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Kate Hinds

Kate Hinds appears in the following:

TN MOVING STORIES: U.S. Oil Production Up, NYC Taxi Medallions Make Good Investments, and No More Free Rides for Chicago's Seniors

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Top stories on TN:

President Obama urges Congress to pass federal transportation bill and keep the FAA in business. (Link)

NY's MTA invokes "emergency powers" to repair a damaged Metro-North commuter rail line. (Link)

The head of the Port Authority of NY and NJ launched a full-throated broadside against politicians who say the government must reduce all spending.. (Link)

Photo: CC by Flickr user Vincent van der Pas

The cost of a NYC taxi medallion has gone up 1,000% since 1980 -- making them a better investment than gold. (Bloomberg)

How many jobs could federal funding of infrastructure create? Marketplace takes a look.

Closing tolls booths and transit during Tropical Storm Irene cost Massachusetts hundreds of thousands of dollars in transportation revenues. (Boston Globe)

San Francisco's BART hired a new general manager, who says the job "sounds fun to me." (San Francisco Chronicle)

Free rides for Chicago's senior citizens ends today; now they are expected to pay reduced fare on transit. (Chicago Tribune)

During Obama's tenure, oil drilling has gone up, but prices haven't gone down. (Washington Post)

Embattled car maker Saab may avert bankruptcy with a bank loan. (Bloomberg via Financial Post)

Detroit's People Mover only has enough funding to operate through December. (Detroit Free Press)

The family of a bicyclist killed in Brooklyn say she'd be alive if debris had been cleared from the bike lane. (New York Daily News)

Electric car batteries: is it better to recycle them, or reuse them? (New York Times)

India feels inspired by China's investment in infrastructure. (New York Times)

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NY's MTA Invokes "Emergency Powers" To Rebuild Port Jervis Line

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chairman Jay Walder surveys damage on the Port Jervis Line with MTA Board Members Susan Metzger and Carl Wortendyke (photo by Hilary Ring/MTA)

Rebuilding the Metro-North's Port Jervis commuter rail line will take months, not weeks -- and the MTA is invoking special powers to move forward with the work.

The line, which serves New York's Rockland and Orange Counties, was hit hard by Hurricane Irene flooding. MTA head Jay Walder described the damage as  "catastrophic" -- a description that seems borne out on the MTA's Flickr page, which has photos showing places where the track has completely washed out. In other pictures, the rails are canted at an angle -- more like a roller coaster than railroad tracks.

The MTA also says there is significant damage to the line's railroad bridges, as well as suspected significant damage to the signal system -- which is visibly exposed and under water.

There's no estimate yet of how long it will take to restore service. Also unknown at this time: how much repairs will cost, or how much money the federal government will contribute.

Jay Walder said in a statement today:  “There are sections of track literally suspended in the air, and in many places we will have to build a new railroad from scratch, from the foundation to the tracks to the signals. I have directed Metro-North to take such steps as are necessary to expeditiously and fully address the catastrophic damage suffered along the Port Jervis Line as a result of Irene. Rebuilding this infrastructure is going to be a long and difficult process, but we are taking every action in our power to continue serving our customers, to reduce unnecessary delay and to communicate every step of the way.”

Part of those actions: invoking "emergency powers," which the MTA described as necessary to quickly free up money and waive procurement rules.

"They’re going to do work now and sort the funding out later," said William Henderson, the executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA. He said waiving the usual competitive bidding process will allow Metro-North to speed up repairs.

The MTA is providing bus service from Harriman, New York, to a NJ Transit rail station in Ramsey, NJ, where passengers can board trains heading to New York Penn Station. Marjorie Anders said the MTA is about to announce additional bus service which will take passengers from Port Jervis and Middletown across the Hudson River into Beacon, where riders can take that Metro-North line south to Grand Central Terminal.

You can read the MTA's statement on rebuilding the Port Jervis line here (pdf).

 

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Photo of the Day: Yes We Can, Capital Bikeshare

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

DC's Capital Bikeshare, rendered in cans (photo by @The42BusDC)

No doubt, DC residents, there have been times when you've spotted a Capital Bikeshare station and thought: "I wonder what that would look like, rendered in canned food."

Your wait is over.

You can view this sculpture, along with many others, at the current Canstruction exhibit at the National Building Museum in Washington DC.

(Hat tip to DCist. Picture courtesy of the twitter feed of @The42BusDC.)

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President About to Speak on Highway Bill, FAA

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

We'll have analysis later -- and the transcript as soon as we get it -- but if you want to watch the president's speech, the White House will stream it live.

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TN MOVING STORIES: President To Push Congress for Highway & FAA Bills, Maryland's Anti-Sprawl Plan, and NYC Subway Crime Up

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Top stories on TN:

BART protests, week three: less disruption, more dialogue. (Link)

Feds stop and yield to cash-strapped states, drop requirement to replace most road signs by 2018. (Link)

The closing of Walter Reed Medical Center may be a boon for DC. (Link)

US DOT head Ray LaHood and President Obama

President Obama will urge Congress to get to work on FAA reauthorization and a new highway bill today. (The Hill)

Did MTA head Jay Walder speak at a Mayor Bloomberg's Hurricane Irene press briefing over the objections of NY Governor Cuomo's staff? (City Hall News)

Exxon made a deal with Russia to explore for oil in the Arctic Ocean.  (Marketplace, The Takeaway)

Maryland's anti-sprawl plan employs the carrot and the stick approach. (The Infrastructurist)

Hold onto your iPads and smartphones: crime in NYC subways has jumped 17%. (New York Daily News)

Boston's Logan International Airport opened the nation’s first airport-based counterterrorism office aimed at improving communication and collaboration between federal and local agencies. (WBUR)

 

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Feds Stop, Yield To Cash-Strapped States on Road Sign Requirements

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

(photo by Abby flat coat via Flickr)

States will be able to squeeze a little more life out of their existing road signs, rather than replace the majority of them by 2018 to comply with government requirements.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Tuesday that "a specific deadline for replacing street signs makes no sense and would have cost communities across America millions of dollars in unnecessary expenses."

LaHood was referring to a 2009 decision by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), which publishes the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) -- the national book of road sign standards -- which would have required states and municipalities to upgrade existing road signs to make them more legible.

But then the feedback began rolling in -- and the DOT began backing away.

Last year, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said “I believe that this regulation makes no sense. It does not properly take into account the high costs that local governments would have to bear.  States, cities, and towns should not be required to spend money that they don’t have to replace perfectly good traffic signs."

Some state DOTs had delivered sober assessments of how much the regulations would cost to implement. "Based on Caltrans' limited assessment, it could cost between $500 million to $1 billion to implement the FHWA 2009 MUTCD requirements," said one. Another featured excited exhortations about typeface: "ALL CAPS signs are easier to read then mixed case signs! And mixed case signs are uglier too!" And many of them conveyed the same theme, summed up by a Tennessee official: "this... estimated cost for reflective sign replacement with the current time restrictions will further devastate an already strained budget."

Some changes, however, are non-negotiable. Ray LaHood wrote on his blog that "DOT has retained 12 deadlines for sign upgrades that are critical to public safety. These include installing “ONE WAY” signs at intersections with divided highways or one-way streets and requiring STOP or YIELD signs to be added at all railroad crossings that don’t have train-activated automatic gates or flashing lights."

 

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Amtrak: Post-Trenton Flood, No New York - Philadelphia Service Just Yet

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Trenton, as seen from the air on Sunday, August 28 (photo by Tim Larsen/NJ Governor's Office

The aftereffects of Hurricane Irene continue to disrupt Amtrak service between New York and Philadelphia.

"There was significant flooding in Trenton," said Amtrak spokeswoman Danelle Hunter. "But water has receded and we are making progress on track repairs."

Right now there is  no Acela Express, Northeast Regional or other Amtrak service between Philadelphia and New York.

Amtrak restored service between New York and Boston on Monday, and it will resume operations between Springfield, Massachusetts, and New Haven Tuesday afternoon.

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TN MOVING STORIES: Feds Scrap Road Sign Replacement Rule, Indy Eyes Streetcars, and House GOP Leader Would Cut Federal Funding to Bike Share Programs

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Top stories on TN:

Commuter rail is returning to service after this weekend's hurricane. (Link)

Flooding, downed power lines and debris continue to hamper roads in the New York/New Jersey area. (Link)

(photo by Felix the Cat via Flickr)

The Obama administration is scrapping a rule that required hundreds of thousands of street signs to be replaced by 2018 — and instead will allow communities to upgrade them as they wear out.  (New York Times, Detroit News)

Streetcars may run in Indianapolis once again. (AP via Chicago Tribune)

Although the Egyptian economy is fraught with unrest, the one area that's still growing with local and foreign investment is natural gas. (Marketplace)

San Francisco looks to all-door boarding to speed travel times on its bus fleet. (San Francisco Chronicle)

House GOP leader Eric Cantor doesn't think the government should be supporting bike share programs. (TBD)

Ray LaHood talks about Irene; praises transportation workers for East Coast recovery assistance. (Fast Lane)

After implementing safety upgrades, pedestrian fatalities in Maryland's Montgomery County have fallen. (Washington Examiner)

A new app lets you sell your parking space to the highest bidder. (DNA Inf0)

BMW is testing an "autonomous" vehicle -- which sounds an awful lot like autopilot. (Autopia)

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Road Update: NJ and NY

Monday, August 29, 2011

Upstate New York roads, as viewed by helicopter (photo by Karen DeWitt/NYS Public Radio/WXXI)

For New Yorkers trying to get in -- or out -- of the Catskills, flooded roads and downed trees continue to limit travel in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.

The New York Thruway says sections of I-87 remain closed in both directions between exits 14 and 17.

Flooding has also closed parts of the east-west highways of 17, 28 and 23.  Those roads lead into some of the hardest hit regions in the state including Margaretville and Windham. For New York road updates, go to 511NY.org.

In New Jersey, conditions are better today than yesterday -- the DOT says it's only dealing with 85 incidents statewide, down from Sunday's 300+ -- but new problems are cropping up as storm waters continue to rise in some areas.

All lanes on NJ Route 17 northbound in Hasbrouck Heights (near the interchange with Route 46) are now closed due to flooding.

I-287 northbound in Boonton and Parsippany, near exits 43 and 44, is also closed. Route 80 is experiencing a number of ramp and lane closures, particularly in the towns of Parsippany and Wayne.

The New Jersey Turnpike has some delays as crews continue to pick up debris.

The NJ DOT says the Garden State Parkway is in good shape, although there are some delays in Southern Ocean County.

For up to date conditions, visit 511nj.org.

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Metro-North to Resume Extremely Limited Service Today at 2pm

Monday, August 29, 2011

 

Mudslide on Metro-North's Hudson Line (photo courtesy of the NY MTA)

This just in from the MTA: Metro-North will begin operating a Sunday schedule at 2 PM this afternoon on the Lower Hudson and Lower Harlem Lines. UPDATE 4:29: The MTA says that Metro-North's Hudson & New Haven Main Lines resumed service at 4pm, but on a Sunday schedule. On the Harlem line, trains are still not operating north of North White Plains. Travel on the New Canaan, Danbury and Waterbury Branch Line Services remain suspended.

There is still no service on the New Haven, Pascack Valley, or Port Jervis lines. Check the MTA's website for updates.

Metro-North to Resume Service at 2 PM Today Operating On A Sunday Schedule

On the Lower Hudson and Lower Harlem Lines Only

Metro-North will begin operating a Sunday schedule at 2 PM today, Monday, August 29, on the Lower Hudson and Lower Harlem Lines.  In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, Metro-North crews continue to work around-the-clock, assess conditions, clear the tracks and repair the infrastructure.

Metro-North will continue to restore as much service as possible once it is safe to do so.

The following service will be in effect:

On the Lower Hudson Line, a regular Sunday Schedule will be in effect between Grand Central and Croton-Harmon only beginning with the following trains:

Inbound Departures from Croton-Harmon:

•           2 PM from Croton-Harmon; All stops to Grand Central.

•           2:34 PM from Croton-Harmon; Limited stop express to Grand Central.

 

Outbound Departures from Grand Central:

•           2:20 PM to Croton-Harmon; All stops to Croton-Harmon.

 

On the Lower Harlem Line a regular Sunday Schedule will be in effect between Grand Central and North White Plains only starting with the following trains.

Inbound departures from North White Plains:

•           2:01 PM:  North White Plains & White Plains, then Express to Grand Central

•           2:08 PM:  All stops to Grand Central

Outbound Departures from Grand Central:

•           2:25 PM:  All stops from Fordham to North White Plains

•           2:48 PM: Express to White Plains/North White Plains

Customers may use our interactive schedules page to view all train times.

New Haven Line, Upper Hudson, Upper Harlem and New Canaan, Danbury and Waterbury Branch Line Services remain suspended. There is still no signal and third-rail power because of downed transmission poles, trees continuing to fall and water-damaged substations.  Following all repair efforts, patrols trains have to operate to ensure the safety of the tracks before resuming service.

On the West of Hudson, Port Jervis and Pascack Valley Line service remains suspended today.  In particular, water continues to flood sections of the Port Jervis Line making it difficult to assess the full impact of the hurricane to critical infrastructure.

Off-Peak fares will be in effect, and Metro-North will honor West-of-Hudson tickets on the Hudson Line.

Overnight, hundreds of Metro-North crews addressed several mudslides and washouts along the Hudson Line, removed numerous fallen trees on all three train lines, pumped water out of key locations, restored signal and power systems, repaired and replaced switch motors.  The difficulty of these efforts was compounded by the significant road closures in the territory.

Customers are urged to monitor media reports for the latest information, check the MTA's website at http://www.mta.info and sign up for customer email and text message alerts.

Metro-North regrets any inconvenience you may experience as a result of this service disruption due to Hurricane Irene.

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After Irene: Your NYC Morning Commute

Monday, August 29, 2011

Triumphant notice in NYC subway (photo by Kate Hinds)

TN/WNYC reporter Jim O'Grady went on the Brian Lehrer Show earlier today to update listeners on the NYC area commute. You can listen to the audio below; click on this link to read comments on the website.

 

 

WNYC has transit updates here.

 

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TN MOVING STORIES: Transit Agencies Dig Out from Irene, and Times Square Bike Lane Becomes Slip 'n Slide

Monday, August 29, 2011

Top stories on TN:

NY shuts down its subway service in preparation of Hurricane Irene. (Link)

Want to see some pictures of the transit shutdown? (Link)

Here's where transit stands for the NYC region. (Link)

 

Bus service resumes in New York after Hurricane Irene (photo courtesy of NY MTA)

 

Your DC-area Monday morning commute is surprisingly normal. (Washington Post)

A Times Square bike lane becomes a slip 'n slide during Hurricane Irene. (Gothamist)

The Takeaway talks to stranded travelers at JFK Airport.

NYC apartment hunters want bike storage. (New York Times)

A subway station in Queens is plagued by the "musky scent of death." (New York Daily News)

 

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New York: Here's What We Know About Your Monday Morning Commute

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The quick update: subway service begins to be restored Monday morning at 6am. There will be no Metro North service, but there will be Long Island Rail Road service on six branches. PATH trains will be operational as of 4am. There are no NJ Transit trains, and NJ Transit buses and light rail will be on a modified schedule. Area airports will be open. There's no Amtrak service between Boston and Philadelphia. The Staten Island Ferry and the Staten Island Railway are operational. There have been no reported problems on NYC's bike lanes. Details below!

The parking lot of the Metro-North's Beacon station (photo courtesy of the MTA)

Subway service resumes Monday morning at 6am. Caveat: trains will not run as frequently and you can expect crowding. See the MTA's service advisory here.

Exceptions:

  • 3 trains will operate between 137th Street/City College and New Lots Avenue; substitute bus service will be provided between Harlem 148th Street and 135th Street connecting with the 2 train.
  • C trains suspended; A trains will make all local stops from 207th St. to Lefferts Blvd.
  • No service in the Rockaways. (Rockaway Blvd. to Far Rockaway and Rockaway Park)
  • 6 trains runs local in the Bronx
  • 7 trains run local
  • S Franklin Avenue Shuttle (FAS) Suspended
  • N trains terminate at Kings Highway. Shuttle bus service between Kings Highway and Stillwell Terminal.

· The Staten Island Railway will resume normal service at midnight tonight.

Buses: Limited bus service was restored in all five boroughs of New York City earlier this evening. Service levels will continue to increase but may not reach normal levels tomorrow.

Bridges and Tunnels: All MTA Bridges and Tunnels are open as of 7:00 p.m.

Access-a-Ride and Able Ride are expected to be operating normal service beginning at noon tomorrow. In the morning, these services will help return evacuees to their homes.

Long Island Rail Road service will be restored on the Babylon, Huntington, Ronkonkoma, Port Washington, Hempstead and West Hempstead Branches. Service remains suspended on the Oyster Bay, Port Jefferson, Long Beach and Far Rockaway Branches and as east of Babylon and east of Ronkonkoma.

Metro-North service remains suspended on Monday. Grand Central Terminal will open as usual at 5:30am.

The MTA's website is here. And check out their Flickr page for pictures.

NJ Transit: No rail service tomorrow, with the exception of the Atlantic City Rail Line. Buses will operate on a modified schedule. The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and River Line will operate on a weekend schedule. Newark Light Rail will operate on a Saturday schedule. Details can be found on NJ Transit's website.

PATH trains will be operational as of 4am on Monday morning. (Website)

Airports: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says JFK and Newark Airports will open to arriving flights at 6am on Monday, and departures will resume at noon. LaGuardia will open to both arrivals and departures at 7am on Monday. AirTrain JFK is expected to be back in service at 4 a.m. with AirTrain Newark scheduled to resume operations at 6 a.m.

The Staten Island Ferry is running.

Amtrak is canceling all trains between Boston and Philadelphia Monday -- including all Acela service. Check out their Northeast Corridor twitter feed for more details.

Roads: the storm has caused extensive damage in upstate New York; check road conditions here. NJ's Department of Transportation says roads are open but work continues on removing downed tree limbs and power lines. Check the NJ DOT's website here. A map of Connecticut roadway conditions can be found here.

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NYC Subway Service To Resume 6am Monday

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The MTA using portable water pumps to pump out tracks at 145th St. and Lenox Ave. (Photo by Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Leonard Wiggins)

This just in from Governor Andrew Cuomo's office:

RESTORATION OF SUBWAY SERVICE WILL BEGIN MONDAY MORNING

Buses Already Running in NYC; SI Railway Returns at Midnight Tonight

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman Jay Walder tonight announced that the MTA will begin restoration of service on the subway system at 6:00 a.m. on Monday. The subway restoration is part of an MTA service plan that will restore some service to the subways, buses, and SI Railway by the morning rush. Damage assessment is continuing on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad, which was hit hard by widespread flooding and mudslides.

Governor Cuomo said, "Today government worked. Days of preparation and coordination prevented much injury and loss. The MTA will begin resumption of subway service Monday morning. I applaud the good work of the thousands of MTA professionals, National Guard and first responders for their advanced planning. Suspending service allowed the MTA to secure equipment, thus expediting the return to service. None of us should underestimate the damage caused by Hurricane Irene. One thing we can all be proud of is how New Yorkers came together as one. In the darkest hours New Yorkers shine the brightest. They did once again."

MTA Chairman Jay H. Walder said, “We still have a lot of work to do in parts of our 5,000-mile territory that were hit extremely hard by the storm, but we can now see very visible progress. Customers should stay tuned to mta.info for the latest updates."

Service Plan for Monday Morning Subways: With limited exceptions, service will resume across the subway system at 6:00 a.m. Monday morning. Service will be less frequent than normal, and customers should expect longer waits and more crowded trains. Frequency of service will improve over the course of the day.

· Exceptions:

o 3 trains will operate between 137th Street/City College and New Lots Avenue; Substitute bus service will be provided between Harlem 148th Street and 135th Street connecting with the 2 train.
o C trains suspended; A trains will make all local stops from 207th St. to Lefferts Blvd.

§ No service in the Rockaways. (Rockaway Blvd. to Far Rockaway and Rockaway Park)

o 6 trains runs local in the Bronx
o 7 trains run local
o S Franklin Avenue Shuttle (FAS) Suspended
o N trains terminate at Kings Highway. Shuttle bus service between Kings Highway and Stillwell Terminal.

· The Staten Island Railway will resume normal service at midnight tonight.

Buses: Limited bus service was restored in all five boroughs of New York City earlier this evening. Service levels will continue to increase but may not reach normal levels tomorrow.

Bridges and Tunnels: All MTA Bridges and Tunnels are open as of 7:00 p.m.

Access-a-Ride and Able Ride are expected to be operating normal service beginning at noon tomorrow. In the morning, these services will help return evacuees to their homes.

Additional details on Metro-North and LIRR service will be provided as soon as they become available.

The MTA’s regular fare and toll policy will resume tomorrow morning at 5:00 a.m.

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Hurricane Irene: Photos From New York's Transit Shutdown

Saturday, August 27, 2011

As New York City undertook its first-ever weather-related transit system shut down, New Yorkers were greeted with a sight that many haven't seen since the 2005 transit strike: gated, taped off subway stations.

A subway station prepares for Hurricane Irene  (photo by Kate Hinds)

If that's not eerie enough for you, this picture of an (almost) empty Grand Central looks like it could be preparing for the sequel to "I Am Legend." (Full disclosure: I adapted that thought from Dan Diamond's twitter feed.)

Hurricane Irene: MTA Metro-North Railroad closed Grand Central Terminal as the hurricane approached. Photo by Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Marjorie Anders.

At 11am this morning, a white board in the token booth warned customers that time was dwindling to get the heck out of Dodge (or in this case, the West 81st Street subway station):

Sign inside the West 81st Street B/C station (photo by Kate Hinds)

Want to check the subway service status? It's pretty straightforward:

Meanwhile, MTA employees installed barriers to try to prevent water from entering train tunnels...

LIRR employees install an AquaDam to help prevent water from flowing into the LIRR's tunnels to Penn Station. Photo by Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Sam Zambuto.

...while city buses prepared to help move New Yorkers out of the mandatory evacuation zones.

Hurricane Irene prep: Buses lined up in Far Rockaway to help with evacuations. Photo by Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Palmer Reale.

Even the gates are coming off of rail road crossings.

LIRR employees removed the gates from 295 railroad crossings to prevent damage from high wind. Photo by Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Harry Baumann.

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TN MOVING STORIES: Transpo Agencies Prepare for Hurricane Irene, NJ Declares Fracking Moratorium, Georgia Transpo Vote Date Falls Apart

Friday, August 26, 2011

Top stories on TN:

San Francisco's BART is debating when to shut down cell phone service on its subway system. (Link)

Houston's red light cameras are off for good -- for now. (Link)

Car thieves like American-model SUVs and pickup trucks. (Link)

Hurricane Irene from space (photo by NASA Astronaut Ron Garan via Fragile Oasis/Flickr)

 

Area transportation agencies scramble to prepare for Hurricane Irene  -- and NY MTA says it could begin shutting down the system on Saturday. (WNYC, WNYC)

Amtrak began canceling trains, and airlines are scotching flights and moving planes out of Irene's way. (The Hill, USA Today)

Chicago's senior citizens are mailed reduced-fare transit cards without instructions; confusion reigns. (Chicago Tribune)

NJ Governor Christie vetoes fracking ban, but orders a moratorium on the practice. (WNYC)

The agreement over when to hold Georgia's transportation sales tax vote has fallen apart. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

General Motors and LG are teaming up to develop new battery-powered electric vehicles. (Wall Street Journal)

 

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Car Thieves Appear Not That Concerned About Gas Mileage

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Cadillac Escalade (photo by Roger Barker via Flickr)

The Cadillac Escalade is more than six times as likely as the average vehicle to be stolen, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute, which just released information parsing the last two years of insurance claims for newer model cars.

Also in the top ten list of most costly insurance claims: several pickup trucks, the Ford F-250, F-350 and F-450 models, the Chevy Silverado, and the GMC Yukon SUV.

"Car thieves aren’t going green," said Russ Rader, VP for communications at HLDI. "They’re after chrome and horsepower."

But they're also patriotic -- all top ten vehicles are manufactured by the Big Three.

The Escalade has headed the highest theft claim rate list since 2002. "Part of it is the pop culture appeal of the Escalade – it’s the car of the stars," Rader said. It also doesn't hurt (or help, depending on your point of view) that some people like to bling up their ride, installing accessories like aftermarket wheels that can cost thousands of dollars.

But sometimes thieves aren't necessarily in it for just for the vehicle -- they might also covet what's inside. A pickup truck stolen with tools in the back, or a SUV boosted with a Tiffany & Co. bag in the trunk can result in a big insurance claim for theft.

And you can put the image of seedy chop shops out of your head--these cars are more valuable in one piece. Rader said a lot of these vehicles are stolen by professional thieves who have figured out how to defeat ignition immobilizers, and "a lot of these end up on ships and they’re sent abroad." He said this is the reason why car thefts tend to be higher in port cities like Baltimore, Los Angeles, and Newark, or on border cities like Detroit.

Surprisingly, there is some automotive eye candy on the cars with the lowest claim rates. Newer models of BMW, Audi, and Lexus are in the top ten of vehicles less likely to be stolen.

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TN MOVING STORIES: Christie May Ban Fracking, Amtrak Moves Ahead on Fast Trains, and Chicago Checks Off 2mi of Bike Lanes -- 98 More To Go

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Top stories on TN:

The car-crushing mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania -- beloved by bike lane advocates worldwide -- says tanks will roll again. (Link)

DC's post-earthquake gridlock raises questions about emergency evacuations. (Link)

Rating NYC's subway lines from best to worst: Straphangers releases their annual report. (Link)

Vancouver bus (photo by Matt Schroeter via Flickr)

Why aren't more Canadians using public transit? A new study tries to drill down on the reasons. Here's a big one: transit takes twice as long as driving. (Globe and Mail)

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's first 100 days in office: he checked off two miles of bike lanes. Only 100 more to go by the end of his term! (WBEZ)

Amtrak is hiring an accounting firm to plan the financing for its high-speed rail proposals. (The Hill)

Governor Christie will announce his decision today on whether New Jersey will become the first state to ban fracking. (AP via NJ.com)

On today's Brian Lehrer Show: what does the future of Libya mean for the global oil markets -- and how will the oil-rich country recover economically?

Even though gas prices are lower, people are still driving less. (New York Times)

Auto manufacturers see Ohio as fertile ground for future investments. (Changing Gears)

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TN MOVING STORIES: Post-Earthquake Morning Commute, September 30th Gas Tax Deadline Looms, and Chicago's Transpo Authority Sues Over Lost Revenue

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Top stories on TN:

Selling rubble from the Second Avenue Subway project can be big business -- but it's financially risky. (Link)

Lots of arrests in the latest BART protest. (Link)

New rules protecting airline passengers kicked in. (Link)

Earthquake damage at 10-N NW in Washington, DC (photo by Andrew Bossi via Flickr)

The DC area's morning commute should be relatively normal, post-earthquake. The only exception: Maryland's MARC commuter rail, which may leave late so the crew gets enough rest time. (Washington Post)

On September 30th, the government's authority to collect federal gas tax and spend that revenue on transit and highway projects is due to expire -- making state transportation officials very nervous that they'll have to shut projects down if a deal isn't reached on reauthorization. (Washington Post)

Chicago and the city's Regional Transportation Authority are suing several Illinois municipalities and businesses to halt a "tax avoidance kickback scheme'' that is allegedly diverting hundreds of millions of dollars in sales taxes away from the Chicago area. (Chicago Tribune)

Connecticut residents vent about possible double-digit fare increases on Metro North and buses -- a move the state says is necessary to balance the budget. (Hartford Courant)

The Phoenix area is bracing for a possible bus strike. (The Arizona Republic)

The NYC Department of Transportation is converting unused parking meters into bike racks. (West Side Rag)

Well-known Upper West Side fossil shop to close; owner blames local bike lane for impeding business. (DNA Info)

Kentucky State Fair to bicyclists: leave your wheels outside the gate. (Courier-Journal)

A couple retrofitted the last Ellis Island Ferry and turned it into a floating home on the Hudson River -- complete with a chicken coop. Lots of very cool pictures can be found at Curbed NY.

 

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Photo of the Day: President Obama and Daughter Biking On Martha's Vineyard

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

President Barack Obama and his daughter Malia biking in Manuel F. Correllus State Forest in West Tisbury, Massachusetts (photo by JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

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