Streams

Kate Hinds

Kate Hinds appears in the following:

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

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Top stories on TN:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Monday, November 14, 2011

Top stories on TN:

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

Bay Area bikers are getting free lights. (Link)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 11, 2011

Top stories on TN:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Top stories on TN:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Top stories on TN:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Top stories on TN:

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

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

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

Image courtesy of Pace Bus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 07, 2011

Top stories on TN:

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

Do residential parking permits have unintended consequences? (Link)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More on Seattle's sperm bike from NPR.

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

Friday, November 04, 2011

Top stories on TN:

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

Broken escalators haunt DC's Metro. (Link)

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

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

Metro entrance in LA (photo by JoeInSouthernCA via Flickr)

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

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

Disabled New Yorkers want more accessible taxis. (WNYC)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Top stories on TN:

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

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

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

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

Occupy Oakland demonstrations shut down the port. (Marketplace)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Top stories on TN:

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

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

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

Boston T (photo by Michael Kappel via Flickr)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

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

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

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

(image courtesy of Senator Lautenberg)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Rahm Emanuel Rides Transit During Zombie Apocalypse

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

 

(photo courtesy of Chicago Mayor's Office Facebook page)

Well, what else would you do? Traffic on Lake Shore Drive is murder.

No word on whether Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was heading off to trick-or-treat. But it looks like he has the zombie vote locked up.

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TN MOVING STORIES: California Bullet Train Cost Estimate Doubles, Atlanta Tries Downtown Transit Hub Again, and Honda Cuts Production

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Top stories on TN:

Why NYC taxi medallions are worth more than ever. (Link)

The federal government says so-called "Chinatown buses" have more accidents. (Link)

Safety concerns prevent Pittsburgh bicyclists from becoming regular commuters. (Link)

A rendering of a California bullet train (image courtesy of the California High-Speed Rail Authority)

The cost of California's high-speed rail project has jumped to $98.5 billion, according to a business plan being released today. (Los Angeles Times)

The president's infrastructure bank proposal comes up for a vote in the Senate this week. (The Hill)

Atlanta's trying one more time to build a transit hub downtown. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Ray LaHood says Republicans prioritize thwarting the president. “Republicans made a decision right after the election—don’t  give Obama any victories. The heck with putting people to work, because we can score points.” (The Daily Beast)

Parts shortages from three months of catastrophic flooding in Thailand have forced Honda to cut U.S. and Canadian factory production by 50 percent for the second time this year. (NPR)

Airlines are trying to cut boarding time on planes. (New York Times)

Transit wish list: the Triboro RX line, which would connect Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx -- without coming into Manhattan. (Second Avenue Sagas)

An upstate county official slams the NY State Department of Transportation for not being prepared for this weekend's snowstorm. (AP via Wall Street Journal)

Transportation groups are pushing for a gas tax increase, but Congress and the White House aren't biting. (Politico)

Does London's bike-promoting mayor put cars first? The Guardian says yes.

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TN MOVING STORIES: October Snow Snarls Northeast Transit, Massachusetts Judges Go Easy on Drunk Drivers

Monday, October 31, 2011

Top stories on TN:

A plan to expand managed toll lanes on highways around Florida has strong support. (Link)

There's no recession at the busy Port of Houston. (Link)

Downed utility pole on New York's Metro-North rail line following a rare October snowstorm (photo by John Wagner/Metropolitan Transportation Authority)

Massachusetts judges tend to go easy on drunk drivers. (Boston Globe)

The AP fact-checks Republican claims that $1 out of every $10 in transportation aid is spent wasteful projects. The verdict: "To make their case, lawmakers have exaggerated and misrepresented some projects that have received aid." (Link)

Union Pacific says California's planned high-speed rail project poses safety risks to its freight operations -- and disregards the company's property rights (Los Angeles Times). Meanwhile, the state releases its high-speed rail business plan tomorrow. (Mercury News)

NY Daily News: table the city's Taxi of Tomorrow until it's wheelchair-accessible. (Link)

Speaking of cabs: Taxi TV is making it easier to lower the volume -- or hit the mute button. (New York Times)

And: A NY Times editorial supports the city's crackdown on unnecessary honking.

Women are still sitting in the back on Brooklyn's B110 bus. (Wall Street Journal)

Qantas will resume flights after regulators ordered an end to work stoppages. (Marketplace)

Following a rare October snowstorm, two NJ Transit rail lines will be out of service Monday (MorristownGreen.com); there are also some disruptions on Metro-North (LoHud.com).

DC's Tourmobile is closing up shop. (WAMU)

And: Happy Halloween!

Halloween comes to the NYC subway (photo by Kate Hinds)

 

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Snapshot | Fall Offerings at Farmers Market

Friday, October 28, 2011

A cornucopia of autumnal goodies was available at the Union Square farmers market on Friday, a brisk fall day.

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NY Residents: We Want Transit on New Tappan Zee

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hundreds of Rockland County residents got their first look at plans for a new Tappan Zee Bridge – but many felt key details were left out of the discussion at the packed Palisades Center on Thursday.

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TN MOVING STORIES: Staten Island Pols Oppose #7 to Secaucus, Late School Buses Spur Boston Mayor To Action, and Robert Moses Biopic Coming to HBO

Friday, October 28, 2011

Top stories on TN:

Rockland County residents: we want a new Tappan Zee, but we want transit, too. (Link)

LIRR scam could total $1 billion. (Link)

Bay Area seniors go back to school to learn public transit. (Link)

Red light cameras may prioritize money, not safety. (Link)

(photo by Ben Walker via Flickr)

Staten Island elected officials oppose extending the #7 train to Secaucus, want that borough's toll burden lessened. (Staten Island Advance)

BART's board of directors tables talks on a cell phone ban. (San Francisco Chronicle)

As 25% of buses continue to arrive late two months into the school year, Boston's mayor orders oversight. (Boston Globe)

Pennsylvania's governor probably won't push for more transportation funding, despite a committee recommendation. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

A Los Angeles transit fan gets a special welcome from that city's mayor. (Los Angeles Times)

New York Times editorial on LIRR pension scam: So many questions, including: "what fostered such an apparent universal collapse of public servants’ integrity?"

Could bike share come to Beirut? (Daily Star)

A Robert Moses biopic is coming to HBO. Now, who should play him? (Atlantic Cities)

Look! On the streets of Seattle! It's the sperm bike! (Seattle Post Intelligencer)

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Rockland County Residents: We Want A New Tappan Zee, But We'd Like Transit, Too

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pointing the way to the meeting at the Palisades Center in Nyack (photo by Kate Hinds)

Hundreds of Rockland County residents packed a community room in the Palisades Center Thursday to get their first look at plans for a new Tappan Zee Bridge.

The replacement span is estimated to cost $5.2 billion. It will have eight lanes, leaving a space in the middle for future transit. It will also have other features the current bridge lacks, like a breakdown lane and a bike and pedestrian walkway.

But other details weren’t available --like how the bridge will be financed, or at what future date transit might be added.

Betty Meisler, who lives in Valley Cottage, said the plans didn't look that different from the current bridge. “I would say a bus lane would be helpful, because they do have the Tappan Zee Express (bus) that takes people from the Palisades Center over to Tarrytown, to the train station and to White Plains. But if they’re not even going to have that, what are they doing to improve the transportation problems that we have now?”  M.J. Plachy, a resident of Upper Nyack, said she was grateful the new bridge will have a walkway and she would walk to the train station in Tarrytown. "But if there was a more reliable public transportation way of getting across the river," she said, "it would make my life so much easier."

She wasn't alone in that opinion. A number of local officials began their testimony by thanking Governor Cuomo for his leadership -- and then by asking that transit be prioritized. Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski stirred up memories of last year's ARC tunnel cancellation with some cautionary words. “Certainly," he said, "this could be Rockland’s last chance for having a one-seat ride into the city.”

Harriett Cornell, a Rockland County legislator, was applauded when she said “I think there’s a bit of a difference between not precluding public transportation and actively making provision for future transit in the construction.”

But Joan McDonald, commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation, took issue with the characterization that the bridge lacks transit. “The transit has not gone anywhere. I think it’s very important to clarify that. We’re speeding up construction of the bridge, we’re not slowing down transit. The project that’s on the table now will be built to not preclude transit in the future, when it is financially feasible.”

Joan McDonald, New York State DOT Commissioner, at the Tappan Zee Bridge scoping meeting in Nyack (photo by Kate Hinds)

She said it’s not just a financial reality, but a practical one. “Some of the transit issues, whether it’s BRT (bus rapid transit) or commuter rail, are very detailed issues that need to be resolved with localities, particularly in Rockland County. Where do you site bus rapid transit stations, where do you put parking, if you want to add another lane for bus rapid transit, that would entail property takings, and that will take two to three years to get there, and the costs are between two billion and four billion to build that.”

Image from the Tappan Zee scoping information session (photo by Kate Hinds)

There are other pressures. The existing bridge is in such bad shape that officials say just maintaining it for the next ten years would cost $1.3 billion.

And locals are eager for the construction jobs a new bridge would bring -- as well as the future benefits of having a reliable structure. Al Girardi works for Local 137, the International Union of Operating Engineers. “For most of 2011 we’ve probably run at about 43% unemployment,” he said. “A lot of our members are running out of benefits.” Christopher St. Lawrence, the supervisor for the town of Ramapo, said he didn’t want to lose businesses to New Jersey or Connecticut. “We are always competing, whether we’re keeping Avon in Suffern, or LeCroy in Chestnut Ridge, or Novartis -- some of our big employers.” He mentioned that Pfizer pulled up stakes in Rockland County -- a major blow to the area. “We need to be able to attract those businesses. Having a Tappan Zee Bridge that is functional is key to being able to do that.”

The state will release a draft environmental impact statement in January, and hold public hearings the following month. Joan McDonald said she expects the federal government to issue a decision by August 2012; construction will begin shortly after.

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