Kate Hinds appears in the following:
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
When the Federal Aviation Administration shut down at midnight on Friday, 4,000 workers were immediately furloughed. In the greater New York City area alone, 646 employees at the agency's tech center in Atlantic City and 125 workers in New York have been told to not show up to work. But the effects of the shutdown are spreading far beyond the agency's employees.
Construction company managers are turning workers away who show up for a day's work -- while air traffic controllers say they feel like "political pawns."
The US Department of Transportation says New Jersey has lost $44.7 million for airport projects across the state and New York has lost $62.6 million. Projects that have been issued stop work orders include a $20 million runway safety project at New Jersey's Teterboro Airport and a $10 million security bollards project at LaGuardia Airport.
Another job that's on hold: a $6 million teardown of an old air traffic control tower at LaGuardia -- a project singled out by US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood as a galling example of congressional inaction.
Luca Toscano is the vice president at Paul J. Scariano, Inc. - the Brooklyn-based construction company that holds that contract. Toscano said that the demolition project has a crew of about 40-45 people, and he had to tell them to turn around and go home on Sunday night when they showed up for work. "Some people took the situation a little bit drastic, because some of them came from prior layoffs, start a new project, start a new work, some of them were very understanding of the situation...they understand there's nothing they can do about it."
Toscano is also concerned that the longer the shutdown goes on, the more likely his workers are to start looking for other work. "We fought hard enough to get the right people for the right job, and right now I'm afraid we'll lose some of these people," he said. "If there's no stability, what else are they going to do? They've got to feed their families."
He's also worried about the actual work area at the airport. "You have a scaffold that is structured to be maintained at all times. It's a suspended scaffold...if there's a situation of heavy winds, in a storm, there's a possibility of something flying away. (And) down below there are airplanes in stages of being loaded and unloaded. There's a lot of liability there."
A few miles southwest of LaGuardia, Stephen Abraham is an air traffic controller at JFK Airport in Queens. He's also the local president for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, a union which represents 1,100 of the furloughed FAA employees.
While all the air traffic controllers are still working, Abraham said "many of our co-workers -- engineers, architects, all people who kind of work behind the scenes, to let us do what we do every day -- aren't at work."
It's a situation he and his colleagues find frustrating. "The folks in Washington keep using the expression ''kicking the can.' They've kicked the can of FAA reauthorization 21 times. You don't like to be the political pawn, and that's what we're feeling like. "
Work has been halted on an $8 million job to rehab some of JFK's runways. Another JFK job that's ground to a halt? The controllers' break room, which was in the middle of a refurbishment. Now Abraham's office is serving as the makeshift break room.
Congressman John Mica - the head of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee -- told reporters yesterday that he has 'no idea" when the FAA will reopen. This doesn't sit well with Abraham.
"The furloughs are bad," he said. "These are your coworkers who all of a sudden aren't getting paid -- but it doesn't seem like with what's going on with the debt ceiling this is not tops on the list of things to get done in Washington."
For a list of projects that have halted, you can visit the FAA's website here.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Trumpet flowers growing on West 82nd Street in an overgrown lot behind Ray's Pizza.
TN MOVING STORIES: China Orders Rail Safety Review, Chicago Gets Its First Protected Bike Lane, and Ray LaHood Talks FAA Budget Impasse
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Following a deadly high-speed rail crash, China has ordered a safety review of its rail system. (BBC News)
New York suspended the operating licenses of eight charter and tour bus companies after they repeatedly failed safety inspections. (AP via Albany Times Union)
Ray LaHood says of the FAA partial shutdown: "Congress hasn't been able to get its act together and pass a long-term bill." (PBS NewsHour)
Chicago's first protected bike lane is complete. (Chicago Tribune)
Contract talks are underway between the UAW and Detroit automakers. (Changing Gears)
Ford's earnings slipped, but revenue is up. (Detroit Free Press)
Construction in Brooklyn unearthed old trolley tracks. (Streetsblog)
When GPS kills: in remote places, like California's Death Valley, relying on a GPS navigator can be a matter of life and death. (NPR)
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Right says transportation is a civil rights issue -- and we should be spending more on public transit. (Wired)
(For more on transportation and civil rights, listen to TN's documentary: Back of the Bus: Mass Transit, Race and Inequality)
New York Governor Cuomo on teaching his teenage daughters how to drive: "I want to make sure they meet my standard of driving proficiency...I’m sure they consider it some form of torture." (New York Times)
New York subway riders may pay a $1 MetroCard surcharge, starting next year. (New York Daily News)
Monday, July 25, 2011
TN readers: here's your summer assignment: while you're vacationing this summer, take a picture of what you think is a good representation of a transportation mode, wherever you happen to be.
We're interested in seeing what strikes you about transportation and transit in other places. Are the street signs clear? How's the boat traffic? Are the taxis wheelchair-friendly?
Can you easily get a stroller onto a bus? Are there two-way protected bike lanes? And yes, for those of you remaining chez vous this summer, submissions from your staycation are allowed.
Email your pictures to transponation@ gmail.com by midnight on Labor Day (Monday, September 5) with a brief description of your photo, including your name and where and when the picture was taken.
We'll be posting highlights from your submissions. The winning photo will be announced after Labor Day and the photographer will receive a WNYC Chico sling bag.
And have a happy TranspoVacation!
TN MOVING STORIES: Deadly Crash on China Bullet Train, FAA Furloughs Workers, And What Can Atlanta Learn from Denver's Transpo Tax?
Monday, July 25, 2011
A crash on one of China's high-speed rail lines killed at least 43 people -- and added to concerns about safety on the lines. (New York Times)
The FAA furloughed thousands of workers after Congress failed to reauthorize its funding. (The Hill)
New York Governor Cuomo "faces a rough ride" in choosing a new MTA head. (Wall Street Journal)
What can Atlanta's transportation system learn from Denver ? Quite a lot. Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Boston's MBTA is considering raising transit fares to combat its $8 billion debt. (WBUR)
Los Angeles's mayor wants to cement his legacy through his public transit projects. (Los Angeles Daily News)
Rhode Island is having public hearings over proposed cuts to that state's bus service. (Boston Globe)
The New York Daily News writes of outgoing MTA chief Jay Walder -- who had four years left on his contract: "We (don't) have to praise him and thank him as he walks off the mound in the third inning of a nine-inning game."
And how hot was it last week? Hot enough that DC allowed people to drink water on the Metro. (WMATA press release)
Friday, July 22, 2011
Biking along the Hudson River this weekend, I stopped at a structure I'd always wondered about -- it looks like a cross between a Greek temple and a grape arbor. (It's just north of another thought-provoking structure - the Little Red Lighthouse, which sits under the George Washington Bridge.) Did the Romans originally settle Manhattan? Did some enterprising New York City company try to get into the wine industry at some point? I asked around.
And it was the New York City Parks Department who provided an answer. According to their website:
"Inspiration Point Shelter, on Henry Hudson Parkway at 190th Street, opened in 1925 as a resting place for pedestrians and leisure drivers. Designed by architect Gustave Steinacher in 1924, the neoclassical sitting area opened a year later and quickly became a favorite of Hudson River tourists."
It was a stopping point for drivers and walkers along the Riverside Drive, and at one point, wrote Christopher Gray in his 1989 book Changing New York: The Architectural Scene, (hat tip to the Parks Department for the source), the structure originally had bathrooms and a roof.
But after Robert Moses built the Henry Hudson Parkway in the 1930s, Inspiration Point was cut off from the rest of Manhattan -- and it began decades of decline. Gray wrote: "Increased traffic turned what had been a walking/driving experience into a no-man's land for pedestrians. The walkway is now overgrown...and the shelter itself now suggests despair...whole sections have fallen off or hang precariously at the edge. Water damage has buckled the elegant coffered ceiling and most of what remains looks like driftwood scavenged from a lost civilization."
The city renovated the structure soon after Gray's book was published -- although the bathrooms and the roof were permanently done away with. It remains under the control of the Parks Department. And now Inspiration Point can be easily accessed -- by bike or on foot -- via the Hudson River Greenway. I can vouch that it provides a welcome bit of shade on a hot July day -- not to mention a great view of the river and the New Jersey Palisades.
TN MOVING STORIES: LA Passes Anti-Bike Harassment Law, FAA Shutdown Looms, Heat Knocks Out Subway Countdown Clocks
Friday, July 22, 2011
Los Angeles passed a law making it illegal for drivers to harass bicyclists. (Los Angeles Times)
Because the Taxi of Tomorrow is still years away, NYC approved three new models for a taxi of today. (New York Times)
The heat knocked out some of New York City's subway clocks. (NY1)
Jay Walder, the outgoing head of New York's MTA, will get a bigger paycheck in Hong Kong - not to mention a financially healthier transit system. (Wall Street Journal)
Ray LaHood wants to avert partial FAA shutdown, urges Congress to pass a new FAA bill. Now. (Fast Lane)
High fuel costs drove American Airlines to place a record-setting order for new aircraft. (Wired/Autopia)
Meet San Francisco's new transit chief. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Walmart and Schwinn offered to replace bikes that were stolen from a NY nonprofit cycle education group. (Crain's)
Thursday, July 21, 2011
ExxonMobil, already under fire for a pipeline break that has spilled oil into Montana's Yellowstone River, was dealt another blow this week: a Montana judge has blocked the transport of that company's giant oilfield equipment through Western Montana.
According to The Missoulian, a district judge sided with Missoula County and environmental groups and agreed that the Montana Department of Transportation and Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil "failed to adequately consider impacts of the project and failed to adequately consider reasonable alternatives."
Imperial, a Canadian oil company controlled by ExxonMobil, wanted to transport 200 megaloads of processing equipment from Idaho to the Kearl Oil Sands in Alberta, Canada, via U.S. Highway 12, Highway 200 and other two-lane roads in Montana.
Montana residents are divided about the huge equipment transports, called megaloads. Earlier this year Montana lawmakers considered requiring special permitting for megaloads, but the bill didn't go anywhere. Missoula had protested megaloads because of fears about the impact the enormously heavy equipment might have on its roads and bridges. But the Montana DOT is supportive of megaloads and says they're nothing new to the state.
The state DOT says it will appeal the judge's decision.
TN MOVING STORIES: Space Shuttle Program Officially Ends, Chicago To Filter Air Inside Rail Cars, and Bostonians Want Bike Share In More Neighborhoods
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Any agreement in Washington to raise the debt ceiling probably include a plan to cut the ethanol subsidy off. (NPR)
Now that Atlantis has landed, the nation's 30 year space shuttle program is officially over. (The Takeaway)
The TSA is revamping one type of airport body scanner so that it no longer displays an image of travelers’ naked bodies. (Wired)
San Francisco's Municipal Transportation Agency will announce its new chief today. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Chicago's Metra announced it will filter the air in its commuter rail cars, after a newspaper investigation found high levels of diesel soot pollution inside the cars. (Chicago Tribune)
Now that locations are known for some Boston bike share stations, some residents want to know why their neighborhoods were passed over. (Boston Globe)
California's DMV regularly sends disabled parking placards to dead people. (Los Angeles Times)
Thursday, July 21, 2011
As we reported earlier this month, US Department of Transportation Secretary (and devoted TN reader -- check out his yellow tie) Ray LaHood reached out to us to solicit questions for his latest episode of "On the Go," his monthly video Q&A series. Today he tackles a few of them.
In the above video he responds to your questions about how the DOT can help aging transit systems ("money"), and why it's as important for the Midwest and California to get into high-speed rail as it is for the Northeast ("to get people out of cars, onto good forms of transportation, and not just do it in one part of the country").
He also hands out job advice for a recent college graduate who wants to get into urban planning ( "Look for opportunities in local government...that's where the action is at.")
Thanks to everyone who contributed questions. And be sure and check back on Friday, when Secretary LaHood will answer more more of them in his guest post for Transportation Nation.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
No rulings today in the Prospect Park West bike lane lawsuit, but there was one significant development: New York City said it would be willing to drop its statute of limitations defense if it will expedite proceedings.
The city also said that NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan had filed her own affidavit (pdf) -- and that it contradicts the one Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz submitted earlier this week. Markowitz said that the commissioner had told him the lane was a trial project -- a characterization Sadik-Khan has denied.
Opponents of the bike lane have been vociferously making the argument that the bike lane was a "trial project," which would mean there would be no statute of limitations on its lawsuit. To prove their point, plaintiffs subpoenaed city officials, including Sadik-Khan, and asked for reams of emails.
Speaking today after the court hearing at Kings County Supreme Court, city attorneys said that they'd drop the argument that the plaintiffs had missed the deadline to file to avoid jumping down that rabbit hole.
The city had been arguing that the group suing the city, Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes/Seniors for Safety, had brought suit too late. (Typically, under Article 78 proceedings --the state law that deals with suing state and city government entities-- there's a four-month statute of limitations. The bike lane was installed in July of 2010, and NBBL filed suit eight months later.)
However, attorneys said this move was under consideration, not a done deal. Justice Bert Bunyan could theoretically rule at any time on the city's request to boot the suit because it wasn't filed within that 120-day window of opportunity.
Although the judge did hear from attorneys in the case this morning, (11 people total approached the bench as part of the lawsuit) none of the conversation in the courtroom was audible and nothing was on-mic.
Jim Walden, the lawyer for the plaintiffs, characterized today's proceedings as "important" and that the city offered to drop the statute of limitations defense because the judge might allow discovery. The city has said throughout that it was prepared to defend the lane based on the merits of the case -- that the DOT was within its purview to install the lane, which was requested by the community board and has had the desired "traffic calming" effect of reducing automobile speeding and crashes along Prospect Park West.
The next court date in the case is August 3rd, when the judge will hear arguments about NBBL's subpoenas. The city had asked the judge to quash the subpoenas -- a move that could become moot if the statute of limitations defense is taken off the table.
TN MOVING STORIES: Minnesota's Transpo Cuts Lessened, NYC Losing Millions in Revenue to Fare-Beating Kids, and Zipcar Has Big Impact on Baltimore
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Cuts to Minnesota's transportation bill aren't as bad as originally projected. (Minnesota Public Radio)
Almost half of New York City's subway fare beaters are kids. (New York Daily News)
Seattle drivers might pay $100 more next year to register their cars, with most of that money earmarked for pedestrian, transit, bicycling and neighborhood-safety improvements. (Seattle Times)
Zipcar says it has reduced car ownership and increased public transit use in Baltimore. (Fast Company)
Carmageddon: a photo essay-poem, courtesy of Cute Overload.
Boston's bike share program -- Hubway-- could come to Cambridge this fall. (Boston Globe)
Wonder how Hubway is going to work? Alta Bicycle Share has a helpful video:
In some NYC neighborhoods, a clean street now means less alternate side parking. (WNYC)
Nissan is raising the price of the battery-powered Leaf and expanding sales to nine more states, mostly in the South. (Detroit Free Press)
TN MOVING STORIES: Brooklyn Borough President Gets Involved in Bike Lane Suit, and DC Metro Gets Hip to Social Media
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
He said, she said in the Prospect Park West bike lane case: Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said that NYC DOT head Janette Sadik-Khan told him the lane was temporary. (New York Post)
"That's not true," says Sadik-Khan on NY1, where she also talks about traffic in Midtown, pedestrian plazas, and crash data.
DC's Metro has launched a major social media initiative to "keep information flowing." (Washington Post)
Chinese airlines are benefiting from delays on the Shanghai-to-Beijing high-speed rail line. (Wall Street Journal)
A terrorist attack on NYC's subways would cripple the city "in ways worse than 9/11." (Associated Press)
Behold the BiPod: a hybrid electric flying car. (Fast Company)
Parking meter rates above 96th Street in Manhattan have climbed. (DNA Info)
Automakers say the Obama Administration's fuel efficiency standards are too high. (Marketplace)
Monday, July 18, 2011
A little red lighthouse in the shadow of the George Washington Bridge on Saturday.
TN MOVING STORIES: Carmageddon Ends Early, Cuomo Mum On Taxi Bill, And How Las Vegas Transit Compares to Other Cities
Monday, July 18, 2011
Los Angeles's weekend-long freeway closing finished early -- and is already being mourned by some Angelenos. "I wish they would do it every weekend,"said one. (Los Angeles Times)
DC Metro's escalators don't work well in the rain. And by "well" we mean "at all." (WAMU)
How Las Vegas's transit options compare to other similar cities. (Las Vegas Sun)
Panhandling arrests are up in the NYC subway. (New York Daily News)
Less than a year after Atlanta was awarded a $47 million federal grant to carve a 2.6-mile streetcar route through the heart of downtown, the check is now in the mail. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo is not saying whether he'll sign the NYC outer borough taxi legislation. (New York Times)
Airlines are trying to entice customers to spend more money on extras. (Marketplace)
New Mexico is building a spaceport for commercial space flights. (NPR)
TN MOVING STORIES: Making DC More Ped-Friendly, Roil in the Mass DOT, and Faster Airport Screenings?
Friday, July 15, 2011
How to make the DC area more pedestrian-friendly: discuss. (Kojo Nnamdi Show/WAMU)
Another Massachusetts transportation secretary is quitting. "No other Cabinet position has had as much turnover," writes the Boston Globe.
Iowa Senator Tom Harkin wants an ADA-compliant Taxi of Tomorrow. (New York Daily News)
New York is adding surveillance cameras to 341 more buses. (NY1)
Streetsblog looks at emails about the Prospect Park West bike lane, says the only people referring to the lane as a "trial" were the lane's opponents, not the DOT or city officials.
TN MOVING STORIES: Privatizing Amtrak Could Violate Constitution, First All-Electric Vehicle Car Share Will Debut in San Diego, and Airport Lounges for Everyone
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Privatizing Amtrak could violate a clause in the Fifth Amendment. (The Hill)
Detroit's Mayor and the City Council are at odds over which agency will supervise the city's light rail project. (Detroit Free Press)
Airport lounges for everyone...who want to pay a small fee. (Wall Street Journal)
The country's first all-electric-vehicle car sharing program will debut in San Diego later this year. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
Toronto's city council voted to remove a bike lane. (Toronto Star)
The head of the New York City Council's transportation committee wants regular reviews of the city's Bike Master Plan. (NY1)
NYC's chief digital officer will be on today's Brian Lehrer Show to talk about the MTA's transit app development contest. (WNYC)
Today is Railroad Day on Capitol Hill -- rail lobbyists unite! (Progressive Railroading)
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
TONIGHT'S THE DEADLINE: US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood does a monthly Q&A video series called "On the Go" -- and for his July episode, he's inviting questions from Transportation Nation readers. To ask him a question, you can:
Please post/tweet your questions until 11:59pm, Wednesday, July 13. He will choose three or four to respond to and tape his answers later in the month. And let him know that we sent you - write 'TN' at the end of your question. We'll post his video when it's available.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
A car-free Central Park is not a new idea, but it's been gathering momentum in recent months. TN's Andrea Bernstein talks to WNYC's Brian Lehrer about a host of city transit issues: cars in parks, urban transit policy in other countries, New York''s upcoming bike share program, the boom in weekend subway ridership -- and takes calls from listeners. Is David from Queens right -- does Mayor Michael Bloomberg have a "War on Cars"? Listen to the conversation below!
TN MOVING STORIES: Amtrak Projects Record Year, Seattle Residents Protest Transit Cuts, and a Look At the New Fulton Transit Center
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Amtrak projects that it will top 30 million passengers for the first time this year, setting a ridership record for the national passenger rail service. (The Hill)
WNYC took a sneak peek at the construction going on at the Fulton Transit Center and got some fantastic pictures.
Fairfax County (VA) might be on board with the Dulles Metrorail compromise plan floated by DOT head Ray LaHood. (WAMU)
If you're planning on bidding on naming rights for a Boston T stop, tomorrow's your deadline. (WBUR)
A whole lot of riders showed up in Seattle to protest transit cuts. (Seattle Times)
The DOT will be testing how drivers react to "connected vehicles"--cars with technology that allows them to communicate with each other, as well as infrastructure nearby. (FastLane)
The Washington Post wrote an editorial on the politics surrounding the displacement of DC's transportation committee chair. "(Residents) should worry about lost momentum on transportation issues and the message that sends to the city’s regional Metro partners."
TN's Andrea Bernstein talks NYC transit on today's Brian Lehrer Show. (WNYC)
One car-free resident of Los Angeles is not getting worked up about carmageddon. (Marketplace)
How to get a count of the number of women using New York City's bike lanes? Stand there with a clicker. (New York Times)
Manhattan's Community Board 7 hosted a discussion about Central Park's shared bike paths, but didn't take an official position. (DNA Info)