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Kate Hinds

Kate Hinds appears in the following:

TN MOVING STORIES: American Airlines Files for Bankruptcy, Pittsburgh's Transit System Faces a 35% Cut, DC's Metro Considers a "Tourist Zone"

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Top stories on TN:

Building the Second Avenue Subway: the sandhog tradition stays in the family. (Link)

Choose your own rail adventure -- via computer games. (Link)

Audio tour: the worst road in California's wine country. (Link)

(photo by caribb via flickr)

American Airlines filed for bankruptcy protection. (Bloomberg, New York Times, Marketplace)

DC's Metro is considering a 'tourist zone' to make buying fare cards easier for non-residents. (Greater Greater Washington)

Pittsburgh's public transit system may be facing a 35% service cut if elected leaders don't resolve a state transportation budget shortfall. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Following two separate battery fires, GM is reassuring Volt owners that the car is safe. (Detroit Free Press)

Troy's new mayor wants to send back $8.5 million in federal aid to build a transit center. (Detroit Free Press)

The Wall Street Journal doesn't like Governor Cuomo's plan to use pension funds to repair infrastructure. "As an "investment opportunity," the Tappan Zee isn't Google." (Wall Street Journal)

But: the governor now says he won't use pension funds as an investment vehicle to fund the Tappan Zee Bridge. (Wall Street Journal)

Researchers found a link between Houston's buses and tuberculosis. (Atlantic Cities)

Atlanta Journal-Constitution op-ed: a unified transit system will lift the Metro Atlanta region. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

One former resident's account: I lived in Los Angeles for eight years without a car -- and you can, too. (The Source)

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TN MOVING STORIES: Bus Service Cuts Lead to Subway Ridership Boom, Bike Subsidies Lead to Better School Attendance in India

Monday, November 28, 2011

Top stories on TN:

Service on Metro-North's Port Jervis line resumes today, after months of storm-related repair. (Link)

Railroads are benefiting from the oil boom in the Montana/North Dakota/Canada area. (Link)

East Harlem bike lanes hit a speed bump. (Link)

Crowded subway car (photo by lizzard_nyc via Flickr)

A year and a half after the MTA's service cuts, more New Yorkers are riding the subways. (NY Post)

The booming redevelopment of New York's west side Hudson Yards is better off without the Olympics. (New York Times)

New York Times op-ed: the collapse of the car-dependent suburban fringe caused the mortgage collapse.  (For more on this story, listen to our documentary, "Back of the Bus:  Mass Transit, Race, and Inequality.")

A Los Angeles Times columnist takes a new bike lane downtown for a test drive. (LA Times)

A bill that would lead to the creation of Detroit's third bus system -- and its first BRT -- will be introduced in Michigan's state legislature this week. (Crain's Detroit)

More than 870,000 schoolgirls from the Indian state of Bihar have received subsidies to buy bicycles -- and now their school attendance rates have tripled, to 90%. (The Guardian)

 

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NYC's East Harlem Bike Lanes Hit A Speed Bump

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A protected bike lane along the West Side's Columbus Avenue (photo by Kate Hinds)

Another bike lane battle is brewing in New York City. This time it comes in East Harlem. After voting in favor of a pair of protected bike lanes along First and Second Avenues, from 96th Street to 125th Street, Community Board 11 voted last week to rescind that support.

Matthew Washington, CB11's chair, sounded exasperated when asked about the turn of events. Washington supports the lanes, and he said the board voted overwhelmingly in favor of the lanes just two months ago.

"For members to vote one way in September, and then vote...to pull that vote away two months later," he said, "to me says the members weren't paying attention to what they were doing."

He said the official position of the community board is now "neutral" -- at least for now.

City Council member Melissa Mark-Viverito, who has rallied at City Hall in support of expanding the city's bike lane network, represents the neighborhood. She called the recent CB11 vote "a temporary setback" and that she wasn't concerned.

"What I believe occurred," she said, "was that there were two people with self-interest that completely misled and created a lot of confusion at the prior board meeting. This issue had been voted on...and at this last board meeting, the issue was brought back up on open business at 9:30 at night, people were tired, it had been a long meeting, a lot of information that was misrepresented was thrown out there, I think it created some level of confusion among some board members.”

The two people in question, Frank Brija and Erik Mayor, are two local business owners who also sit on the community board. They said that the DOT had not done enough outreach to local businesses and produced a petition against the lanes. Brija, who owns Patsy's Pizzeria (on First Avenue and 117th Street) was quoted in DNA Info as saying: "All we do is complain about traffic, all we do is complain about asthma. Now the DOT is going to create more traffic."

Washington disputes that characterization. "I just don't even understand how people are constructing these ideas," Washington said in a phone interview with Transportation Nation. "They're saying traffic on First Avenue is not moving and going to get worse -- but traffic can't really get worse than not moving."

Another concern for local businesses is parking. The website for Patsy's Pizzeria states: "Plenty of on street parking is available around the neighborhood, so drive on in!" Brija did not return a call seeking comment.

Melissa Mark-Viverito said she wants businesses and residents to understand that the lanes can expand, not narrow, the appeal of the neighborhood. "Somehow [they hold] the idea that the only people who go to businesses are people that drive," she said. "Having protected bike lanes, and creating a safe space for bikers to come, we actually may be encouraging people from outside our community to come and venture and go to the businesses, go to the restaurants, to avail themselves of the services that are key here, so we have to see bikers, and creating a level of protection for them – not only for the residents that live in my community – but potentially for people who want to come and visit our neighborhood."

The DOT had initially planned to install the Second Avenue lane in the spring of 2012. Viverito said that schedule was still doable -- provided it re-passes the community board. And she's optimistic: “I feel very confident that this will pass overwhelmingly,” she said.  Washington agreed. "There's still opportunity for the board to work out some of the kinks, some of the issues that people feel are relevant and move forward."

The DOT said in a statement that the agency "will return to the board soon to review the presentation and explain how we plan to address merchant concerns."  And Washington said that representatives from the DOT will be at the next transportation committee meeting, scheduled to take place at the CB11 office on December 6.

"But I think we're going to have to relocate it," he said, "because I anticipate we will have large attendance at this meeting."

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Future East Harlem Bike Lanes Hit A Speed Bump

Sunday, November 27, 2011

After voting in favor of a pair of protected bike lanes along First and Second Avenues, from 96th Street to 125th Street, East Harlem's Community Board 11 voted last week to rescind that support.

Comments [3]

TN MOVING STORIES: Blasting on Second Avenue Subway Temporarily Halted, Ford and GM Resume Rivalry, More on Tappan Zee Funding Plans

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Top stories on TN:

Watch a video short about a desk toy who uses Google Street View to take a virtual road trip. (Link)

Houston's red light camera squabble has yet to be resolved. (Link)

Drag racers and drug smugglers drive Houston's car thefts. (Link)

Welding work on the 2nd Avenue Subway (photo by Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

Blasting on the Second Avenue Subway project was temporarily halted after complaints about smoke and dust from nearby residents. (New York Times, New York Daily News)

More on paying for the Tappan Zee Bridge project: Governor Cuomo is looking for alternative financing (Bloomberg) -- but says talk of leveraging pension funds for infrastructure is "premature." (Poughkeepsie Journal)

Two California representatives want federal help with a struggling airport. (Los Angeles Times)

NPR finishes up its series on fuel economy with a look at making gasoline-powered engines more efficient. (NPR)

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey received a negative credit rating outlook. (The Record)

Florida's rejected high-speed rail funding is now California's gain. (Politico)

Ford and GM have a bitter rivalry that sometimes devolves into name calling. (Wall Street Journal)

If you see a NYPD officer rappelling down the Roosevelt Island Tram, don't be alarmed -- it's only an exercise. (NY1)

And: a map of every U.S. road accident victim between 2001 - 2009 (Guardian)

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Google Street View: Not Just For Directions Anymore

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

When you're a desk toy doomed to a stationary existence, you don't get out much -- unless you know how to use the Internet.  Address is Approximate is a short stop motion film that imagines the toy "tak(ing) a cross country road trip to the Pacific Coast in the only way he can – using a toy car and Google Maps Street View." You can follow along as the toy goes over the Brooklyn Bridge, through cities, forests, and deserts--ultimately making it to his West Cost destination. Watch it below!

Address Is Approximate from The Theory on Vimeo.

Hat tip to Laughing Squid.

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TN MOVING STORIES: Cuomo May Tap Pension Funds to Finance Tappan Zee, What The New Fuel Economy Standards Mean for You, and More on the "Low Line"

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Top stories on TN:

DOT head Ray LaHood hopes to transportation doesn't get cut in the wake of the supercommittee failure. (Link)

Connecticut is getting inter-city bus BRT. (Link)

NY builds its first 'slow zone' to combat speeding. (Link)

Rendering of the Low Line (image courtesy of Delancey Underground)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo may use private and public pension funds to help finance the Tappan Zee Bridge overhaul. (Wall Street Journal)

Maryland's latest toll road could be its last for a generation, given how much the state had to borrow to build it. (Washington Post)

Senator Schumer is backing lower tolls for Staten Islanders. (Staten Island Advance)

NYC school bus drivers: not striking yet. (WNYC)

Editorial: the list of projects on Atlanta's upcoming transit referendum is a necessity, not a choice. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

What the new fuel economy standards will mean to you. (KQED Climate Watch)

Korean auto manufacturers are ramping up U.S. lobbying. (Politico)

Volkswagen's new concept delivery van has "semi-autonomous capabilities." (Gizmag)

An abandoned trolley terminal under NYC's Delancey Street could become the 'Low Line' -- an underground park. (New York Times)

Mobile, Alabama, gets its first bike racks. (Press-Register)

Obesity is a major problem for America's truck drivers. (New York Times)

Who's buying hybrids? Looks like people on the West Coast. (NPR)

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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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