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Kate Hinds

Kate Hinds appears in the following:

Does Europe Like Bikes More Than New York?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

(Kate Hinds and Nancy Solomon, Transportation Nation) Since 2006, New York City has added 250 miles of bike lanes in an effort, Mayor Bloomberg says, to improve traffic, air quality, and ultimately, public health. But while polls show support for bike lanes, opposition has been loud -- and vehement -- around the city.  So WNYC's Transportation Nation team got to wondering: do Europeans just like biking more than New Yorkers?

Bicycle parking outside a Copenhagen train station (photo by Jim Colgan)

We spoke to Danes and New Yorkers to see if we could figure this out.

On a recent trip to Aarhus -- Denmark’s second largest city -- all of the guests at a dinner party have kids, cycle to work and do most errands by bike, even though each family owns a car. Lars Villemoes said he prefers to bike even when it's raining.

“It’s a really good feeling, I love it in the morning, I go faster every morning and I love it when I see the line of cars and I just go past them, that’s such a good feeling,” he said.

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“The safety has to be considered because in order to take your children you have to be absolutely safe about this,” said his friend Lone Maribo. She added: “And I think taking your children is the first step to changing the culture, isn't it?"

The culture she is referring to is not just a small subculture. Eighteen percent of Danish commuters bike to work. Busy thoroughfares have bike lanes separated by a curb and traffic lights just for bikes. The lanes get a steady flow of cyclists -- young, old, women, white collar workers in suits -- and the story is the same in Holland and Germany.

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TN Moving Stories: China's (Less) High-Speed Rail, Sleeping Controllers, Carsharing Meets Stock Market

Thursday, April 14, 2011

If you're wondering how all these contentious budget deals are affecting plans -- and money -- for high-speed rail, Transportation Nation's Andrea Bernstein combed through the reports to find out. (The Takeaway)

China is also putting the brakes on high-speed, but for another reason. China slows down its bullet train over safety concerns. (WSJ)

After a second air traffic controller fell asleep working the lonely night shift, the FAA has announced it will add a second controller overnights at 26 airports, including D.C.'s Reagan National. (WAMU) But are air traffic controllers just plain overworked? (The Takeaway)

ZipCar, the country's largest carsharing company, has gone public, raising more than 31 percent above the expected offering price. (Bloomberg) That's all without the company actually making a profit. Marketplace explains that's not because the model doesn't work, but because buying all those cars to expand to new cities keeps the company in the red.

If it still ruffles your feathers to pay to check a bag while flying, consider that you don't get a refund on that fee when the airlines loose your luggage. Well the DOT wants to change that. (AP) Security pat-downs are also under review. After a You Tube video showed a six-year-old enduring a security pat-down, the TSA is considering changes to the policy. (Denver Post)

IBM and U.C. Berkeley are teaming up, and using smart phones, to tackle traffic jams. (Wired)

If freight trucking is an economic indicator, this isn't the best news. Road freight shipments fell 1.5 percent in February. (TruckingInfo)

(Photo: Asian Development Bank)

The city of Mandaluyong in the Philippines just launched a plan to use electric tricycles as public transportation. It's part of a wider effort to reduce air pollution. (TheCityFix)

The Texas Rangers are suing a former team owner for planning to price gouge fans for parking at the ballpark this season. (Dallas Morning News)

Like many transit systems facing budget cutbacks, D.C. area Metro is considering cutting bus routes, increasing weekend wait times, and eliminating subsidies. It is not considering fare hikes... now. (WAMU)

Maryland has voted down a gas tax increase. They did, however, raised taxes on alcohol. But, the booze surcharge won't go to transportation projects. (WAMU)

And on NYC bike lane usage, Streetsblog takes the same data as the NY Post, but draws the opposite conclusions. People use the bike lanes a lot, they find. (Streetsblog)

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Brooklyn Community Board To Vote on PPW Bike Lane Modifications Tonight

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) At tonight's Community Board 6 meeting in Brooklyn, among the many items on the agenda is a vote on whether to support the New York City Department of Transportation's proposed revisions to the Prospect Park West bike lane. These include the installation of raised pedestrian median islands, the installation of rumble strips, and the configuration of the Ninth Street loading zone.

The community board will also be making some suggestions of its own, like asking the DOT to reconsider the signalization of the bike lane and adding louvers on the flashing yellow signals so only bicyclists, not motorists, would see them.

The board would also like the DOT to identify opportunities to restore some parking spaces.  "I think parking was probably one of the biggest issues on our residents' minds," said Craig Hammerman, the district manager for Community Board 6, who said that the board would like to DOT to "consider changing the configuration of some of the traffic islands. Instead of being these 70 - to 80- foot-long safety zones, that they instead be potentially cut in half to allow for parking spaces in between."

You can read the resolution here.

Before the meeting even starts, Jim Walden, the attorney for the group suing to remove the bike line, is sending a letter to be read at tonight's meeting. Walden says he'd like the board to defer voting on the lane's reconfiguration until "after a full and meaningful discussion about alternative configurations, which will include more pointed questions for DOT about the various decisions it made to 'sell' a dangerous bike lane to your community."

PPW Letter to C Hammerman and D Kummer

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FAA Adds Staff to the Midnight Shift on ATC Towers

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

This just in from the FAA:

The FAA Announces Additional Staffing at 27 Control Towers

WASHINGTON – Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Randy Babbitt announced today that effective immediately the FAA will place an additional air traffic controller on the midnight shift at 27 control towers around the country that are currently staffed with only one controller during that time.

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"I am totally outraged by these incidents. This is absolutely unacceptable," said Secretary LaHood. "The American public trusts us to run a safe system. Safety is our number one priority and I am committed to working 24/7 until these problems are corrected."

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NYC May Take Back Seat to Europe's Embrace of Bike Culture

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New York City has added 250 miles of bike lanes since 2006 in an effort, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to improve traffic, air quality and ultimately public health. But as polls show support for bike lanes, opposition has been loud — and vehement — around the city. 

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TN Moving Stories: Predatory Auto Lending Scams, Ohio Pulls Funding from Cincy's Streetcar Project, and Weird Items People Try to Fly With

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ohio has pulled nearly $52 million in funding for Cincinnati's proposed streetcar project. (Cincinnati.com)

DC's Metro says a new report shows that an increase in peak fares has not stopped riders from using the system (WAMU).

The Red Line rolls into Metro's Judiciary Square station (photo by Kate Hinds)

State and local officials in Virginia have taken the next steps in their fight to block a plan to build a new underground metro station at Dulles airport. (WAMU)

Gas prices are up 40% over last year, and economists are debating the effect on consumers. (NPR)

So are drivers buying less gas? Or are fuel-efficient vehicles partially responsible for a slowdown in gas sales? (Marketplace)

The Center for Public Integrity investigates predatory auto loans -- the same scams outlawed by Congress after the mortgage crisis.

ProPublica reports that natural gas might not be cleaner than burning coal.

The New York Post says a new study contradicts the NYC DOT's cycling numbers.

New York's MTA sometimes uses regular subway cars --with passengers on them -- to haul garbage. (NY Daily News)

Virgin Atlantic blogs about the strangest items passengers have tried to pass off as checked baggage, including bathtubs, dead cows, and a bag of cutlery previously stolen from another Virgin Atlantic flight.

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: The US DOT conducts surprise bus inspections -- and finds that one in 10 are unsafe. A budget deal is made -- and the slashing isn't just for high-speed rail. The Willis Avenue bridge makes its final journey. Bikes are now used to sell bridal wear. And: the San Francisco Bay Area's most dangerous transit mile.

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TN Moving Stories: Sales Decline as Gas Prices Climb, Budget Deal Spares DC Metro, and Big Wheel Vs. Big City Bus

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gasoline sales have fallen for five straight weeks, signaling that pump prices may have reached an economic tipping point. (Marketplace)

The former Port Authority of NY-NJ chair says he's turning his attention to the president’s goal of creating a nationwide high-speed rail network (Star-Ledger). (Although the president's plans just took a big hit.)

Detroit's City Council approved a bond sale that will fund the city's new light rail system. (AP via BusinessWeek)

The Congressional budget deal spares $150 million in federal money for DC's Metro. (Washington Post)

The New York City's Department of Transportation is dropping plans for a four-mile bike lane that would have run along Bay Ridge Parkway in Brooklyn. (NY Post)

Meanwhile, NY1 says that NYC DOT head Janette Sadik-Khan is trying to rebuild good will, one intersection at a time.

One man decided to race a New York City bus on a Big Wheel bike for a mile down 42nd street to make a point about public transportation being slow. Guess who wins? (Video below, via Good.)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: the budget deal has gutted high-speed rail funding. NYC is installing more countdown clocks at dangerous pedestrian intersections. And we mapped who got fined in NYC for not shoveling their sidewalks during snowstorms.

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TN Moving Stories: Texas Looks At 85 MPH Speed Limits, Seattle Looks at a Highway's Next Generation, and: Funding Troubles Ahead for NY's MTA?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Seattle looks at how to replace a highway: dig a tunnel - OR put in a surface boulevard with "new public transit options"? (New York Times)

The Texas legislature is considering a bill that would raise speed limits to 85 mph on some highways (Houston Chronicle).

Funding trouble for New York's MTA? Cuts in federal support look likely. Meanwhile, a state senator wants to eliminate the 50-cent surcharge on city taxis. (Crain's NY)

The New York Daily News reports on misdemeanor sex crimes on the subway --  "the No. 1 quality-of-life offense on the subway," says one former official.

As Washington DC gains whites and Latinos, some talk about the city's demographic change -- including one political strategist, who says: “The new white voters....want doggie parks and bike lanes. The result is a lot of tension." (Washington Post)

A professor from the Netherlands has designed a six-wheel electric 'super bus' with top speeds of 155 mph. Video, in Dutch, below. (Jalopnik)

Arizona public transit drivers competed in a ‘Rural Transit Roadeo’, which consisted of an obstacle course, written test and safety skill demonstration. (KNVX-TV)

The Colorado cities of Loveland and Fort Collins are looking at establishing a regional system. (The Coloradoan)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: the former head of the NTSB criticizes both bus companies and the government. NJ Transit got $38.5 million to replace a balky bridge. We take a close look at New York's parking placard reform efforts. Texas wants high-speed rail money for a Dallas-Houston line. And: does DC need a second Beltway?

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TN Moving Stories: EV Sales Boost US Economy, NJ Highways "Deficient," and Amtrak Sets Ridership Record

Friday, April 08, 2011

Chevy Volt (Photo: GM)

Are sales of electric vehicles behind the growth in the US economy? (The Takeaway)

Toyota and Nissan restart production (Marketplace).

The nuclear disaster in Japan could undermine support for nuclear power here in the US -- and build support for natural gas. (NPR)

A new report says half of New Jersey's highways are deficient. (AP via the Star-Ledger)

More on New York's parking placards in the NY Daily News and NY Times.

Can smartphones -- with commuting apps -- get people out of cars and onto public transit? (Wired)

Amtrak says it's on track for record ridership. (The Hill)

Will a new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons spur economic development -- or acres of empty parking lots? (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The Los Angeles Metro launched what it says is the nation's first major public transit agency's Spanish language blog (The Source). Called El Pasajero, the blog formally launches today.

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: NY Gov. Cuomo tightens parking placard rules; Caltrain isn't slashing service...yet; traffic light timing is adjusted in Central Park's loop; Dulles's Metrorail link answers the question 'over or under?,' and: how much high-speed rail will $2.4 billion buy?

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TN Moving Stories: Gas Prices A Political Problem for Obama, and Saab Stops Production--For Now

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

President Barack Obama inspects an AT&T all-electric vehicle on display during a tour of the UPS facility in Landover, Md., April 1, 2011. (Office White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Rising gas prices present a problem for President Obama's reelection hopes. (Los Angeles Times)

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania yesterday, he talked about electric vehicles, increasing fuel-efficiency standards, and alternative energy sources. (White House transcript)

Gothamist interviewed the bicyclist who was arrested on Manhattan's Upper West Side for either running a red light or resisting arrest.

Swedish automaker Saab has temporarily shut down production due to "limited liquidity," lack of supplies, and ongoing negotiations with suppliers who need to be paid (Wall Street Journal). Meanwhile, a slowdown in Toyota's production is causing ripple effects in Japan (NPR).

But it's not all bad news for Toyota, which just sold its one millionth Prius in the U.S. (Wired/Autopia)

New York's fire department is expanding a program that requires firefighters to follow traffic laws, operate at reduced speeds and turn off lights and sirens when responding to certain non-life threatening emergencies to Brooklyn and Staten Island after a successful pilot program in Queens. (WNYC)

Caltrain cuts may not be as bad as originally projected, but "there is still some pain." (San Francisco Chronicle)

The Citizens Budget Commission released a report that says New York's subways are among the most efficient in the country -- but the MTA's bus operations, and two commuter rail roads, are "relatively inefficient."  Download the report (pdf): Benchmarking Efficiency for the MTA's Efficiency Standards

Stanford University has founded a program for the cross-cultural study of the automobile. (New York Times)

The New York Yankees and the MTA agreed to return the B, D and 4 subway lines to the "Great New York Subway Race," the animated mid-game scoreboard segment. (NY Daily News)

Make mine a double: new double-decker buses roll out in Seattle. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: After Transportation Nation report,Governor Cuomo says he'll overhaul  the state system of handing out free parking placard as perks to state employees. A NY State Senator introduced a license plate bill that he'd benefit from.  The applications are in for Florida's rejected high-speed rail money.Congress floats new motorcoach safety bills. And labor leaders and transit advocates talk about equity with DOT officials.

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Senator Diaz Introduced License Plate Bill That He Would Benefit From

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

New York State Senator Ruben Diaz (D-32)

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) At yesterday's New York State Senate Transportation Committee meeting, nine pieces of legislation were on the agenda. Three of those bills were sponsored by State Senator Ruben Diaz, a Bronx Democrat who is a clergyman himself. Two of those dealt with distracted driving. The third, however, aimed to give members of the clergy special license plates.

According to the bill's text: "Clergy who are called to visit hospitals, jails, nursing homes or homebound seniors often find it difficult or impossible to park. In order to perform their pastoral duties they need reasonable access to those places. These plates would provide notification to any law enforcement personnel that the car owner is a member of the clergy. The "Clergy" license plate will not enable the holder to violate any local parking or traffic regulations."

To be sure, State Senators introduce bills all the time in Albany, and this kind of thing can happen so frequently that it barely raises eyebrows when it shows up in the Senate calendar, which is where we found it.

But parking policy shapes urban life. We recently wrote about how the state is continuing to issue parking placards, despite the Cuomo administration's promise to end "business as usual." And today the New York Daily News is reporting that an investigation has found widespread parking placard abuse.

So why would Senator Diaz sponsor legislation that would give clergy special license plates -- especially when he himself is a member of the clergy? (Diaz is the founder and pastor of the Christian Community Neighborhood Church in the Bronx.)

According to its website, The New York City Department of Transportation already offers members of the clergy parking permits, which allow parking near houses of worship, hospitals, and funeral homes.

We reached Senator Diaz to ask him about the bill -- and if he thought introducing it might represent a conflict of interest. "Did it pass?" he asked. When told that the bill failed in committee, he said "there's nothing to talk about -- it didn't pass." When pressed about whether he'd introduce it again, he repeated "there's nothing to talk about now," and then said goodbye.

It turns out that the Transportation Committee didn't support the legislation, which failed by a vote of 12 to six (you can see the list of who voted how here) -- because of a pending US district court decision about the New York State Department of Motor Vehicle's moratorium on distinctive license plates.

You can watch a video of part of yesterday's committee meeting below; the legislation about license plates is dealt with at about a minute in.

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Union Leader: On Transit, First Two Years of Obama No Different from Bush

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

ATU President Larry Hanley (far left) and US DOT Deputy Secretary John Porcari (far right) address the TEN annual meeting (photo courtesy of TEN)

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) On the day that President Obama formally kicked off his reelection campaign, the amount of work the president has to do to energize his former allies came into stark relief. (More on what the administration is doing further down in this post.)

Speaking at a breakfast at the Transportation Equity Network's annual conference, Amalgamated Transit Union president Larry Hanley ticked off a list of urban transit systems that slashed service during the first two years of Obama's presidency: New York, Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburgh... “This administration was indistinguishable from the prior one with respect to transit operating aid,” said Hanley.  He said he was grateful for the new money budgeted for transit  -- but wanted to know “what can we do…to get the president to recognize publicly that what’s happening to transit is a national crisis and we need collectively to elevate this on the national agenda?”

Seated near him at the dais Deputy Secretary of the US DOT John Porcari responded that the federal government doesn't  control local government decisions.

"When you look at how a transportation reauthorization bill actually gets passed," he said, "it's not from the top down...we are going to push as hard as we can, but it's from the bottom up. It's the mayor, county commissioners, and the governors, articulating their needs."  To fund the bill, he told the crowd of civil rights, union, and transit advocates, "you need to push that and you need to make sure that your elected officials at the local and state level are making that clear to your congressional delegation. That's what brings the bill home."

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But what funds the bill is not as clear. Speaking later in the day at the conference's lunchtime event, Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff  said: 

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US DOT: 24 States, DC and Amtrak All Want Florida's HSR Money

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) The federal Department of Transportation just sent out a press release listing the applicants vying for a piece of Florida's rejected $2.4 billion in high-speed rail funds. More analysis later - but you can read the release below.

Statement of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on High-Speed Rail

Washington, DC – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood issued the following statement today regarding the $2.4 billion available for High-Speed Rail:

“Today, we are another step closer to delivering an innovative, national transportation network that brings new jobs and economic opportunity to the American people. Since I announced the availability of an additional $2.4 billion for high-speed rail projects, governors and members of Congress have been clamoring for the opportunity to participate. That’s because they know that high-speed rail will deliver tens of thousands of jobs, spur economic development across their communities and create additional options for their citizens as the country’s population grows. We have received more than 90 applications from 24 states, the District of Columbia and Amtrak for projects in the Northeast Corridor, with preliminary requests totaling nearly $10 billion dollars. We are extremely pleased to see the bipartisan enthusiasm behind all of the requests to get into the high-speed rail business. Thanks to President Obama’s bold vision for a national high speed rail network, we will win the future for America.”

Additional background:

Showing bi-partisan support for President Obama’s High-Speed Rail program, 24 states, the District of Columbia and Amtrak (for projects in the Northeast Corridor) submitted just under $10 billion in funding requests.

California Michigan Rhode Island
Connecticut Minnesota South Carolina
District of Columbia Missouri Texas
Georgia North Carolina Utah
Illinois New Mexico Vermont
Kansas Nevada Washington
Massachusetts New York Wisconsin
Maryland Oregon
Maine Pennsylvania

The application period for the $2.4 billion of high-speed rail money closed on April 4.  Now, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) will begin its official review of the applications.  A merit-driven process will be used to award the newly available high-speed rail dollars to projects that can deliver public and economic benefits quickly. A project’s ability to reduce energy consumption, improve the efficiency of a region’s overall transportation network, and generate sustained economic activity along the corridor are among the selection criteria.  At this time, a date for the announcement of project selections has not been determined.  Information about the Notice of Funding Availability can be found here: http://www.fra.dot.gov/rpd/passenger/477.shtml.

President Obama’s vision is to connect 80 percent of Americans to high-speed rail within the next 25 years.  To put America on track towards that goal, the Obama Administration has proposed a six-year, $53 billion plan that will provide rail access to new communities; improve the reliability, speed and frequency of existing lines; and, where it makes economic sense, build new corridors where trains will travel at speeds of up to 250 miles per hour.

The Obama Administration’s investments in high-speed rail are also projected to create hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs in the United States. Jobs will be created both directly in manufacturing, construction and operation of rail lines, and indirectly, as the result of economic developments along rail corridors.

A “Buy America” requirement for high-speed rail projects also ensures that U.S. manufacturers and workers will receive the maximum economic benefits from this federal investment. And, in 2009, Secretary LaHood secured a commitment from 30 foreign and domestic rail manufacturers to employ American workers and locate or expand their base of operations in the U.S. if they are selected for high-speed-rail contracts.

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TN Moving Stories: Cost of Driving Up, Budget Battle Threatens Transpo Reauthorization, and it's Yankees Vs. MTA in the "Great New York Subway Race"

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

At a Municipal Arts Society panel (hosted by TN's Andrea Bernstein), NYC DOT head Janette Sadik-Khan talked about public plazas -- and Gridlock Sam talked about the backlash to current street changes. (Streetsblog)

The budget battle is endangering the Obama administration's transportation reauthorization plans. (Greenwire via New York Times)

The NY Daily News is reporting that an Inspector General probe found widespread misuse of police parking placards by lawmakers and other state officials, says Governor Cuomo will call for major changes in the way the parking passes are distributed.

AAA says the cost of driving rose 3.4% over last year. (USA Today)

San Francisco's Muni has a plan to bring riders more frequent service and faster trips on its busiest lines. But it will take nine years and cost $167 million - including at least $150 million the agency doesn't have. (San Francisco Chronicle)

The New York Yankees and the NY MTA are in a dispute about the "Great New York Subway Race." But it sounds like it was a misunderstanding and fans will hopefully see the epic battle between the B, D and 4 trains on the scoreboard soon.  (Article from NY Daily News; see video of the Subway Race below.)

March Madness fans broke Houston's Metropolitan Transit Authority's light rail ridership record numbers with an estimated 148,000 basketball fans riding trains to and from the NCAA Final Four games during the four-day event. (Houston Chronicle)

Stanford University tops the League of American Bicyclist's list of bike-friendly university. (Kansas City Star)

Richard Branson has launched Virgin Oceanic, a deep-sea submarine project. (BoingBoing)

Actor Kevin Spacey rode a DC's bikeshare program bike. (DCist)

The 2011 NYC Cycling Map (pdf) is now available.

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: New York's MTA is installing...subway communicator thingies on some station platforms. California applies for high-speed rail funds. And the DOT says that airline tarmac delays were down last month.

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TN Moving Stories: Dynamic Pricing Comes To SF Parking and Amtrak Wants $ To Plan New Hudson River Tunnels

Monday, April 04, 2011

Cuts to the education budget led one Colorado school district to eliminate school buses; parents say more people are driving their kids to school -- and causing more traffic.  (NPR, Denver Post)

San Francisco is rolling out demand-based parking fees ranging from 25 cents to $6 an hour, depending on how many spaces are available. (Silicon Valley Mercury-News)

Is it time to reassess airplane maintenance? (The Takeaway)  Meanwhile, US airlines performed better last year -- but complaints were up 28%. (BusinessWeek)

A turkey visits the parking lot of Minnesota Public Radio. (Full-size picture here.)
Turkey! near the MPR building tonight in d'town St. Paul... on Twitpic

The Minnesota Senate passed a bill that reduces spending on Twin Cities bus and rail operations by $32 million over two years. (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

Electric car owners in Washington (state) may soon have to pay a $100 annual fee to make up for lost gas-tax revenue. (Seattle Times)

Amtrak applied for nearly $1.3 billion to start planning two new Hudson River tunnels, as well as an expanded in- New York City station -- and Governor Christie signed off on it. (NorthJersey.com)

Peer-to-peer car sharing -- or 'l'auto se partage' -- comes to France. (Sustainable Cities Collective)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: New York has applied for more high speed rail funding. So has Amtrak. Short haul flights are on the decline. And: the Texas DOT says road projects need to be bike- and pedestrian-friendly.

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TN Moving Stories: NTSB To Look At Discount Bus Industry, South Korea Upgrades HSR, And British Posties Dismount

Monday, April 04, 2011

Chinatown bus (Sam Lewis/WNYC)

The National Transportation Safety Board will conduct a comprehensive review of the discount bus industry and the safety regulations governing it following a crash in the Bronx last month that left 15 passengers dead. (New York Times)

Inspectors have found small, subsurface cracks in three more Southwest Airlines planes that are similar to those suspected of causing a jetliner to lose pressure and make a harrowing emergency landing in Arizona. (AP via Washington Post)

South Korea will expand and upgrade its high speed train network over the next 9 years to cut travel time from the capital to major cities to under an hour and a half. (AFP)

Los Angeles will start testing its Expo Line; trains may formally roll in Westside in November. (Los Angeles Times)

Posties -- British mail carriers -- have been ordered to stop delivering mail via bicycle in a bid to cut down accidents and speed up delivery times. (The Mirror)

The Chicago Transit Authority is trying to revamp how it leases retail space on its properties, because "sixty-six of the 137 concession spaces at CTA rail stations are vacant." (Chicago Tribune)

Are bicycles more like cars or pedestrians? Discuss. (New York Times)

Transportation Nation stories we're working on:  despite loud protest on both sides, bike lane poll numbers remain remarkably stable, only a minority wants Prospect Park West bike lane removed entirely.   Congress may actually reauthorize FAA funding bill; LI buses saved, for now, Orlando suburban  businesses kill plan to add a median to a busy roadway, arguing it would impede customer access to their shops, and transportation proves extremely popular in NYC big apps contest.

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WNYC's Brian Lehrer Talks Bike Lanes

Friday, April 01, 2011

Tune in right now! The Brian Lehrer Show will be fielding calls for the next 20 minutes on New York's newest bike lane. In New York, that's AM 820, FM 93.9, or streaming live on wnyc.org.

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TN Moving Stories: US Traffic Fatalities Hit Lowest Point In 60 Years, Toronto Went From "Transit City" to "Transit Pity", and: Look Up! Invisible Bug Highway

Friday, April 01, 2011

U.S. traffic fatalities fell to the lowest levels in 60 years--representing a 25% decline since 2005 (New York Times). US DOT head Ray LaHood writes: "Despite this good news, we are not going to rest on our laurels."

A Los Angeles Times columnist says that the MTA, in eliminating bus lines, is making the wrong decision at the wrong time. Says he in the accompanying video (below): "We are cutting back at exactly the time we should be throwing a lot of resources into expanding public transportation."

The Toronto Star feels similarly about that city's transit plan. "Transit City has become a transit pity," they write of Mayor Rob Ford's commuter rail expansion, saying it "will take longer to build, deliver less service, and leave Toronto in search of an extra $4.2 billion."

Skanska AB, the construction giant working on some of New York's largest public works projects (including the Fulton Street Transit Center), will pay a $19.6 million settlement after being investigated for circumventing rules designed to encourage the hiring of minority- and women-owned businesses. (Wall Street Journal)

A decision about contested bike lanes in Boston's Charlestown neighborhood is expected in April. Last November, the city installed about a quarter-mile of a bike path on Charlestown's Main Street, then removed the lanes a short time later after neighborhood complaints. (Boston Globe)

U.S. sales of cars and trucks are expected to rise at a double-digit rate in March (AP via Detroit Free Press). Meanwhile, Toyota USA today announced higher sticker prices for nearly every 2011 model the company sells here. (USA Today)

A new report says that Texas will be facing a $170 billion gap between the amount of money that needs to be invested in transportation to keep commutes from getting worse and the amount of money the state expects to bring in from federal freeway funds, the gasoline tax and vehicle registration fees between 2011 and 2035. (Houston Chronicle)

President Obama signed a bill that funds the Federal Aviation Administration re-authorization bill through May. Meanwhile, a battle is brewing over some controversial pieces of the longer measure. (The Hill)

In Bethesda, Maryland, you can now use your cellphone to pay the parking meter. (WAMU)

Look up! Above your head is an invisible billion-bug highway. (NPR)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: Houston is contemplating natural gas-powered buses. NY Congressman -- and bike lane cipher -- Anthony Weiner kills at the Correspondents Dinner (sample line: "Vote for Weiner--he'll be frank.") We have the latest in the inter-city bus investigations. And: the K train rides again -- if only on the subway's roll sign.

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The K Train Rides Again -- If Only In the Roll Sign

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The K train lives on -- if only on the roll sign (photo by Kate Hinds)

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) When I first began riding the rails in New York City, riders could take the K train from 168th Street to the World Trade Center. But because it duplicated existing lines (the C and the E), the MTA took the route out of service in the 1980s.

But this morning I saw an out-of-service train roll by me on the 81st Street B/C station this morning -- flashing the K sign. Was it a test? Is the MTA planning on bringing the K back?

In a word: no. Unlike, say, Adam Ant's comeback tour, the K train is not slated to roll again this decade. An MTA spokesman told me that even if a line is eliminated, it lives on in the car's roll sign. So what I saw was nothing more than a 80s flashback.

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How might a revamped K train work? Check out this conversation at NYC Transit Forums.

And want to buy a vintage roll sign of your very own? The MTA's got them.

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TN Moving Stories: Philadelphia Planning Center City Bike Lanes, NYS Passes Budget, and Will Atlantans Vote Together as a Region...For Transit?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Two north-south bike lanes are being planned for Philadelphia's Center City. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

New York State's just-passed budget allots $8.5 billion for transportation spending. (Albany Times-Union)

Members of the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) named Montana/Wyoming's Beartooth Highway their top scenic route. (Cody Enterprise)

Motorcycles on the Beartooth Highway (Kate Skegg/Flickr)

The head of the 34th Street Partnership supports the NYC Department of Transportation's plan for revamping the street. (NY1)

A Straphangers survey found that announcements on New York City subways are mostly clear and accurate - except when there's unexpected trouble on the line. (NY Daily News)

Ohio can use private dollars to help pay for public road and other infrastructure projects, thanks to the $6.8 billion transportation bill that Gov. John Kasich signed into law during a public ceremony yesterday. (Columbus Dispatch)

The Atlanta region has put together a wish list of transportation projects that could change the region on a large scale, linking formerly isolated suburbs in Gwinnett and Cobb counties to MARTA with rail lines.  To get there, though, voters in the region’s 10 counties and 68 cities will have to do something they’ve never done before: vote together as a region. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

California wants all of the $2.43 billion in federal high-speed rail funds recently rejected Florida’s governor. (Los Angeles Times)

A Florida air traffic controller supervisor has been suspended after officials said he compromised the safety of passengers by letting two planes fly too close to each other, officials said. (ABC News)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: KALW's Casey Miner talked about her personal car-sharing experience on The Takeaway. President Obama talked about energy security -- and the gas tax.  Tougher DUI bills edge closer to becoming Montana law. And the federal DOT took the Super Luxury Tours bus company out of business.

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