Kate Hinds appears in the following:
Monday, June 20, 2011
Following a series of deadly intercity bus crashes which have killed 25 people since the start of the year, New York Senator Charles Schumer has proposed an idea that will be familiar to many New Yorkers: letter grades.
In a letter to US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the Senator wrote that his idea was inspired by NYC Department of Health grades that are prominently displayed in New York City's restaurants. "This simple grading system provides customers with the information they need when choosing where to eat and a similar scheme could be used to bring more transparency to the intercity bus industry."
The idea is that the DOT and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (which regulates the tour bus industry) develop a ratings system that assigns letter grades to operators. Companies would then be required to display the information at both the point of purchase, as well as on the bus. "If bus companies have a poor safety record, passengers should know about it before they purchase a ticket," Schumer said in a written statement.
The FMCSA currently maintains an online safety database, but Schumer said it is "difficult to navigate and the rating system is not easy to understand."
In recent weeks the DOT and the FMCSA have been criticized for not moving fast enough to shut down tour bus operators with dozens of safety violations. Last week Anne Ferro, the head of the FMCSA, told Congress that shutting down unsafe bus companies was a cumbersome process and that her agency needed "stronger authority" to better regulate the industry.
LaHood has not yet commented on the Senator's idea. His office says he'll respond to Schumer "directly."
Monday, June 20, 2011
Legislation introduced in Albany over the weekend would allow New York City residents in the outer boroughs and Upper Manhattan to legally hail a livery cab.
Currently the "street hail" is the sole legal purview of yellow cabs.
The bill would authorize the sale of 30,000 "hail privilege permits" to livery cab operators and permit the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission to sell up to 1,500 new yellow cab medallions at $1,500 each.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has wanted to extend on-street cab pickups to the outer boroughs for some time now, but his earlier plan met with strong resistance from yellow cab drivers and the New York City Council. Yellow cab operators --some of whom paid six figures to purchase a medallion -- are no happier with this iteration of the plan, and protest plis taking ace at City Hall this afternoon. (UPDATE: photo from the protest below.)
TN MOVING STORIES: NYC Cabbies Protest Outer-Borough Livery Cab Proposal -- Arlington Prepares for Transit Revitalization -- Win The Stanley Cup, Set Transit Ri
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Opinions are mixed over Arlington's Columbia Pike, a planned streetcar corridor. (WAMU)
Mayor Bloomberg's outer borough livery cab street hail plan goes to Albany. (Wall Street Journal)
Meanwhile, NYC cabbies are protesting that plan. (AM NY)
NJ Governor Christie's Energy Master Plan draft "barely mentions transportation," according to a columnist. (Times of Trenton)
Both Illinois senators are pushing opposing agendas over public-private partnerships for transportation. (Chicago Tribune)
Adults can learn to ride bikes, too. (New York Times)
A guest columnist in the New York Daily News -- who lost her husband in a car-on-bike collision -- writes that the city's bike lanes are "vital and corrective" and will save lives.
According to one journalist, entertainment on the NYC subway is "a combination of 'America's Got Talent,' 'The Gong Show', and 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.'" (NY Daily News)
Win the Stanley Cup, set transit ridership records. (WCVB - Boston)
Friday, June 17, 2011
A pink flamingo lawn ornament in the flower box of a West 71st Street apartment building added some suburban flourishes to the Upper West Side on Friday morning.
TN MOVING STORIES: Racial Profiling At Newark Liberty Airport -- Digital Displays Coming to More NYC Subway Cars
Friday, June 17, 2011
Racial profiling apparently became common practice at Newark Airport, and now lawmakers want to know why. (Star-Ledger)
The NYC MTA says East Side Select Bus Service increased ridership by 30%. (DNA Info)
Budget woes and high gas prices are causing Illinois to cut back school bus service. (Chicago Tribune)
New York may bring automated station announcements and digital displays to 1,700 more subway cars. (New York Times)
Toyota says full vehicle production will return to North America in September -- faster than expected. (Bloomberg)
Women in Saudi Arabia are agitating for the right to drive. (The Takeaway)
A New York Daily News op-ed says that NYC DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan killed a City Council plan to put livery cab stands in outer boroughs.
Parking a pickup truck overnight in Coral Gables, Florida -- even in a driveway -- could cost residents a $100 ticket. (USA Today)
Taxi data could be mined to solve public transit problems. (The Urbanophile)
Plans for a High Line-style park are moving ahead in Chicago. (Red Eye Chicago)
Thursday, June 16, 2011
In court papers filed in response to a lawsuit that seeks to remove the bike lane, New York provides the first substantial look at its defense. The suit was filed by Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes/Seniors for Safety (NBBL) earlier this year.
The 39-page document (see end of post) lays out the city's case along these lines: we located the PPW lane in the best location, in accordance with accepted industry guidelines; we had the right to do so, because street management and bike lanes are our purview; our analysis was and is sound; and anyway the statute of limitations has expired. From the filing:
On why the city located the lane on Prospect Park West:
p. 7: "While 8th Avenue has two northbound traffic lanes that bicyclists can ride on, it has numerous intersections that increase the potential for conflicts and crashes among motorists and bicyclists, thereby decreasing the desirability and use by bicyclists. Moreover, 8th Avenue does not connect directly with Prospect Park entrances, meaning a more circuitous route to and from Prospect Park would be required....DOT also considered and rejected Park Drive, a roadway located within Prospect Park. Park Drive does not provide the connectivity to the street network that a PPW bike path would (since bicyclists could only access Park Drive in three locations), and it is also an indirect (and thus inconvenient) route for local trips. Moreover, Park Drive’s two traffic lanes are used by motor vehicles at certain times, and there is insufficient space to add an unprotected bike lane going against the flow of traffic while at the same time providing for the existing walking/running lane, bike lane and two traffic lanes."
On NBBL's contention that the city didn't accurately analyze crash data:
p. 13: "Petitioners, and their purported expert, accountant Eric Fox, take issue with DOT’s use of three-year averages in its crash analysis. ..
Petitioners, however, fail to square their assertions with the accepted industry practice of using three years’ worth of data when performing before and after crash comparisons....For this reason, DOT typically uses three years of before-crash data when evaluating traffic improvements (and indeed, used three-year data in April 2009 when it originally presented the PPW Project plan to the Community Board)...And even if there were any validity to petitioners’ criticisms of DOT’s use of three-year-average data, the most relevant indicator -- crashes involving injuries -- dropped by 50 percent between 2009 and 2010, and dropped by 33 percent in the same period if “side street” crashes are omitted."
On why NBBL's case is just too late:
p. 18, p. 2: "In an apparent effort to skirt the statute of limitations, petitioners attempt to characterize the PPW Project as 'experimental' or as a 'trial'...Petitioners, two unincorporated associations led by individuals who live on PPW, commenced this proceeding in March 2011, months after the expiration of the Article 78 statute of limitations (which began to run at the latest when the PPW Project was installed). Consequently, petitioners’ claims relating to the PPW Project are time-barred."
The next court date in the case is scheduled for next Wednesday, June 22nd.
You can read the city's filing below.
Respondents' Memorandum of Law in Opposition to the Petition
TN MOVING STORIES: SF Muni Head Is Out, DC Metro Makes Progress, And Commuter Race: Ferry Vs. Bike Vs. Subway
Thursday, June 16, 2011
The head of San Francisco's Municipal Transit Agency is leaving. (San Francisco Chronicle)
DC's Metro has made some progress, say federal lawmakers. (WAMU)
While the US debates about whether to buy Canadian crude oil, that country already has another buyer: China. (Marketplace)
The former vice chair of General Motors says the US auto industry was suffering long before the economic downturn; listen to the conversation on The Takeaway below.
China's fast trains are going to run slower. (New York Times)
The Guardian takes up the thorny issue of whether bicycling in a skirt is hazardous.
The Brussels subway sound system has become the latest front in the linguistic fight between Dutch speakers and Francophones that has kept Belgium without a government for more than a year. (AP)
Gothamist takes the new East River Ferry out for a spin, and tests that commute against the subway and biking. Guess who wins?
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Republicans said today that privatizing the Northeast Corridor would bring high-speed rail to the country faster -- and more cheaply -- than Amtrak can.
Congressman John Mica, the chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, has never hidden his disdain for Amtrak -- or his enthusiasm for partnering with the private sector. In a statement today, he said: “After 40 years of highly-subsidized, poorly-managed Amtrak operations, it’s time for Congress to change the direction of America’s failed high-speed and intercity passenger rail service...After spending billions of dollars, Amtrak and its snail speed, last-century level of service have reached the end of the line.”
The plan, which Mica unveiled today along with Congressman Bill Shuster, is called the “Competition for Intercity Passenger Rail in America Act.” The pair introduced it in a video conference.
A draft of the legislation can be found here.
The goal is to separate the Northeast Corridor -- Amtrak's busiest route -- from the rest of the system, transfer title from Amtrak to the US Department of Transportation, and put development of high-speed rail along the corridor out for bid. Republicans said this plan would increase ridership, lower costs, and bring fast trains to the corridor in less than ten years.
Amtrak, which had been going on the offensive this week about its high-speed rail plans for the Northeast Corridor, reacted swiftly to Mica's proposal. Joseph Boardman, Amtrak's president and CEO, aired his dismay in a phone conference call held earlier this afternoon. "There seems to be a lack of recognition that Amtrak is the right organization to deliver better intercity passenger rail service in this country," he said. Boardman said that Amtrak had made headway in reducing debt and improving equipment, and was already looking at a public-private partnership for high-speed rail in the Northeast. "This asset, this transportation artery is critical, and that ... is lost in this, because the focus of this particular proposal is about financing and real estate, not transportation first."
Democrats did not greet the proposal warmly. New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, who sits on the Senate's transportation committee, said that "the Republican proposal to privatize rail on the Northeast Corridor would increase costs for passengers and make rail travel less reliable. I will fight in the Senate to stop any plan that threatens Amtrak and commuters on the Northeast Corridor."
Other responses were more measured, if lukewarm. Petra Todorovich, a high-speed rail expert at the Regional Plan Association, said "we don't think it's the worst idea in the world." She added that Mica's proposal was useful in that "he's starting a conversation about what it would take to implement world-class high speed rail in the Northeast Corridor. This is the first time we’ve had this conversation at the congressional level.” But she added that "I think it's unlikely that private companies would bid unless federal money is on the table. You can't have a public/private partnership without public money."
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
A sunny day on Varick Street in Soho.
TN MOVING STORIES: Ethanol Subsidies Survive Senate Vote -- Metro Transit Can Now Go To Seattle Mariners Games
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Following a court ruling, Seattle's Metro can now begin providing public transit service to sporting events. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
Toronto's mayor is interested in selling naming rights to subway stations, bridges, and highways in order to raise badly-needed revenue. (The Globe and Mail)
Bus-only lanes are coming to LA's Wilshire Boulevard. (Los Angeles Times)
Members of the French parliament are pressuring Air France to place a large order with the French plane-maker Airbus over US company Boeing. (Marketplace)
A new US DOT distracted driving ad features characters from the Disney movie 'Cars 2." Because only bad guys drive distracted.
Ethanol subsidies survived a Senate vote. (NPR)
So many people are using Montreal's bike lanes that the lanes are reaching capacity. (Montreal Gazette)
Las Vegas is using Krispy Kremes to try to lure drivers out of their cars and onto buses. (Las Vegas Sun)
Anthony Weiner's car isn't registered. (NY Daily News)
Lose your NYC MetroCard? Now you can file a claim online. (TransitBlogger)
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
The 10-block extension of the popular park the High Line ends near 30th Street at a green-and-white striped parking lot. In addition to food carts and beer and wine vendors, The Lot will play host to a variety of public art projects throughout the summer.
TN MOVING STORIES: China Wants Its Fast Rail Network To Extend Beyond Its Borders -- Ethanol Tax Subsidies Up For A Vote
Monday, June 13, 2011
China wants to build a network of high-speed rail that extends beyond its borders. (NPR)
Chicago's transpo commissioner wants to install video screens at bus shelters that "would include everything from Bus Tracker information now available on the internet and cell phones to the current inventory for car- and bike-sharing and how long it would take to walk to popular destinations" (Chicago Sun-Times). He also wants to give pedestrians a leg up at some busy intersections. (NBC Chicago)
New York City's pedicabs may soon get new rules. (WNYC)
U.S. airlines brought in over $3 billion in bag fees last year. (The Hill)
Who's blocking Manhattan's bike lanes? Pretty much everybody and everything, according to a DNA Info investigation.
Nearly $100 million in federal transportation grants will be returned if the City Council's $50 million in additional cuts hold firm, according to Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. (Detroit News)
As Libya faces a gas shortage, women get a break at a female-only gas station in Tripoli. (NPR)
One opinion writer says mass transit's time may finally have come to central Indiana. (Indianapolis Star)
TN's Todd Zwillich talks about the Senate's upcoming vote on whether to repeal ethanol tax subsidies. You can listen to the conversation below, or check it out on The Takeaway.
TN MOVING STORIES: The US DOT Puts Two More Bus Companies Out of Business -- Two Cities, Two Different Views of Electric Bikes
Sunday, June 12, 2011
The US Department of Transportation put two bus companies out of business this weekend. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Meanwhile, eight times since October, U.S. bus-safety regulators gave extensions allowing operators to stay on the road after finding problems serious enough to shut them down. (Bloomberg via San Francisco Chronicle)
As New Jersey emerges from the financial downturn, access to transit is driving the office market recovery. (Wall Street Journal)
Can electric vehicles create a sustainable job market -- and would the cars sell as well without a tax subsidy? (NPR)
Sales of full-size pickup trucks have stalled; GM plans to trim production accordingly. (Detroit Free Press)
New York City wants to put cameras on some street sweepers to catch alternate side parking violations. (New York Times)
A New Jersey Assembly panel plans to examine Governor Christie's decision to pull the state from a multistate pact to reduce greenhouse gases. (AP via NJ.com)
In New York, new East River ferry service begins today. (MyFoxNY.com)
Some members of Manhattan's Community Board 8 are not loving the Central Park Conservancy's plan to put in cross-park bike paths. (West Side Spirit)
TN MOVING STORIES: Used Car Prices Soaring -- NYC Taxi Meets Nascar -- LA Unsure of How Many Parking Meters it Has
Friday, June 10, 2011
Ray LaHood is waiting for more data before he weighs in on whether the government should regulate communications technology built directly into cars. (AP via BusinessWeek)
Used car prices are soaring. (The Takeaway)
A cut in federal transportation funds could hurt Westchester and Putnam County's transit plans. (LoHud.com)
Toyota predicts a 31% drop in profits. (New York Times)
The iconic NYC taxi meets Nascar. (Wall Street Journal)
New York's C train cars are the oldest in the subway system, and the Franklin Avenue Shuttle is the train least likely to have working A/C. (NY Daily News)
Will a bike share program come to Pittsburgh? (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
Los Angeles doesn't know how many parking meters it has, and so doesn't know how much revenue it should be collecting from them. (Los Angeles Times)
Paris will have the world's first municipal electric vehicle car share program. (Green Futures)
All aboard the Brighton 'bike train.' (The Guardian)
Thursday, June 09, 2011
(Transportation Nation) A New York-bike-ticket-protest-video has been making the internet rounds (and we reported on how TN producer Alex Goldmark makes an auditory cameo), and this morning it collided with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The mayor was in East Harlem this morning to announce a plan to install free Wi-Fi in 26 city parks. In the Q&A afterwards he fielded questions on a range of issues from Anthony Weiner to pension reform to Alec Baldwin's purported mayoral run. But the journalist posing the last question asked the mayor about the video, which filmmaker Casey Neistat made following his being ticketed for not riding in a bike lane. You can listen to the question and the mayor's response here; a transcript follows.
Mayor Bloomberg (responding to whether or not it is fair to ticket a cyclist for not riding in a bike lane if the lanes are encumbered):
There’s nothing fair in life. But the bottom line, is every once in a while, I don’t know if we gave a ticket out that we shouldn’t have, I haven’t seen the video, but generally speaking, you have to obey the laws. And I think there’s a lot of people in the city who love to ride bicycles and we’re trying to accommodate them just like we’re trying to accommodate the people that want to walk on the sidewalks, cross the streets, just like we’re trying to accommodate those people who want to drive their cars. You have to obey the law. If you don’t obey the law you’re not going to have the rights to do things that you want to do, and bicyclists are just as required to obey the laws as anybody else, the police can’t spend all their time going after anybody that breaks the law. Generally speaking bicyclists are going to stay in bicycle lanes because of public pressure, the same ways that smokers aren’t going to smoke in this park, we’re not going to give out tickets, it’s public pressure -- the same way you pay your taxes. Most people in America, unlike other places in the world, pay their taxes, and that lets us go after the handful that don’t. If nobody paid their taxes – and you have that in some countries, it’s a very difficult problem for government. Thank you very much.
Transportation Nation looked at New York City law and bike lanes -- and whether riders are legally obligated to ride in them -- in this post.
TN MOVING STORIES: Senate to Look At Rail Terror Threat -- LA May KO Traffic Cams -- Discord Within OPEC
Thursday, June 09, 2011
After a surprising commission vote, Los Angeles's red light traffic cameras may be on the way out. (Los Angeles Times)
The Senate will hold a hearing on terror threats to rail next week. (The Hill)
Richard Florida writes about the financial benefits of living in a transit-friendly neighborhood. (The Atlantic)
The UK's top ten cycle theft hotspots are laid bare in The Guardian.
Boston's aging T trains need $100 million in work immediately in order to keep them running. (Boston Globe)
There's discord within OPEC as members fail to agree on raising oil production levels. (New York Times)
San Francisco OKs parking permits for nannies. (AP via Mercury News)
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
(Transportation Nation) NJ Transit, like many states and cities, already has a security campaign in place, urging customers to phone in reports of "suspicious activity." Now, the campaign has a new dimension: Text Against Terror.
Customers who see something worrisome -- an unattended package, or the aforementioned "suspicious activity" -- are being urged to text NJ Transit Police at NJTPD (65873).
"Texting is more discreet, so people can report their tip in a far more unobtrusive way," said Courtney Carroll, a spokesperson for NJ Transit. "So if something is going on next to them they can immediately report it -- rather than having to move away and wait to make a phone call."
NJ Transit is the third largest transit system in the country, and NJ Transit police usually field 30 to 40 calls per year on the the existing security hotline.
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
(Transportation Nation) Anyone who's stood on a street corner in New York City has probably marveled at the general unwillingness of users to follow traffic rules. Now you can see an illustrated annotation of bad behavior taking place in one Manhattan intersection. Be sure to watch the video until the end as it's ordered by type of chaos, starting with bikes, then moving on to cars.
This master's thesis video, (first posted by Buzzfeed) by Ron Gabriel (which reminded me of the Air Traffic Controller game) exposes what he says is "a clash of long-standing bad habits — such as pedestrians jaywalking, cyclists running red lights, and motorists plowing through crosswalks."
TN Moving Stories: NJ Transit Taking Corporate Naming Bids, Metro Detroit Must Integrate Transit -- Or Else, and Rahm Emanuel: Power Bicyclist
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
NJ Transit is taking corporate bids for naming its stations, terminals, and trains -- and one bidder is crying foul. (The Star-Ledger)
If regional Detroit can't agree on an integrated rail and bus system, they risk losing millions in federal dollars -- and what may be "our last, best opportunity." (Detroit Free Press)
Mayor Bloomberg floated a new plan to expand taxi service in the outer boroughs by setting up hundreds of stands where livery cabs could legally pick up passengers on the street. (Wall Street Journal)
US DOT head Ray LaHood went to New Orleans for the groundbreaking of their streetcar expansion project. (Fast Lane)
Is texting while driving as dangerous as we think -- and is a ban the right way to prevent it? (The Takeaway)
Delta is scrambling to do damage control after charging a group of U.S. soldiers returning home from deployment in Afghanistan $200 each for extra bags. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
It took two years to plan for parking at the upcoming US Open in Bethesda. (WAMU)
Chicago will get protected bike lanes, and Rahm Emanuel bikes 25 miles on weekends. (Chicago Sun-Times)
97 degrees in Minneapolis = Twin Cities highway damage. (Boing Boing)
A dancing traffic cop has become a sensation in Manila. (BBC News video)
Owning a Harley-Davidson in China is a status symbol for a small slice of the aspirational Chinese consumer. (Marketplace)
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
The US Department of Transportation wants NJ Transit to return $271 million it gave the state for the ARC tunnel.
The digging had been underway for a year when Governor Christie killed the project last autumn out of what he said were concerns about potential cost overruns. When the Federal Transit Administration sent a bill, NJ Transit hired a DC law firm.
So far, New Jersey has spent about a million dollars in legal fees on the battle. Officials said the state doesn't have a set limit on legal costs. Meanwhile, interest on the $271 million debt -- which the feds say the state is also responsible for -- is accruing at 1%, or about $225,000 a month.
NJ Transit spokesman Paul Wyckoff said that “talks between parties are continuing.” He added: “Hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake, and taxpayers deserve the very best effort we can provide them.”
The US DOT said that there was no new update, and Governor Christie's office did not respond to requests for comments.