Kate Hinds appears in the following:
Friday, July 22, 2011
Biking along the Hudson River this weekend, I stopped at a structure I'd always wondered about -- it looks like a cross between a Greek temple and a grape arbor. (It's just north of another thought-provoking structure - the Little Red Lighthouse, which sits under the George Washington Bridge.) Did the Romans originally settle Manhattan? Did some enterprising New York City company try to get into the wine industry at some point? I asked around.
And it was the New York City Parks Department who provided an answer. According to their website:
"Inspiration Point Shelter, on Henry Hudson Parkway at 190th Street, opened in 1925 as a resting place for pedestrians and leisure drivers. Designed by architect Gustave Steinacher in 1924, the neoclassical sitting area opened a year later and quickly became a favorite of Hudson River tourists."
It was a stopping point for drivers and walkers along the Riverside Drive, and at one point, wrote Christopher Gray in his 1989 book Changing New York: The Architectural Scene, (hat tip to the Parks Department for the source), the structure originally had bathrooms and a roof.
But after Robert Moses built the Henry Hudson Parkway in the 1930s, Inspiration Point was cut off from the rest of Manhattan -- and it began decades of decline. Gray wrote: "Increased traffic turned what had been a walking/driving experience into a no-man's land for pedestrians. The walkway is now overgrown...and the shelter itself now suggests despair...whole sections have fallen off or hang precariously at the edge. Water damage has buckled the elegant coffered ceiling and most of what remains looks like driftwood scavenged from a lost civilization."
The city renovated the structure soon after Gray's book was published -- although the bathrooms and the roof were permanently done away with. It remains under the control of the Parks Department. And now Inspiration Point can be easily accessed -- by bike or on foot -- via the Hudson River Greenway. I can vouch that it provides a welcome bit of shade on a hot July day -- not to mention a great view of the river and the New Jersey Palisades.
TN MOVING STORIES: LA Passes Anti-Bike Harassment Law, FAA Shutdown Looms, Heat Knocks Out Subway Countdown Clocks
Friday, July 22, 2011
Los Angeles passed a law making it illegal for drivers to harass bicyclists. (Los Angeles Times)
Because the Taxi of Tomorrow is still years away, NYC approved three new models for a taxi of today. (New York Times)
The heat knocked out some of New York City's subway clocks. (NY1)
Jay Walder, the outgoing head of New York's MTA, will get a bigger paycheck in Hong Kong - not to mention a financially healthier transit system. (Wall Street Journal)
Ray LaHood wants to avert partial FAA shutdown, urges Congress to pass a new FAA bill. Now. (Fast Lane)
High fuel costs drove American Airlines to place a record-setting order for new aircraft. (Wired/Autopia)
Meet San Francisco's new transit chief. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Walmart and Schwinn offered to replace bikes that were stolen from a NY nonprofit cycle education group. (Crain's)
Thursday, July 21, 2011
ExxonMobil, already under fire for a pipeline break that has spilled oil into Montana's Yellowstone River, was dealt another blow this week: a Montana judge has blocked the transport of that company's giant oilfield equipment through Western Montana.
According to The Missoulian, a district judge sided with Missoula County and environmental groups and agreed that the Montana Department of Transportation and Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil "failed to adequately consider impacts of the project and failed to adequately consider reasonable alternatives."
Imperial, a Canadian oil company controlled by ExxonMobil, wanted to transport 200 megaloads of processing equipment from Idaho to the Kearl Oil Sands in Alberta, Canada, via U.S. Highway 12, Highway 200 and other two-lane roads in Montana.
Montana residents are divided about the huge equipment transports, called megaloads. Earlier this year Montana lawmakers considered requiring special permitting for megaloads, but the bill didn't go anywhere. Missoula had protested megaloads because of fears about the impact the enormously heavy equipment might have on its roads and bridges. But the Montana DOT is supportive of megaloads and says they're nothing new to the state.
The state DOT says it will appeal the judge's decision.
TN MOVING STORIES: Space Shuttle Program Officially Ends, Chicago To Filter Air Inside Rail Cars, and Bostonians Want Bike Share In More Neighborhoods
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Any agreement in Washington to raise the debt ceiling probably include a plan to cut the ethanol subsidy off. (NPR)
Now that Atlantis has landed, the nation's 30 year space shuttle program is officially over. (The Takeaway)
The TSA is revamping one type of airport body scanner so that it no longer displays an image of travelers’ naked bodies. (Wired)
San Francisco's Municipal Transportation Agency will announce its new chief today. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Chicago's Metra announced it will filter the air in its commuter rail cars, after a newspaper investigation found high levels of diesel soot pollution inside the cars. (Chicago Tribune)
Now that locations are known for some Boston bike share stations, some residents want to know why their neighborhoods were passed over. (Boston Globe)
California's DMV regularly sends disabled parking placards to dead people. (Los Angeles Times)
Thursday, July 21, 2011
As we reported earlier this month, US Department of Transportation Secretary (and devoted TN reader -- check out his yellow tie) Ray LaHood reached out to us to solicit questions for his latest episode of "On the Go," his monthly video Q&A series. Today he tackles a few of them.
In the above video he responds to your questions about how the DOT can help aging transit systems ("money"), and why it's as important for the Midwest and California to get into high-speed rail as it is for the Northeast ("to get people out of cars, onto good forms of transportation, and not just do it in one part of the country").
He also hands out job advice for a recent college graduate who wants to get into urban planning ( "Look for opportunities in local government...that's where the action is at.")
Thanks to everyone who contributed questions. And be sure and check back on Friday, when Secretary LaHood will answer more more of them in his guest post for Transportation Nation.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
No rulings today in the Prospect Park West bike lane lawsuit, but there was one significant development: New York City said it would be willing to drop its statute of limitations defense if it will expedite proceedings.
The city also said that NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan had filed her own affidavit (pdf) -- and that it contradicts the one Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz submitted earlier this week. Markowitz said that the commissioner had told him the lane was a trial project -- a characterization Sadik-Khan has denied.
Opponents of the bike lane have been vociferously making the argument that the bike lane was a "trial project," which would mean there would be no statute of limitations on its lawsuit. To prove their point, plaintiffs subpoenaed city officials, including Sadik-Khan, and asked for reams of emails.
Speaking today after the court hearing at Kings County Supreme Court, city attorneys said that they'd drop the argument that the plaintiffs had missed the deadline to file to avoid jumping down that rabbit hole.
The city had been arguing that the group suing the city, Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes/Seniors for Safety, had brought suit too late. (Typically, under Article 78 proceedings --the state law that deals with suing state and city government entities-- there's a four-month statute of limitations. The bike lane was installed in July of 2010, and NBBL filed suit eight months later.)
However, attorneys said this move was under consideration, not a done deal. Justice Bert Bunyan could theoretically rule at any time on the city's request to boot the suit because it wasn't filed within that 120-day window of opportunity.
Although the judge did hear from attorneys in the case this morning, (11 people total approached the bench as part of the lawsuit) none of the conversation in the courtroom was audible and nothing was on-mic.
Jim Walden, the lawyer for the plaintiffs, characterized today's proceedings as "important" and that the city offered to drop the statute of limitations defense because the judge might allow discovery. The city has said throughout that it was prepared to defend the lane based on the merits of the case -- that the DOT was within its purview to install the lane, which was requested by the community board and has had the desired "traffic calming" effect of reducing automobile speeding and crashes along Prospect Park West.
The next court date in the case is August 3rd, when the judge will hear arguments about NBBL's subpoenas. The city had asked the judge to quash the subpoenas -- a move that could become moot if the statute of limitations defense is taken off the table.
TN MOVING STORIES: Minnesota's Transpo Cuts Lessened, NYC Losing Millions in Revenue to Fare-Beating Kids, and Zipcar Has Big Impact on Baltimore
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Cuts to Minnesota's transportation bill aren't as bad as originally projected. (Minnesota Public Radio)
Almost half of New York City's subway fare beaters are kids. (New York Daily News)
Seattle drivers might pay $100 more next year to register their cars, with most of that money earmarked for pedestrian, transit, bicycling and neighborhood-safety improvements. (Seattle Times)
Zipcar says it has reduced car ownership and increased public transit use in Baltimore. (Fast Company)
Carmageddon: a photo essay-poem, courtesy of Cute Overload.
Boston's bike share program -- Hubway-- could come to Cambridge this fall. (Boston Globe)
Wonder how Hubway is going to work? Alta Bicycle Share has a helpful video:
In some NYC neighborhoods, a clean street now means less alternate side parking. (WNYC)
Nissan is raising the price of the battery-powered Leaf and expanding sales to nine more states, mostly in the South. (Detroit Free Press)
TN MOVING STORIES: Brooklyn Borough President Gets Involved in Bike Lane Suit, and DC Metro Gets Hip to Social Media
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
He said, she said in the Prospect Park West bike lane case: Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said that NYC DOT head Janette Sadik-Khan told him the lane was temporary. (New York Post)
"That's not true," says Sadik-Khan on NY1, where she also talks about traffic in Midtown, pedestrian plazas, and crash data.
DC's Metro has launched a major social media initiative to "keep information flowing." (Washington Post)
Chinese airlines are benefiting from delays on the Shanghai-to-Beijing high-speed rail line. (Wall Street Journal)
A terrorist attack on NYC's subways would cripple the city "in ways worse than 9/11." (Associated Press)
Behold the BiPod: a hybrid electric flying car. (Fast Company)
Parking meter rates above 96th Street in Manhattan have climbed. (DNA Info)
Automakers say the Obama Administration's fuel efficiency standards are too high. (Marketplace)
Monday, July 18, 2011
A little red lighthouse in the shadow of the George Washington Bridge on Saturday.
TN MOVING STORIES: Carmageddon Ends Early, Cuomo Mum On Taxi Bill, And How Las Vegas Transit Compares to Other Cities
Monday, July 18, 2011
Los Angeles's weekend-long freeway closing finished early -- and is already being mourned by some Angelenos. "I wish they would do it every weekend,"said one. (Los Angeles Times)
DC Metro's escalators don't work well in the rain. And by "well" we mean "at all." (WAMU)
How Las Vegas's transit options compare to other similar cities. (Las Vegas Sun)
Panhandling arrests are up in the NYC subway. (New York Daily News)
Less than a year after Atlanta was awarded a $47 million federal grant to carve a 2.6-mile streetcar route through the heart of downtown, the check is now in the mail. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo is not saying whether he'll sign the NYC outer borough taxi legislation. (New York Times)
Airlines are trying to entice customers to spend more money on extras. (Marketplace)
New Mexico is building a spaceport for commercial space flights. (NPR)
TN MOVING STORIES: Making DC More Ped-Friendly, Roil in the Mass DOT, and Faster Airport Screenings?
Friday, July 15, 2011
How to make the DC area more pedestrian-friendly: discuss. (Kojo Nnamdi Show/WAMU)
Another Massachusetts transportation secretary is quitting. "No other Cabinet position has had as much turnover," writes the Boston Globe.
Iowa Senator Tom Harkin wants an ADA-compliant Taxi of Tomorrow. (New York Daily News)
New York is adding surveillance cameras to 341 more buses. (NY1)
Streetsblog looks at emails about the Prospect Park West bike lane, says the only people referring to the lane as a "trial" were the lane's opponents, not the DOT or city officials.
TN MOVING STORIES: Privatizing Amtrak Could Violate Constitution, First All-Electric Vehicle Car Share Will Debut in San Diego, and Airport Lounges for Everyone
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Privatizing Amtrak could violate a clause in the Fifth Amendment. (The Hill)
Detroit's Mayor and the City Council are at odds over which agency will supervise the city's light rail project. (Detroit Free Press)
Airport lounges for everyone...who want to pay a small fee. (Wall Street Journal)
The country's first all-electric-vehicle car sharing program will debut in San Diego later this year. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
Toronto's city council voted to remove a bike lane. (Toronto Star)
The head of the New York City Council's transportation committee wants regular reviews of the city's Bike Master Plan. (NY1)
NYC's chief digital officer will be on today's Brian Lehrer Show to talk about the MTA's transit app development contest. (WNYC)
Today is Railroad Day on Capitol Hill -- rail lobbyists unite! (Progressive Railroading)
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
TONIGHT'S THE DEADLINE: US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood does a monthly Q&A video series called "On the Go" -- and for his July episode, he's inviting questions from Transportation Nation readers. To ask him a question, you can:
Please post/tweet your questions until 11:59pm, Wednesday, July 13. He will choose three or four to respond to and tape his answers later in the month. And let him know that we sent you - write 'TN' at the end of your question. We'll post his video when it's available.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
A car-free Central Park is not a new idea, but it's been gathering momentum in recent months. TN's Andrea Bernstein talks to WNYC's Brian Lehrer about a host of city transit issues: cars in parks, urban transit policy in other countries, New York''s upcoming bike share program, the boom in weekend subway ridership -- and takes calls from listeners. Is David from Queens right -- does Mayor Michael Bloomberg have a "War on Cars"? Listen to the conversation below!
TN MOVING STORIES: Amtrak Projects Record Year, Seattle Residents Protest Transit Cuts, and a Look At the New Fulton Transit Center
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Amtrak projects that it will top 30 million passengers for the first time this year, setting a ridership record for the national passenger rail service. (The Hill)
WNYC took a sneak peek at the construction going on at the Fulton Transit Center and got some fantastic pictures.
Fairfax County (VA) might be on board with the Dulles Metrorail compromise plan floated by DOT head Ray LaHood. (WAMU)
If you're planning on bidding on naming rights for a Boston T stop, tomorrow's your deadline. (WBUR)
A whole lot of riders showed up in Seattle to protest transit cuts. (Seattle Times)
The DOT will be testing how drivers react to "connected vehicles"--cars with technology that allows them to communicate with each other, as well as infrastructure nearby. (FastLane)
The Washington Post wrote an editorial on the politics surrounding the displacement of DC's transportation committee chair. "(Residents) should worry about lost momentum on transportation issues and the message that sends to the city’s regional Metro partners."
TN's Andrea Bernstein talks NYC transit on today's Brian Lehrer Show. (WNYC)
One car-free resident of Los Angeles is not getting worked up about carmageddon. (Marketplace)
How to get a count of the number of women using New York City's bike lanes? Stand there with a clicker. (New York Times)
Manhattan's Community Board 7 hosted a discussion about Central Park's shared bike paths, but didn't take an official position. (DNA Info)
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Opponents suing New York City over a bike lane on Brooklyn's Prospect Park West have made good on their threat to issue subpoenas, and they want a host of city officials - including New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Brooklyn City Council member Brad Lander -- to appear in court.
Jim Walden, the attorney representing Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes/Seniors for Safety, sent out an email on Monday that read: "The City is trying to avoid litigation on a technicality, which is based on a lie. After having told the public and various elected officials the bike lane was a trial project, the City now makes the incredible claim the lane was permanent all along, and that our suit was filed too late. The City is desperately trying to avoid litigating the merits of our suit because it cannot justify its misuse of data and failure to conduct a proper safety study."
The New York City Law Department confirmed the today that the DOT commissioner had been subpoenaed, along with four other people at the agency: Jon Orcutt, Christopher Hrones, Ryan Russo, and Josh Benson.
The city's attorney, Mark Muschenheim, said in a statement that "an evidentiary hearing is not warranted in this type of case. We will move to quash the subpoena, and are confident that our motion will be granted. Moreover, the documents filed with the court provide ample information for a decision to be made on the lawsuit's merits, and we believe that after a review of this record the court will support the City's actions."
The statement went on to say there's a chance the judge in the case, Justice Bert Bunyan, will forbid testimony.
Walden had previously sought a delay in court proceedings so he could receive and review documents from additional Freedom of Information Law requests. The justice in the case denied Walden's request. The next date in the court case is July 20.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Legislation banning cars from Central Park's loop drives has not exactly won full-throated support from the Bloomberg Administration since being introduced earlier this year. While a number of local community boards have endorsed the idea of a pilot ban this summer, an article in today's New York Times said City Hall was resisting the idea, as Transportation Nation previously reported. And at a press conference today, the mayor was asked about it. Here's a transcript of the exchange:
Reporter: about banning cars in Central Park for the summer - (inaudible -- the agency) said there are no immediate plans. Can you comment?
Mayor Bloomberg: Miss, I think you're just totally ill-informed. The roads where they're talking about we have banned cars for ninety percent of the time already. So we're really only talking about ten percent. We are doing studies, I've talked to the commissioner, yesterday I think it was, she's doing a study. Until we can really understand the traffic patterns and the effect it will have we're just not going to go and rush to do it. I understand why you don't want to have traffic in front of your house, or where you're bicycling, or where you're walking, but there are other people who need the roads to get where they're going to go, and you just can't willy-nilly say 'oh, let's just ban them without doing the real scientific research.' We have data in this day and age, particularly because of taxis with GPS, to do some real studies. But in the end, we've already -- and we've done it a long time ago -- banned ninety percent of the cars from the roads that are in question. And so we're really talking about -- this is something, it's much of an issue that...it would not make that big a difference. And we're not going to do it unless it turns out to be a good thing. I don't think anybody should question our Department of Transportation's or this administration's willingness to to try new things with cars, bicycles, pedestrians, we've tried to be very innovative, creative, and run risks. But every one of those things we did with real data. Sometimes the data can be misleading, in the end, and you go back. But the responsible thing is to do exactly what our transportation commissioner is doing.
Question: some people say it's hypocritical for a mayor who calls himself "bike Mike" to not ban cars from all of Central Park.
Mayor Bloomberg: By that argument we should ban cars from coming into the city totally. I don't think you can do that. Yes, I'm in favor of multiple ways to get around - bicycles are one of them, walking is one of them, taking mass transit is a very important one - and driving cars. What we really need to do is have a disincentive to bring your car into the city and enhance the monies available for improving mass transit. And if somebody could come up with a plan that could do that, like maybe charging people to come in the city and using the money to help the MTA - you have to go to Albany. Maybe they've heard that before.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that strengthens enforcement against drivers who use handheld devices behind the wheel.
The new law makes using electronic devices while driving a primary traffic offense -- meaning that a driver doesn't need to be stopped for another offense in order to be ticketed. As the governor put it: "If you are seen by a police officer with a device, a handheld device, any flavor, any electronic device, that is illegal."
The penalty for violating the law will be three points and a $150 fine.
The bill also increases the penalty for using cell phones from two to three points on a driver's license.
Thirty-four states, as well as the District of Columbia and Guam already make texting while driving a primary violation.
Speaking Tuesday at the Jacob Javits Convention Center with a backdrop of police cars, a highway sign, state troopers, and the family of a texting-while-driving victim, Cuomo said he knew the lure that electronics have, particularly for younger drivers. He called texting while driving a relatively recent phenomenon - "my generation, we had two cans and a string connected, that was communication for us" -- but added that drivers need to understand how critical it is to pay attention while driving.
He added: "It is common sense -- but sometimes you need law enforcement, and you need laws, to remind society of common sense and enforce common sense. And that's what today is all about."
TN MOVING STORIES: SEPTA Needs Billions to Reach State of Good Repair, NY Holds Transit Data App Contest, and Europe Eyes Flying Cars
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
With stations and bridges that date back more than 100 years, Philly's SEPTA needs $4.2 billion to reach a state of good repair. (Philadelphia Daily News)
New York's MTA is releasing more data to app developers, with a competition as enticement. (AM NY)
Will high-speed rail finally end Britain's north/south divide? (BBC)
Elected officials on Manhattan's Upper West Side criticize the city for not swiftly fixing an intersection dubbed "the bowtie of death." (DNA Info)
Metro North wants to turn some Westchester train stations into retail and dining spots. (Wall Street Journal)
Why won't New York City test-drive car-free Central Park? (New York Times)
The first batch of data is in from San Francisco's SFpark program that ties parking meter rates to demand. Bottom line: some meter rates will go down, some will stay the same, some will increase. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Carmageddon update: contractors working on this weekend's Los Angeles freeway project will be penalized $6,000 for every 10 minutes they are late. (Los Angeles Times)
Flying car update: the European Union is investing $6 million to research the potential of Personal Aerial Vehicles (PAVs) for Europe’s most crowded cities. (SmartPlanet)
TN MOVING STORIES: More Roads Lead to More Traffic, Black Women Bike DC, and London's Bike Share, A Year Later
Monday, July 11, 2011
A recent study says that building more roads leads to ... more traffic. And more transit doesn't relieve traffic congestion. (NPR)
New York's subways attract almost as many riders on weekends as they do during the work week -- but fewer trains and planned maintenance lead to insanely crowded cars. (New York Times)
The Republican's plan to privatize Amtrak and the Northeast Corridor could leave NJ Transit vulnerable to fare hikes. (Daily Record)
WAMU looks at how the House's transportation budget would affect the DC region.
The UAW wants to organize a foreign automaker, labor leader says union's future hinges upon it: "I don't think there's a long-term future for the UAW, I really don't." (Detroit Free Press)
A look at London's bike share system, which is almost a year old. "The bikes make 20,000 journeys a day, but in a relentlessly predictable pattern, with huge spikes during the morning rush hour at the major rail stations and then again, in reverse, as commuters dash back to catch their evening trains." (The Guardian)
Black women take their place in DC's bike lanes -- and encourage others to join them. (Washington Post)
Residents, police and business owners want Bolt Bus booted from West 33rd Street. (DNA Info)
The mayor of Birmingham wants to create a tourist transit system to transport visitors to downtown hotels and attractions like the zoo, Vulcan Park and the botanical gardens. (Birmingham News)