Kate Hinds

Kate Hinds appears in the following:

Hey, You're Walking Here: Guerrilla Etiquette Artist Takes to the Streets

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Oh, if only. (Photo by Kate Hinds)

In the grand tradition of turning annoyance into art (remember Honku?), street signs -- bearing the imprimatur of the "Metropolitan Etiquette Authority" -- have begun appearing on some New York City corners.

The signs are the work of Jason Shelowitz -- also known as Jay Shells. He's also the designer behind last year's rogue subway etiquette campaign, in which official-looking posters appeared in subway stations, reminding  passengers to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing, and to be courteous when exiting and entering a subway car ("it's called being aware of your surroundings, try it out!")

The sign pictured above is currently (at least until a city agency removes it) on the corner of Varick Street and Van Dam Street, which is on the fringes of the heavily trafficked Soho neighborhood. (Yes, Soho, where the sidewalks creak with map-wielding, bag-encumbered tourists, and even the most tolerant New Yorker has entertained uncharitable thoughts about the behavior of our fellow walkers.)

Shelowitz has three other signs in addition to the one above. You can see the designs on his Etsy page -- where he sells them in order to fund his street etiquette campaign.




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TN MOVING STORIES: No Contract Yet Between UAW and Auto Makers; NYC Bike Share Is A "Game-Changer"

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Top stories in TN:

NYC chooses Alta for its bike share system. (Story, photos)

Congressman John Mica -- chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee -- has a love/hate relationship with infrastructure. (Link)

A lone Republican senator is holding up transportation and FAA funding extensions, because he said they will fund things like a Corvette museum and an albino squirrel sanctuary. (Link)

A bike lane on Manhattan's Upper West Side (photo by Kate Hinds)

NYC bike share: coverage in Marketplace, New York Times, NY Daily News, NY Observer, DNA Info, Wall Street Journal.

NYC DOT head Janette Sadik-Khan's editorial in the New York Daily News: bike share is another option for New Yorkers.

Editorial in The Guardian: bike share is a "game-changer."

Auto workers and car manufacturers failed to reach a contract agreement by the deadline; GM and Chrysler agree to extend talks. (Detroit Free Press)

In Canada, a study found that new immigrants are twice as likely to use public transit when compared to Canadian-born workers. (Global News)

The Obama administration wants to ban electronic cigarettes on planes. (AP via AJC)

A Chicago official wants to crack down on distracted biking. (WBEZ)

Taking stock of technology in cars: we're not that far off from "partial autopilot." (Wall Street Journal)

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PHOTOS: Scenes from New York City Bike Share Announcement

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

As we reported earlier, New York City announced the vendor for its bike share program.

A bike share station (photo by Kate Hinds)

A close up of the handlebars of one of the sample bikes. Looks like a three speed.

(photo by Kate Hinds)

The formal announcement:

Dan Cantor (Working Families Party), Alison Cohen (President, Alta), Janette Sadik-Khan (NYC DOT Commissioner), Gale Brewer (NYC Council Member), Kathleen Wylde (Partnership for NYC), Paul Steely White (Transportation Alternatives) and Brad Lander (NYC Council Member)

Front view of a bike station:

(photo by Kate Hinds)

Musician -- and bike advocate -- David Byrne was on hand:

David Byrne (photo by Kate Hinds)

So were city politicians.

Gale Brewer, Janette Sadik-Khan, NYC Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson, NYC Council Member Letitia James, and Colvin Grannum, president of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration (photo by Kate Hinds)

Eco-friendly parking stations:

The bike stations are solar powered (photo by Kate Hinds)

Docking instructions:

(photo by Kate Hinds)

A sample payment machine:

(photo by Kate Hinds)

And finally, a joy ride. NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and other city officials make a loop around the plaza in front of reporters.

 Janette Sadik-Khan test-driving one of the bikes (photo by Kate Hinds)

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TN MOVING STORIES: A Look at Auto's Two-Tier Wage System, and Feds Recommend Commercial Driver Cell Phone Ban

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Top stories on TN:

New York's bike share announcement is imminent. (Link)

The House passed no-drama extensions for the FAA and transportation. (Link)

The MTA is preparing to spend millions to rebuild its Port Jervis line. (Link)

United Auto Workers in February, 2011 (photo by P.T. Manolakos via Flickr)

The National Transportation Safety Board wants to ban all cell phone use for all commercial drivers. (Washington Post)

Members of New York's transit workers union -- whose MTA contract expires in January -- staged a flash mob-like protest at MTA headquarters. (New York Daily News)

The labor contract between the United Auto Workers Union and the Big Three American automakers expires tonight at midnight. (Marketplace)

And: could the auto industry's two-tier wage system work elsewhere? Should it? (The Takeaway)

Metropolitan areas that manufacture durable goods grew faster in 2010 than those without. (Wall Street Journal)

Star-Ledger op-ed: Hurricane Irene is a wake up call, highlighting the need for more transit redundancy in New Jersey.

The TSA will change screening procedures for children going through airport security. Less pat-downs, more shoes. (Politico)

Tougher state licensing laws have led to fewer fatal car crashes for 16-year-olds...but there's a catch. (NPR)

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House Passes FAA, Surface Transportation Temporary Extension

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The House of Representatives has approved a bill  that combines a four-month Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization with a six-month surface transportation re-up.   The Senate has yet to take action.

The bill, known as the Surface and Air Transportation Programs Extension Act of 2011 (link), temporarily extends operating authority for the FAA through the end of January and federal highway programs through the end of March

The FAA's funding expires this Friday. Highway programs are due to expire on September 30. Long-term funding for the FAA ran out in 2007 and highway programs in 2009. Both programs have been continued through a series of short-term extensions.

Senate and House leaders reached an agreement last week to temporarily extend both programs. But at least one Republican senator, Oklahoma's Tom Coburn, says he objects to the bill and will move to block it.

More soon.


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TN MOVING STORIES: Highway/FAA Bill Expected Today, a Look at Rural Airport Subsidies, and DC Bikers Don Video Cameras

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Top stories on TN:

New York City is expected to announce the selection of a vendor for its upcoming bike share program. (Link)

The president sent his jobs bill to Congress. (Link)

Congress has reached a deal on a funding extension for both the FAA and the highway bill, and it's expected to come to the floor today. (The Hill, Politico)

But: Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) says he'll try to block the agreement until states stop spending money on highway beautification and bicycle lanes. (Bloomberg)

Subsidies for rural airports have been a sticking point in the FAA reauthorization. Marketplace flies a rural route -- and talks about where the money really comes from.

Transit advocates in Vancouver want mayors to stand behind a property tax increase to fund transit improvements. (The Globe and Mail)

DC bicyclists are affixing video camera to their helmets to record rude, threatening and even violent drivers. (Washington Examiner)

After the deluge comes the flood: expect thousands of waterlogged cars to hit the used-car market. (The Star-Ledger)

A new study suggests that children may be safer in cars when their grandparents are driving than when their parents are behind the wheel. (New York Times)

A land-swap deal with the U.N. to facilitate the building of the East River greenway has upset some local residents. (DNA Info)


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TN MOVING STORIES: House To Vote On FAA Extension, BART Police Eye Media Restrictions, and Pipeline Explosion Kills Dozens In Kenya

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Top stories on TN:

President Obama's jobs plan includes a $10 billion infrastructure bank (link), but a key House Republican isn't interested. (Link)

Houston expands its electric vehicle fleet; will add dozens of charging stations. (Link)

Zipcar is increasing its presence on college campuses. (Link)

An unused air traffic control tower at LaGuardia Airport, being dismantled (photo by Alex Goldmark)

The House will vote on an FAA extension this week. (The Hill)

NYT columnist Frank Bruni calls NYC DOT head Janette Sadik-Khan a "bicycle visionary."  (Link)

A leaking pipeline exploded in Nairobi, killing dozens. (New York Times)

Bay Area Rapid Transit police eye media restrictions after the handcuffing and detention of at least six professional and student journalists at a protest. (AP via Mercury News)

Contract talks between auto workers and the Big Three manufacturers matter to the larger economy. (WBEZ)

Suzuki wants to end its partnership with Volkswagen. (Wall Street Journal)

Drunk driving arrests in Manhattan's East Village have tripled. (DNA Info)

There are so many cyclists in Copenhagen that congestion is becoming a problem. (The Guardian)

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TN MOVING STORIES: Obama Wants "World-Class" Transpo System, TSA Tries Out "No Lie" Zone

Friday, September 09, 2011

Top stories on TN:

A ratings agency downgraded the MTA's debt. (Link 1, Link 2)

NJ redirected money originally meant for the ARC Tunnel to the state DOT, where it will be spent on roads, bridges, and -- maybe -- NJ Transit. (Link)

What was Reagan National Airport like after 9/11? Abandoned. (Link)

President Barack Obama talks with Rep. Chris VanHollen, D-Md., before addressing a Joint Session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Sept. 8, 2011. Pictured, from left, are: Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va.; Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama's speech: "Building a world-class transportation system is part of what made us an economic superpower.  And now we’re going to sit back and watch China build newer airports and faster railroads?"

Where's the money going? $50 billion to transportation (Washington Post); $10 billion to an infrastructure bank (TN).

Analysis: WashPo, NYT, TN's Todd Zwillich on The Takeaway.

Authorities say there's a credible but unconfirmed terror threat aimed at bridges or tunnels in NY or DC. (Politico, NY1)

A highway spending bill extension cleared a Senate committee. (The Hill)

San Francisco's Clipper cards -- a universal fare card system -- are problematic (Bay Citizen via NYT).  So are DC's student transit cards (The Examiner).

There's a drop in parking tickets in Manhattan -- especially in the East Village. (DNA Info)

Transit eye candy: NY MTA workers pose for charity calendar. (NY Daily News)

The TSA is experimenting with a "no lie zone" -- a behavior detection program -- at Boston's Logan Airport. (Boston Globe)

Manhattan's High Line -- the park built on old elevated freight rail tracks -- is screening train-themed movies this month. (The High Line via DNA Info)

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NJ's ARC Tunnel Money Redirected

Thursday, September 08, 2011

(Photo by William Hartz via Flickr)

Money that was supposed to go to New Jersey's canceled ARC trans-Hudson transit tunnel has officially been redirected to the state transportation trust fund.

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority voted Wednesday to pay money -- initially promised to the ARC tunnel -- to the state Department of Transportation instead.

The specifics are laid out in a memo to NJTA executive director Veronica Hakim from Donna Manuelli, the state's chief financial officer. Manuelli wrote she wanted to "take all necessary steps to terminate the Authroity's agreement with New Jersey Transit regarding the canceled ARC Tunnel project." (Read the funding agreement memo; pdf.)

Governor Christie killed the ARC Tunnel project last year, saying it was too expensive and he feared costs would spiral out of control. He  said in January that he planned to put the NJTA's ARC money toward the state's ailing transportation trust fund, so yesterday's NJTA vote didn't come as a surprise.

The NJTA collects tolls on the NJ Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway ($952 million in 2010), and it had originally pledged $1.25 billion to the ARC tunnel project.

It's unknown at this time where that money will go. Tim Greeley, a spokesman for the NJ DOT, said the state legislature makes decisions about the capital transportation budget in the spring. New Jersey's capital construction budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2011 has already been set.

Though not unexpected, NJ Senator Frank Lautenberg, long a proponent of a tunnel, was piqued by the move. “This toll revenue was supposed to be used to build a desperately needed trans-Hudson tunnel for New Jersey commuters,” he said in a statement.  “Using this money as a slush fund for other transportation projects is a disservice to New Jersey residents facing congestion on our roads and seeking access to more jobs and more trains in and out of New York.”

New Jersey's Transportation Trust Fund finances the annual capital program of the New Jersey Department of Transportation and NJ TRANSIT. The lion's share of its revenue comes from the state's gas tax, which is the third lowest in the nation. Governor Christie has said repeatedly he will not raise the gas tax.



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TN MOVING STORIES: Tonight's Presidential Speech Brought To You By the Letter "I" -- for Infrastructure

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Top stories on TN:

Fashionistas now can ride heel-friendly bikes: designers trick out public bikes for Fashion Week. (Link)

Air traffic controllers remember 9/11. (Link)

Toronto's pedestrian 'scramble' signal

President Obama's jobs speech tonight: infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure. (Politico)

Number being thrown around for tonight's speech: $100 billion for infrastructure, state and local aid, and programs that target people who have been unemployed for more than six months. (Washington Post)

Maryland lawmakers were warned not to expect nearly as much help from Washington as in the past to pay for highways and transit. (Washington Post)

Toronto's "scramble" traffic signal -- a light that allows pedestrians to cross a busy intersection diagonally -- has come under scrutiny. (Globe and Mail)

Protected bike lanes are coming to East Harlem in the spring of 2012, a neighborhood with one of the highest rates of bicycle commuters in NYC. (DNA Info)

Gizmodo looks at the World Trade Center transit hub -- a $3.8 billion "mega-terminal."

Candidates complained about the TSA at last night's Republican debate. (The Hill)

A manual transmission with two pedals? (Wall Street Journal)

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Break a Heel? Grab a Bike! Designers Prototype Bike Share for NY's Fashion Week

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Fashion Week, New York City: One week, dozens of designers, scores of events -- and now, for the first time, 30 designer bicycles.

And -- unlike the clothing on the runways -- the bicycles are free to borrow as part of a week-long fashion-inspired bike share program. (More info on how to borrow the bikes is at the end of this story; more pictures can be found here.)

Elie Tahari's snakeskin-wrapped ride (photo by Kate Hinds)

It's part of Tour de Fashion, a Fashion Center Business Improvement District project.  Barbara Randall, the BID's president, said " the idea is that you can get around to all these different venues. A lot of times models are having to get between venues, or you forgot the shoes -- you can hop on a bike, get down there, drop them off, and get back." Plus, she said, the Fashion Center is pro-biking.

Here are a few of your choices, which will no doubt be more whimsical -- and probably not as functional -- as New York City's planned bike share program.

Fashion designer (and Project Runway winner) Gretchen Jones said she was eager to design a bike -- especially one that could accommodate her penchant for heels.

The (high) heel-friendly pedals of Gretchen Jones' bike (photo by Kate Hinds)

Jones lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and bikes to work over the Manhattan Bridge. She said her design, which has wood-paneled wheels and a laser-etched wood basket, was inspired by the old woodie cars. "The more wood the better," she said.

Jones, with her bespoke bike (photo by Kate Hinds)

The basket is made out of arrows, because "arrows are a distinct part of my aesthetic in textile design, so I wanted to bring a little bit of my clothing design elements into the bike."

Gretchen Jones' arrow bike basket (photo by Kate Hinds)

All of the bikes were made by New York City's Bowery Lane Bicycles. "I'm trying to make sure the bikes are secure enough to be ridden," fretted Bowery Lane's Patrick Benard, "and some of them are on the borderline."

Benard's favorite bike: the leather-clad model by menswear designer Thom Browne. "It's beautifully done and it's functional, which is not true of all of these bikes. It can be ridden for years, and that's one of the things that I like about it."

Thom Browne's bicycle (photo by Kate Hinds)

Jewelry designer Amrita Singh made a bike that's "fit for a maharajah or a maharani, so it has a royal theme."

Amrita Singh's bejeweled bicycle (photo by Kate Hinds)

Singh said her bubblegum pink bike was inspired by the colors of Rajasthan, India. She was surprised by how difficult her bike was to make. "I didn't realize how much work it is," she laughed.  "Just the painting process is insane -- coat after coat. You think jewelry is hard? Bikes are harder."

Public School's Dao-Yi Chow also had painting challenges. He put the finishing touches on his bike the morning of the Tour de Fashion event -- and he's got the paint-stained hands to prove it.

Public School's Dao-Yi Chow's paint-stained hands (photo by Kate Hinds)

Public School's bike was, according to their blog, inspired by "the countless times we couldn’t catch a cab during the hectic 10 days that is NYC Fashion Week."  Plus, Chow says, the checkerboard design is an iconic New York City symbol.

Public School's Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, with their taxi-inspired bike (photo by Kate Hinds)

Designer Yeohlee Teng's bike is covered with ants, "because cutter ants were the inspiration for my spring '11 collection, and I love the shape of the leaves that they cut, but I also like the fact that they are so industrious. Listen, we should take a lesson from the ants. You know what works for them? Cooperation."

Yeohlee Teng's ant-inspired bicycle (photo by Kate Hinds)

The bicycles will be on display -- and available for borrowing -- from Thursday, September 8 through September 15, from 10am to 6pm (weekdays; weekends 11am to 6pm). "If they're not here," said Barbara Randall, "it's because someone's riding them." There's no fee, but riders must present a valid credit card.  There are two docking stations, one at the pedestrian plaza on Broadway between 39th and 40th Streets, and one at the pedestrian plaza on Ninth Avenue and 14th Street.

At the end of the week, the bicycles will be auctioned off. The proceeds will go to the Council of Fashion Designers of America's Fashion Incubator, which supports up-and-coming designers through mentoring, low-rent studio space, networking, and education.






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TN MOVING STORIES: No-Shoe Air Travel Rule May Be Eased, Obama's Jobs Plan Heavy on Infrastructure Spending, and VP Biden Misses His '67 Corvette

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Top stories on TN:

A lower Manhattan subway station, severely damaged on 9/11, reopens. (Link)

Air traffic controllers remember 9/11: "There was no playbook." (Link)

Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama look at an app on an iPhone in the Outer Oval Office (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Previewing President Obama's jobs speech: rebuilding our infrastructure critical to easing jobs crunch. (Washington Post)

Joe Biden: the worst thing about being VP ("I'm serious") is not being able to drive my '67 Corvette. (Car and Driver)

New York Observer: NYC DOT head Janette Sadik-Khan is the best mechanic the city streets have had in a generation.

The head of Homeland Security foresees a future in which air travelers can keep their shoes on while going through security. (Politico)

Tropical Storm Lee disrupted oil production in the Gulf. (Wall Street Journal)

America's top ten gas drillers: you know numbers 1, 5, 7 and 9; have you heard of the rest? (ProPublica)

The National Park Service reverses position, says yes to bike share on the Mall. (Washington Post)

U.S., Kenya to hold talks on direct flights between the two counties; Ray LaHood to fly to Nairobi at the end of the month. (Bloomberg)

Starting this week, New York boaters can no longer discharge sewage into Long Island Sound. (New York Newsday)

Subway riders would rather that the next MTA chief have political savvy -- not a well-used MetroCard. (NY Daily News)

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"There Was No Playbook" -- Air Traffic Controllers Remember 9/11

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Air traffic controllers receiving reports about hijacked planes 30 minutes before the first plane struck the World Trade Center were one of the first groups of people who realized what was happening on 9/11.

Today the FAA  released a short video that shares the perspective of three air traffic controllers who worked that day. It's a sobering account of  the events of that morning and the scramble to clear the air space.  "Okay, we gotta put these aircraft on the ground," said one controller who was interviewed. "So we were working with the controllers to then tell the pilots 'you're going to have to're going to have to pick an airport...tell us where you're gonna land."

You can watch the video above, and read more about it at Fast Lane, the US DOT secretary's blog.

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TN MOVING STORIES: Boston Bike Share Booming, and A Look At The New DC Metro Map

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Top stories on TN:

President Obama calls on Congress to pass a transportation bill -- and keep the FAA open for business. (Link)

Trouble finding parking in San Francisco? There's an app for that. (Link)

"Revolutionary" Hubway riders outside of Paul Revere's House in Boston (photo courtesy of the City of Boston; hat tip to TheCityFix)

Ridership on Boston's one-month-old bike share program has exceeded expectations. (Boston Globe)

New York Times op-ed: reauthorizing the highway trust will create 120,000 jobs over the next three years.

Baltimore Sun op-ed: Congress has created a transportation time bomb; needs to renew gas tax and get moving on long-term legislation.

Detroit's city council will take up funding for the People Mover and governance for a local light rail project at its meeting today. (Detroit News)

China won't let the Chevy Volt get subsidies unless GM shares engineering technology -- and the conflict could spur a trade dispute between China and the U.S. (New York Times)

Commuter rail service between Philadelphia and Trenton resumes today, after being shut down for more than a week due to damage from Hurricane Irene. (AP via the Star-Ledger)

An intersection on Manhattan's Upper West Side -- dubbed "the bowtie of death" -- is getting pedestrian safety upgrades. (DNA Info)

Washington's Metro unveiled a draft of a new subway map -- and wants input from riders before finalizing it. (Greater Greater Washington)

A draft of the new DC Metro map (image courtesy of WMATA)

Southbound service at the Cortlandt Street subway station in downtown Manhattan will reopen today after being shut for six years. (New York Daily News)

9/11 made business travel cheaper -- and forced some other changes. (Marketplace)

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TN MOVING STORIES: Auto Sales Up, Hitchhiking in Havana, and DC Drivers: Worst in U.S.?

Friday, September 02, 2011

Top stories on TN
Trouble finding a parking space in San Francisco? There's an app for that. (Link)

The damage caused by disasters like Hurricane Irene has been amplified by decades of bad infrastructure decisions. (Link)

A public bus in Havana (photo by Wha'ppen via Flickr)

In Havana, terrible public transportation and good public safety have built a culture of hitchhiking -- especially for women. (NPR)

New express bus lines link Henderson to Las Vegas; officials hope the transit will give the region an economic boost. (Las Vegas Sun)

The price of gas is near the highest level it has ever been heading into a Labor Day weekend. (Marketplace)

Auto sales rose strongly in August. (Wall Street Journal)

Thursday's Brian Lehrer Show talked about the president's infrastructure speech -- and how many jobs could potentially be lost if transportation funds are cut. (WNYC)

DC drivers: among the worst in the country. (WAMU)

The Sinatra-crooning construction worker is leaving the Second Avenue Subway to work on another MTA project. (New York Post)

A tale of two bus systems in Bogotá: a photo essay. (The CityFix)

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Hurricane Irene Damage Amplified by Decades of Bad Infrastructure Policy

Thursday, September 01, 2011

A flooded street in downtown Millburn, New Jersey

WNYC's Bob Hennelly writes in his latest Stucknation blog post that global warming, combined with years of bad infrastructure policy, has set the table for the type of massive flood damage 13 states experienced this week.

"The scope of the damage of these short-sighted landuse practices that play out at the local level have become so pernicious the results can be seen from space...Can we learn these lessons or are we doomed to just keep repeating the same failed behavior? Connecting these dots are  our 21st century WPA scale challenge."

You can read his post here.

And you can listen to Bob discuss America's infrastructure policy on this morning's The Takeaway.

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TN MOVING STORIES: U.S. Oil Production Up, NYC Taxi Medallions Make Good Investments, and No More Free Rides for Chicago's Seniors

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Top stories on TN:

President Obama urges Congress to pass federal transportation bill and keep the FAA in business. (Link)

NY's MTA invokes "emergency powers" to repair a damaged Metro-North commuter rail line. (Link)

The head of the Port Authority of NY and NJ launched a full-throated broadside against politicians who say the government must reduce all spending.. (Link)

Photo: CC by Flickr user Vincent van der Pas

The cost of a NYC taxi medallion has gone up 1,000% since 1980 -- making them a better investment than gold. (Bloomberg)

How many jobs could federal funding of infrastructure create? Marketplace takes a look.

Closing tolls booths and transit during Tropical Storm Irene cost Massachusetts hundreds of thousands of dollars in transportation revenues. (Boston Globe)

San Francisco's BART hired a new general manager, who says the job "sounds fun to me." (San Francisco Chronicle)

Free rides for Chicago's senior citizens ends today; now they are expected to pay reduced fare on transit. (Chicago Tribune)

During Obama's tenure, oil drilling has gone up, but prices haven't gone down. (Washington Post)

Embattled car maker Saab may avert bankruptcy with a bank loan. (Bloomberg via Financial Post)

Detroit's People Mover only has enough funding to operate through December. (Detroit Free Press)

The family of a bicyclist killed in Brooklyn say she'd be alive if debris had been cleared from the bike lane. (New York Daily News)

Electric car batteries: is it better to recycle them, or reuse them? (New York Times)

India feels inspired by China's investment in infrastructure. (New York Times)

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NY's MTA Invokes "Emergency Powers" To Rebuild Port Jervis Line

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chairman Jay Walder surveys damage on the Port Jervis Line with MTA Board Members Susan Metzger and Carl Wortendyke (photo by Hilary Ring/MTA)

Rebuilding the Metro-North's Port Jervis commuter rail line will take months, not weeks -- and the MTA is invoking special powers to move forward with the work.

The line, which serves New York's Rockland and Orange Counties, was hit hard by Hurricane Irene flooding. MTA head Jay Walder described the damage as  "catastrophic" -- a description that seems borne out on the MTA's Flickr page, which has photos showing places where the track has completely washed out. In other pictures, the rails are canted at an angle -- more like a roller coaster than railroad tracks.

The MTA also says there is significant damage to the line's railroad bridges, as well as suspected significant damage to the signal system -- which is visibly exposed and under water.

There's no estimate yet of how long it will take to restore service. Also unknown at this time: how much repairs will cost, or how much money the federal government will contribute.

Jay Walder said in a statement today:  “There are sections of track literally suspended in the air, and in many places we will have to build a new railroad from scratch, from the foundation to the tracks to the signals. I have directed Metro-North to take such steps as are necessary to expeditiously and fully address the catastrophic damage suffered along the Port Jervis Line as a result of Irene. Rebuilding this infrastructure is going to be a long and difficult process, but we are taking every action in our power to continue serving our customers, to reduce unnecessary delay and to communicate every step of the way.”

Part of those actions: invoking "emergency powers," which the MTA described as necessary to quickly free up money and waive procurement rules.

"They’re going to do work now and sort the funding out later," said William Henderson, the executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA. He said waiving the usual competitive bidding process will allow Metro-North to speed up repairs.

The MTA is providing bus service from Harriman, New York, to a NJ Transit rail station in Ramsey, NJ, where passengers can board trains heading to New York Penn Station. Marjorie Anders said the MTA is about to announce additional bus service which will take passengers from Port Jervis and Middletown across the Hudson River into Beacon, where riders can take that Metro-North line south to Grand Central Terminal.

You can read the MTA's statement on rebuilding the Port Jervis line here (pdf).


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Photo of the Day: Yes We Can, Capital Bikeshare

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

DC's Capital Bikeshare, rendered in cans (photo by @The42BusDC)

No doubt, DC residents, there have been times when you've spotted a Capital Bikeshare station and thought: "I wonder what that would look like, rendered in canned food."

Your wait is over.

You can view this sculpture, along with many others, at the current Canstruction exhibit at the National Building Museum in Washington DC.

(Hat tip to DCist. Picture courtesy of the twitter feed of @The42BusDC.)

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President About to Speak on Highway Bill, FAA

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

We'll have analysis later -- and the transcript as soon as we get it -- but if you want to watch the president's speech, the White House will stream it live.

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