Transportation Nation

Citi Bike's Parent Company Changes Name

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Alta Bicycle Share not only has new ownership, but a new name. Effective immediately, the company is now known as Motivate.
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Transportation Nation

More Bike Racks Coming to Metro-North Trains

Monday, September 15, 2014

If you're riding the rails on Metro-North, soon it will be easier to bring your wheels along too.
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Transportation Nation

'Las Bicicletas' Hit NYC Streets

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Large metal bike sculptures will start popping up in New York City on Wednesday. It's a public art installation that first premiered in Mexico City — and the artist hopes it will encourage more people to take up riding.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Food Stamp Cuts; Better Streets for Cars and Cyclists; Marathon Weekend

Friday, November 01, 2013

Cuts to the food stamp program are scheduled to take effect today. We’ll hear about why the benefits have been scaled back. Plus: 30 Issues in 30 Days continues with traffic engineer “Gridlock Sam” Schwartz and his proposals for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers on the road. Then, the candidates in the race for Nassau County Executive; NPR’s David Folkenflik on Rupert Murdoch’s empire; your calls on this weekend’s marathon; and does raising the legal purchase age of cigarettes discourage smoking?

The Takeaway

Schwinntonation: Making Music With Bicycle Parts

Friday, September 20, 2013

Charlie Malave and Ezra Lange, members of the Chicago-based band "Schwinntonation," hear in bikes something that many of us miss: music.  Bike Harp, Basscycle, Little Poppy, Cricket, Handlebars, and Seat-Post Flutes are just some of the instruments the band has invented over the years out of re-purposed bicycle parts.

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The Takeaway

Introducing The Takeaway Bike Challenge

Monday, September 16, 2013

Bikes are taking over America. Major cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco are launching public bike sharing systems for the first time, joining Boston, D.C. and Denver. Get out your pens and poetry quills and join our Takeaway Bike Haiku Challenge. Today Adam Reilly, reporter for WGBH news; Alex Goldmark producer at WNYC with Transportation Nation; and Joy Diaz, reporter from KUT Austin Texas discuss the bike revolution.

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Transportation Nation

SF Police Turn to Twitter to Reunite Owners with Stolen Bikes

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Out of the estimated 4,000 bikes stolen in San Francisco last year, 864 were recovered -- but only 142 were returned to their owners.  Now, the SFPD is using social media to close that gap.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

A Cycling City

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

What can NYC learn from Amsterdam about incorporating more cycling in its traffic flow?  Pete Jordan, author of In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist, relocated there and shares its bicycling history.

Comments [29]

Transportation Nation

From the TN Archives: When Love Met the Bolt Cutter

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

(This story originally appeared on June 9, 2011 -- TN is republishing it in honor of Valentine's Day) One of our colleagues, WNYC producer Amy Pearl, commutes over the Brooklyn Bridge most mornings. The bridge is undergoing a massive rehabilitation, and so workers are usually on the job.

Today they were repainting the line on the bridge that separates the bike lane from the pedestrian walkway.

The frequent Brooklyn Bridge crosser is probably familiar with the phenomenon known as "love locks." Amy Pearl explained the practice in a 2009 web article: "Couples write their names on a lock - often the kind you'd use to keep your street clothes safe at the gym - and throw the key into the East River...Similar locks can be found on bridges all over Europe, as in Florence, Poland, Germany, and Latvia."

The locks can be found all over the place, despite the posted rule that forbids the attachment of objects to the bridge.

This morning, Amy told TN that workers were removing the locks. "Our boss told us to cut them," one said. DOT spokesman Montgomery Dean said that crews regularly remove these locks while performing all other ongoing maintenance work.

They got quite a collection.

For more photos of the locks, go here.

(All photographs by Amy Pearl/WNYC)


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Transportation Nation

Houston Starts Small As It Tries Out First-Ever Bike Share

Friday, January 06, 2012

B-Cycle Runs Denver and San Antonio Bike Shares (Photo: Andrea Bernstein)

(Houston, TX -- Gail Delaughter, KUHF)  A city that loves to drive is taking its first step toward setting up a bike share program. Starting this spring, people in downtown Houston will be able to use  solar-powered kiosks to check out bikes for short trips.

The city has given a $105,000 contract to B-Cycle to operate the program.

The program is starting on a small scale, in what officials term as a "demonstration" of the technology. There will be a total of 18 bikes and three kiosks, located within blocks of each other at three downtown locations. One will be at the convention center, another at the main public library, and a third kiosk will be located at Market Square park. Users of the system can register on a website or at the kiosk themselves.

Ray Cruz with Houston's Fleet Management Department says over the next year they'll gauge the public's interest in the program, as well as how it should be set up on a wider scale. "Obviously the city of Houston's footprint is huge, and to satisfy our needs we have to take into account how it would be received." If the program expands in the future, the city will have to set up individual systems for different neighborhoods, considering Houston's sprawling geographical area. Officials are also talking about setting up kiosks near the city's expanding light rail lines.

Houston is listed as a non-attainment area by the EPA in terms of air quality, and the heavily car-dependent city has been looking at bike sharing for the past couple of years as a way to reduce vehicle emissions. The pilot program is modeled after San Antonio's bike share, which currently has 20 kiosks at popular destinations. The Wisconsin company that installed San Antonio's system, B-Cycle LLC, will also install the Houston system.

The Houston City Council has approved a $105,000 contract to get things up and running. Each bike cost a little under $1000 and the kiosks cost about $10,000. The project is funded through an EPA climate showcase grant and will be operated through a partnership with the city and the nonprofit group Bike Houston. A local bike shop has volunteered to maintain the bikes at no cost for a year.

Cruz says response to the bike share pilot program has been positive so far. The city has been working to develop an extensive bikeway network, which now totals about 460 miles. Also figures from 2011 show a big jump in the number of Houstonians who ride their bikes to work.

The city is currently working on a website where people can sign up for the program.

New York and Chicago are expected to launch their bike share programs this summer.


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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: LA Residents Want Transit Prioritized; Shorter Station Names Coming to DC Metro; NYC "Taxi Summit" Happening Today

Friday, November 04, 2011

Top stories on TN:

The Senate blocked a politically-charged $60 billion infrastructure bill Thursday; the GOP countered. (Link)

Broken escalators haunt DC's Metro. (Link)

Republicans are divided over the end of the Mexican trucking ban. (Link)

DC is debating whether to make it easier for cyclists to sue drivers. (Link)

Metro entrance in LA (photo by JoeInSouthernCA via Flickr)

A new poll says most L.A. residents want the state to prioritize transit, not roads. (Los Angeles Times)

The TSA will conduct a new study on the safety of X-ray body scanners. (Pro Publica)

Disabled New Yorkers want more accessible taxis. (WNYC)

And: the city's "Taxi Summit" -- an attempt to reach a deal on outer-borough street hail legislation -- is happening today. (Wall Street Journal)

The New York City Council voted in favor of residential parking permits, but Albany will have the final say. (WNYC)

Four years into its 10-year bicycle master plan, Seattle wants to update it. (Seattle Times)

Maryland's commuter rail is getting new multi-level cars. (Washington Post)

A bus drivers' protest has crippled bus service in Detroit this morning. (Detroit Free Press)

DC unveiled its list of shorter names for Metro stations. (Greater Greater Washington)

Is there a class divide in how pets travel on planes? (Good)

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Transportation Nation

Rosy Data on Columbus Avenue Bike Lane Can't Quite Quell Qualms

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Columbus Avenue bike lane (photo by Kate Hinds)

Bicycling has increased by 56% since a protected bike lane was installed on Columbus Avenue a year ago. And car crashes have dropped by 34%.

But that didn't stop members of Manhattan's Community Board 7 from hammering the New York City Department of Transportation, which was on hand to present preliminary data about the mile-long Upper West Side lane at a transportation committee meeting.

A screen shot of the NYC DOT's Columbus Avenue six-month bike lane data (photo by Kate Hinds)

The year-old bike lane  was approved last June by the full community board despite failing in committee. It's the only protected on-street lane on the Upper West Side.

The DOT attended the meeting at the committee's request, but it was clear that it wasn't the agency's idea. Ryan Russo, a deputy DOT commissioner, said "this is a preliminary analysis. Six months of data is generally too soon. The board asked us to come here, the board asked us to say what the data is saying, but it really takes a full year from when the project's completed -- a minimum of a full year -- to say how are things truly going."

As soon as the DOT was done presenting its data, Ulma Jones, a member of CB7's transportation committee, offered up a "laundry list" of issues, including complaints about new configurations for metered parking on sidestreets, traffic congestion, and bike riders going the wrong way in the lane. Others expressed incredulity that the numbers of bicyclists had increased -- especially in a lane that doesn't connect with the rest of the city's biking network.

But others were delighted with the redesign. CB7 committee member and cycling advocate Tila Duhaime hailed the lower incidence of speeding cars on the redesigned street. "It's fewer than one in ten?" she asked. "That's phenomenal." George Beane, an area resident and a member of the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District, said the DOT had worked to make loading zones more accessible to local businesses. "I think it's so much safer, it's economical, and it's healthy, and I think the DOT has should be commended. They've done a wonderful job. I appreciate it."

The DOT is preparing to implement a large bike share system, and a number of the city's community boards have recently voted to build or extend protected bike lanes.  So when one committee member last night asked the DOT if the Columbus Avenue lane might be extended north and south, the response was basically 'get in line.'

"We would be thrilled if the board would ask us to extend it, but again, we actually have a full plate," said the DOT''s Naomi Iwasaki. She said the DOT is working on bike lanes on First, Second, Eighth and Ninth Avenues, as well as lanes in other boroughs.

New York City Council Member Gale Brewer -- who said the bike lane is now "part of our DNA" -- presented results of a local survey that showed bikers felt the lane was a huge safety improvement. But pedestrians who took part in the anecdotal survey were split, and motorists felt the lane did not enhance their safety at all.

CB7 chair Mel Wymore offered some perspective on the phone the day after the meeting. “Bike lanes, dog runs, food trucks, all go to the same topic: sharing of public space," he said. "No matter how you slice it there’s a lot of opinions.” But Wymore said that moving forward, he'd be looking to extend the Columbus Avenue lane -- especially since neighboring Community Board 4 voted to extend their protected bike lanes  north to 59th Street. "We’re hopeful that we can have this connect to the whole network.”



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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: NYC Closer to Completing Manhattan Greenway, Buffalo's Main Street Wants Cars Back

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Top stories on TN:

The outgoing head of the Port Authority says "I was burned by politics." (Link)

GM warms to car sharing; will adapt its OnStar anti-theft technology to facilitate personal car rentals. (Link)

When it comes to car colors, white is the new silver. (Link)

(photo courtesy of East River Greenway Initiative)

Virginia begins a year-long study looking at current and projected commuting patterns, the goal being to reduce the number of Northern Virginians who commute by car. (Fairfax Times)

NYC announced a deal that could give the city the money it needs to complete a greenway around Manhattan. (WNYC)

Buffalo wants to bring cars back to Main Street -- undoing the half-billion dollar project from the 1980's to remove cars from the area. (WIVB)

Michigan got a grant to bring speedier rail service between Kalamazoo and Detroit; the Detroit-Chicago corridor also got some good news. (Detroit Free Press)

Virginia's power company is incentivizing nighttime charging for electric car owners. (WAMU)

Montana landowners are suing ExxonMobil's pipeline company over this summer's spill in the Yellowstone River. (KUHF)

A Norwegian energy company has installed 'bicycle care stations' at select gas stations in Copenhagen. (Good)

The Brian Lehrer Show looks at driving in NY and NJ today. (WNYC)

The community board for Manhattan's Upper East Side wants bicyclists to be licensed. (DNA Info)

The MTA is trying to deal with a rat problem at 25 NYC subway stations. (NY1)

Tweet of the day, by MSNBC's Christopher Hayes: "Pro-tip: the best way to cover a mass protest or street action is on your bike."


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Transportation Nation

Selling Bike Commuting in Houston

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bikeway in Houston's historic Heights neighborhood (Photo by Gail Delaughter.)

As Houston city officials look at ways to relieve congestion on the freeways, they're encouraged by figures from the League of American Biyclists showing a 62 percent jump in the number of bike commuters.  The idea of cycling to work isn't always an easy sell in a city known for its car culture and extreme summertime heat, but City of Houston Bicyclist-Pedestrian Coordinator Dan Raine is touting the benefits of leaving your motor vehicle at home -- or getting rid of it altogether.

Houston currently has around 460 miles of bikeways covering a huge geographic area (around 500 square miles).  Bikeways include designated lanes on city streets, as well as popular bike trails that meander along waterways and pass through shady parks. Other trails run along rail beds and through historic neighborhoods. Cyclists can also make part of their trip by bus, attaching their bike to a rack on the front grill. If it's a large park-and-ride bus they can stow their bike in the luggage compartment.

But Raine says it takes more than just new bikeways to encourage Houstonians to cycle to work. There are practical concerns, especially on triple-digit days when a cycling commuter may have a big meeting scheduled with clients. Raine encourages local businesses to provide a place where cycling commuters can freshen up before hitting the conference room. He says some progressive-minded companies are providing showers for workers as part of a commitment to going green.

Raine says commuting by bike means families can get rid of their extra car and the expenses that go along with it. There are fitness benefits, too. In a city also known for its freeway fast food joints, cycling is one way you can work off stress after a tough day at the office and burn some calories in the process.

"I've known some people that actually ended up selling their cars and going to a one-car family," he said. "People lose weight. They find that they just have a little less stress in their life, because they're able to get out there and get the exercise that they need."

There's also the issue of bike security. Raine says businesses can encourage bike commuting by allowing employees to bring their bikes inside, or by providing a secure parking area outside for both workers and customers. He says if there are "honest eyes" keeping watch on the bikes in a well-trafficked area, people will feel more comfortable about cycling for work and errands.

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Transportation Nation

Bikes on BART: The Survey

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

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

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



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Transportation Nation

Bike Rickshaw Operators On National Mall Complain Of Police Harassment

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pedicab Operators Say They're Being Harassed By Police (Washington D.C. - WAMU) The pedicab, a sort of rickshaw attached to a bicycle, is a popular way for tourists to get around the National Mall. But now pedicab operators say they're being harassed by police.
Hauling tourists on a bicycle all day up hills, in sweltering heat, is not an easy job. Just ask pedicab operator Dylan Thadani.

"After working yesterday I got on the bus and both my legs started spasming," he said. "But it's cool. Its a fun job.

What's not fun, he said, is getting attention from the U.S. Park Police. Several pedicab drivers say that recently Park Police officers around the National Mall have been pulling them over, demanding to see their IDs and writing them expensive tickets.

College student Ismael Balderas said sometimes the cops approach him right after he picks up a customer.

"They'll be like 'Oh, whatever he's told you its going to cost, its free,'" he said. "'When you get there, don't give him anything.'"

In interviews, several pedicabbers said that officers are now writing them expensive tickets for things they let slide in previous years.

Mike Potter said he's been stopped by the police several times this summer. "They just come up and, say, ask for our IDs, run a background check on us, and then they tell us to move on or they’re going to arrest us for public nuisance," Potter said.

Park Police spokesman David Schlosser said he can't confirm whether officers are telling pedicab customers not to pay or threatening them with public nuisance arrests, but he does say the Park Police are embarking on an "education campaign" this summer to make pedicabbers aware of the laws governing where and how they can operate.

But it's not a crackdown designed to harass the drivers, Schlosser said. "We’re not focusing on any specific enforcement campaign. We’re mostly working on an education thing," he said. "So at this point, if there’s thoughts that there’s increased enforcement, there’s really not."

The Park Police are mainly concerned with the safety of the drivers, and making sure they don't block the roads, Schlosser added.

Listen to story here.

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Transportation Nation

With Nat Ford's Departure, What's Next for SFMTA?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Muni bus in San Francisco, California (Photo by BrokenSphere)

(San Francisco – KALW) With the official announcement today that San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency chief Nat Ford is departing after five and a half years on the job, the big question on people’s minds is what’s next for the city’s transit agency. Given that it handles -- or at least has a hand in -- almost every mode of transportation in the city, Muni needs not just a strong leader, but a versatile one.

This is not a calm time at MTA: The city recently launched SFPark, a dynamic pricing plan aimed at reducing congestion in the city; it’s implementing a number of changes to the way taxis are regulated, monitored, and priced; and it’s negotiating with the federal government over a billion-dollar full funding agreement for the Central Subway project. The agency is also in a particularly tough place with Muni’s operators, who overwhelmingly rejected the contract negotiated by union leaders and forced the union into binding arbitration.

Though the arbitrator’s ruling overwhelmingly favored management, both Ford and MTA board chair Tom Nolan said the city should prioritize improving its relationship with the rank and file. “We have to be very prudent and judicious as far as how that new contract is implemented,” said Ford. “We need to recognize that our operators are a great asset to this agency.” Nolan agreed, adding that the new chief would be expected to reach out and remain accessible to employees at all levels of the agency.

What else is the MTA looking for in its next chief? “The next person has to do everything Nat did, and work more closely than ever with our employees,’” said Nolan. He said the board would like to hire someone with a deep understanding of San Francisco’s complicated politics – and that a transportation background isn’t necessarily required.

Though he praised Ford’s work and refrained from any criticism, Nolan did express a wish that the next director would occupy the position for longer than Ford did. “I’ve been in my job for 17 years,” he said. “That’s unrealistic to expect. But when we go through all this, we want the person to stick around long enough to do something substantial.”

Bicycle and pedestrian advocates said they’d like to see the next chief prioritize complete streets and continue funding infrastructure to improve street conditions. “When we build great bikeways for people of all skill levels, people bike,” said Leah Shahum of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. Elizabeth Stampe, executive director of pedestrian advocacy group WalkSF, agreed. “This is a walking city, and how we spend our time and money should reflect that,” she said.

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Transportation Nation

Chrysler Back in the Big Three, No Dulles Metrorail Agreement Yet, & Summer at the Jersey Shore Brings Out the Bike Thieves

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Sky Express Bus Company, involved in a fatal crash this weekend, had the worst record in the country for driver fatigue and falsifying driving records. Listen to the discussion from The Takeaway, below:

A Ray LaHood-mediated meeting yielded no agreement about where to locate the Dulles Metrorail station. (WAMU)

Chrysler is back in the Big Three. (WBEZ)

But: US auto sales slipped in May as supply dropped. (BusinessWeek)

Ah, summer at the Jersey shore: surf, sand, and bike thieves. (Asbury Park Press)

(Bikes On Transit/Flickr)

Atlanta adds -- and deletes -- items on its transportation wish list. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Chicago will end free transit rides for senior citizens on September 1. (Chicago Tribune)

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Transportation Nation

AAA: 630 Bicyclists Killed In Motor Vehicle Crashes in 2009

Friday, May 13, 2011

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) The AAA gets in on the "respect campaign," kind of a motorists counterpart to the "Don't Be A Jerk" campaign, with this story on its web page.  The "Jerk" campaign tells cyclists to follow the law (don't ride the wrong way, or on a sidewalk) using humorous ads with Mario Batali and John Leguizamo.  Now the AAA is telling drivers, more or less, not to be jerks to cyclists:

"Bicycles are a legitimate form of transportation and bicyclists are legal drivers of vehicles, with laws and regulations established for their use. Yet a major issue is that many bicyclists feel they are not respected by motorists and must fight for their place on the road. Like motorists, cyclists need space to safely operate in traffic. They need to anticipate the actions of drivers and other road users. This requires mutual respect, which can be promoted by public information, motorist education programs and legal measures.

"In 2009, 630 bicyclists were killed and an additional 51,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Bicyclist deaths accounted for 2 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities, and made up 2 percent of all the people injured in traffic crashes during the year."

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