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Transportation Nation

Disability Groups Suing NYC MTA Over Transit Cuts

Monday, August 09, 2010

(New York -- Ailsa Chang, WNYC) Anthony Trocchia used to go to Manhattan every weekend – to shop, go to the movies, people-watch in the park and visit his best friend in the East Village. But since the B39 bus was cut June 27, Trocchia has been to Manhattan only once. Listen here:


"I think about what’s involved,” says Trocchia, “and I say to myself, ‘Well, you know, the movie – I can wait for the DVD, and I’ll get it from Netflix. If I have to do some shopping, --ahh -- there’s, you know, the Internet.”

Trocchia was born with muscular dystrophy and has been in a wheelchair for 30 years.

If he wanted to take the bus into Manhattan now, it would mean taking three separate bus routes that zigzag him from Williamsburg into Queens, over to the Upper East Side and down to the East Village.

It’s been more than a month since the New York City MTA cut 38 bus lines and reduced service on another 76. Now, disability rights activists say they're preparing several lawsuits, because they say, disabled New Yorkers have been hit particularly hard by the cuts.

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Transportation Nation

Over the river and through the towns: the fight over how to build California high-speed rail

Friday, August 06, 2010

(San Francisco—Casey Miner, KALW News) First things first: the California High-Speed Rail Authority didn't actually decide anything significant at its monthly meeting yesterday. The board voted unanimously to follow its staff's recommendations about two big sections of the project, Fresno-Merced and San Francisco-San Jose. But those recommendations were merely that staff continue to study the available options for building the rail tracks through those areas.

Those options, though, stirred up a whole lot of controversy. Mayors, councilpeople, assemblymen, activists and concerned citizens packed the auditorium to the point where it was standing-room only for most of the meeting, which began at 9am and lasted well into the afternoon.

At issue was the proposed structure of the train down the Peninsula from San Fransisco to San Jose.

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On Being

Bill McKibben — The Moral Math of Climate Change [remix]

Thursday, August 05, 2010

A conversation about climate change and moral imagination with a leading environmentalist and writer who has been ahead of the curve on this issue since he wrote The End of Nature in 1989. We explore his evolving perspective on human responsib

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On Being

[Unedited] Bill McKibben with Krista Tippett

Thursday, August 05, 2010

A conversation about climate change and moral imagination with a leading environmentalist and writer who has been ahead of the curve on this issue since he wrote The End of Nature in 1989. We explore his evolving perspective on human responsib

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Transportation Nation

LaHood: Light Rail Will Boost Motor City

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was in Detroit on Monday, just a couple days after President Barack Obama visited a car factory, drove a Volt, and otherwise touted the revival of the auto industry.

LaHood was there talking about another mode of transportation, entirely. "You build a bus line, a transit line, a light rail line, people will come, they will use it, and it will become an economic engine," LaHood said at a press conference announcing the U.S. DOT is backing an environmental review for the proposed Woodward Avenue light rail line, the linchpin of a plan to revive downtown Detroit.

The light rail, LaHood said, "will give people a new choice or maybe a  first chance to get from one place to another, from home to school, to work, to the store, to see family and friends, or a doctor. They will help make Detroit a model for livable communities. A place where transit brings housing in close proximity to jobs and businesses. A place where sidewalks and bike paths are usable, inviting, and safe."

"Woodward Avenue was the first street paved with concrete any place in the world. What an extraordinary piece of history. Its traffic was among the first to be managed by public stop lights which a Detroit police officer invented in 191," LaHood said. "And while the community is rightfully proud of its history as the birthplace of the freeway and automobile, Woodward Avenue was also once upon a time the backbone of a streetcar network and transit system replicated in cities across the United States."

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Transportation Nation

Report: Cycling Accidents Down Along Minneapolis Bike Lane - So are Cyclists

Friday, July 30, 2010

Photo: MPR

Photo: MPR

(Minneapolis -- Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio)   Minneapolis city officials say bike lanes have made biking safer -- but cyclists say new routes are confusing, and the number of cyclists along those routes is actually down.

Minneapolis is known as one of the more bike-friendly cities in the U.S. and has the largest-scale bike-share program in the U.S.

The city's report examined data from the first six months following the changes. The report found that the number of bicycle crashes on the downtown stretch of Hennepin and First Avenues dropped from a yearly average of about 12 to zero in the past six months.

"Although a longer study is needed, the data so far shows greatly improved bicycle safety in the corridor," city officials said in a statement accompanying Tuesday's report.

Despite the improved safety record, the report found that six months after the changes, bicycle ridership on the downtown blocks of Hennepin Avenue had dropped by more than 50 percent.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Student Athletes WON'T have to pay up, self-service airport scanners, and cell service to hit NYC subways.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Oregon transit takes away parking spaces from crowded park and ride garage -- and puts in 74 biking parking spots.  Look at it this way, officials say:  you haven't lost eight spots --you've gained 74 bike spots!  (Oregon live)

Los Angeles Schools Chief, in reversal, says school athletes will NOT have to pay $24 towards transportation to sporting events.  He'll find "other financial options" to foot the $650,000 bill.  Good luck! (Los Angeles Times)

LaHood, Wisconisin Governor Doyle, get ready for "big announcement" on High Speed Rail Thursday. (Business Week).

The phone will be ringing off the hook: New York subway tunnels will also get wifi. (New York Daily News)

Self service "subway-style" scanners being tested at Houston airport.  Bloomberg

Suburban Nassau county sues NYC MTA for bus funding.  MTA says Nassau has been a deadbeat for a decade, Nassau says too bad, we're broke!  Buses could go private. (Long Island Press)

And crosswalks lights from around the world art installation graces Lower Manhattan construction zone:  (jaunted.com)

h/Crosswalk+Lights+from+Around+the+World

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Transportation Nation

$6 Billion in Highway Money Not Spent...and Atlanta Wants It

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

With all the talk about wasteful earmarks, it might come as a surprise that some $6 billion has been left unspent -- disappeamarks, as it's called. PBS's Blueprint America reports that Atlanta residents say they could really use the money to make safer pedestrian crossings.

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

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Transportation Nation

No More "Fun" at the NYC MTA

Monday, July 26, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) The one-day "fun passes" were there at the beginning.   Instead of the single-fare ride of $1.50, the "fun cards" cost $4, and were available only in tourist locations.    But an outcry ensued, and the fun-cards were sold everywhere, along with the popular $63-a-month unlimited cards, (now $87, soon to approach $100).   Those cards, as Second Avenue Sagas and others have pointed out, revolutionized transit.

Used to be we put a token in the turnstile everytime we wanted to ride (there were no transfers from bus to subway, or vice-versa.) Then came the metrocard, just a fancy blue-and-yellow piece of plastic which did the same thing, essentially, as the token, but didn't feel as good in your hand.   The MTA resisted offering unlimited rides cards, saying they would be too costly.  But shamed by Jim Dwyer, then at the New York Daily News, who exposed the MTA's secret surplus, and Gene Russianoff, then, as now, at the Straphangers Campaign, the MTA (pushed by Republican Governor George Pataki, getting ready to seek re-election) caved, and offered unlimited ride cards.

As it happened, ridership boomed. The MTA did well. Subway trains were on the upswing,  Crime went down, stations got spiffy new makeovers.  But government funding was drying up, congestion pricing tanked, bridge tolls didn't pass muster with the legislature, the real estate market collapsed.   Borrowing that had masked government cuts spurred a big rise in debt service.  Transit funding in New York City, and everywhere, entered a long, dark, endless tunnel.

The MTA faced an $800 million deficit, more than the budgets of most U.S. transit systems.

This week, it was leaked that the MTA will likely limit it's unlimited ride cards to 90 rides a month, when it unveils it's fare hike plans Wednesday.  Also gone, as WNYC's Matthew Schuerman reports, the one day unlimited ride pass, now $7.

At the MTA, the fun is over.

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Transportation Nation

John Hockenberry Decides to Come to the ADA Party

Monday, July 26, 2010

John Hockenberry interviews David Petraeus

"As a man who has spent well over half of his life in a wheelchair with a permanent spinal cord injury, I can say that my feelings about this landmark law have generally been negative" writes Takeaway host John Hockenberry in that program's blog. But on the 20th anniversary of the measure designed to make transit, public accommodations, and buildings more accessible, Hockenberry decides to come to the celebration anyway.

"So call me a grump. Call me late to the party. I have to say that after 2 decades, it’s 'Happy Birthday, ADA,' from this beneficiary. There’s a long way to go, but in my rear view mirror I can see how far we’ve come.

Full blog entry here.

Takeaway segment here.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories

Monday, July 19, 2010

Signal problems or sabotage among suspected causes for Indian train crash which killed 60 (Times of India)

Republican opposed to higher gas taxes, privatizing roads takes over powerful Texas transportation committee (Austin American Statesman)

Pay by phone parking?  It's coming to DC (Wash Post)

NYC makes traffic lights longer, runs shuttle buses to make city more friendly to elderly (NY Times)

Nazi airport becomes "wild and free" park in Berlin (LA Times)

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Transportation Nation

California Wakes up to Fallout From Transit Shooting Verdict

Friday, July 09, 2010

(The Takeaway) California jurors have found transit police officer Johannes Mehserle guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 shooting death of Oscar Grant. Mehserle, a BART cop, shot and killed Grant, an unarmed train passenger, early in the morning on New Year's Day, 2009. The video of the shooting, caught on cellphone camera, instantly went viral on the internet.  Oakland residents demanded to see a guilty verdict, many had hoped Mehserle would be convicted on stronger charges: either second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter.  Last night, more than 50 people were arrested in largely peaceful protests.

This morning, The Takeaway spoke to Jack Leonard, a reporter with the Los Angeles Times who was in the courtroom when the verdict was announced, Oakland radio reporter Bob Butler, and Rev. Byron Williams, a pastor and columnist.

Earlier, the show also got the views of Adimu Madyun, correspondent for Oakland Voices, a community journalism project supported by the Oakland Tribune.  He says the community feels under attack by "police terrorism," that everyone up to the Obama Administration refuses to address.

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Transportation Nation

What Can a Park and Ride Do For You?

Monday, June 28, 2010

The proposed Park-and-Ride site, near Manvel, Texas

(Houston, TX - Wendy Siegle, KUHF News Lab) Houston's traffic has been ranked sixth-worse in the nation this year.  So residents getting a park & ride, say in the Pearland area, may be pretty happy to know that cars could be coming off roads.  But if you live near the 12-acre parcel of land where that park and ride may go, there's another debate around you.  One concerned with more traffic on your main street, crime and  property values.

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Transportation Nation

Souvlaki VS a Spot, on New York City's Streets

Friday, June 18, 2010

The "Treat Truck" food truck parking in Manhattan(New York, NY - Kate Hinds, WNYC)  Food trucks are a fixture of New York City's corners.  From halal chicken and rice to fancy desserts, they offer a curbside piece of the city's culinary fabric.

But they also take up parking spots.  And they get used to the streets they serve.  “There is a vendor on 86th and Lex. who thinks that he owns the northeast corner," says New York City Councilmember Jessica Lappin.  "I don’t think it’s right.”

Lappin has introduced a bill that would keep truck operators from getting too attached to their turf.  It would also penalize those who get multiple parking tickets by taking away their permits.

Shaban Azab runs the food truck that drew Lappin's ire.  "This is going to happen to every car, or only me? Only the food truck? What do you want me to do?” he said.  More.

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Transportation Nation

New York's Second Avenue Starts Turning Green

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

(Marianne McCune, WNYC) Painting on the protected Second Avenue bike lane got underway overnight.   The lane, which will go north to 34th Street, is part of the city DOT's plan to extend its bike lane network -- though more slowly than promised.

The photo is of the block between 5th and 6th street.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cast your mind back to when Oakland's Madison Square Park was a thriving neighborhood. And then BART came. (KALW)

Yes, you too can solve transportation problems: Slate asks its readers to help create Nimble Cities. (Slate)

Rats! Lower Manhattan subway lines are infested! (WNYC)

Hartford considers repealing skateboard ban -- and maybe even establishing an official skate park. (Hartford Courant)

President Obama, in his first use of the Oval Office to speak to the nation, calls for a new energy policy (New York Times). Meanwhile, new government estimates say BP's blown well in the Gulf of Mexico may be spitting out 60,000 barrels of oil every day. (NPR)

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Transportation Nation

Bronx Gets Electric Truck: 15,999 To Go.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) Hunts Point, the Bronx is New York's major food distribution center. There's a fruit and vegetable wholesaler, a seafood market -- and lots of lots of trucks. The area, in the poorest congressional district in the nation (yes, it beats Mississippi, yes it beats Appalachia), also has an asthma rate that is 700 percent of the national average. Now, Down East seafoods has bought a zero emissions truck, with the help of a local development corporation and the local congressman. More, from Marketplace.

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Transportation Nation

Planning Group: Tear Down That Drive!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Photo: Terreform and Michael Sorkin Studio

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) In the last five years, New York has added hundreds of miles of bike lanes and closed parts of Broadway to cars, a re-allocation of street space that has caused no small measure of controversy. But those plans? Child's play, compared to what a group of international planners want the city to do: tear down the lower part of the FDR drive.

It’s a proposal that draws almost immediate – and intense – derision from almost anyone who hears it.

“Terrible idea,” mused Bryan Delaney, kibitzing with his wife, Ibelice, the other night on Grand Street near the FDR drive. “Ridiculous,” snorted Carmen Gund, a teacher walking three small dogs. “People are going to drive into Manhattan regardless, so why not have as many roads to drive into Manhattan as possible?”

Inside the Bloomberg administration, there’s also incredulity. “Tear down a ring road?” said one highly placed city official who didn’t want his name used because he was speaking about the plan without authorization. “That will never happen.”

But architect Michael Sorkin, who drew up blueprints for a radically different lower Manhattan, is a fervent believer in the “if you unbuild it, they won’t come,” school of thought. His plans look sort of like a Brooklyn Bridge park, but on the Manhattan side – manicured lawns, plazas, ferry terminals, restaurants, and lots and lots of open sky. For designs and the rest of the article, go to the WNYC Culture page.

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The Takeaway

Oil Spill: A Farewell to the Gulf Coast's Lifestyle?

Monday, May 31, 2010

It has been nearly six weeks since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, sunk, and started to spill oil in the Gulf. There are many aspects to the story, and it’s easy to get distracted by the live feed webcam of the underwater oil spill and the hourly reports on BP’s latest attempts to fix the leak. Yet a larger question looms on the horizon: how different will life be on the Gulf Coast be for residents and visitors once this mess is over?

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Transportation Nation

Bike to Work, Then Bike at Work

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

(Billings, MT - Jackie Yamanaka, Yellowstone Public Radio) -- This is Bike to Work Week across America.  There are refreshments, discounts at businesses, and benefits for bike commuters around the country.  While commuters getting those perks and marking this moment hopefully enjoy the change in routine, there's also a population in the working world doing their job on a bike.  One of them is office Shane Winden of the Billings Police Department (left).  Riding on the job can't stop him from changing bikes and riding home from work.  Hear why.

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