Bayonne Bridge

Transportation Nation

Three New York Area Bridges to get Massive Overhaul

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The three bridges linking New Jersey and Staten Island will be getting major overhauls, including new pedestrian walkways and the ability to accommodate transit at a future date. But is transit-ready as good as an actual transit plan?

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Bayonne Bridge Will Be Raised In Time for Super-Ships: PA

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The New York-New Jersey Port Authority says the roadway of the Bayonne Bridge will be raised in time for the arrival of the next generation of extra-large container ships. The $1 billion project has been fast-tracked by the Obama administration, putting it six months ahead of schedule.

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Transportation Nation

New York Officials Await Greenlight for Project to Allow for Bigger Ships

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Bayonne Bridge (chrastoslalu/flickr)

(New York, NY -- Janet Babin, WNYC) Port Authority officials are waiting to find out whether the federal government will allow a project involving the Bayonne Bridge to move through a faster permit process.

The bridge, which links New Jersey and Staten Island, is inextricably bound to the future success of the New York Harbor.

Upgrades to the Panama Canal means bigger ships will make their way through the channel and up the East Coast by 2014. But these mega container ships won’t fit under the Bayonne Bridge, which means they can’t enter New York harbor.

The Port Authority is spending $1 billion to lift the roadway, so the ships can fit underneath. But there’s a time crunch. The bridge won’t be completed until two years after the Panama Canal is widened.

Without the bigger cargo ships, the port industry is a risk of losing business to other regional harbors.

Faster federal permitting and reviews could shave up to six months off the project’s timeline. “Every day that a project like this is delayed results in additional accruals of financial costs, and every day and week and month that we can eliminate saves the project and the region money,” Port Authority Director Patrick Foye said.

President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order on Permitting and Federal Review last month. It was an idea he introduced during his State of the Union Address.

“We were first in the nation to take advantage of the process,” Foye said.

This will allow the Port Authority and other state agencies to designate projects of regional and national significance. Those projects, if approved by federal regulators, will be able to undergo concurrent as opposed to sequential reviews that would normally take months to complete. For example, the Order would allow approved projects to combine the process of an environmental review with an environmental impact statement.

Critics contend the fast-track review process fails to allow adequate time to assess the environmental or community impact a project can have.

Foye said the Port Authority will likely hear whether the Bayonne Bridge has been approved for the fast-track review process, within the next two months. He said construction on the Bridge is expected to begin early next year.

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Port Authority Awaits Fed Decision on Bayonne Bridge Project

Sunday, April 08, 2012


Port Authority officials are waiting to find out whether the federal government will allow a project involving the Bayonne Bridge to move through a faster permit process.

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Transportation Nation

A Wider Panama Canal Could Lead to a NY Boom, But City May Not Be Ready

Friday, March 09, 2012

Miraflores Locks, Panama Canal (photo by: flickr user Ryan Healy)

The narrowest piece of Central America could hold the key to millions of dollars worth of additional business for the East Coast shipping industry.  A new channel being built in the Panama Canal will allow wider ships to squeeze through the isthmus in about two years’ time.

The supersize freighters will reduce shipping costs, making it cheaper to move goods originating from Asia to the East Coast, instead of the West Coast, for the first time.  That's expected to bring more ships, more cargo and more jobs to the region.

Ship at NYCT, Staten Island (photo by Kent Nickerson)

Port operators already supported 270-thousand jobs in 2010, and contributed more than $37-billion dollars in business income, according to a study from the New York Shipping Association.

Staten Island Cargo Yard (photo by Kent Nickerson)


Bob Silverman, industrial supply chain analyst with Jones Lang LaSalle said the larger freighters will set up a battle for the Midwest market.  Imagine a jagged line that runs north to south through the United States. Silverman calls it the line of demarcation.

“It’s the point at which the costs are equal to receive a container on the West Coast and ship it to that point, versus receiving that container on the East and shipping it,” said Silverman.  And after the Panama Canal has its new locks, that line is expected to shift further west -- favorign the east coast ports.

Eastern ports are giddy with the possiblity of more business.  It could also mean more jobs for truck drivers and other workers who move cargo from one point to another.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is preparing for all the new customers, along with many other eastern seaboard ports.  Dredging projects are underway to deepen harbors to accommodate these larger freighters.  Still, Rick Larrabee, Port Commerce Director for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is cautious.

“There are lots of theories about whether this is a game changer,” said Larrabee.  The cost of gas and rail will also be a factor in which coast has the competitive edge.  “We believe more cargo will come here and the Panama Canal will become more efficient and consumers will benefit,” he said.

But the ships will have to be able to fit into eastern shipping channels, something they can’t do now.

“Right now ports on the East Coast, except for Norfolk, can’t handle those ships because their harbors aren’t deep enough,” said Bib Silverman, the Jones Lang LaSalle analyst.  The dredging projects will help with that.  But the Port of New York and New Jersey has one additional problem:  the big ships won’t fit underneath the Bayonne Bridge, that connects New Jersey to Staten Island.

A project to raise the Bayonne Bridge has been approved by the Port Authority’s Board of Directors.  But it will cost an estimated $1 billion.  And, it won’t be done until 2016, two years after the bigger ships are already sailing through the Panama Canal.  “For those first two years, the Port of New York and New Jersey will not be able to accept the biggest ships, so it will give the Southern ports a bit of a jump,” said Silverman.

Bayonne Bridge (photo by Kent Nickerson)

Port Commerce Director Rick Larrabee admits the Port “is playing a little bit of catch up here.”  It may be because the Port had hoped to save money.  “To be very honest with you, the first thing we thought was, don’t fix the bridge, fix the ships,” said Larrabee.  The cost of modification could have been made up in two or three trips.  But the shipping companies didn’t buy it.  “Most of the lines said you need to fix the bridge…we’re not interested in fixing our ships.  And, eventually, we got that,” Larrabee said.

But Larrabee is not convinced the Port is poised to get all that much new business from the massive freighters anyway.  “The West Coast ports will not sit by and watch, they’ll compete for the business,” he said.  He added that even without the Canal expansion, business is booming in New York area ports.  "We've doubled our cargo capacity since 1992, and we expect to double it again in the next twenty years," said Larrabee.

New York Container Terminal, NYCT, is one of the Port Authority’s 70 tenants along the Port of New York and New Jersey.  It among about half a dozen big ports in the region that stand to gain if more shipping business materializes after the Canal is widened.

Jim Devine is President and CEO of NYCT.  He said the Bayonne Bridge raising is not as critical to his company as to other port companies along the New York harbor.  “We have a terminal that’s outside the bridge, a global terminal, and we’re preparing to handle the larger ships there now, with more cranes and a deeper dock,” said Devine.

Ship Gets Unloaded at NYCT (photo by Kent Nickerson)

But the company’s Director of Marine Operations, Joseph Cordero, sees the Bayonne Bridge issue a little differently.  “It’s got to happen,” said Cordero.  “If it doesn’t happen, it will cut off this port and it will cut off all of New Jersey from handling that kind of commerce.”  Cordero added that the two year gap is a very serious gap and has to be closed one way or the other, even if it means doing away with the Bayonne Bridge.  Otherwise, his longshoremen will lose out.

Crane Operators Unload Ship at NYCT (photo by: Kent Nickerson)


Larrabee said the Bayonne Bridge project will move forward. “I’m confident we’ll get this done in a reasonable amount of time, so long as we stay on the current time line,” said Larrabee.

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: NYC Mayor Backing #7 Subway to Secaucus Plan, BP Profits Triple, BRT to Michigan?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Top stories on TN:

Mitt Romney is making President Obama's support for two high-end green car companies a campaign issue. (Link)

The first Mexican truck has crossed the US border. (Link)

Formula 1 racing is coming to NJ. (Link)

Waiting for a bus on Staten Island (photo by johnpignata via Flickr)

But: is NY making its own "ARC mistake" by killing transit on the bridge? (Second Avenue Sagas)

And: the lack of transit drew criticism at a Tappan Zee public comment session. (Journal News)

Real-time bus arrival information will come to Staten Island by the end of the year. (Staten Island Advance)

A Maryland panel recommended a gas tax hike, fare increases and an end to transit raids to fund state transportation projects. (Baltimore Sun)

The NY Post reports that Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be announcing plans to move forward on extending the No. 7 subway to New Jersey.

The Port Authority will raise the Bayonne Bridge by 2016. (

Michigan's governor wants to jump start a regional transit system in Detroit with bus rapid transit. (Detroit Free Press)

NYC taxi update: the city will crackdown on the $350 no-honking-except-in-an-emergency rule (WNYC).  And the Taxi and Limousine Commission is surveying passengers about their cab rides (NY Daily News).

Boeing's Dreamliner made its maiden voyage after a three-year delay. (Guardian)

18 months after the massive oil spill in the Gulf, BP stages a comeback: company profits have tripled. (Marketplace)

Reporters complain about the Acela, continue to ride it. (Politico)

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Honolulu's Rail Imperiled by Lawsuit Over Burial Grounds, DIY Bike Lane Installation in Guadalajara, and US Airfares Rise 11%

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

NY Rep. Michael Grimm's quest to have a light-rail link be part of the renovated Bayonne Bridge led to a "very heated" discussion with a top Port Authority official this week, Grimm said. (Staten Island Advance)

Congestion pricing is proposed for two Bay Area bridges. (San Francisco Chronicle)

A lawsuit over possible ancient Hawaiian burials along Honolulu's proposed rail transit route could put the brakes on the $5.5 billion project. (Honolulu Star Advertiser)

Metro-North Railroad will institute a reduced New Haven line schedule that will cut service by 10% during the morning and afternoon peak due to a faltering fleet of rail cars damaged by harsh winter conditions. (

Check out this video of a DIY bike lane installation in Guadalajara, Mexico--where no bike lanes previously existed. The technique of the man painting the lines is not to be missed. (via AltTransport)

A gym in Maryland is using exercise bikes to generate electricity. (Savage-Guilford Patch)

Some passengers on MARC, Maryland's suburban commuter rail line, have started a secret, BYOB happy hour. (Well, it was secret until WAMU reported on it.)

A Colorado Republican has backed off his plan to strip funding from that state's transit and bicycle lanes in favor of highways and bridges. (Bloomberg)

U.S. domestic air fares rose 11% in the third quarter versus last year, as carriers continued to seize on increased demand for flying. "In the third quarter, New Jersey was home to the airports with both the highest and the lowest average fare: Newark Liberty, at $469, and Atlantic City, at $153." (Dow Jones via WSJ)

Walmart opponents cite the possibility of 32% more traffic as a reason one should not be built in East New York. (New York Daily News)

Will math improve bike sharing programs? Two Tel Aviv engineering professors have developed a mathematical model to predict which bike stations should be refilled, and when. (Wired - Autopia)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: New York's East River will get all-day commuter ferry service starting in June. Bay Area riders brainstorm ways to save Caltrain. And New York's MTA is "very early in the process" of considering sliding barriers for subway platforms.

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Port Authority Chairman: Doing Big Things Will Be Hard

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Last week, before President Obama called on Congress to “do big things” and invest in our national infrastructure, Anthony Coscia, the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, explained to a roomful of bankers and builders why doing big things had become so difficult in America.

Anthony Coscia, the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Coscia is to be believed in these matters. Before taking the Chairmanship of the Port Authority—the $5.9 billion annual capital budget of which would make many governors jealous—Coscia was the Chairman of New Jersey’s development bank for eleven years. He also sits on the Board of Amtrak. His remarks, delivered at a conference sponsored by the global infrastructure consultancy CG/LA, were rather candid. America's labor and environmental regulations have made projects more expensive, he said, and, he added, the country need to overhaul the way projects are chosen and financed. He predicted that the ARC Tunnel would indeed by built, but hinted that Amtrak and the private sector might shoulder more of the cost. He believes private investment should and will be explored as a way to build High-Speed Rail, which he called “essential.”

Edited excerpts of his remarks after the jump…

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: TXDOT Head Resigns, Atlanta Eyes Unified System, and Detroit's Pothole Plague

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Texas Department of Transportation executive director Amadeo Saenz has resigned, just weeks after a hand-picked panel of advisors urged his bosses to make leadership changes at the highest levels. (Dallas Morning News)

A foot of snow KO's NYC's bus system. (WNYC)

Will Atlanta's fractured mass transit system finally become unified? "Local leaders...have asked the Legislature to form a regional mass transit agency to serve as an umbrella over the metro area’s various systems." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Detroit is suffering from a plague of potholes, exacerbated by the weather -- and the budget. Video of a bumpy ride below. (Detroit Free Press)

Ray LaHood blogs about vehicle-to-vehicle communication: "intelligent cars talk to each other wirelessly, warning drivers of potential dangers."

NJ Senator Robert Menendez supports the concept of extending the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail into Staten Island, but he wants to hear specifics of the plan before committing to full support. (The Jersey Journal)

NJ Gov Christie would rather fight the feds than repay ARC money. (WNYC)

A Bronx-based trucking company paid $450,000 in parking tickets last year; the owner won't participate in the NYC Delivery Solutions parking program. "That program is like paying off the Mafia," he said. "It's saying, 'Here, Mr. Bloomberg, here's some money so I won't clog up the courts.'" (NY Daily News)

The Arizona Republic looks at the future of federal transportation funding, and concludes that proposals such as Mesa's light-rail extension and Tempe's streetcar are vulnerable and could be delayed.

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following:

Congestion pricing is percolating around NYC...again. (link)

The head of the NTSB says that when it comes to safety, we can pay now or pay later. But we will pay. (link)

Houston says howdy to the Nissan Leaf. (link)

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TN Moving Stories: The Auto Industry Looks Into the Future; NJ Transit Studies Light Rail Over Bayonne Bridge, and Will BART Operate 24 Hours A Day?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

BART station (Jason Schlachet/Flickr)

New Jersey Transit is considering a future expansion of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail over the Bayonne Bridge into Staten Island; a Port Authority spokesman said it's far too early to say whether it's a realistic proposition. (Jersey Journal) (More on the upcoming Bayonne Bridge work can be found here.)

Missouri approves new rules for speeding and red light cameras on state roads. The key phrase: "regulate," not "eliminate." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

KALW takes a look at BART's new year resolutions--and previews what transportation changes will be coming in 2011 for the Bay Area.  Will BART operate 24 hours a day? Stay tuned...

Want to know what the auto industry will look like in five years? The Detroit Free Press reads the tea leaves at this week's Auto Show.

A state panel votes to replace Texas Transportation Commission with a single chief. "I see this as being an almost Cabinet-level-like appointment," says the panel's vice chair. (Dallas Morning News)

A New Jersey lawmaker has introduced a bill that would require bicycles to have license plates; bike advocates are not amused. So far, no one else has signed on to the bill. (

Do London's bike superhighways boost cycling? Streetsblog says yes.

Top Transportation Nation stories that we're following: it snowed -- and New York City didn't grind to a halt. One weapon in the war against snow: GPS devices on snowplows.  Meanwhile, in Houston, a state vs. county battle is brewing over who will build the Grand Parkway -- a 180-mile ring around the city that will traverse seven counties. And: author Tony Hiss talks about his new book, In Motion: The Experience of Travel.

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TN Moving Stories: the Vehicle Saturation Point, Are Transit Advocates in SF Too White, and is 2011 the Year of the Swagger Wagon?

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Takeaway asks: is 2011 the year of the minivan? Toyota hopes so, and is reimagining the Sienna as a "swagger wagon." The below ad captures a white nuclear middle-class family, in all its gangsta glory:

Listen to the conversation (and find out if the Takeaway's guests would be caught dead in a minivan) below:

Have we reached the vehicle saturation point? A study of eight industrialized countries (not including China!) says passenger travel appears to have peaked in 2003. (Wired)

Could the future makeover of the Bayonne Bridge mean transit connections from Staten Island to New Jersey? It's not being ruled out. (Staten Island Live)

A bill that's being introduced in the Washington state legislature would mandate more distance on the road between bikers and cars. (Seattle Post Intelligencer)

San Francisco's city supervisors take the opportunity to wonder, while voting on a nomination to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board, if transit advocates are too white (Bay Citizen). Meanwhile, San Francisco is looking to increase the number of parking citations it writes to "help close a projected $21 million deficit in the $775 million operating budget for the current fiscal year that ends June 30." (San Francisco Chronicle)

DC's Metro is having trouble selling its new bag search policy to the public. (Washington Post)

24 hours of flight, time-lapsed. Doesn't it look like bees swarming?

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