Andrew Cuomo won the governor’s seat last year, he visited the Tappan Zee Bridge. Built in the 1950s, the structure was considered at the end of its useful life. With the rusting three-mile span as a backdrop, the then-governor-elect mused about its future.

"Could you actually improve transportation in the region with a replacement bridge that could include rail, for example," he said. "The flip side is the cost of a new bridge, the planning, the delay, so those are issues that are going to have to be weighed.”

That was about a year ago. Let’s go back to a little further, to 2002. Faced with an aging money pit of a bridge, the state began formally studying its alternatives. It put a project team in place, which included Metro-North and the Federal Transit Administration. The project had a website, and office space in Tarrytown. And in 2008, the state announced it would be more cost-effective to replace the bridge, not repair it.

The then-DOT commissioner Astrid Glynn told WNYC that the new bridge would include bus rapid transit. Because, she said, "if the bridge does not include a significant transit option, it is going to be very difficult for those areas to have growth that is centered around transit, as opposed to simply auto-dependent."

And when the state presented several alternatives, all of them included some form of transit. In 2009, the state issued a cost evaluation that said bus rapid transit could add up to $2 billion in costs.

The underside of the Tappan Zee Bridge (photo courtesy of Jessica Proud/Westchester County Executive's Office)

In November 2010, Governor Cuomo was elected. And things began changing. The first Tappan Zee meeting to appear on his public schedule, which was in May, did not include someone from Metro-North or the MTA. A few months later, the lease ran out on the project’s office space and wasn’t renewed. But it wasn’t until Columbus Day, according to Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, that he learned the extent of the changes -- from a press release.  He says: "We couldn’t get any information from anybody – from the state or the federal government, and all of a sudden we see that the new design would not entail bus rapid transit or mass transit."

Meanwhile, the project’s website was altered to reflect the new, transit-free bridge designs--removing eight years of studies and reports. After public outcry, the data from the old website was restored. But what wasn’t restored were plans for bus rapid transit. Rob Astorino, who's a Republican, calls that decision pennywise and pound foolish. "I’m the cheapest guy around in government," he said."We’re cutting costs left and right. But if you’re going to spend money, spend it efficiently. And right now you’re going to replace this outdated bridge with another outdated bridge the day you cut the ribbon."

Kate Slevin is the head of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a transit advocacy group. She’s been watching the Tappan Zee project for years, and she says Cuomo’s decision flies in the face of almost a decade of study. "If they don’t do transit now," she says, "I don’t know that it will ever get done."

But Joan McDonald, the current state DOT commissioner, says transit hasn’t disappeared from plans. "I think it’s very important to clarify that," she says. "We’re speeding up construction of the bridge, we’re not slowing down transit. The proposed project that’s on the table now will be built to not preclude transit in the future, when it is financially feasible.”

That view didn’t placate some locals, like Betty Meisler. She’s a Valley Cottage resident who attended a public meeting in Nyack last month. She was hoping to see mass transit on the bridge. And when her expectations weren’t met, she wasn’t happy. "I don’t know what they’re accomplishing by doing this, other than putting in a new bridge to replace the existing one," she says. "They’re not changing anything for the commuters."

But Governor Cuomo’s office says a new bridge is a big change, and this version will cost five point two billion dollars, far less than any option with transit. A spokesman says that what the state needs most is a new bridge – now, and the construction jobs it will bring. That’s why the Governor called the White House to get special approval to speed up construction.

A statement from his office reads: “Governor Cuomo has ended over ten years of gridlock around the Tappan Zee project and expedited the process of rebuilding the bridge.   After reviewing various options during the summer, the Governor obtained Federal commitment to expedite construction of a new Tappan Zee bridge in a fiscally responsible manner so that new jobs could be created within a year while preserving all the options for mass transit.”

His office says work on the bridge’s replacement could begin as early as next summer.

You can listen to the radio version of this story below.

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TN MOVING STORIES: Compromise Spending Bill Shaping Up, A Look at New York's Future Bike Share, and London's "Tour du Danger"

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Top stories on TN:

In the city that never sleeps, the subway will. (Link)

The structural integrity of California's Bay Bridge is in question. (Link)

Faster buses come to 34th Street -- but BRT, it ain't. (Link)

NY's new MTA chief sends warm signals to the transit workers union. (Link)

A demonstration bike share station in NYC (photo by Kate Hinds)

A compromise spending bill that funds the DOT through fiscal 2012 -- and preserves Amtrak -- is shaping up on the Hill. (Politico)

NPR profiles Alta, the company that won NYC's bike share contract, and says the city is poised to become a bike share Mecca.

A new electric truck assembly plant is moving into the Bronx. (Crain's New York)

Montreal's bike share program shuts down for the season today. (CBC)

There's a rise in the number of pedestrian deaths on Missouri roads. (KSPR)

The European financial crisis is affecting the rental car industry. (Marketplace)

Do New York's alternate side parking regulations bring peace and celebrate diversity? (New York Times)

New York State is hiring a financial consultant to figure out how to come up $5.2 billion to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge. (Times Herald-Record)

NY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was injured in a bike accident. (Capital New York)

Hundreds of London cyclists participated in the "Tour du Danger," a tour of the city's 10 most dangerous intersections. (Guardian)

Jalopnik readers come up with what they call the ten cleverest ways to get drivers to slow down. A strategically-parked empty Crown Vic? Solar-powered fake cop lights? Holographic children? It's in there.

 

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TN MOVING STORIES: Beverly Hills Wants To Stop Subway Under School, DOT Issues First Ever Tarmac Delay Fine, GM To Produce Pink Car

Monday, November 14, 2011

Top stories on TN:

Houston will require businesses to offer bike parking. (Link)

Bay Area bikers are getting free lights. (Link)

Reports of the death of the internal combustion engine have been greatly exaggerated. (Link)

image from "Learn Bart! Your Guide to Ride" (courtesy of Bay Area Rapid Transit)

Beverly Hills wants to stop Los Angeles from boring a subway tunnel under its high school. (AP)

It's Joseph Lhota's first day on the job as head of New York's MTA. (NY Daily News)

And: the MTA may shut down whole subway lines overnight next year as part of a massive work blitz. (NY Daily News)

Select Bus Service comes to New York's 34th Street. (WABC7)

The DOT slapped American Airlines with a $900,000 fine for tarmac delays -- the first ever. (Politico)

A new comic book teaches riders how to navigate San Francisco's transit system. (Greater Greater Washington)

Chicago's transit authority is threatening to reduce some suburban bus service if several Cook County commissioners follow through with a plan to cut funding. (WBEZ)

Traffic on New York State's canal system is down 20%. (Democrat and Chronicle; hat tip to Stateline)

General Motors is producing its first pink car for the U.S. market. (Detroit Free Press)

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TN MOVING STORIES: Keystone Pipeline Decision Tabled Until After 2012 Elections, Dulles Rail Funding Deal Reached

Friday, November 11, 2011

Top stories on TN:

Long Island Bus will privatize, become NICE on January 1. (Link)

$1 billion in Houston rail funds are no longer in jeopardy. (Link)

Your car's catalytic converter is a font of precious metals. (Link)

Rendering of a future Metro station in Tysons Corner, Virginia (image courtesy of Fairfax County)

The Obama Administration put off a decision on the politically charged Keystone XL pipeline until after next year's elections. (Marketplace)

California's governor will ask the state legislature to approve billions so that state's high-speed rail program can begin next year. (Los Angeles Times)

The MTA's payroll system is vulnerable to fraud. (NY Daily News)

An Energy Department panel issued a warning about the environmental tolls of hydrofracking. (ProPublica)

Cincinnati's streetcar program will continue after voters defeated a ballot measure that would have restricted funding. (Atlantic Cities)

Capital Bikeshare is releasing more public data for app developers. (Greater Greater Washington)

Ray LaHood is on "cloud nine" after brokering a successful funding deal for the next phase of Metro's Dulles line. (Washington Post)

Traffic jams are bad for your health. (Wall Street Journal)

The Guardian is putting together a global map of ghost bikes.

Bike fashion moves way beyond spandex at this weekend's Bike Expo in San Francisco. (Bay Citizen)

People! Don't clip your fingernails on the subway! (Second Avenue Sagas)

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TN MOVING STORIES: NJ Transit Wants To Make Railroad Crossings -- And Bus Drivers -- Safer; Baltimore Revives Bike Share Plans

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Top stories on TN:

The NY State Comptroller says railroad workers cheat Metro-North out of millions of dollars. (Link)

A Senate committee passed a two-year highway bill -- and now the political wrangling really begins. (Link)

An anti-tolling measure in Washington State narrowly failed. (Link)

Take a photo tour of 70 years worth of speedometers. (Link)

Railroad crossing in Elizabeth, NJ (photo by William Hartz via Flickr)

Toyota is recalling half a million cars for possible steering problems. (Detroit Free Press)

NJ Transit is trying to reduce fatalities at railroad crossings. (The Star-Ledger)

And: the agency is testing "security shields" to protect drivers from attack. (The Star-Ledger)

$1 billion doesn't buy you a lot of transit construction these days. (Atlantic Cities)

NY's MTA has given up asking passengers to be patient when there are subway delays. (NY1)

A ten-year renovation of Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza is now complete. (WNYC)

Baltimore is reviving plans for a bike share program. (Baltimore Brew)

The mayor of Los Angeles has been quietly assembling a plan to borrow 27 years worth of tax revenue and spend it repairing nearly one-fourth of the city's streets. (Los Angeles Times)

Strict fuel standards for cars could bring jobs to California. (KQED Climate Watch)

Duluth wants to become a bike trail mecca, and voters improved a tax increase to help fund that plan. (Duluth News Tribune)

Texas is debating whether to accept or reject a confederate flag license plate. (The Takeaway)

One entrepreneur has big plans for London's abandoned Tube stations. (BBC)

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TN MOVING STORIES: Lima's Public Transpo System is a "Killing Machine," Two Domestic Airlines Now Using Biofuels, Capital Bikeshare Expanding This Week

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Top stories on TN:

Mica: the Northeast Corridor must be our high-speed rail priority, and Amtrak can keep it. (Link)

A graphic rendering of Boston bus speeds (image courtesy of Bostonography)

Lima's public transportation system is a "killing machine;" the mayor has vowed reform. (AP)

Two domestic carriers are now using biofuels on some flights. (NPR)

Chicago is installing new cars on the 'El' train. (WBEZ)

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is set to mark up a two-year highway and transit bill today. (Politico)

It looks like the NYC DOT won't be installing a two-way bike lane along Plaza Street in Brooklyn. (NY Daily News)

Why are America's roads so bad? Because the network was built to withstand cars, not heavy trucks. (Gizmodo)

DC's Capital Bikeshare is expanding. (Washington Post)

A ballot measure on tolling and light rail in Washington State is too close to call. (Seattle Times)

Durham County (NC) passed a sales tax to pay for public transit expansion. (Herald Sun)

A new study says biking can save cities billions of dollars in health costs. (Good)

Want to the see the MTA's time-lapse video of the NYC Marathon? Check it out here.

Cartographers are using Boston's real-time bus location data to depict bus speeds (image above). "As you can see, most of the MBTA system would be toast if faced with the classic Speed scenario." (Bostonography)

 

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Congressman John Mica: Northeast Corridor Must Be the High-Speed Rail Priority, and Amtrak Can Keep It

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

NY State Senator Malcolm Smith and U.S. Congress members Carolyn Maloney, John Mica and Jerry Nadler, speaking Tuesday at a U.S. High Speed Rail Association meeting (photo by Kate Hinds)

The chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said Tuesday that nation's best shot at a viable high-speed rail line is in the Boston-to-Washington corridor -- and Amtrak can be a "full participant."

"Any further money for high-speed rail needs to solely come to the Northeast Corridor," said Congressman John Mica (R-FL), who promised to direct any rejected high-speed rail money to it.

Speaking at the U.S. High Speed Rail Association conference in Manhattan -- and joined by two Democratic members of New York's Congressional delegation -- Mica said that while it was fine to develop high-speed rail elsewhere, the focus needs to be here.

"While I want to give California every chance and opportunity to be successful," said Mica, "I think we have to redirect our efforts to having at least one success in high-speed rail in the nation. And that high-speed rail success needs to be here in the Northeast Corridor."

He added: "If even one more penny gets sent back to Washington from any high-speed rail project...it needs to come back here."

Several states have already rejected funding for high-speed rail -- including Mica's own, which sent back $2.4 billion to the federal government earlier this year. And last week California released projections saying its bullet train program would cost almost $100 billion --  far above earlier estimates -- raising doubts about that project's viability.

Mica also said Tuesday that he will also hold a hearing in December on the status of high-speed rail and review the programs already in place.

But the big news was the change in Mica's attitude towards Amtrak -- and his reversal of his earlier position on privatizing the Northeast Corridor. "I'm willing to have Amtrak be a full participant in this process," he said Tuesday. "If there wasn't an Amtrak...we'd create an Amtrak."  Later in his talk he reiterated: "we can continue again having Amtrak be a partner in this, no one wants to push them overboard."

That's what Mica wanted to do several months ago, when he introduced legislation that aimed to take the Northeast Corridor away from Amtrak, deed it to the U.S. Department of Transportation, and privatize the development of high-speed rail. He said Tuesday he knew that proposal had been "controversial."

In a press conference afterward, he was asked why he had a change of heart. "We did put a proposal out there that we knew would be tough for them to accept," he said, referring his June legislation, "but that's what you do sometimes in the legislative process to get them to the point where they're willing to work with you to make something happen."

Mica has criticized Amtrak's 30-year timetable for building high-speed rail in the Northeast Corridor as too slow. He thinks it can be done in ten to fifteen years.

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said "there is widespread agreement that some sort of private capital can be brought into this, but I think -- I hope -- we have agreement that Amtrak has to be the main vehicle for it."

 

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TN MOVING STORIES: LA Increases Night Service on Trains, Chicago Area Buses To Drive on Highway Shoulders, Passenger Attacks on Transit Operators On the Rise

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Top stories on TN:

A new bridge across Lake Champlain opened years ahead of schedule. (Link)

Van driving "rebalancers" keep watch over Capital Bikeshare stations. (Link)

The mass transit commuter tax break is set to expire at the end of the year. (Link)

Image courtesy of Pace Bus

Los Angeles is increasing night service on three rail lines to boost ridership. (Los Angeles Times)

Some buses will be driving on the shoulder next week in the Chicago area, when the region pilots a program designed to speed commuting times. (Chicago Tribune)

San Francisco weighs bus rapid transit on Van Ness Avenue. (The Bay Citizen)

Nearly a third of all drivers said they've almost fallen asleep while driving at least once in the last month, and the problem gets worse when the clocks change. (Washington Post)

Toyota's hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, which will hit the market in 2015, is expected to retail for about $138,000. (Autopia)

Attacks by passengers on mass transit operators are on the rise, and some say rage over fare hikes is the cause. (Atlantic Cities)

Does Salt Lake City's commuter rail have a higher accident rate than average? Signs point to yes. (Deseret News)

NYC is moving forward with plans to use a San Francisco-like "smart parking" system. (Streetsblog)

The US Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether police need a warrant to attach a GPS tracking device to a suspect's car. (NPR)

The Staten Island borough president says toll relief for NJ-bound drivers may be on the way. (Staten Island Live)

The long-delayed plan to overhaul the George Washington Bridge Bus Station in northern Manhattan is gaining traction with a flurry of leases for its expanded retail space. (Wall Street Journal)

Flood waters in Bangkok are inching closer to the subway. (CNN)

The architecture critic for the New York Times waxes poetic about bike lanes, writes that the city environment is "an urban glory best absorbed, I have come to realize, from a bike."

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TN MOVING STORIES: Cubans Now Allowed to Buy and Sell Cars, California Facing $293 Billion Transpo Shortfall

Monday, November 07, 2011

Top stories on TN:

NYC subway riders worry that service is sliding backwards to 1970's standards. (Link)

Do residential parking permits have unintended consequences? (Link)

The mayor of Detroit promised striking bus drivers safer working conditions. (Link)

A car in Cuba (photo by Arjen Konings via Flickr)

Cubans are now allowed to buy and sell cars for the first time in half a century. (New York Times)

California faces a $293.8 billion shortfall over the next decade to maintain its crumbling roads, outdated freeways and cash-strapped transit agencies. (Mercury News)

Private equity firms are investing in used-car lots, which "focus on people who need cars to get to work, but can't qualify for conventional loans." (Los Angeles Times)

The new head of the MTA must convince Albany to fund capital needs and increase transit funding if he wants to move the agency forward. (Crain's New York Business)

A Senate committee marks up the highway reauthorization bill this week. (Politico - Morning Transportation)

The head of the TSA will be on the hot seat before a Senate committee this week, where he'll face questions about security procedures. (The Hill)

A judge rejected Minnesota Public Radio's lawsuit over the Central Corridor light rail project; the station had claimed the rail line would disrupt broadcast operations. (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

New York City will be putting more benches around town. (WNYC)

A digital artwork installation is temporarily on display at the Union Square subway station. And:  it moves when you do. (NY1)

A bicycle recycling group often hits paydirt in the basement of NYC apartment buildings. (New York Times)

More on Seattle's sperm bike from NPR.

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TN MOVING STORIES: LA Residents Want Transit Prioritized; Shorter Station Names Coming to DC Metro; NYC "Taxi Summit" Happening Today

Friday, November 04, 2011

Top stories on TN:

The Senate blocked a politically-charged $60 billion infrastructure bill Thursday; the GOP countered. (Link)

Broken escalators haunt DC's Metro. (Link)

Republicans are divided over the end of the Mexican trucking ban. (Link)

DC is debating whether to make it easier for cyclists to sue drivers. (Link)

Metro entrance in LA (photo by JoeInSouthernCA via Flickr)

A new poll says most L.A. residents want the state to prioritize transit, not roads. (Los Angeles Times)

The TSA will conduct a new study on the safety of X-ray body scanners. (Pro Publica)

Disabled New Yorkers want more accessible taxis. (WNYC)

And: the city's "Taxi Summit" -- an attempt to reach a deal on outer-borough street hail legislation -- is happening today. (Wall Street Journal)

The New York City Council voted in favor of residential parking permits, but Albany will have the final say. (WNYC)

Four years into its 10-year bicycle master plan, Seattle wants to update it. (Seattle Times)

Maryland's commuter rail is getting new multi-level cars. (Washington Post)

A bus drivers' protest has crippled bus service in Detroit this morning. (Detroit Free Press)

DC unveiled its list of shorter names for Metro stations. (Greater Greater Washington)

Is there a class divide in how pets travel on planes? (Good)

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TN MOVING STORIES: Occupy Oakland Shuts Down Port, A Look At East Side Access, and Moscow's Subway: Best In the World?

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Top stories on TN:

High-speed rail naysayer Rick Scott says California's program is a "boondoggle." (Link)

Although an agreement should happen soon, almost 1,000 Long Island Bus employees could be laid off. (Link)

Obama takes 30 minutes to pitch the transportation jobs bill in DC. (Link)

Protestors at the Port of Oakland (photo by Cherie Chavez via Flickr)

Occupy Oakland demonstrations shut down the port. (Marketplace)

The Department of Defense will pay $270 million to ease traffic congestion created by the recently implemented Base Realignment and Closure. (WAMU)

The full City Council will vote on whether to send a plan to implement residential parking permits in NYC to Albany for consideration. (New York Times)

Moscow's state-owned subway system is efficient, attractive and profitable. (Atlantic Cities)

A Chicago suburb is ending its red light camera program. (WBEZ)

Is DC's Metro intrinsically child-unfriendly, or is it the riders? (Washington Post, with a hat tip to GGW)

A look at New York's East Side Access project, which will bring the LIRR to Grand Central Terminal. (DNA Info)

Biking: it's good for you. (NPR)

What if electric cars could charge without plugs? (Good)

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TN MOVING STORIES: Boston T Sets Ridership Record, Auto Sales Up, San Francisco Embraces Car Sharing

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Top stories on TN:

See who is lobbying and donating to influential members of Congress. (Link)

California's high-speed rail costs soar, but proponents say there's 'no choice' but to build. (Link)

The Senate approved an austere transportation spending bill (link), as well as $15 million for a trans-Hudson tunnel with an uncertain future (link).

Boston T (photo by Michael Kappel via Flickr)

Boston's T set a ridership record. (Boston Globe)

Car sales are up for the big three -- as well as most foreign automakers. (Detroit Free Press)

Congressman John Mica said the federal government will honor its $300 million commitment to the Second Avenue Subway. (DNA Info, Second Avenue Sagas)

And: Mica is meeting with Wall Street investors today to talk about investing in high-speed rail on the Northeast Corridor. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

TN's Andrea Bernstein talks infrastructure and jobs bill on The Takeaway.

Florida Governor Rick Scott experiences schadenfreude over new estimates for the cost of California's high-speed rail program. (The Hill)

NYC is rethinking putting neon stickers on cars that violate alternate side parking rules. (Wall Street Journal)

The head of the NJ DOT says the ARC tunnel was flawed from the start. (Asbury Park Press)

San Francisco is ground zero for the car-sharing movement. (USA Today)

From water bottle to bridge: one company is making infrastructure out of recycled plastic. (Fast Company)

And: Beethoven Awareness Month even affects skateboarders! Vide0 here.

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Senate Approves $15M for Trans-Hudson Rail But Future Remains Uncertain

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

A trans-Hudson alternative – the Gateway Tunnel – won a small victory Tuesday when the Senate approved $15 million for Amtrak to begin design and engineering work on the project.

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Senate Approves $15 Million For Trans-Hudson Rail Project, Future Uncertain

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

(image courtesy of Senator Lautenberg)

In the wake of the ARC tunnel's cancellation last year, there have been different proposals for increasing trans-Hudson rail capacity. Like extending the #7 subway to Secaucus, which has recently captured the attention of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Now, another trans-Hudson alternative --the Gateway Tunnel -- won a small victory on Tuesday when the Senate approved $15 million for Amtrak to begin design and engineering work.

Like ARC, Gateway would dig two rail tunnels underneath the Hudson River from New Jersey, terminating just south of Penn Station. And, like ARC, the Gateway project aims to alleviate the biggest rail bottleneck in the Northeast -- trans-Hudson capacity in and out of Penn Station.

Amtrak had initially wanted $50 million for the study, but the corporation put a brave face on receiving $35 million less then it requested. "Today’s announcement also brings us one step closer to Gateway’s desired goal -- expanding track and station capacity necessary to enable Amtrak’s next generation high-speed rail plan and support improved service for thousands of Amtrak and New Jersey Transit passengers traveling between New York and New Jersey each day.”

But just how much closer it really brings that to fruition is unclear. Although the Senate has approved the $15 million funding, the bill must now be reconciled in an Amtrak-unfriendly House. And no one can even hazard a guess as to how the total cost of the $13.5 billion project might be funded.

But Gateway is the reality that New York and New Jersey have, and the fact that the Senate has approved funding puts it that much further along than the #7 to Secaucus. And Gateway does something the # 7 doesn't: it lays the groundwork for bullet trains in the northeast.

Petra Todorovich, the director of America 2050, said: "The way I see it is the ARC tunnel was primarily... regional commuter rail with side benefits for inter-city rail.  The Gateway tunnel is more of a project focused on inter-city rail with side benefits for commuter rail."

But while Todorovich viewed the $15 million as a positive step, she said: "Now we’re back to studying the options for relieving capacity constraints under the Hudson River."

New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, who championed ARC and is now a Gateway booster, said: “This funding will allow Amtrak to begin moving the Gateway Tunnel project forward to create jobs, increase access to commuter trains, and bring America’s first real high-speed rail project to New Jersey and the Northeast Corridor.”

His colleague, Senator Robert Menendez, added: "People crossing the Hudson River are facing outrageous tolls, traffic jams, and train service that is getting less and less reliable. The Gateway Project will add enormous capacity across the Hudson and also pave the way for true high speed rail for the entire region. This will create jobs now and unlock enormous economic opportunity in the future.”

New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand also emailed statements of support for the project.

Juliette Michaelson, director of strategic initiatives at the Regional Plan Association, said she was sorry to see the ARC Tunnel go. "There’s a very clear need for more transit service between New Jersey and New York. ARC was one way to do it, it wasn’t perfect, but it had the funding, it had all the environmental approvals, it was underway... Now that it's gone, there are any number of proposals on the table."  Not just the Gateway project and the #7 subway, but also options like building a new bus garage at the Port Authority, extending the L train, and adding ferry service. But, she said, "all of this will take a long time to shake out. And we've got to do it right."

 

 

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