Kate Hinds

Kate Hinds appears in the following:

Car-Free Central Park, NYC Bike Share, and Weekend Subway Ridership: Your Urban Transit Roundup

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Andrea Bernstein and Brian Lehrer in the WNYC studio, apparently all Hipstamatic print'd out

A car-free Central Park is not a new idea, but it's been gathering momentum in recent months. TN's Andrea Bernstein talks to WNYC's Brian Lehrer about a host of city transit issues: cars in parks, urban transit policy in other countries, New York''s upcoming bike share program, the boom in weekend subway ridership -- and takes calls from listeners.  Is David from Queens  right -- does Mayor Michael Bloomberg have a "War on Cars"?  Listen to the conversation below!

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TN MOVING STORIES: Amtrak Projects Record Year, Seattle Residents Protest Transit Cuts, and a Look At the New Fulton Transit Center

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

An open skylight at the Fulton Transit Center (Photo by Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

Amtrak projects that it will top 30 million passengers for the first time this year, setting a ridership record for the national passenger rail service. (The Hill)

WNYC took a sneak peek at the construction going on at the Fulton Transit Center and got some fantastic pictures.

Fairfax County (VA) might be on board with the Dulles Metrorail compromise plan floated by DOT head Ray LaHood. (WAMU)

If you're planning on bidding on naming rights for a Boston T stop, tomorrow's your deadline. (WBUR)

A whole lot of riders showed up in Seattle to protest transit cuts. (Seattle Times)

The DOT will be testing how drivers react to "connected vehicles"--cars with technology that allows them to communicate with each other, as well as infrastructure nearby. (FastLane)

The Washington Post wrote an editorial on the politics surrounding the displacement of DC's transportation committee chair. "(Residents) should worry about lost momentum on transportation issues and the message that sends to the city’s regional Metro partners."

TN's Andrea Bernstein talks NYC transit on today's Brian Lehrer Show. (WNYC)

One car-free resident of Los Angeles is not getting worked up about carmageddon. (Marketplace)

How to get a count of the number of women using New York City's bike lanes? Stand there with a clicker.  (New York Times)

Manhattan's Community Board 7 hosted a discussion about Central Park's shared bike paths, but didn't take an official position. (DNA Info)

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Janette Sadik-Khan Subpoenaed in Brooklyn Bike Lane Suit

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sign on Brooklyn's Prospect Park West bike lane (Kate Hinds)

Opponents suing New York City over a bike lane on Brooklyn's Prospect Park West have made good on their threat to issue subpoenas, and they want a host of city officials - including New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Brooklyn City Council member Brad Lander -- to appear in court.

Jim Walden, the attorney representing Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes/Seniors for Safety, sent out an email on Monday that read: "The City is trying to avoid litigation on a technicality, which is based on a lie. After having told the public and various elected officials the bike lane was a trial project, the City now makes the incredible claim the lane was permanent all along, and that our suit was filed too late. The City is desperately trying to avoid litigating the merits of our suit because it cannot justify its misuse of data and failure to conduct a proper safety study."

The New York City Law Department confirmed the  today that the DOT commissioner had been subpoenaed, along with four other people at the agency: Jon Orcutt, Christopher Hrones, Ryan Russo, and Josh Benson.

The city's attorney, Mark Muschenheim, said in a statement that "an evidentiary hearing is not warranted in this type of case. We will move to quash the subpoena, and are confident that our motion will be granted. Moreover, the documents filed with the court provide ample information for a decision to be made on the lawsuit's merits, and we believe that after a review of this record the court will support the City's actions."

The statement went on to say there's a chance the judge in the case, Justice Bert Bunyan, will forbid testimony.

Walden had previously sought a delay in court proceedings so he could receive and review documents from additional Freedom of Information Law requests. The justice in the case denied Walden's request. The next date in the court case is July 20.




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Bloomberg on Car-Free Central Park: Banning Cars Wouldn't Make Much of a Difference

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mayor Michael Bloomberg (photo by Spencer T. Tucker)

Legislation banning cars from Central Park's loop drives has not exactly won full-throated support from the Bloomberg Administration since being introduced earlier this year. While a number of local community boards have endorsed the idea of a pilot ban this summer, an article in today's New York Times said City Hall was resisting the idea, as Transportation Nation previously reported.  And at a press conference today, the mayor was asked about it. Here's a transcript of the exchange:

Reporter: about banning cars in Central Park for the summer - (inaudible -- the agency) said there are no immediate plans. Can you comment?

Mayor Bloomberg: Miss, I think you're just totally ill-informed. The roads where they're talking about we have banned cars for ninety percent of the time already. So we're really only talking about ten percent. We are doing studies, I've talked to the commissioner, yesterday I think it was, she's doing a study. Until we can really understand the traffic patterns and the effect it will have we're just not going to go and rush to do it. I understand why you don't want to have traffic in front of your house, or where you're bicycling, or where you're walking, but there are other people who need the roads to get where they're going to go, and you just can't willy-nilly say 'oh, let's just ban them without doing the real scientific research.' We have data in this day and age, particularly  because of taxis with GPS, to do some real studies. But in the end, we've already -- and we've done it a long time ago -- banned ninety percent of the cars from the roads that are in question. And so we're really talking about -- this is something, it's much of an issue that...it would not make that big a difference.  And we're not going to do it unless it turns out to be a good thing. I don't think anybody should question our Department of Transportation's or this administration's willingness to to try new things with cars, bicycles, pedestrians, we've tried to be very innovative, creative, and run risks. But every one of those things we did with real data. Sometimes the data can be misleading, in the end, and you go back. But the responsible thing is to do exactly what our transportation commissioner is doing.

Question: some people say it's hypocritical for a mayor who calls himself "bike Mike" to not ban cars from all of Central Park.

Mayor Bloomberg: By that argument we should ban cars from coming into the city totally. I don't think you can do that. Yes, I'm in favor of multiple ways to get around - bicycles are one of them, walking is one of them, taking mass transit is a very important one - and driving cars. What we really need to do is have a disincentive to bring your car into the city and enhance the monies available for improving mass transit. And if somebody could come up with a plan that could do that, like maybe charging people to come in the city and using the money to help the MTA - you have to go to Albany. Maybe they've heard that before.

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Cuomo On Texting While Driving Bill: Sometimes You Need to Enforce Common Sense

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Governor Andrew Cuomo (photo by Kate Hinds)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that strengthens enforcement against drivers who use handheld devices behind the wheel.

The new law makes using electronic devices while driving a primary traffic offense -- meaning that a driver doesn't need to be stopped for another offense in order to be ticketed.  As the governor put it: "If you are seen by a police officer with a device, a handheld device, any flavor, any electronic device, that is illegal."

The penalty for violating the law will be three points and a $150 fine.

The bill also increases the penalty for using cell phones from two to three points on a driver's license.

Thirty-four states, as well as the District of Columbia and Guam already make texting while driving a primary violation.

Speaking Tuesday at the Jacob Javits Convention Center with a backdrop of police cars, a highway sign, state troopers, and the family of a texting-while-driving victim, Cuomo said he knew the lure that electronics have, particularly for younger drivers.  He called texting while driving a relatively recent phenomenon - "my generation, we had two cans and a string connected, that was communication for us" -- but added that drivers need to understand how critical it is to pay attention while driving.

He added: "It is common sense -- but sometimes you need law enforcement, and you need laws, to remind society of common sense and enforce common sense. And that's what today is all about."


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TN MOVING STORIES: SEPTA Needs Billions to Reach State of Good Repair, NY Holds Transit Data App Contest, and Europe Eyes Flying Cars

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

With stations and bridges that date back more than 100 years, Philly's SEPTA needs $4.2 billion to reach a state of good repair. (Philadelphia Daily News)

New York's MTA is releasing more data to app developers, with a competition as enticement. (AM NY)

Will high-speed rail finally end Britain's north/south divide? (BBC)

Elected officials on Manhattan's Upper West Side criticize the city for not swiftly fixing an intersection dubbed "the bowtie of death." (DNA Info)

Metro North wants to turn some Westchester train stations into retail and dining spots. (Wall Street Journal)

Why won't New York City test-drive car-free Central Park? (New York Times)

The first batch of data is in from San Francisco's SFpark program that ties parking meter rates to demand. Bottom line: some meter rates will go down, some will stay the same, some will increase. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Carmageddon update: contractors working on this weekend's Los Angeles freeway project will be penalized $6,000 for every 10 minutes they are late. (Los Angeles Times)

Flying car update: the European Union is investing $6 million to research the potential of Personal Aerial Vehicles (PAVs) for Europe’s most crowded cities. (SmartPlanet)


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TN MOVING STORIES: More Roads Lead to More Traffic, Black Women Bike DC, and London's Bike Share, A Year Later

Monday, July 11, 2011

A recent study says that building more roads leads to ... more traffic. And more transit doesn't relieve traffic congestion.  (NPR)

New York's subways attract almost as many riders on weekends as they do during the work week -- but fewer trains and planned maintenance lead to insanely crowded cars. (New York Times)

The Republican's plan to privatize Amtrak and the Northeast Corridor could leave NJ Transit vulnerable to fare hikes. (Daily Record)

WAMU looks at how the House's transportation budget would affect the DC region.

The UAW wants to organize a foreign automaker, labor leader says union's future hinges upon it: "I don't think there's a long-term future for the UAW, I really don't." (Detroit Free Press)

A look at London's bike share system, which is almost a year old. "The bikes make 20,000 journeys a day, but in a relentlessly predictable pattern, with huge spikes during the morning rush hour at the major rail stations and then again, in reverse, as commuters dash back to catch their evening trains." (The Guardian)

Black women take their place in DC's bike lanes -- and encourage others to join them. (Washington Post)

Residents, police and business owners want Bolt Bus booted from West 33rd Street. (DNA Info)

The mayor of Birmingham wants to create a tourist transit system to transport visitors to downtown hotels and attractions like the zoo, Vulcan Park and the botanical gardens. (Birmingham News)

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TN MOVING STORIES: Reaction to Republican Transpo Bill, Auto Towns Adding Jobs, and Chicago Will Have One Transit Card To Rule Them All

Friday, July 08, 2011

By 2015, the Chicago region's three transit agencies will have a universal transit card system. (Chicago Tribune)

Atlanta whittled down its transportation wish-list -- but still has more cutting to do. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Where are the jobs in the US? In auto manufacturing towns. (Marketplace)

More about the Republicans transportation bill in the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.

The New York Post reacts strongly to the new bike lanes being constructed on Manhattan's East Side.

Monthly parking in Manhattan is the most expensive in the country. (AP via WFUV)

This morning at 11am, you can watch the final shuttle launch (weather permitting) -- and chat about it -- at WNYC.

Check out this bike safety-lighting idea. (Greater Greater Washington)

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GOP Proposes Six Year, $230 Billion Transportation Bill

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The much-awaited GOP transportation bill is finally out.  At $230 billion, it's far less than the $500 billion or so that transportation advocates once hoped for, and Democrats are already slamming it for "cutting over 600,000 jobs." The bill appears to retain the 80/20 highway-to-transit ratio of previous bills.  Our full story is here;  if you want to dig in yourself, you can click here for a pdf version of the House Republican's transportation reauthorization proposal.

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TN MOVING STORIES: Dueling Transportation Bills Released in House, Senate; US and Mexico Reach Cross-Border Trucking Deal, and LA Girds for "Carmageddon"

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Dueling transportation bills will be rolled out today in both the House and the Senate. (Wall Street Journal)

The U.S. and Mexican governments reached an accord to resolve a 15-year cross-border trucking dispute. (The Takeaway)

The Twin Cities' transit system is facing a fare increase -- and a round of cuts. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Metro Atlanta is in for a reality check today when the Atlanta Regional Commission chops the region's $22.9 billion wish list of transportation projects in half. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

New York City won't test-drive a ban on cars in Central Park -- despite local community board support. (New York Daily News)

Officials broke ground on what will be Los Angeles County's first freeway toll lanes, the idea being that drivers will be willing to pay significant sums to avoid rush-hour traffic.  (Los Angeles Times)

Meanwhile, Los Angeles girds itself for the coming "carmageddon." (New York Times)

Some major US companies are leaving the suburbs and relocating their headquarters in cities. (Marketplace)

A flying car -- or "roadable aircraft," whichever you prefer -- has gotten regulatory clearance from the federal government. Watch the video below to see it in action -- folding wings and all. (Wall Street Journal)

Crafters: knit your own bike basket.

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Brooklyn Bike Lane Case: Judge Denies Request for Adjournment

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Brooklyn's Prospect Park West bike lane (photo by Kate Hinds)

The bike lane on Brooklyn's Prospect Park West will be back in court this month -- not September.

According to a spokeswoman for the New York City Law Department, the judge hearing the case denied a request by Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes/Seniors for Safety to adjourn for another two months. NBBL's attorney, Jim Walden, had asked for more time to process additional Freedom of Information Law requests.

Walden had no comment on the judge's decision. The next court date in the case is July 20.

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Republicans to Introduce Transportation Reauthorization Bill Tomorrow

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

House Republicans will formally introduce their surface reauthorization bill Thursday.

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chair John Mica (R - Florida) is scheduled to unveil the bill at 11am. It's being broadcast live via webcast on the committee's web page.

Democrat Barbara Boxer, who heads the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee, said today that the Republican plan would cost Americans hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Earlier this year, President Obama proposed a six-year, $556 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill. No word yet on a dollar amount for the House bill, but some reports said Republicans will propose cutting funding for highways and transit by one-third.



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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


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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