Kate Hinds

Kate Hinds appears in the following:

TN MOVING STORIES: FAA Shutdown Could Cost U.S. $1 Billion, Canadian Crude Big Business in the Midwest, And NY's High Line Spurs Imitators

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

TN's Todd Zwillich was on PBS's NewsHour to talk about the politics of the FAA shutdown, why it might continue through September, and how the agency stands to lose $1 billion in uncollected taxes.

More on the FAA from the New York Times and the Washington Post. The Takeaway talks about what the FAA shutdown means for travelers. The Hill writes about Ray LaHood's efforts to end the shutdown.

Most intercity buses departing from DC will soon do so from Union Station. (WAMU)

Cities around the country want to emulate the success of New York's High Line and turn abandoned railway tracks into parks. (New York Times)

48 San Francisco bus drivers are still without commercial driver’s licenses — but Muni says it is just weeks away from a plan to fire them. (San Francisco Examiner)

Oil from the Canadian oil sands has become big business in the Midwest. (Marketplace)

Moscow tries to tackle its traffic problem with parking meters -- something the city previously lacked. (Moscow Times)

A #6 train derailed near Manhattan's 125th street. (DNA Info)

The mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania, has a unique method of removing obstacles from bike lanes:

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TN MOVING STORIES: Ford Recalls 1 Million Pickup Trucks, and 40% of DC Metro Escalators Are Probably Not Working Right Now

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

RIPTA bus (photo by Trisha Crabb via Flickr)

Ford is recalling over one million older pickup trucks because their fuel tanks can fall off and catch fire. (Financial Times)

Rhode Island's bus system (RIPTA) faces serious cuts. (AP via NPR)

Only 60 percent of the Metro's 600 escalators in Washington, D.C. are functioning at any one time. (Marketplace)

Four years after a fatal bridge collapse in Minnesota, half of that state's bridges rated deficient have been repaired. (MPR)

Teenage nightmare: General Motors is testing a service that allows people to track their vehicle’s location while a family member is on the road. (Detroit Free Press)

Lightning knocked out Long Island Rail Road's signal system. (WNYC)

A Dutch journalist is being sued by that country's public transit system after he reported about flaws in a new transit chip card. (CNET)

The MTA opened a new entrance to New York's Fulton Street subway station. (DNA Info)

New Hampshire has completed 46 miles of a planned 60-mile Northern Rail Trail -- a former rail line now converted into a recreational trail. (Washington Post)

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TN MOVING STORIES: Audit Faults NY MTA, Holland's Peaceful Coexistence with Bikes, and Few Rules Govern Technology and Car Makers

Monday, August 01, 2011

photo by Ed Yourdon/flickr

A joint audit released by the New York State and City comptrollers says the MTA confuses riders -- and wastes millions of dollars -- on construction-related subway diversions. (WNYC)

Did NY MTA chief Jay Walder quit because of a lack of interest on Governor Cuomo's part? (New York Times)

And who will replace Walder? Transit insiders suggest candidates. (Crain's NY)

The Detroit Free Press has a two-part series about the lack of rules governing what technology automakers can put in cars. Example: "In a 2011-model car during a recent Tigers game, the display screen gave a number and encouraged drivers to "Text the Ticket" to join in a chat about the game." Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Russell Shorto's writes about Holland's peaceful coexistence with bicycles. (New York Times)

Irish cabinet ministers gave themselves special permission to drive in bus lanes. (Irish Independent)

Gothamist puts a positive spin on aging C train cars: "The MTA has just announced that every day for the next six years on that line will be Nostalgia Train Day."

British doctors say forcing people to wear bike helmets means they might give up cycling altogether and lose the health benefits of regular exercise. (Telegraph)

Chicago may have new bike lanes, but the city still has clueless motorists. (Chicago Tribune)

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Fuel Efficiency Standards To Double by 2025

Friday, July 29, 2011

President Obama, Ray LaHood, and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson (photo courtesy of DOT)

Speaking today in Washington -- half an hour after he urged politicians to reach a compromise on the debt ceiling -- President Barack Obama unveiled an agreement that would double fuel economy standards to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

The president said these new standards "represent the single most important step we’ve ever taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

The current fuel economy standards for cars with a 2010 model year are 27.5 m.p.g.

These new corporate average fuel economy standards -- or CAFE standards -- were developed by the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency. The 54.5 m.p.g. mark applies to the average of the entire fleet of cars and light trucks model years 2017- 2025. Some models could fail to meet 54.5 m.p.g, but then others would have to surpass it to compensate.

Under the plan, the standards for passenger cars will increase by an average of five percent each year, while pick-ups and other light-duty trucks would increase an average of 3.5 percent annually for the first five years. After 2021, both would face a 5 percent annual increase, when cars and light trucks will be required to get 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

"Think about what this means," the president said. "It means that filling up your car every two weeks instead of filling it up every week. It will save a typical family more than $8,000 in fuel costs over time."

The President was joined by representatives from GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Hyundai, BMW, Volvo, Mitsubishi and Jaguar -- which together account for over 90 percent of all vehicles sold in the United States -- as well as the United Auto Workers (UAW), and the State of California. Mazda, which was reported to be a last-minute holdout, was also on hand.

Who wasn't present? Mercedes parent company Daimler AG, as well as Volkswagen -- two companies which have invested heavily in diesel engines. (The program incentivizes the development of new technology, and administration officials said diesel is already in broad use.)

The president took the opportunity to needle lawmakers about the debt ceiling impasse. "This agreement ought to serve as a valuable lesson for leaders in Washington," he said. "This agreement was arrived at without legislation. You are all demonstrating what can happen when people put aside differences -- these folks are competitors, you've got labor and business, but they decided, we’re going to work together to achieve something important and lasting for the country."

You can read the president's full remarks here and the DOT press release here.

The new standards, however, aren't loophole-free. The administration promised a midterm review of the new standards, which some environmentalists worry will be used by automakers as wiggle room.

Automakers must pay a penalty for failing to meet CAFE standards. According to the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration's website: "The penalty for failing to meet CAFE standards recently increased from $5.00 to $5.50 per tenth of a mile per gallon for each tenth under the target value times the total volume of those vehicles manufactured for a given model year. Since 1983, manufacturers have paid more than $500 million in civil penalties. Most European manufacturers regularly pay CAFE civil penalties ranging from less than $1 million to more than $20 million annually. Asian and domestic manufacturers have never paid a civil penalty." Details about CAFE fines can be found here (pdf).

A White House graphic of the new fuel economy standards (image courtesy of the White House)

The White House also released a report (PDF) about the new fuel economy standards.

The president has some other changes he'd like to see car manufacturers adopt. "It’s only a matter of time until Malia gets her learner’s permit," he said. "So I’m hoping to see one of those models that gets a top speed of 15 miles an hour (and) the ejector seat anytime boys are in the car."

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TN MOVING STORIES: Boston Bike Share Rolls Out, California Fast Train Projections in Doubt, and What NYC Can Learn from Hong Kong

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hubway bikes at Boston's North Station stop (photo by Paul W. via Flickr)

Boston's bike share rolled out yesterday. Mayor Tom Menino: “The car is no longer king in Boston." (WBUR)

The president announces new CAFE standards today -- we'll have more after the announcement.

New York Daily News op-ed: "What Jay Walder's new city, Hong Kong, can teach us about transit: Make money, don't just spend it"

A new report casts doubt upon rider and revenue projections for California's high-speed rail system. (Los Angeles Times)

Police in a Manhattan precinct have embarked upon a "don't text and walk" campaign. (DNA Info)

California reported that traffic death-related fatalities have dropped for a fifth consecutive year. (FastLane/DOT)

Last weekend's bullet train crash in China has spurred a "microblogging revolution." (New York Times)

Pay-by-phone parking now available at all DC parking meters. (WAMU)

A much-needed moment of humor from The Onion: Al-Qaeda Claims U.S. Mass Transportation Infrastructure Must Drastically Improve Before Any Terrorist Attacks.

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LaHood Wants Politicians To Put Aside "Their Own Egos" and Pass An FAA Extension

Thursday, July 28, 2011

As the FAA shutdown approaches a full week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood upped the ante, addressing White House reporters at their daily briefing. (Video below.)

"This is a time that I think most of us that have watched politics have never seen before, because there are people in Congress who don’t like the word compromise, who don’t believe in it," said LaHood, a former Republican Congressman from rural Illinois.

"That’s what we need today.  We need for people to come together, set aside their own egos, a certain part of their own agenda for the American people -- to make sure we maintain the strongest economy in the world; to send a signal to the world that we can get big things done, Washington can still get big things done," LaHood said, while noting that "as some of you know, I’ve been in public service and politics 35 years -- 17 years as a staffer, 14 years as a member, and now two and a half years in this job."

Since the agency's funding ran out six days ago, he said 4,000 employees have been furloughed, dozens of FAA-funded construction projects have ground to a halt, 70,000 construction workers have been thrown out of work, and the US is losing $200 million a day in uncollected airline taxes.

While not pointing fingers at any particular political party, LaHood called on Congress to pass a "clean extension," which is the opposite of what the GOP-controlled House has done.

But, speaking earlier this morning on The Takeaway, Republican  House Transportation and Infrastructure committee chair John Mica maintained it's not the Republicans who are the problem.

When asked if he's holding up the bill in order to force the Senate to change a federal rule governing how workers can vote to unionize -- a charge that Democrats have leveled -- Mica put the ball back in the Democrat's court. "They are trying to shift the debate away from what's actually in the extension -- and that's the prohibition on these subsidies. That's the only provision in the extension," Mica said, referring to a controversial House provision that would reduce subsidies to airlines that fly into small, rural airports. You can listen to the interview below.

Also today: TN's Todd Zwillich was on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show . Todd has been reporting on the FAA impasse, and he said this morning that on the surface the two biggest obstacle continue to be cuts in funding to rural airports (Essential Air Service) and the aforementioned union rules -- a "poison pill" provision which President Obama had said he'd veto. But, Todd said, it's really the current toxic political atmosphere. “It’s somebody else’s fault, somebody else slighted you, somebody else is intransigent, somebody else doesn’t know how to make a deal," he said. "It’s like a microcosm of the debt limit debate.” You can hear that conversation below as well.

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TN MOVING STORIES: New Fuel Economy Standards Debut Tomorrow, 59% of New Yorkers Like New Bike Lanes, and SEPTA Ridership Hits 22-Year High

Thursday, July 28, 2011

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood shows off the new fuel economy label prototype (photo courtesy of US DOT)

President Obama will unveil the 2017-25 fuel economy standards tomorrow -- 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. (Detroit News)

A new poll says 59% of New Yorkers approve of the city's new bike lanes. (New York Daily News)

A commuter rail line linking Milwaukee to the suburbs is officially dead. (Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel)

SEPTA ridership numbers have hit a 22-year high. "Officials credited service improvements, higher gasoline prices, Center City population growth, and a growing use of transit by young adults." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

John Mica says Democrats are to blame for the FAA shutdown; listen below. (The Takeaway)

NY's MTA wants the city to kick in $250 million for the Second Avenue Subway. (DNA Info)

DC's Capitol Bikeshare is undergoing a major expansion. (Washington Examiner)

Nissan wants its customers to come up with an official "Leaf wave" -- a  mobile greeting to identify Leaf drivers and "reservationists." (Wall Street Journal)

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TN MOVING STORIES: FAA Shutdown Update, Seattle Eyes Streetcars, and Boston To Get Purple Train Engines

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

FAA shutdown update: Ray LaHood says he's unaware of any negotiations, lawmakers say the impasse deserves more attention, and most airlines have actually raised fares to keep pace with the lost tax revenue. (Time)

House Democrats filed an FAA reauthorization bill that retains funding for rural air service. (The Hill)

Seattle's new master transit plan says four transit corridors are ripe for streetcars. (Seattle Post Intelligencer)

Following this weekend's crash, China's chances of exporting bullet trains to other countries are now slim to none. (Marketplace)

The people of Boston have spoken: the T's new commuter rail engines will be purple. (WBUR)

(photo courtesy of the MBTA)

New York's MTA is seeking almost $7 billion in new debt to pay for capital projects. (Wall Street Journal)

The MTA said it would upgrade subway stations in the Bronx. (New York Daily News)

Meanwhile, a water main break disrupted subway service in that borough. (WNYC)

Tesla will be powering Toyotas in 2012. (

More on contract negotiations between the Big Three and the United Auto Workers union. (The Takeaway)

Fines for distracted walking are taking hold in various states. (Guardian)

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FAA Shutdown: Workers Turned Away, Air Traffic Controllers Frustrated

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

LaGuardia Airport in Queens (photo by Joseph Holmes via Flickr)

When the Federal Aviation Administration shut down at midnight on Friday, 4,000 workers were immediately furloughed. In the greater New York City area alone, 646 employees at the agency's tech center in Atlantic City and 125 workers in New York have been told to not show up to work. But the effects of the shutdown are spreading far beyond the agency's employees.

Construction company managers are turning workers away who show up for a day's work -- while air traffic controllers say they feel like "political pawns."

The US Department of Transportation says New Jersey has lost $44.7 million for airport projects across the state and New York has lost $62.6 million. Projects that have been issued stop work orders include a $20 million runway safety project at New Jersey's Teterboro Airport and a $10 million security bollards project at LaGuardia Airport.

Another job that's on hold: a $6 million teardown of an old air traffic control tower at LaGuardia -- a project singled out by US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood as a galling example of congressional inaction.

Luca Toscano is the vice president at Paul J. Scariano, Inc. - the Brooklyn-based construction company that holds that contract. Toscano said that the demolition project has a crew of about 40-45 people, and he had to tell them to turn around and go home on Sunday night when they showed up for work. "Some people took the situation a little bit drastic, because some of them came from prior layoffs, start a new project, start a new work, some of them were very understanding of the situation...they understand there's nothing they can do about it."

Toscano is also concerned that the longer the shutdown goes on, the more likely his workers are to start looking for other work. "We fought hard enough to get the right people for the right job, and right now I'm afraid we'll lose some of these people," he said. "If there's no stability, what else are they going to do? They've got to feed their families."

He's also worried about the actual work area at the airport. "You have a scaffold that is structured to be maintained at all times. It's a suspended scaffold...if there's a situation of heavy winds, in a storm, there's a possibility of something flying away. (And) down below there are airplanes in stages of being loaded and unloaded. There's a lot of liability there."

A few miles southwest of LaGuardia, Stephen Abraham is an air traffic controller at JFK Airport in Queens. He's also the local president for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, a union which represents 1,100 of the furloughed FAA employees.

While all the air traffic controllers are still working, Abraham said "many of our co-workers -- engineers, architects, all people who kind of work behind the scenes, to let us do what we do every day -- aren't at work."

It's a situation he and his colleagues find frustrating. "The folks in Washington keep using the expression ''kicking the can.' They've kicked the can of FAA reauthorization 21 times. You don't like to be the political pawn, and that's what we're feeling like. "

Work has been halted on an $8 million job to rehab some of JFK's runways. Another JFK job that's ground to a halt? The controllers' break room, which was in the middle of a refurbishment. Now Abraham's office is serving as the makeshift break room.

Congressman John Mica - the head of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee -- told reporters yesterday that he has 'no idea" when the FAA will reopen. This doesn't sit well with Abraham.

"The furloughs are bad," he said. "These are your coworkers who all of a sudden aren't getting paid -- but it doesn't seem like with what's going on with the debt ceiling this is not tops on the list of things to get done in Washington."

For a list of projects that have halted, you can visit the FAA's website here.









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Snapshot | Trumpet Flowers With Ant Appeal Uptown

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Trumpet flowers growing on West 82nd Street in an overgrown lot behind Ray's Pizza.


TN MOVING STORIES: China Orders Rail Safety Review, Chicago Gets Its First Protected Bike Lane, and Ray LaHood Talks FAA Budget Impasse

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Following a deadly high-speed rail crash, China has ordered a safety review of its rail system. (BBC News)

New York suspended the operating licenses of eight charter and tour bus companies after they repeatedly failed safety inspections. (AP via Albany Times Union)

Ray LaHood says of the FAA partial shutdown: "Congress hasn't been able to get its act together and pass a long-term bill." (PBS NewsHour)

(For more TN coverage of the FAA budget impasse, go here, here and here.)

The partial FAA shutdown has stalled the demolition of LaGuardian Airport's old air traffic control tower. (Photo courtesy of Mark Bonafacio/Fast Lane DOT)

Chicago's first protected bike lane is complete. (Chicago Tribune)

Contract talks are underway between the UAW and Detroit automakers. (Changing Gears)

Ford's earnings slipped, but revenue is up. (Detroit Free Press)

Construction in Brooklyn unearthed old trolley tracks. (Streetsblog)

When GPS kills: in remote places, like California's Death Valley, relying on a GPS navigator can be a matter of life and death. (NPR)

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Right says transportation is a civil rights issue -- and we should be spending more on public transit. (Wired)

(For more on transportation and civil rights, listen to TN's documentary: Back of the Bus: Mass Transit, Race and Inequality)

New York Governor Cuomo on teaching his teenage daughters how to drive: "I want to make sure they meet my standard of driving proficiency...I’m sure they consider it some form of torture." (New York Times)

New York subway riders may pay a $1 MetroCard surcharge, starting next year. (New York Daily News)


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PHOTOS: Amazon Bike Lane? Hong Kong Gridlock? Your Summer Vacation, In Transportation Pictures

Monday, July 25, 2011

TN readers: here's your summer assignment: while you're vacationing this summer, take a picture of what you think is a good representation of a transportation mode, wherever you happen to be.

We're interested in seeing what strikes you about transportation and transit in other places. Are the street signs clear? How's the boat traffic?  Are the taxis wheelchair-friendly?

A high-speed rail ticket from Shanghai to Hangzhou. The 120-mile trip (about halfway from NY to DC) costs $13 and takes about an hour. (Photo: Richard Yeh)


Bikes in Amsterdam (photo by Steven Ehrlich)

Can you easily get a stroller onto a bus? Are there two-way protected bike lanes?  And yes, for those of you remaining chez vous this summer, submissions from your staycation are allowed.

Bike Lane in the Colombian Amazon


Email your pictures to transponation@ by midnight on Labor Day (Monday, September 5) with a brief description of your photo, including your name and where and when the picture was taken.

We'll be posting highlights from your submissions. The winning photo will be announced after Labor Day and the photographer will receive a WNYC Chico sling bag.


Hong Kong Traffic (Photo: Steven Ehrlich)


And have a happy TranspoVacation!



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TN MOVING STORIES: Deadly Crash on China Bullet Train, FAA Furloughs Workers, And What Can Atlanta Learn from Denver's Transpo Tax?

Monday, July 25, 2011

(Chinese Maglev High-Speed Rail Train (cc) by Flickr user: cramnic)

A crash on  one of China's high-speed rail lines killed at least 43 people -- and added to concerns about safety on the lines. (New York Times)

The FAA furloughed thousands of workers after Congress failed to reauthorize its funding. (The Hill)

New York Governor Cuomo "faces a rough ride" in choosing a new MTA head. (Wall Street Journal)

What can Atlanta's transportation system learn from Denver ? Quite a lot.  Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Boston's MBTA is considering raising transit fares to combat its $8 billion debt. (WBUR)

Los Angeles's mayor wants to cement his legacy through his public transit projects. (Los Angeles Daily News)

Rhode Island is having public hearings over proposed cuts to that state's bus service. (Boston Globe)

The New York Daily News writes of outgoing MTA chief Jay Walder -- who had four years left on his contract: "We (don't) have to praise him and thank him as he walks off the mound in the third inning of a nine-inning game."

And how hot was it last week? Hot enough that DC allowed people to drink water on the Metro. (WMATA press release)


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Getting to the Bottom of Manhattan's Inspiration Point

Friday, July 22, 2011

Inspiration Point (photo by Kate Hinds)

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.


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TN MOVING STORIES: LA Passes Anti-Bike Harassment Law, FAA Shutdown Looms, Heat Knocks Out Subway Countdown Clocks

Friday, July 22, 2011

You know what's a welcome sight on a sweltering day? A caipirinha truck. (Photo by Kate Hinds)

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)

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Montana Judge Blocks Oil Equipment Megaloads

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A megaload moves through Montana (photo by Jackie Yamanaka/YPR)

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.

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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

Space shuttle Atlantis lands for the final time (photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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)

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VIDEO: Your Questions Answered! Ray LaHood's "On the Go"

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.

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Brooklyn Bike Lane Case Continues on August 3

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Kings County Supreme Court (photo by Kate Hinds)


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.

There were 87 cases before Justice Bunyan today in Kings County Supreme Court - the bike lane case was number 67. (Photo by Kate Hinds)




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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.

How one hamster beat Carmageddon (photo by JDAC via Flickr)

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)


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