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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: LaHood Wants Federal Ban on Texting While Driving, Cuomo Threatens to Veto Street Hail Legislation, and the 10 Best Transit Poems

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Top stories on TN:
Transpo advocates are livid over deeper cut to NY MTA revenue stream. (Link)
A lawsuit challenging Port Authority's toll increases is in court today. (Link)
Cities have their moment -- and the 2012 TED Prize. (Link)
LOOK: NYC unveils haute scaffolding. (Link)

One of the approximately 200 wheelchair accessible cabs in the city. (photo by Kate Hinds/WNYC)

Ray LaHood wants a federal ban on texting while driving -- and he'll announce today that traffic fatalities in 2010 have hit the lowest level since 1949.(USA Today)

Governor Cuomo says lack of resolution over accessibility issues means he'll probably veto Mayor Bloomberg's plan to allow livery cabs to pick street hails and start over next year. (New York Daily News)

More people are walking in New York City, according to the increasing "pedestrian volume index." (New York Times)

Public transit ridership is up. (USA Today)

Why Gabe Klein (Chicago's transportation commissioner) is the way he is. (New City)

And: Chicago further proves its bike lane street cred, gets snowplow especially for protected lanes. (The Northwest Passage; h/t Gabe Klein)

Atlantic Cities has a list of what it says are the world's 10 best transit poems. Like this one, by Carl Sandburg: Night from a railroad car window/is a great, dark, soft thing/broken across with slashes of light

Peer-to-peer bike sharing gets rolling. (Fast Company)

A new app turns riding the London Underground into a game. (Good)

How a bike recreated the light ribbons from Tron. (Guardian)

Recreating the light ribbons from Tron (photo: Laura Aldred)

 

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Transportation Nation

Rahm Emanuel Rides Transit During Zombie Apocalypse

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

 

(photo courtesy of Chicago Mayor's Office Facebook page)

Well, what else would you do? Traffic on Lake Shore Drive is murder.

No word on whether Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was heading off to trick-or-treat. But it looks like he has the zombie vote locked up.

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Car, Truck Sales Up; Perry Dogged by Trans-Texas Corridor

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Top stories on TN:

Transit ridership is up in 2011. (Link)

FAA workers will get back pay for this summer's shutdown. (Link)

(photo by Kate Hinds)

Following Transportation Nation story, Politico says, yeah, Rick Perry's campaign could be sidetracked by the Trans-Texas Corridor. (Politico).

Car sales soared for GM and Chrysler...(Los Angeles Times)

...and Hyundai's benefiting from an ad campaign that plays into people's worries about the economy. (NPR)

AND sales of trucks and SUVs are up. (AP via Boston.com)

Meanwhile: Ford, UAW reach tentative agreement. (Detroit Free Press)

Some Chinese are questioning whether infrastructure growth is worth a tradeoff for safety. (Marketplace)

NY's MTA said it will increase service on the L train after one politician said it has not kept pace with the line’s “meteoric” increase in ridership. (DNA Info)

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel held an 'aviation summit.' (Chicago Sun Times)

Chicago bicyclists can now be ticketed for biking while texting or talking on cell phones. (Chicago Sun Times)

Lobbyists for the Trans-Canada pipeline and staffers from the State Department appeared to have a cozy email relationship. (NY Times)

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Transportation Nation

Chicago To Roll Out Bike Share In Summer 2012

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A bike lane being built in Chicago, June 2011 (photo courtesy of Chicago Bicycle Program)

 

UPDATED 4:37PM:   In an ambitious move, the Chicago Department of Transportation announced today it would have bike share up and running by next summer, with 3,000 bikes and 300 stations.  Another 2,000 bikes would be added in summer 2014.

In its  RFP, the city said initial funding for the program will come from federal grants, and the "program will be self-sustaining through member and user fees, as well as advertising and sponsorship." Responses to the RFP are due on October 25.

That's a furious pace compared to New York, which issued an RFP last November and announced the vendor last week. New York's program, with 10,000 bikes and 600 stations, will also be up and running next summer.

The Chicago story was first broken by the Chicago Sun-Times, which said,

“Chicago would have 3,000 bicycles to rent from 300 stations by next summer — with no charge for the first 30 minutes — under an ambitious plan, announced Wednesday, aimed at making cycling a “new transit option….Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein are looking for an operator to offer 3,000 bikes at 300 stations by next summer and 5,000 bikes at 500 stations by 2014.”

Shortly afterwards, Klein tweeted out the response "Yes!!" to the tweets: "some big bike sharing news coming out of Chicago today," and then RT: Is that true?

These are heady days for urban bike share programs.  Boston's bike share, Hubway, launched in July.  On Tuesday, DC's Capital Bikeshare turned one year old -- and hit its one millionth ride.

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel -- himself a bike rider and a transit-user -- has consistently said he wanted a bike share program.

 

 

 

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The Takeaway

'One Day It'll All Make Sense': Common Reflects on His Life and Music

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Common rose to fame as a rapper in the 1990s, and his childhood and teenage years clearly influenced his music. He's also found success as an actor, and now as a writer — his new memoir, "One Day It'll All Make Sense," which shares the title of his 1997 album, came out yesterday.

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The Takeaway

How To Stop Gang Violence: Lessons From Chicago for the UK

Friday, August 12, 2011

How should the United Kingdom combat the violence that's raged across the country all week? British Prime Minister David Cameron says the country needs to learn a few lessons from America on how to fight gangs, along with possibly revoking social media and Blackberry service from rioters. What can the U.S. offer as advice for the U.K. on handling gang violence?

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Life, Death, and Politics at Chicago’s Public Hospital

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

David Ansell tells the story of one of America's oldest and most unusual urban hospitals, Chicago's Cook County Hospital—both a renowned teaching hospital and the healthcare provider of last resort for the city's uninsured. County: Life, Death, and Politics at Chicago’s Public Hospital covers more than 30 years of its history, beginning in the late 1970s when the author began his internship there. Ansell writes of the doctors and patients, politics, and public health, and gives an account of a young doctor’s medical education in urban America, set against a backdrop of race, segregation and poverty.

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The Takeaway

As Heat Wave Hits U.S., Chicago Readies with 50-Year Forecast

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A heat wave is hitting much of the United States, and some states say they’ll soon be reeling from the effects of climate change. Chicago’s long-term forecast looks like a scene from a horror movie: lethal and extreme weather, including blizzards; a termite invasion, and even a 1.5 foot drop in the depth of Lake Michigan.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: NJ Transit Taking Corporate Naming Bids, Metro Detroit Must Integrate Transit -- Or Else, and Rahm Emanuel: Power Bicyclist

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

(robotbrainz/Flickr)

NJ Transit is taking corporate bids for naming its stations, terminals, and trains -- and one bidder is crying foul. (The Star-Ledger)

If regional Detroit can't agree on an integrated rail and bus system, they risk losing millions in federal dollars -- and what may be "our last, best opportunity." (Detroit Free Press)

Mayor Bloomberg floated a new plan to expand taxi service in the outer boroughs by setting up hundreds of stands where livery cabs could legally pick up passengers on the street. (Wall Street Journal)

US DOT head Ray LaHood went to New Orleans for the groundbreaking of their streetcar expansion project. (Fast Lane)

Is texting while driving as dangerous as we think -- and is a ban the right way to prevent it? (The Takeaway)

Delta is scrambling to do damage control after charging a group of U.S. soldiers returning home from deployment in Afghanistan $200 each for extra bags. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

It took two years to plan for parking at the upcoming US Open in Bethesda. (WAMU)

Chicago will get protected bike lanes, and Rahm Emanuel bikes 25 miles on weekends. (Chicago Sun-Times)

97 degrees in Minneapolis = Twin Cities highway damage. (Boing Boing)

A dancing traffic cop has become a sensation in Manila. (BBC News video)

Owning a Harley-Davidson in China is a status symbol for a small slice of the aspirational Chinese consumer. (Marketplace)

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Transportation Nation

BREAKING: Rahm Emanuel Names DC's Gabe Klein as Chicago Transpo Chief

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

File Photo: Gabe Klein in Washington, D.C.  (Photo: DDOT)

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) Transportation Nation has learned that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has picked his transportation chief. Gabe Klein, former head of Washington D.C.'s Department of Transportation, will become the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation in mid-May. An announcement is expected later this morning.

Klein tells Transportation Nation that he hopes to build on the innovative programs that were put in place in Washington, D.C. and transform Chicago into a world class transportation city. During his tenure, D.C. launched a bikeshare program, expanded bike lanes and installed several electric car charging stations.

As we've reported here before, Rahm Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff, is largely supportive of public transit, is a cyclist himself, and has said he wants to build 100 miles of new bike lanes during his first term.

His transportation plan when running for mayor was, in essence, a transit plan. Emanuel also impressed local transit and transportation activists with his interest in the topic and detailed knowledge of the issues including having a specific favorite bike-lane design.

Now Chicago has a pro-bike, pro-transit pair in charge of transportation policy.

UPDATE: Several other Emanuel appointments were also announced today, including the head of the Chicago Transit Authority.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter for more breaking news.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: DART Shows Off Battery-Operated Streetcar, Bk Bike Lane Brouhaha Being Watched in UK, And Equality Comes With a Price

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Denver's FasTracks needs more money to complete its rail expansion, but the question of a tax increase has been put off until May. (Denver Post) (Meanwhile - if you want to learn more about Denver's transit expansion, listen to the TN documentary "Back of the Bus: Race, Mass Transit and Inequality")

Another step has been taken toward building a $778 million commuter-train line that would link nearly 20 suburban communities to downtown Chicago. (AP via Bloomberg Businessweek)

Apparently equality comes with a price: a European Union court ruled that insurance companies must charge men and women the same rates -- so now women drivers will pay as much as men do to insure their cars. (NPR)

Dallas Area Rapid Transit demonstrated a new energy-efficient streetcar that uses rechargeable batteries, not overhead wires. (Dallas Morning News)

The New York Observer weighs in on the bike lane brouhaha, which it terms "New York's last culture war."  And the New Yorker's John Cassidy pens a defense of bike lane opponents. Which is then picked apart by Reuters' Felix Salmon.

Even the British paper the Guardian is writing about NYC's bike lanes. "How New York – the city that still has a uniquely low level of car ownership and use – manages its transport planning in the 21st century matters for the whole world: it is the template. If cycling is pushed back into the margins of that future, rather than promoted, along with efficient mass public transit and safe, pleasant pedestrianism, as a key part of that future, the consequences will be grave and grim."

A pregnant subway commuter tracks chivalry in New York -- with a positive outcome. Out of 108 subway rides, she was offered a seat 88 times.  (WSJ via Second Avenue Sagas)

And, okay we bit.  Here's the full Mad Men pro-high speed rail video, produced by the pro-high speed rail group, US PIRG.

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: has the backlash to the bike lane backlash begun in NYC? And: Montana legislators mull penalties for multiple DUI's, but should the 3rd crime get offenders a felony charge...or the gallows? And: in DC, lawmakers want graduated driver's licenses for teens, and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood talks about transportation of the future at the National Bike Summit.

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Transportation Nation

Mayor-Elect Rahm Emanuel Seen As Pro-Bike, Pro-Transit

Thursday, February 24, 2011

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) Chicago -- America's third largest city -- is getting a cyclist Mayor. And one who's interested in transit funding,  large-scale bike-share, car-share, and the nitty gritty of bike lane design. (And one who has some atoning to do for something he neglected to say -- but you'll have to read to the end of the post to find out what.)

We've already written about Rahm Emanuel's transportation plan, which he put forward as a candidate.

But now we've got some fresh details that shed light on what he'll likely do as Mayor of Chicago. About a month ago, Emanuel met with a group of transportation advocates and environmentalists to be briefed on transit and transportation issues. The meeting, according to those present, lasted a full hour.

This kind of meeting seems to have laundered Emanuel from a former White House Chief of staff reviled by Republicans for pushing health care, an energy bill, and an $800 billion economic stimulus package -- and by the left for the way he pushed those things -- to an energetic young Mayor with a bunch of new ideas overwhelmingly supported by Chicago voters.

"Everybody knows about his style and that he’s very direct and smart" the Center for Neighborhood Technology's Sharon Feigon told us. Feigon is also the CEO of I-GO car share, a non profit Chicago-based car share outfit.

"I was impressed that he knew as much detail about all the stuff he’s talking about. A lot of  candidate meetings -- they end up being very general. This struck me as more detailed. He had done some homework"

The participants presented Emanuel with a "Sustainable Transportation Platform," which

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The Takeaway

Rahm Emanuel, Chicago's New Mayor

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rahm Emanuel won 55 percent of the vote to become Chicago's next mayor, ending the 22-year run of Richard M. Daly.The former congressman is best known for being President Obama's chief of staff. Some thought that there would need to be a run-off, but Jim Warren, Chicago columnist for The New York Times didn't think so. "He simply outworked everybody else," Warren says. And he combined that with a top-notch staff and significant advantage in resources, raising $12 million. His ties to President Obama also helped him be a bit of a celebrity. However, like in many cities, there is a huge deficit facing Chicago and Emanuel may have to face off against the unions; the teacher's union contract may be up first.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: DOT Doesn't Like Mica HSR Plan, Israel Lowers Transit Fares, and Some Cities Get On Board With A "Crash Tax"

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Department of Transportation doesn't like Congressman Mica's plan to scale back Florida's high-speed rail. (Miami Herald)

A New York Times editorial accuses some federal fund-rejecting governors of trying to "keep up with the Christies."

Census data shows that Chicago's central core gained population over the past decade, while outlying neighborhoods lost. (Chicago Tribune)

Some communities are imposing a "crash tax" -- a fee for services -- after car accidents. (Marketplace)

Israel's cabinet lower bus and rail fares and increase subsidies in an effort to encourage the use of public transportation as an alternative to private vehicles. “This will greatly benefit society,” said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. “Who uses public transportation?  Not the people in the top decile, but rather those without means and those who want to, and can, use buses and trains, as well as whole groups of people who want to avoid traffic jams while entering cities.  We want to encourage this." (Jerusalem Post)

The NY Daily News's Pete Donohue says the MTA knew it needed better snow-thrower cars two years ago -- but "relies in part on a bunch of deafening relics" to clear the tracks.

The Star-Ledger profiles Jim Weinstein, the head of NJ Transit, and previews the "balanced scorecard" the agency plans to release this summer detailing on-time performance, employee safety, financial stability and customer service.

Snow day tweet, courtesy of Newark Mayor Cory Booker: "Snow Snow get out of here/ Leave my city alone until Jan of next year/ Snow Snow I want rain instead/Cause of u my budget is heading 2 red"

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: John Mica proposes a plan to save Florida's high-speed rail, after Rick Scott's rejection of the program leaves bidders perplexed. DC's new mayor slams his predecessor over transportation. And: do more cyclists mean safer streets?

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WQXR News

Rahm Emanuel Fights for Mayoral Candidacy in Chicago

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has taken his fight to keep his name on the ballot for Chicago's mayoral election to the Illinois Supreme Court.

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The Takeaway

Rahm Emanuel's Run for Chicago Mayor Hits Roadblock

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Rahm Emanuel’s bid to become the next mayor of Chicago hit another bump in the road yesterday. An Illinois appeals court ruled two to one that the former White House Chief of Staff’s name cannot appear on the ballot for the February 22nd election. Jim Warren, columnist for the Chicago News Coop and former managing editor for the Chicago Tribune. He says the ruling is ridiculous.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Beijing Opens 5 New Subway Lines, and Biking Through "Snirt"

Friday, December 31, 2010

Beijing opened five new subway lines this week; the 60 miles of new track extends from the city center to the suburbs (Reuters); video below.

In NYC, there's kvetching over whether the city plowed bike lines (Gothamist).

As frustration grows with TSA, some airports are opting out; 16 have so far, including San Francisco and Kansas City. (Washington Post)

The Chicago Transit Authority will soon unveil a train tracker website. (Chicago Tribune)

Automakers are feel optimism about 2011. (NPR)

Minnesota Public Radio has an ode to winter biking--"snirt" and all. ("I know it seems crazy, trying to pedal on streets that become more narrow with each snowfall, pushing through the beige, sand-like substance known as "snirt" (snow + ice + dirt)."

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Transportation Nation

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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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: All Aboard The European Road Train, A Possible Stay of Execution for LI Bus, and Santa Rides Chicago's L Train

Monday, December 06, 2010

The Washington Post's Dr. Gridlock ponders: is the federal transit benefit good transportation policy?

Port Authority looks to recommit ARC money, dusts off repair wish list. (Wall Street Journal)

"Road Trains" --known as the European Union’s Safe Road Trains for the Environment (or EU SARTRE--you can't make this stuff up)-- move closer to reality in Europe. (Wired)

Traffic fatalities are down in DC. But: "Just because there are fewer deaths doesn't meant that there are fewer accidents and injuries. Further, the fatalities MPD reports are just pedestrians, they don't take bicyclists into account." (DCist)

The Virginia Department of Transportation has wrapped up the installation of 70 mph speed limit signs on various rural sections of interstate. (Land Line Magazine)

If your NYC Metrocard is damaged or expired, chances are a token booth clerk can't help. (NY Daily News)

Bike lane editorials in the New York Daily News: First, Transportation Alternative's Paul Steely White sings their praises, but the editorial board wants Janette Sadik-Khan to prove the lanes' worth.

In Lyon, cyclists travel faster than cars during rush hour. And, interestingly, they ride faster on Wednesdays than the rest of the week. (Alt Transport)

Will the Long Island Bus be saved? New York's MTA has told Nassau County that it will conditionally keep operating the Long Island Bus through next year even if Nassau can't immediately fulfill its obligation to fund the system. (Newsday)

In Chicago, Santa rides the L train. "Santa and his reindeer can be found on a flat car in the middle." (Chicago Tribune)

(Flickr/Sabrina)

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: A Birds-Eye View of the Marathon, LaHood Threatens to Pull WI Stimulus $, and FTA To NJ: Where's Our $271 Million?

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Ray LaHood's "congratulatory" phone call to Wisconsin's governor-elect, Scott Walker, involved threatening to yank $810 million in stimulus money if Mr. Walker doesn't soften his opposition to a high-speed rail line between Milwaukee and Madison (Wall Street Journal). Don't worry, Wisconsin--Illinois will take that federal money off your hands.  (But hey! New York already called dibs on that cash!)

Speaking of money, the Federal Transit Administration sent New Jersey a bill for $271 million for the canceled ARC tunnel, plus the promise of an audit. (AP via WSJ)

Illinois senator Dick Durbin wants the EPA to investigate complaints that toxic diesel pollution is inundating commuter rail cars and Chicago's two major rail stations. (Chicago Tribune)

Last night's Community Board 7 meeting about the new Columbus Avenue bike lane focused on complaints from business owners about parking--and an admission from the DOT that the actual number of spaces taken was 67, not the 55 that was originally projected. (DNA Info)

New York's MTA put together a birds-eye view of Sunday's marathon, weaving together footage from its traffic cameras.

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