(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) There were competing rallies two weeks ago over the Park Slope bike lane. Now, the Columbus Avenue bike lane, which stretches from 96th Street to 77th Street, will have its own moment of heated public expression at the upcoming Community Board 7 meeting on Tuesday, November 9th.
CB7, which approved the protected lane in June after much debate, will no doubt be getting an earful about the lanes. (The meeting, which was initially scheduled for tonight, has been moved back a week because of what CB7 says was a scheduling conflict.) Some neighborhood businesses have posted signs on their doors, trying to encourage people to attend the meeting to speak out against the bike lane. And Zingone's, a popular mom-and-pop neighborhood grocery store, has started a petition against it.
Meanwhile, Streetsblog wants to counter the bike lane negativity and is encouraging people to attend the meeting. "Defending it strongly now can only help when extensions come up for consideration."
Are you planning on attending Tuesday's CB7 meeting? If so, let us know what happens! Post a comment or email us at email@example.com.
(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) U.S. representative Jim Oberstar (D-MN), who was narrowly defeated yesterday by Republican Chip Cravaack, will speak today at 2pm Eastern time. This will be his first statement since losing the election.
Political newcomer Cravaack defeated Oberstar by about 4,000 votes and a single percentage point--but the margin isn't small enough to trigger a recount. Cravaack accused Oberstar of neglecting his home district and told supporters his victory should serve as a warning. "The voters have spoken, and I hope they are paying attention in Washington," Cravaack said. "Because you have spoken loud and clear, not just from Minnesota, but from across this great nation. Let this serve as a warning to Congress. We don't work for you. You work for us."
Speaking on Minnesota Public Radio this morning, MPR reporter Stephanie Hemphill said that "there will be a lot of people waking up this morning and pinching themselves, including Chip Cravaack and Congressman Oberstar. It's hard to believe that someone who was in Congress since 1975 is not going to be there anymore."
Oberstar chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He was the only member of Minnesota's congressional delegation to fail to win re-election, and his defeat leaves many wondering what this means for transportation projects.
To hear Chip Craavack's victory speech, go here.
The Transport Politic does election analysis, says that "for advocates of alternative transportation, (it was) a difficult election day."
London subway workers go on strike for the third time in as many months. (AP)
New York City's transit court will soon provide translation services via telephone. This is a change from their current policy, in which "people who do not speak English are asked to bring a friend or family member who can translate." (New York Times)
The PATH train, at $1.75 a ride, is a bargain for New Yorkers who use it to avoid the MTA's higher fares. (New York Times)
The Guangzhou subway system is struggling to cope with an explosion in riders, as the system is free in advance of the Asian Games. (Global Times)
The Infrastructurist asks: where should ARC money go? They have a couple of ideas.
Fast Company profiles the Springsteen-loving founder of HopStop.
San Francisco's population of computer workers has boomed in recent years--in part because employers like Google, eBay, Twitter, Yahoo and Facebook provide private shuttle buses to their suburban campuses. "Like Google's buses, the Yahoo buses run on biodiesel, giving environmentally conscious employees another reason to feel good about their commute, besides comfortable seats, the cup holders and the Wi-Fi." (Silicon Valley Mercury-News)
(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) Not even home run kings are above the law.
The San Jose Mercury News reports that former San Francisco Giants baseball player Barry Bonds was issued a ticket for talking on his cell phone while driving -- "just as his former team was celebrating its first World Series title since moving to San Francisco."
But not even the prospect of a $125 fine could curb his enthusiasm. Bonds issued a statement last night that said "I am ecstatic for the team, the city and all the fans – you truly deserve it."
The Infrastructurist says: the survival of American high-speed rail hinges upon today's vote.
Grist talks to PolicyLink's Angela Glover Blackwell about why she says transportation is a civil rights issue--and what her worries are for today's election. "It is probably safe to assume that if the Congress becomes more Republican that having the support for infrastructure investment in public transportation will become a divisive issue."
Tow your charger: one Indiana company plans to market a "range extender"--a trailer that you tow behind your electric car that contains a generator to keep your car charged (Wired). Which you might need: GM's Volt has ten million lines of software code. "A car in the 1980s was roughly 5 percent electronics. The Chevy Volt is 40 percent. GM likens the product development for the Volt to a rocket program." (Smart Planet)
Speaking of GM: it goes public today. "In the next 24 hours or so GM is expected to file final papers for an Initial Public Offering. That sale of shares to private investors would change Uncle Sam from a majority owner into a minority owner." (Marketplace).
Behold: the first 3-D printed hybrid car. (Fast Company)
The head of the Allied Pilots Association opposes body scanner screening for pilots, says that the "practice of airport security screening of airline pilots has spun out of control and does nothing to improve national security." (Dallas Morning News.) Meanwhile, international cooperation over aviation security is gaining attention. (Wall Street Journal)
Seattle's Metro Transit is watching La Niña and preparing for a snowier-than-usual winter--and hoping to not repeat what happened in 2008, when bad weather caused Metro to cut service in half. (Seattle Times)
NJ Transit officials are wondering what to do with $47 million of North Bergen property, purchased for the ARC tunnel entrance. (Jersey Journal)
The Detroit Free Press cheers that state's recent high speed rail grant, but says they should have gotten more money. "The failure of Michigan politicians to address transportation funding needs certainly did not help."
AC Transit service cuts began yesterday, hitting Bay Area with a 7% reduction in service. (Silicon Valley Mercury-News)
General Motors officially retired the Pontiac brand, and the New York Times wrote an obituary.
This weekend's "Rally to Restore Sanity" set DC Metro ridership records. (WAMU)
"Underbelly Project:" an art exhibit (illegally) mounted in an abandoned New York City subway station. (New York Times)
Election tweet of the day, from Matt Laslo: "Totally just saw a Fimian for Congress truck smack and bend a parking meter."
(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) On this morning's Brian Lehrer Show: their pre-election series 30 Issues in 30 Days tackles the issue of New York's MTA and how it might be affected by the upcoming election. Guests are Gene Russianoff, staff attorney at the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, and Andrea Bernstein, WNYC reporter and director of Transportation Nation. Tune in on 93.9FM, AM820, or WNYC.org. (Audio from the segment will also be available on WNYC's website later on this afternoon.)
New York City's MTA to quiet 6,000 city buses with mufflers. (NY Daily News)
A survey says that most DC Metro workers see safety violations, but fail to report them because they feared retaliation--or indifference. (Washington Post)
Airport security measures to get...more personal: "moving from the screener's traditional hand pat to more of a hand-sliding motion." (AP)
We have electric cars -- what about electric planes? Apparently they're making inroads in flight schools. (Wired)
If elected to office, Andrew Cuomo will bring not only his professional experience to Albany, but also "his garage full of 1970s muscle cars and a custom-made motorcycle, which he has labored and obsessed over since his days as a teenage gas station attendant in Queens." (New York Times)
More people took an Amtrak train in the last year than ever before, bringing in record ticket sales for the national rail service. But it's feeling the competition from inexpensive inter-city bus companies like Bolt.
Amtrak's most popular line continues to be the Northeast Corridor - the Boston-to-Washington route that boasts the Acela (with a top--albeit rarely achieved--speed of 165 mph, it's the closest thing the U.S. has to high speed rail right now--although today's DOT grants aim to eventually change that). Nancy Solomon reported on NPR that Amtrak passengers cite the convenience, the internet capability, and the relative comfort as being the big draw (NOT the train food, of which one rider says: "That's like plane food, that's just, no — that's, that's creepy.") And they're willing to pay -- a round-trip Acela ticket can cost $300.
To continue to attract passengers, Amtrak is trying to upgrade its culinary options--and expand internet access to more of its trains.
You can read Nancy Solomon's story here.
(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) It's a sure sign that the holiday shopping season has begun: the Hess Corporation has announced that the newest addition to its toy truck lineup will be available for purchase at its gas stations in mid-November. This is a much-anticipated event among children and adults alike--some of whom have been collecting these toy trucks since the company began making them in 1964.
This year's truck is actually a truck-and-jet combination (to the untrained eye, it looks like a tractor trailer carrying a space shuttle on its back). To quote from the source: "Loaded with chrome detailing, the 14-wheeler tractor trailer features a flatbed trailer with hydraulic lift and runway lights that doubles as a launch pad for the accompanying high-powered jet." It costs $25.99 plus tax--and comes with batteries.
A quick web search revealed adulatory blog posts, historical society exhibits, lots of auctions, and a Facebook fan page where you can learn about the Hess toy truck's enduring role in family tradition
Possible routes for LA's Westside subway extension to be unveiled today, along with details of light rail connector. (Los Angeles Times)
Vote "O" for potholes: seven Bay Area counties will vote on whether to add fees to vehicle registration to pay for road repair (San Jose Mercury News)
MBTA's "Charlie cards" will start working today on buses in Boston's western suburbs. (Boston Globe)
Body scanning machines debut at Newark Liberty International Airport today. (Star Ledger)
A "motley, uncomfortable alliance" of Metro Atlanta officials met to talk about regional transportation needs. The meeting was described as "uneasy." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
The Takeaway unpacks the political motivation behind the Obama Administration's high speed rail grants.
New Jersey is moving to privatize toll collection on the Garden State Parkway and NJ Turnpike. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
World Series tweet of the day: "The BART announcer keeps on teasing Texas. It's nice to see this city rally behind something besides an iPhone every now and then."
(Matthew Schuerman, WNYC) New Jersey Governor Chris Christie killed a new train tunnel project under the Hudson River for a second time. "This decision is final," Christies said at a news conference Wednesday morning, adding that there is no opportunity for another review.
Christie canceled the project on October 7 for the first time, saying it would cost $2 billion to $5 billion over its $8.7 billion budget. But he agreed to reconsider the next day after Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who supports the project, outlined various options to salvage it.
Read the rest of the story over at WNYC.
(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) Transportation Secretary RayLaHood issued an unusually detailed response to NJ Governor Christie's official killing of the ARC tunnel--one in which he lays out his version of what the estimated project cost would have been. Read his full statement:
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Statement on the Termination of the ARC Tunnel Project
Washington, DC – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today issued the following statement on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s decision to terminate the ARC tunnel project.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood: “I am extremely disappointed in Governor Christie’s decision to abandon the ARC tunnel project, which is a devastating blow to thousands of workers, millions of commuters and the state’s economic future. The governor’s decision to stop work on this project means commuters – who would have saved 45 minutes each day thanks to the ARC tunnel – will instead see no end to traffic congestion and ever-longer wait times on train platforms. Our DOT team has worked hard over the last several weeks to present Governor Christie with workable solutions to bring the ARC tunnel to life. I want to thank Senators Lautenberg and Menendez for their tireless efforts on behalf of this important project.”
(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) This morning Governor Christie released a memo entitled "Christie Administration Enforces Budget Discipline and Protects New Jersey Taxpayer Dollars--New Jersey Can’t Afford ARC Project and Shutdown Continues."
Trenton, NJ – Today, Governor Chris Christie accepted the recommendation of NJ Transit Executive Director Jim Weinstein to continue the orderly and expeditious shutdown of the ARC Project. Despite intense negotiations with federal and state participants, no agreement was reached on terms that would assure New Jersey’s taxpayers would not pay more than $2.7 billion for a completed Trans Hudson Express ARC project.
Federal cost estimates range from $9.8 billion to $12.7 billion. In addition this range does not include $775 million that New Jersey would be required to spend to build the Portal Bridge South, an integral part the ARC project.
On October 8, 2010, Governor agreed to an additional two week review of the ARC project at the request of US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood.
A memorandum from the ARC Project Executive Committee is attached to this release.
You can read the memo below:
ARC tunnel killed again. (WNYC)
South Dakota program aims to stop drunk driving by enforcing sobriety, 24/7. (The Takeaway)
NJ Transit launches "My Bus" program; passengers can now use text messages to find out when the next bus will arrive. (Jersey Journal)
Federal employees who have enjoyed a big break in their commuting costs since early last year, thanks to the stimulus law, may enjoy it no longer--unless Congress acts before the end of the year. (Washington Post)
San Francisco area to begin what they say is the nation's first regional bike sharing program--1,000 bikes to be available in the city and along the Caltrain corridor in San Jose, Palo Alto, Mountain View and Redwood City. (San Francisco Chronicle)
(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) High speed rail has been a hot topic in Florida--and that state just won even more federal money ($800 million in non-stimulus DOT money added to $1.25 billion in stimulus) for a proposed line to connect Tampa and Orlando -so it's no surprise that it came up in last night's gubernatorial debate between Democratic candidate Alex Sink and Republican nominee Rick Scott. Scott tries to tar Sink with the implication that she'll raise taxes to pay for the project--and that he'll kill the project until he knows how to pay for it in its entirety. (Does this remind you of another governor?)
Sink's comments on the matter were lost to a broadly worded question on government spending in general. (Does she support raises for government workers (she says no) and expansion of Pre-K?) And then after Scott gave his answer, the moderators went on to ask Sink and Scott about the BP oil spill without teasing out Sink's views on High Speed Rail (though in the past she's voiced support for the project).
Watch the video --the question comes at about four minutes and 20 seconds in. The relevant transcript of the exchange is posted below (the full transcript is here).
Note: the Sarasota Herald-Tribune points out that Florida's Republican-led legislature endorsed the high-speed rail project last year.
A cut too far: the NYC MTA restores some express bus service that it had cut earlier in the summer. (WNYC)
The DC Metro may be struggling, but blogs and twitter feeds about it are booming. (WAMU)
Excerpts from the New York Times' interview with Carl Paladino: On waste in the MTA, he says: "It’s a very complex function, but we’ve compounded its problems by letting it become so political. It’s the political aspect of it that’s really defeating it."
The Ford posts 6th straight profitable quarter--"the highest in the automaker’s 107- year history." (Bloomberg)
New bus transit center unveiled in Las Vegas amid much Vegas-style ceremony. "I've done a number of these things, never with pythons and roller girls," said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
San Francisco Examiner op-ed says that "the Bay Area is reeling from a continuing series of really bad transportation decisions. The region tends to evolve through single-purpose 'fixes' that fail to address the Bay Area’s real transportation needs."
ARC tunnel: still waiting on Gov. Christie's verdict (Star Ledger), which gives reporters time to wonder: has the U.S. lost its appetite for visionary infrastructure projects? (AP via the Lehigh Valley Express-Times)
Los Angeles Times architecture critic writes that the debate about LA's development is more polarized than ever: "I am convinced that the gap between those who welcome additional density and crave mass transit and those who are on guard against such change is widening, and indeed will come to define the political landscape in Los Angeles for the next decade or two."
The Washington Examiner doesn't like how DC is spending its transpo money: "Washington-area officials plan to spend two-thirds of future transportation dollars on improving the region's public transit systems, despite estimates that public transit accounts for less than 10 percent of area travel."
Your Holland Tunnel commute will get worse for the next, oh, five years, while lanes are shut for water main repairs (Star Ledger)
Body scanners now at JFK; other NYC area airports to get them soon. (New York Daily News)
Italy orders Google to clearly mark their "street view" photo collecting cars, as well as give the public advance notice and an itinerary. (Reuters). Jalopnik says: "This is a godsend for fame-hungry costume-dressing Street View pranksters."
Apple opens store in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, renovates area train station that was "once...so dingy that riders would travel one stop farther on the Red Line, or get off one stop early, just to avoid it." (Chicago Tribune)
Biggest threat to Americans abroad isn't terrorism -- it's "a lethal cocktail of killer roads, unsafe vehicles, dangerous driving and disoriented travelers." (USA Today)
Will Governor Christie hand down his ARC tunnel decision today--or think some more over the weekend? (AP via Star Ledger)
French president Sarkozy forcibly opens one oil refinery--but 2,500 gas stations are still empty. (BBC)
Palo Alto city council doesn't want high-speed rail stop, says "it doesn't make good transit sense." (Silicon Valley Mercury News)
The New York Times' Complaint Box takes subway door standers to task...and deputizes their readers to enforce subway etiquette. Plus: they have a beautiful online photo exhibit of historic images of the subway.
(Kate Hinds, WNYC/Transportation Nation) “Many New Yorkers do not even know what the speed limit is,” said New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. Speaking today at the intersection where Broadway, Amsterdam Avenue and West 71st Street meet in a notorious “bow-tie” configuration, she said that the city and the New York Police Department are kicking off an enforcement campaign designed to make the streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers.