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Kate Hinds

Kate Hinds appears in the following:

TN Moving Stories: Car Boom in China, Ohio DOT's Green Lantern, and Happy Fare Hike Day

Thursday, December 30, 2010

NYC MTA fare hikes take effect today. Click here for a primer.

The New York Daily News says that the MTA failed to follow its own emergency protocol before the blizzard that crippled large swaths of the subway system.

Car sales in China: how long will the government let the boom go on? (New York Times)

The paradox of the Dulles Toll Road: tolls are going up to help pay for the extension of the Metrorail out to the airport...but the increase likely means fewer people will take the road. (WAMU)

Ohio's DOT may turn to a green lantern to stem an increase in snowplow crashes. Officials are looking at changing a law to allow plows to have a green flashing light instead of a yellow one. (Dayton Daily News)

Toronto's Transit City: not dead yet! (Toronto Sun)

Redwood City will be one of the Bay Area cities involved in that area's regional bike share program. (Mercury News)

A consortium of Virginia businesses, transportation groups, and construction companies has endorsed Gov. Bob McDonnell's plan to spend $4 billion on roads over the next three years--with the caveat that the plan is merely a down payment on the crumbling transportation system's vast needs. (Washington Post)

Wired pulls together a list of ten transportation trends that is says rocked 2010. Meanwhile, the New York Times wants to know your worst travel experience of the year.

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Illegal Streets: Off the Map, Not Off the Grid

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation)  In his press conference yesterday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was asked a question about how long it would take the city to plow every street. His response generated some curiosity.

"I don't know that you ever get everything plowed, because there are always streets that---there are streets that aren't even mapped on the map, there are illegal streets."

We called the Mayor's office for clarification of the term "illegal streets;" we've received no response yet. In the meantime, we turned to the The New York City Department of Transportation, which avoided the word "illegal" and said that there are two criteria: streets that are mapped, and streets that aren't.

The City doesn't own all the streets it turns out. According to Montgomery Dean, a DOT spokesperson, streets not titled to the city are classified as unmapped. The City doesn't maintain (pave, plow, or impose/enforce alternate side parking rules) them. These would also be known as "private streets."

Each borough president's office maintains a topographical unit, so we began calling around. Staten Island leads the list, with 638 private streets. A spokesperson for Brooklyn borough president's office said that Brooklyn has about 100. The Bronx has far fewer; while a spokesperson couldn't given an exact amount, she said there were "not many." The Manhattan borough president's office said that they had never heard the term "illegal streets."

So who maintains these streets? The residents, many of whom are happy to foot maintenance bills in order to keep parking there—residents can require permit parking only. A New York Daily News article quotes one Brooklyn resident as saying "it's like having your own garage." Of course, there can be a flip side: a Brooklyn Eagle article describes a dozen residents of one Bay Ridge block who lost heat and hot water in January after a pipe burst--and had to come up with $10,000 for repairs.

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NYC Subways Edge Closer to Normal; Not There Yet

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

#SubSnow: The scene at Cortelyou Rd (B, Q) as Track Workers &... on Twitpic

The scene at Cortelyou Rd (B, Q) as Track Workers & Maintainers dug out the tracks yesterday (TwitPic)

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) Earlier today, the MTA reported that service on the B and Q lines had been restored.  The N train and the Franklin Avenue Shuttle still have outages. Click the above photo for more NYC MTA pics of workers clearing snow from subway lines, or go here.

Want to see a video of what the subways looked like pre-snow removal? PLOG writes: "Sparks fly as the subway passes between Parkside Avenue and Prospect Park stations last night at 9:00 pm.Shortly thereafter subway service was suspended on the Q and B lines and has remained frozen since."

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TN Moving Stories: NYC Snow Recovery Continues, Moscow Misspent $8 Billion in Transpo Money, and $5 a Gallon Gas - Coming in 2012?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Bolt Bus boards on West 33rd Street, NY (Alex Goldmark)

New York City's transit system still hasn't fully recovered from the storm, with many bus routes not operating at all (New York Daily News). Things are slightly better across the Hudson, where NJ Transit is closer to normal (AP via Newsday), and Newark Mayor Cory Booker is responding to people's tweets for help--sometimes by personally excavating cars from snowbanks. (WNYC).

Area airports are open today, but the ripple effect caused by trying to move many stranded travelers will take days to resolve. (Wall Street Journal)

The Boston Globe praises MBTA for letting private app developers have real-time data on the movements of its vehicles. "Just by putting more information in (passengers') hands, the T has removed one of the major barriers to transit ridership — unpredictability."

Moscow misspent almost $8 billion that was earmarked for the development of the city's transportation infrastructure. (Bloomberg News)

Apparently, when the economy goes down, it's a good time to embark upon a new career as a truck driver. (Marketplace)

The former president of Shell Oil predicts that gas will hit $5 a gallon by 2012 (NPR).

Paper tickets reach the end of the line on Friday, when the Bay Area's AC Transit stops accepting them in favor of electronic Clipper cards. (Contra Costa Times)

The City Fix takes a look at their favorite new additions to transit systems in 2010. Lima's BRT system, South Africa's Gautrain, Dubai's Metro, the Capital Bikeshare--all in there!

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TN Moving Stories: Aftermath of the Storm, "Reserving" Parking Spaces in Boston, and Does Urban Biking Have a Diversity Problem?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

More on the storm's aftermath: mass transit in NYC will be limping along today. "As of late yesterday, every line that was operating had delays." (New York Daily News)  Nationally, stranded travelers are still having great difficulty getting home. (AP)

Here's a good round up of local (to the NYC area) service updates from WNYC.

Did budget cuts hamper NYC's cleanup efforts? (Wall Street Journal)

Meanwhile, Boston residents engage in the time-honored post-snowstorm tradition of trying to stake out parking spaces. The thinking seems to be "if I shoveled it, I own it." (Boston Globe)

Want to see Brooklyn dig out? Check out this video:

Light rail to South Phoenix is under consideration, but the wheels of that area's Metro agency turn slowly. (Arizona Daily Star)

Speaking of light rail: officials struggle to keep LA's light rail lines safe. "Responding to accidents on the track...has become a regular part of patrolling the 22-mile Blue Line." (AP via Mercury News)

Good Magazine has a two-part article about diversity and urban biking. (Part I is here.)

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FTA Awards Transit Funding; Second Avenue Subway & LIRR Big Winners

Monday, December 27, 2010

Second Avenue Subway (NYC MTA)

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation)  The Federal Transit Administration awarded a round of grants today for transit projects currently underway -- see details from the FTA's press release below.

FTA Announces $182.4 Million in Funds for Seven Major Transit Projects Underway Across U.S.

Projects Include Subway, Light Rail, Commuter Rail

WASHINGTON – The Federal Transit Administration today announced that is advancing a total of $182.4 million in New Starts funding for seven transit projects already under construction in New York, Dallas, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Northern Virginia.

“By making these payments now, we’re not only fulfilling the federal government’s commitment to these projects sooner, but we’re also giving a well-timed boost to communities that have made an important investment in their transportation infrastructure,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We want to keep the projects moving and people working with these early investments, which will save these cities money over the long haul.”

The grants being awarded today will not increase the federal government’s overall share in the projects. Rather, a portion of the federal share for each project is being paid earlier than expected because of unallocated funds in FTA’s Fiscal Year 2010 budget for new construction.

“The advance payments being announced today will free up local funds that can now be used for other transit projects that will make it easier for families to get to work, to school, and to other important destinations,” said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. “These advances will also result in the savings of financing costs that local sponsors would have otherwise incurred.”

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TN Moving Stories: Snowtorious Storm Smacks Northeast, and Cycling on a Roll in DC

Monday, December 27, 2010

Abandoned taxi, NYC (Alex Goldmark)

Blizzard slows down travel in the Northeast (WNYC): in New York City, airports and rail shuts down, but other transit gamely presses on (NY1) --with the exception of an A train stuck in Queens where passengers overnighted without food or water.

How you know it's a Snowpocalypse in NYC: John Hockenberry tweet: "Still wild white caps and snow mountains in Red Hook. @FairwayMarket NOT open!" I repeat: Fairway is NOT open!

In other news: USA Today says that there are gaping holes in subway and rail security that "leave travelers more vulnerable on the more than 4 billion trips they take by subway and rail each year than in the sky, where airlines carried fewer than 700 million passengers from U.S. airports last year." And, apparently, cargo that flies over (but not to) the U.S. doesn't get screened to federal standards. (Washington Post)

Cycling is on a roll in the nation's capitol. "The District has 50 miles of bike lanes on its 1,200 miles of streets. It has created 47 of the 50 miles in the past nine years." (Washington Post)

A Boston nonprofit is teaching bicycle mechanics to inner city kids, and shipping out nearly 6,000 abandoned bikes a year--some to South America and Africa. (WBUR - Here and Now)

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TN Moving Stories: Build Your Own Bamboo Bike, and Combatting Beijing Traffic

Friday, December 24, 2010

Fast rail, slow build out: "Only 20 miles of track on the 284-mile Amtrak route between Chicago and St. Louis will be upgraded to handle 110-mph trains by 2012, state officials said Thursday." (Chicago Tribune)

Want to build your own bamboo bike?  You can, in Brooklyn. Video below! (via ABC News)

Turning solar energy into fuel: a new technique involves the element Cerium. (NPR)

An explosion of drivers in China has led to some hasty transportation planning in Beijing: The future will bring: "280,000 new parking spaces; 1,000 share-a-bike stations; 348 miles of new subway track; 125 miles of new downtown streets; 23 miles of tunnels; 9 new transportation hubs; 3 congestion zones; and 1 cure-all, “the use of modern technology.” (New York Times)

Toyota to launch family of Priuses. (Or is the plural Prii? Hmmm.) (AltTransport)

A new app helps you find on-street parking, of which Wired says: "Having access to real-time parking information could be the difference between finding a space and circling the wrong block endlessly, or seeing that parking is at a premium and deciding to leave the car at home."

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TN Moving Stories: 100th Countdown Clock in NYC Subways, India's Railways Prioritize Onions, and Spain Now Leads Europe in HSR

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A countdown clock on the 110th Street 1 train platform (Kate Hinds)

NYC's subways have their 100th countdown clock -- exceeding the MTA's original goal to get 75 stations online by the end of the year.

You can still buy tickets for American Airlines flights online--but not on Orbitz, because the airline wants to cut out that electronic middleman.  (USA Today)

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board levied the first fine in its 14 year history---$250,000 against the Canadian National Railway Company for failure to report blockages at its Chicago-area street crossings.  (Chicago Sun-Times)

India's railways will prioritize the delivery of onions throughout the country. The country's staple vegetable has grown scarce due to heavy rains in growing areas, and prices are spiraling upwards. (Daily News and Analysis)

Spain is now the European high-speed rail leader. (New York Times)

Everyone may finally be on board with Indiana's new, comprehensive transit plan, which includes tripling buses, establishing BRT, and building commuter rail. (Indianapolis Star)

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says that his priority is a new subway line. And only subways. "There’s no more above ground,” he said. “No, everything’s going underground. I want to do subways." (The Globe and Mail)

Could high oil prices hurt the economy's recovery in the new year? (Marketplace)

NPR's series on ethanol concludes with a look at the industry's response to critics -- and its partnership with NASCAR.

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Holiday Getaway Day: T-Minus 48 Hours

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holland Tunnel traffic on Varick Street (photo by Kate Hinds)

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation)  If you're taking to the road this holiday season, you'll have a lot of company. The American Automobile Association says that over 92 million Americans will make trips of at least 50 miles from December 23 to January 2. AAA New York spokesman Robert Sinclair said it could be an augur of a financial uptick.

"We're thinking that the improvement in the economy, at least on a personal level for a lot of people, is the reason that people are getting out there," he said. "And probably some pent up demand."

Sinclair also expects the distances people are traveling to be longer as well, with an average trip length of 1,052 miles. That's a 33 percent increase over last year. And 93 percent of those travelers will be in their cars. He said that the remainder of the travelers fly (3 percent) or use rail, bus or even watercraft.

According to AAA's surveys, New Yorkers are 50 percent more likely than the rest of the country to take road trips in part because of economic conditions.

"We tend to have a higher median income in New York and environs than the rest of the country," he said, "so we have nice cars, we have cash in our pocket, and we like to take advantage of both those things by going out and taking a long trip."

According to the AAA, the biggest travel days will likely be Christmas Eve and January 2nd.

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TN Moving Stories: How Ethanol Affects Food Prices, Honda Takes to the Air, and Colorado City To Link Schools with Bike Lanes

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

NPR reports on how US ethanol subsidies affect food prices. "When the price of gas goes up, it raises the demand for ethanol — and that means consumers will feel it in two places: at the gas pump and on the dinner table."

The Federal Transit Administration awarded $25.7 million in grants to help communities analyze and expand their transit systems. One of the winners was Washington DC, which won $1 million for a feasibility study looking at running streetcars along DC's K Street. (WAMU)

Next American City asks: can a new streetcar save Atlanta's MARTA?

From four wheels to two wings: Honda just made its first flight in a FAA-conforming jet, paving the way for Honda Aircraft to sell planes in the American market. (AutoNews)

The Aurora (Colorado) City Council moved forward with a plan to implement bike lanes that will connect nine area schools. (Aurora Sentinel)

The New York State comptroller rejected a $118 million transit contract with Science Applications International Corp., saying the company's role in the CityTime contracting scandal remains unclear. (Wall Street Journal)

The New York Daily News wrote an editorial taking the MTA to task for "replacing subway literature with self-congratulatory ads." Reminder: write your own literary service announcement and post it to the WNYC website!

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New Jersey Gets More Time to Come Up With $271 Million

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) The Federal Transit Administration has told New Jersey it has two extra weeks to come up with the $271 million it owes on the ARC Tunnel project.

Earlier this week, the FTA sent a letter to Patton Boggs, the law firm that New Jersey Transit hired to fight the $271 million bill, extending the repayment deadline to January 10, 2011.  The original deadline was this week.

NJ Transit has been disputing the amount--and its reluctance to pony up the money immediately has paid off.  Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said recently that if the state repays the money in full, the DOT will give New Jersey $128 million back for projects that improve air quality by cutting traffic congestion.

You can read the FTA's letter to Patton Boggs below.

Response to Patton Boggs Extension Final Dec 20

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Do New Yorkers Really Have To Choose Between Literature and Service Announcements?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The MTA is replacing the subway literary placards with a new ad campaign designed to communicate subway service advisories and improvements to straphangers. But why not combine the two?

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TN Moving Stories: Ireland Wants More Bikes, US Airlines Report Profits, and Ethanol Gets Taxpayer Boost--What Do Taxpayers Get?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Does ethanol deserve a multi-billion dollar tax credit? (NPR)  And: a new EPA rule from the fall allowed for more ethanol to be mixed in with gasoline, but now automakers are suing, stating that the new blends aren't safe for cars. (Marketplace)

The New York Post says there's been a 16% rise in vehicle/bicycle collisions this year.

U.S. airlines report highest profits in at least four years. (Los Angeles Times)

Ireland's transportation minister, in an effort to promote bicycling, has announced that local authorities must include specific cycling policies and objectives in future development plans. (Inside Ireland)

New York subway ads now have less literature, more MTA self-promotion. (New York Times) And your TN correspondent has composed a haiku to mark the occasion: Goodbye, poetry/Hello, line improvements tout/but whither Dante?

GM says it is recycling oil-drenched boom material from the BP oil spill and turning it into plastic resin to be used in the Chevy Volt. (Wired)

Toyota will be fined $32 million for failing to swiftly recall defective vehicles. (New York Times)

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Mixed Signals for NYC Pedestrians

Monday, December 20, 2010

(New York-- John Keefe, Jim O'Grady, and Brian Zumhagen, WNYC; Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation)

New Yorkers are famous for crossing streets whenever they feel like it, taking a blasé attitude toward crosswalk signals. But the signs tend to capture the attention of pedestrians when the "walk" and "don't walk" icons are lit up at the same time, which is the case at intersections all over the city.

At the corner of Spring and Greene Streets in SoHo, the orange "don't walk" hand is illuminated. But so is the "walking man" icon. Latonya Turner and her husband Otis are visiting from Arkansas. What would they have done if they'd been left to their own devices?

"We probably would have stood here and thought, 'Okay, what do we do?'" "I guess you have a choice then, you can either walk or not walk," Otis said.

"I guess you can just take your chances," Latonya added, laughing.

Listen to WNYC's story on the pedestrian crossing signals:

See WNYC's mixed signals map here.

And upload your photo to the map here!

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TN Moving Stories: Ray LaHood Talks High-Speed Rail, Chris Christie Takes To the 60 Minutes Airwaves, and the MTA Tries to Get A Handle on Health Insurance Cost

Monday, December 20, 2010

NJ Governor Chris Christie appeared on 60 Minutes to talk about his state's dire finances --and explain, once again, why he killed the ARC tunnel. (CBS)

The NYC MTA is selling $350 million in Build America Bonds. (Bloomberg)  Meanwhile, the agency is also auditing its health care benefits in an attempt to find out who might be illegally tapping into the system (New York Post). And: NY Daily News transit reporter Pete Donohue says that frivolous lawsuits brought by injured straphangers hurt the MTA--and taxpayers.

A dozen livery cab drivers will begin wearing bulletproof vests for protection in high-crime areas. (New York Daily News)

England's transport secretary will unveil the tweaked high speed rail route between London and Birmingham. (UK Daily Mail)

Ray LaHood talked about trying to build a national high speed rail system on NPR's Weekend Edition.  And the DOT wants to ban commercial truck and bus drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving. (AP)

Author/illustrator/humorist Bruce McCall comes up with a shared streets proposal in the op-ed pages of the New York Times. "Under the new system, sidewalk parking for all vehicles becomes not only mandatory but also illegal — a one-two punch expected to fatten the Department of Finance’s coffers by an estimated $13 million per day in added traffic summonses!"

The National Journal's transportation blog asks: "FAA: Could it finally happen?"  The agency, which is operating under its 16th funding extension, "could actually see a multiyear funding blueprint by sometime next summer."

Remember that crisp morning five years ago? When New Yorkers came together and shared cabs, and walked and biked to work...because of the transit strike? Happy anniversary! (CBS New York)

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TN Moving Stories: Christie Considers $128 Million Offer, Vote on Taxi Driver Dress Code Postponed, and BART Eyes Late Nights

Friday, December 17, 2010

Governor Christie will consider the FTA's offer to credit New Jersey with $128 million towards the $271 million the feds say the state owes.  "I would say that offer was a nice start, and we’ll continue to talk," Christie said at a press conference Thursday. (Star-Ledger)

A vote on a taxi driver dress code is postponed until next month. (WNYC)

Police will begin conducting random bag searches on (DC) Metro trains and buses. (Washington Post, WAMU)

BART may try operating trains later than 12:15am on Saturday nights. Par-tay! (San Francisco Examiner)

NYC's MTA "stealthily" renames a transit stop, so "Broadway-Nassau" is now just "Fulton Street." (AM New York)

Religious ads have been banned on Fort Worth buses, because of a furor sparked by an ad for atheism. (Houston Chronicle)

Broward County, Florida, will begin a bike share program this spring. (Sun Sentinel)

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MTA's 2011 Budget Is In The Black--Just Barely

Thursday, December 16, 2010

(New York -- Jim O'Grady, WNYC) The New York City MTA passed a spending plan for 2011 that erases the $900 million deficit officials had projected earlier this year.  But authority chairman Jay Walder warns the budget is just barely in the black.

"It is an extremely tight budget for the MTA," he said at yesterday's board meeting. "We're running an incredibly complex, multi-billion dollar company with essentially no margin."

The $12 billion budget has only an $8 million dollar cushion--less than a tenth of one percent of the total.

The agency says it filled the gap by laying off 1,000 workers and cutting bus and train service back in June. Those savings will continue to this year. And the December 30th fare hikes will kick in more than $400 million.

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TN Moving Stories: New Yorkers Face Long Commutes, More DC Residents Are Taking Public Transit, And How To Modernize Air Traffic Control

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Census data, commuter edition: More DC residents are using abandoning their cars and taking public transit to work. "Only New Yorkers take the subway to work more than Washingtonians do." (Washington Post)

Meanwhile, four of New York City's five boroughs logged the nation's longest average commute times to work (New York Post).  The country's worst commute continues to belong to Staten Island, where residents spend 42.5 minutes each way traveling to work (Staten Island Live).  But remember, New Yorkers --commutes cost less in NYC.

The blog Ride The City published data about more than 600,000 NYC bike rides planned on their site since April 2009. Median ride length: a little over 4 miles. And: 85% of all rides started or ended in just 7% of census blocks.

In other news:  The tax cut -- with its attendant transit benefit -- passes the Senate. Next stop: the House. (New York Times)

New York City has launched a new pilot program that will allow some disabled Access-A-Ride customers to take taxis instead. (WNYC)

Amtrak passengers can now bring unloaded guns on some trains. All aboard! (NPR)

A federal task force has some ideas about how to modernize air traffic control -- and ensure transparency in pricing. (Wall Street Journal)

Richard Florida digs into neighborhood walkability--which he writes is "a magnet for attracting and retaining the highly innovative businesses and highly skilled people that drive economic growth, raising housing values and generating higher incomes."  (The Atlantic)

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Feds to NJ: Okay, We'll Credit You $128 Million For ARC Tunnel

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The U.S. Transportation Department tells New Jersey it will be credited nearly half the $271 million it owes the federal government for a scrapped NY-NJ rail tunnel if it pays back all it owes.

New Jersey got the tunnel tab for money already spent after Gov. Chris Christie abandoned the $8.7 billion project because of potential cost overruns.

The bill is due Dec. 24.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg has been negotiating with federal transit authorities to get the bill reduced. Christie approved the hiring of a Washington law firm to fight it.

A Dec. 14 letter confirming that $128 million would be credited to a congestion mitigation account after New Jersey repays the debt was signed by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. The Associated Press has obtained a copy of the letter.

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