Streams

Kate Hinds

Kate Hinds appears in the following:

White House Names New Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Jay Williams (photo courtesy of the City of Youngstown)

The White House's efforts to rebuild the auto industry have a new leader.

Jay Williams, the current mayor of Youngstown, Ohio -- an factory town near a General Motors assembly plant  -- will be the director of a revamped Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers.

According to a press release, Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis made the announcement today in Flint, Michigan. The auto recovery office is part of the US Department of Labor.

In June 2009, President Obama created the White House Council on Automotive Communities and Workers and the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers. The post of director had been vacant since the previous head left last year. Jay Williams takes the helm on August 8.


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NYC DOT Begins Building New First and Second Avenue Bike Lanes North of 34th Street

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

UPDATED WITH MORE NYC DOT INFORMATION

Work began Tuesday on a pair of bike lanes on Manhattan's First and Second Avenues.

According to a flyer distributed by the New York City Department of Transportation, a parking-protected bicycle path and left-turn lanes at intersections is being installed on First Avenue between East 34th and East 49th Streets. Further north to 57th Street, a shared bicycle lane is being marked. And on Second Avenue from 34th to 59th Streets, a shared lane is being marked.

There are existing bike lanes on both avenues below 34th Street. (A pdf of the city's biking network is here.)

According to the DOT, the project will take about two months. Right now crews are working on markings to create the new bike path and route on First Avenue. Work will then move to Second Avenue, though there will be times when work crews will be on both avenues simultaneously. Parking regulations have been updated at some locations and additional hours for commercial parking were created along the corridor.

You can see the NYC DOT's flyer on the new bike lanes here.

You can read more TN coverage about First and Second Avenue bike lanes here and here.

TN readers: got any photos of the work in progress? Email them to us at transponation (at) gmail.com

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TN MOVING STORIES: House Republicans to Present Transportation Bill, MBTA Considers Audio Ads, and Cincinnati Eyeing Battery-Powered Streetcars

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

House Republicans are expected to present a long-term transportation bill that will cut funding for highways and mass transit by almost one third. (Washington Post)

A public-private partnership in Michigan, formed to upgrade a bridge between Detroit and Canada, has devolved into a lawsuit. (Marketplace)

Detroit's Ambassador Bridge (Ryan Bayne/Flickr)

Want to make a city more bike-friendly? Make its transit system bike friendly, too. (New York Times)

Cincinnati may adopt a battery-powered streetcar system. (Cincinnati.com)

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is considering selling audio ads on transit that would be triggered by GPS technology. When the bus passes a particular business, an ad for that shop could play over the vehicle’s loudspeaker.(Boston Globe)

The White House will announce today that the mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, will be appointed the new director of the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers. (Detroit Free Press)

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Reinstated - And It Feels So Good

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

New York State Senator Marty Golden, holding up bus schedules for the reinstated express bus lines (photo courtesy of Senator Golden)

A year after New York's MTA discontinued two Brooklyn-to-Manhattan express bus lines, the agency has brought them back.

The resurrected X37 and X38, which operate between the Bay Ridge/Sea Gate/Bensonhurst neighborhoods and Midtown Manhattan, began running again today after being eliminated in June 2010 as part of the MTA's attempt to close an $800 million budget gap.

Deirdre Parker, a spokesperson for the MTA, said that the agency had tried to fill gaps in service by creating two bus lines (the X27B and the X28B), but "it didn't really perform as we had anticipated." She said: "There was crowding, traffic delays, it was like a loading imbalance, where you'd have one bus that was too crowded and another that was almost empty."

There was also a lawsuit, brought by a local politicians and litigated by a former NYC Taxi and Limousine commissioner, which accused the MTA of violating the Americans With Disabilities Act by cutting the bus lines. Now that the lines are restored, the suit has been dropped.

State Senator Martin Golden, who had been battling the MTA for the return of the bus lines, released a statement today that said: “I thank the Metropolitan Transit Authority for listening and the plaintiffs for their advocacy on behalf of the many who need better transportation services. But the fight continues as Southwest Brooklyn still needs more of the service we lost returned to operation including weekend express bus service.”

Josephine Beckmann, district manager for Brooklyn's Community Board 10, said residents are thrilled to have the bus lines back. "We're delighted, we're ecstatic," she said.

 

 

 

 

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Deal to Save NJ's Xanadu Chips Away At Affordable Housing Near Urban Transit Centers

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

 

A concept drawing for the Xanadu/American Dreams Meadowlands mall project (Bob Hennelly/WNYC)

In order to grant corporate tax incentives to resurrect New Jersey's moribund Xanadu shopping complex, Governor Chris Christie needed the Democratically-controlled state legislature to follow through with legislation (pdf). The bill would grant at least $200 million in tax credits to a company to finish the stalled  project -- now to be rebranded as American Dream Meadowlands.

And as WNYC's Bob Hennelly reports, that is not all that the bill does.

Democrats used the opportunity to radically alter the state's Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit Act, which offers significant tax credits to developers undertaking residential construction near mass-transit in urban centers like Camden and Newark.

Under the current program, developers had to commit to set aside 20 percent of developments for affordable housing units for low and moderate income households. In return, they would get a state tax credit equivalent to 20 percent of the cost of their investment.

Under the new legislation, developers are now going to be able to get a 35 percent tax credit for their construction costs, and they will no longer be required to provide affordable housing.

Read Bob Hennelly's report here.

 

 

 

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TN MOVING STORIES: Los Angeles To Cut Dozens of Bus Routes, Why NYC Women Don't Bike More, and Oil Spill in Montana

Sunday, July 03, 2011

A bike lane being installed on Manhattan's Upper West Side in 2010 (photo by Kate Hinds)

Federal spending on bike and pedestrian infrastructure was $4 a person in 2010 -- and Economix says we should be investing more. (New York Times)

Los Angeles's bus system gets millions of low-income workers to their jobs -- so why is the city cutting bus lines? (New York Times)

Why don't more women bike in NYC? Safety, safety, safety. (New York Times)

A Haaretz editorial characterizes the state of public transportation in Tel Aviv "shameful" and calls for reform.

A ruptured oil pipeline in Montana has spilled 1,000 barrels of oil into the Yellowstone River. (The Takeaway)

After five years and $12 million, Newark's proposed Triangle Park remains a parking lot -- not the pedestrian-friendly park space it was meant to be. (Star-Ledger)

Chicago's Metra might have double-charged customers who purchased tickets with credit cards last week. (Chicago Tribune)

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NYC Attorney to Judge: Opposition Trying to Make "End Run" Around Law in Brooklyn Bike Lane Case

Friday, July 01, 2011

The Prospect Park West bike lane in Brooklyn (photo by Kate Hinds)

New York City doesn't want a judge to grant a two-month adjournment to the group suing the city to remove a bike lane in Brooklyn.

As Streetsblog reported Thursday, Jim Walden -- the attorney representing Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes/Seniors for Safety --  wrote to Justice Bunyan earlier this week (a pdf of that letter can be found here) asking him to push back the next court date in the case until September.

Walden, who included a copy of a front-page New York Times article in his letter, told the judge that the Times story "highlights precisely the issue we raised at the hearing on June 22: namely, that the city presents new programs and initiatives as 'pilots' or 'trials' in order to avoid compliance with required legal processes and public reviews and to blunt criticism of the projects  -- only to make the projects permanent without any further review."

Walden told the judge that he had submitted new Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests to the city's Department of Transportation, as well as Council Member Brad Lander, and that he needed time to receive and review these documents.

(You can read TN's coverage of Walden's previous FOIL request to Lander here.)

The City of New York Law Department attorney Mark Muschenheim responded with his own letter (pdf) to the judge, accusing Walden of making "an end run around the general discovery prohibition in summary proceedings." Muschenheim urged Justice Bunyan to reject the request and hold the next court hearing, as scheduled, on July 20.

According to the city's letter, Walden "mistakenly assert(s) that this article has some bearing on the statute of limitations issue in this proceeding. The article discusses generally the use of pilot projects by various City agencies. Significantly, the article makes no mention of the Prospect Park West Traffic Calming Project (“PPW Project”) that is the subject of the instant dispute." The letter goes on to reiterate the city's position that the PPW bike lane was never considered, or described, as a trial or pilot project --  and that FOIL requests are no basis to delay the next hearing.

No word on when -- or if -- the judge might issue a decision.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TN MOVING STORIES: Cuomo to Allow Hydrofracking, American Airlines Deep in Red, and Transit Agencies Want Tweets About Hot Subway Cars

Friday, July 01, 2011

Machine used for hydrofracking (NYS Department of Environmental Conservation)

New York Governor Cuomo announced a plan to allow -- and regulate -- the controversial natural gas drilling technique known as hydrofracking. (WNYC)

Ray LaHood is siding with Virginia's above-ground station idea for the Dulles Metrorail extension. (Washington Post)

Latinos, African-Americans and Asian-Americans buy more Toyotas than any other car brand. (NPR)

American Airlines has lost money eight out of the last ten years. (AP via St. Louis Today)

California is recycling roads to repair them. (Good)

Federal transportation officials shut down a Pennsylvania bus company involved in a fatal crash after finding the two drivers involved never took required drug tests and falsified records. (AP)

The transit agencies in Boston and Washington DC want customers to tweet them about subway cars with broken A/C. (Transit Wire)

The Port Authority of NY and NJ is studying traffic near the Port Newark/Elizabeth Marine Terminal to prepare to accommodate a 50 percent increase in shipping container traffic over the coming decade. (The Star-Ledger)

More on the opening of the Beijing-to-Shanghai high-speed rail line in the Los Angeles Times.

Brookline wants to join Boston's bike share program. (Boston Globe)

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Los Angeles Turns To Celebrities To Get the Word Out About Upcoming Highway Closure

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Highway 405 in Los Angeles (photo by Atwater Village Newbie via Flickr)

For one weekend in July, a key highway in Los Angeles will be closed for 53 hours straight while workers demolish a bridge. It's part of a massive project to widen Highway 405 and add a high-occupancy vehicle lane, and the city is doing everything it can to make sure residents "plan ahead, avoid the area, or stay home."

To avoid "carmageddon," the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is trying to e-publicize the closure any way it can. Of course there's a website. There are also live chats. And a downloadable countdown widget clock, as well as an embeddable graphic banner.

Oh, and the LAPD has asked Lady Gaga to tweet about it.

But there is an old-school component to the publicity: Erik Estrada -- of CHiPs fame --  made a video.

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Ray LaHood: People Want to Live in Cities with Transportation Choices

Thursday, June 30, 2011

In Ray LaHood's latest "On the Go" -- the video series in which the US Department of Transportation Secretary answers questions from the public -- he fields questions from Streetsblog readers.  Watch below to see him talk about urban livability, driving responsibly, the expansion of streetcars in New Orleans,  and the DOT's collaboration with HUD and EPA.

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TN MOVING STORIES: Michigan Gov Warns Against Tough Fuel Economy Standards, Turtles Overrun Runway at JFK, and Banning Babies in First Class

Thursday, June 30, 2011

15 governors, including Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, sent a letter to regulators urging the federal government not to increase fuel economy standards "too quickly." (Detroit Free Press)

Ray LaHood visited a GM plant in Flint. (FastLane)

DOT Secretary Ray LaHood visiting a GM plant in Michigan (photo via FastLane)

The final route in Detroit's $500 million light rail project was announced. (Detroit News)

Higher transit fares and bridge tolls go into effect in the Bay Area tomorrow. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Hyundai -- once an automotive afterthought --  is now zooming forward. (Wall Street Journal)

One airline banned babies in first class. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Boaters must now steer clear of part of New York City's Verrazano Bridge where a diver found a cache of unexploded ammunition. (New York Daily News)

Sit, stay buckle: automakers and law enforcement agencies are urging pet owners to secure dogs in cars. (Wall Street Journal)

Turtles overran the tarmac at JFK Airport, causing flight delays. (WNYC)

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Bikes on BART: The Survey

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bike space on BART (photo by Frank Chan via Flickr)

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) says that in the last nine years, the number of passengers taking bicycles on board the trains has risen almost 65% --despite the fact that bikes are banned during "peak commute times."  So the agency is updating its Bicycle Access and Parking Plan (pdf), and it says it wants feedback from riders about what would make them more likely to bike to BART.  The online survey asks questions about how people feel about bike parking at their stations, how they get bikes from the street level to the train platforms, and what they'd like to see improved. According to the agency's website, BART says the survey data will be used to "identify the best investments to encourage bicycling to particular station types."

 

 

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Snapshot | A Tip Jar in Soho

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Some free food for thought was emblazoned on a tip jar at a restaurant at Prince Street and Sixth Ave. in Soho on Wednesday.

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Former GM Exec: Automakers Should Focus Less on Stock Price...and Yes, I Flipped Over An Opel

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

(Photo: (cc) by Flickr user Joost J. Bakker IJmuiden)

Bob Lutz, a former GM executive who championed the Volt, was interviewed this morning on the Brian Lehrer Show about his new book,  Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business. In the book, he argues the auto industry needs to focus more on quality and customer service and less on stock price. Below are some highlights from today's Brian Lehrer Show interview.

Regarding the auto industry meltdown: "Management with more of a focus on the customer and excellence would have prevented it."

On US automakers versus Japanese automakers:  "The playing field now is absolutely level."

Does he envision an America with all electric cars? "I don't, because range is always going to be a factor."

Did you flip over an Opel during a J turn? "Yes I did...there was an argument with the engineers who claimed the car couldn't be flipped because we'd had some reports of the cars flipping over in the United States. I went out and performed the test and promptly put it on its roof."

You can listen to the interview below.

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TN MOVING STORIES: False Alarms Plague NY MTA Elevators, NJ Transit Increases Security, and Mimes To Promote Quiet Cars On Boston T

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Florida Governor Rick Scott sent his top transportation adviser to Central Florida to warn local officials that they'll be on the hook if SunRail fails. (St. Petersburg Times)

The monitoring systems on New York MTA elevators are plagued by false alarms. (New York Daily News)

São Paolo, Brazil, is building an 11-mile long monorail to link its airport to its subway system -- but it may not be completed in time for the 2014 World Cup. (Smart Planet)

A rendering of São Paulo's future monorail line

The Miami Herald asks officials not to penalize riders because of the scandal at Miami-Dade Transit.

According to a recent poll, NJ governor Christie's support is dropping among voters because of decisions like canceling the ARC tunnel and flying in a state helicopter to attend his son's baseball game. (Bloomberg)

NJ Transit is increasing security and developing an intelligence unit with the FBI. (AP via the Star-Ledger)

A key House Democrat says privatizing Amtrak would drain railroad workers' pensions. (The Hill)

A former GM vice chair will be on the Brian Lehrer Show later on this morning to talk about his view of car manufacturing -- more quality, less focus on stock price. (WNYC)

More on Boston's "quiet car" program, including the revelation that the MBTA will be using mimes to promote it. (WBUR)

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Snapshot | Final Day of School

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday marked the final day of school for the city's public school students.

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TN MOVING STORIES: Florida's Commuter Rail Fate To Be Decided This Week, and Less NYkers Driving Over MTA-Tolled Bridges

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Florida Congressman John Mica has been pushing SunRail for years -- but is he dedicated to commuter rail, or to earmarks for CSX? (New York Times)

Meanwhile: Florida Governor Rick Scott says he'll decide the fate of the SunRail project this week. (The Hill)

And: Scott has the lowest approval rating of any governor in the nation, in part because of unpopular decisions like killing that state's high-speed rail project. (New York Times)

How feasible is President Obama's gas mileage goal of 56.2 miles per gallon by 2025? (The Takeaway)

Boston's MBTA is expanding its "quiet car" program. (MyFox Boston)

Shhhh - the T is pulling into the station (photo by Kate Hinds)

German researchers say that a handful of cars "talking" to each other can reduce traffic congestion. (Autopia)

Maryland's proposed Red Line in Baltimore has received federal approval to move to the next phase of development -- meaning federal funding is likely to eventually come. (Baltimore Sun)

Zurich is piloting climate- and traffic-resistant sensors for vehicles, and designing ways to use mobile phones to access the data collected by the sensors. (Treehugger.com)

Less motorists are driving over the New York MTA's toll bridges. (New York Post)

 

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TN MOVING STORIES: China Opens New Fast Rail Line, Virginia's Transportation Woes, and NY's MTA Slow to Pick Up Subway Garbage

Monday, June 27, 2011

T tracks in Boston -- relatively trash-free compared to New York (photo by Kate Hinds)

New York's MTA fails to pick up garbage in about 100 subway stations on an average night. (New York Daily News)

The truck company involved in a deadly Amtrak crash in Nevada last week had been repeatedly cited for safety violations. (AP via Chicago Sun Times)

European cities are making driving miserable in order to curtail car use -- and boost public transit. (New York Times)

New York Times columnist Joe Nocera has been won over by the Chevy Volt. (Link)

Tolls are up on New York's MTA-owned bridges, but 20% of them score below the agency's midpoint in its ratings system. (New York Post)

China opens its Beijing-Shanghai high speed rail link to the public this week, barely three years after construction began. The trains will travel the 820 miles in just under 5 hours. (Telegraph)

Why is it so hard to get a transportation project off the ground in Virginia? “I don’t think Richmond gets northern Virginia and I don’t think traditional transportation engineers understand or even support the new science of land use and transportation,” says one urban planner. (AP via Washington Post)

Philadelphia -- which has seen a 151% increase in bike commuting in the last decade -- is gaining a reputation as a bike-friendly, transit-using, walkable city. (Philadelphia Daily News)

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Snapshot | Same-Sex Wedding Window Display in Union Square

Friday, June 24, 2011

A same-sex marriage display appears in the window of the Levis Store on 14th Street near Union Square.

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TN MOVING STORIES: House Legislation Floats Federal Ban on Cell Phones While Driving, and NJ Transit and Amtrak Suspend Service 3X This Week

Friday, June 24, 2011

(photo by Kate Hinds)

 

A NY Congresswoman introduced legislation that aims to institute a federal ban on cell phone use while driving. (Detroit Free Press)

This week, power problems forced NJ Transit and Amtrak to suspend service three times on three consecutive days. (Star-Ledger)

The Chicago area's Regional Transit Authority says it may have to start cutting service next month if the state doesn't pay it the $400 million it owes. (Chicago Tribune)

On the Brian Lehrer Show today, a correspondent from NPR's "Planet Money" will explain the impact of President Obama's decision to release 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. (WNYC)

Are lower sales the auto industry's 'new normal'?  "So why does it matter if you sell 17 million cars, rather than 12 million? Jobs." (NPR)

New York's MTA says it's on track for a December 2013 opening of the #7 subway extension. (NY1)

Richard Florida writes that commuting to work by bike makes you healthier and happier. (The Atlantic)

Tesla is ceasing production of the Roadster. (Fast Company)

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