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Transportation Nation

Portland, Austin ... Houston? How a Texas Suburb Works To Be Bike-Friendly

Monday, May 17, 2010

(The Woodlands, Texas -- Wendy Siegle, KUHF News Lab) -- Houston has long been an oil man's town and a booming city that loves its cars and parking lots.  That's changing.  Just to the north, in The Woodlands, a tony suburb, people like 64-year old David Hitchcock are adding up the benefits of biking to work.  “Bicycles are really the most efficient way to travel. On my trip to work this morning, which is about seven miles, I used about 360 calories. I did the math when I got to work and found out that’s about 775-thousand miles per gallon for the equivalent energy in a gallon of gasoline."  With Hitchcock's help, The Woodlands may earn recognition in the Bicycle Friendly Community Program, a nationwide distinction previously placed on places like Portland, Davis, California and yes, Austin.

Take a listen inside the movement, as a community takes on traffic, bike paths and a new way of getting around Texas.

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Transportation Nation

Bike Share Gets to Big Sky Country

Friday, May 14, 2010

That's right: go to Billings, Montana and the bikes, helmets and locks are free to pedal around downtown during the day.  It's a project run not by B-Cycle, or another company launching big city bike shares in the U.S., but the Downtown Billings Alliance.  Joe Stout of the Alliance says they hope locals will "think bike" for the short trips that people would usually do in their car at lunchtime.  "You don't have to be Lance Armstrong to ride your bike to the grocery store and get a backpack full of groceries," he says.  Hear more from Yellowstone Public Radio's Jackie Yamanaka.

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Transportation Nation

Yes, Pedestrians. Cross Any Which Way You'd Like To

Friday, May 14, 2010

7th and H Streets in Northwest D.C, where pedestrians can now cross in any way they please. (photo: David Schultz, WAMU News)

(Washington, DC - David Schultz, WAMU News) - Transportation pros in Washington think about 27,000 people and 26,000 cars use 7th and H Streets in Northwest D.C. every day.  Getting them to avoid each other safely is a challenge, and there's no sign that city officials are giving up.

This week, they changed traffic patterns at 7th and H Streets to allow pedestrians to cross any way they like at regular intervals.  The approach is called the pedestrian scramble or "Barnes Dance," after traffic engineer Henry Barnes, who first set up the pattern in Kansas City.  These days, it's being used from London to Tokyo.  Hear how DC pedestrians are taking to their new freedom to jaywalk.

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Transportation Nation

How Americans Decide to (Not) Use Transit

Monday, May 10, 2010

The nation has gone through dramatic demographic and economic change over the last 10 years, in what history may end up calling the "lost decade" because jobs and economic change didn't keep pace.  That loss is coming home to roost now, says the Brookings Institution, which has turned its gaze and powers of analysis to The State of Metropolitan America.  One focus is on commuting, where the latest Census data and research points to a small drop in the number of people driving alone to work.  There is also a stark illustration of transit use: in only two major U.S. do more than one-quarter of residents do something besides drive to work alone (they are SF and NYC).

Today on The Takeaway, Bruce Katz, the Director of Brookings' Metropolitan Policy Program, shares his findings.  Among them, "if we keep building out low-density sprawl -- subsidized, frankly by government -- people won't choose a (transit) option."  Steve Dutch, Professor of Applied and Natural Sciences at the University of Wisconsin Green-Bay shares his research and views on why people don't use mass transitMore.

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Transportation Nation

Light Rail, and All That Stands in the Way

Thursday, April 29, 2010

(Houston, TX - Melissa Galvez, KUHF News Lab) -- If you don’t have a car in Houston, life can be very difficult.  So you might think that communities would be clamoring to get the new light rail line through their neighborhood; but in fact, there’s been opposition across the city, even as construction plows ahead on 3 of 5 proposed new lines. Concerns about eminent domain, gentrification, danger to children—even a tree—stand in the way of a harmonious ground-breaking.  But other residents welcome rail with open arms.  They look around at their crumbling neighborhoods and hope the train will being the economic development they so desperately need.  A look at the perhaps unlikely outlines of the light rail debate.

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Transportation Nation

Building the Case For Transit as a Civil Right

Monday, April 26, 2010

(Collin Campbell, Transportation Nation, April 26) We're following the changes in how public transit projects are planned and funded under the Obama Administration's DOT, which has made it quite clear that it wants to see new lines and routes serve wide groups of riders, especially those traditionally underserved. Nathanael Johnson of KALW News has been following BART's efforts in San Francisco to reconnect with the community, after its plans failed to meet new criteria and lost $70 million.

Guillermo Mayer is the lawyer who fought BART and found himself backed by a new White House. He won, and is now looking at ways the new Transportation Reauthorization in Congress can be used to fund this kind of civil rights argument for transit. "This breathes life back into Title VI Civil Rights enforcement," Mayer said. "We didn’t win much under Bush."

Today on The Takeaway, Mayer said "at this time we're pretty much seeing transit service in the Bay Area get decimated. The buses are running with much longer headways. They're much more expensive to ride now. Transit drivers are being laid off." And so why should agencies be building expensive new ways for well-off riders to get to the airport?

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Transportation Nation

Denver is first with major bike-share

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Denver 069

Bike share users register online, and pick up and return bikes at any of 40 stations around Denver (photo: Andrea Bernstein)

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) Boston, Minneapolis, and Denver all have been planning roll-outs for major bike share programs this spring, but Denver is first out of the gate. A rainy earth day marked the launch of 400 bikes in the bike-share program, which is designed to significantly augment Denver's public transit system. (Washington DC has been up and running for a while, but with only 100 bucks, it's widely seen as too small to serve that mass transit function). Denver's program is run by B-cycle, which has built-in GPS devices to deter theft -- at any one time the operators will know who has checked out a bike and where it is. Boston and Minneapolis start later this spring. Several dozen European cities have bike-share programs, and New York, San Francisco, and Portland are all in the early stages of development.  Hear from a rider, and a reporter in Denver on the day of the launch: The Takeaway.

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Transportation Nation

Marta X'ed Out

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Atlanta Journal Constitution has some nice photos of the protest today -- sanctioned by Atlanta's transit system, MARTA -- putting big red "X"s on buses and train cars to visually represent cuts the system faces later this year.

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Transportation Nation

Complete Streets in Montana

Thursday, April 15, 2010

(Billings, MT -- April 15 | Jackie Yamanaka, Yellowstone Public Radio) A group of Billings citizens met this week to discuss how to make Montana’s largest community healthier through the design of its streets.  There’s a national movement taking place to make sure streets can accommodate motorized vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities. Advocates say it can lead to a safer, healthier, and more livable communities.

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Radio Rookies

Bristol Palin PSA

Thursday, April 15, 2010

This one time, I skipped school. When my mom found out (the school actually called...) she slapped me.  I was shocked.  It was the only time she’s ever done that, and the rest of the day was pretty awkward because she was so mad.

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Transportation Nation

Houston revisits parking ordinance

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

(KUHF, Houston, April 14) The city of Houston has long held the assumption that driving drives business, and businesses must provide for drivers. But as that city begins to look at denser development, business owners wonder whether minimum parking requirements are good public policy. Wendy Siegle at KUHF has more.

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Transportation Nation

Silent and Stress Free: Park and Ride Woos Houstonians

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

(Houston - KUHF News Lab)  Houston's traffic is stuck in the top 10 worst metro areas.  In the search for alternatives, eleven thousand commuters have been drawn out of cars and into a Park and Ride bus system.  It's a quiet, cheap ride that has those using it asking for more buses and weekend service.  KUHF's Wendy Siegle steps aboard a service in high-demand.

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Transportation Nation

Probing Bike-Friendly Houston

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

(Houston - KUHF) - Triple-digit temperatures and summer storms make biking tough in Houston.  But the city is still pressing forward with a decades-long plan for bike trails and roadside amenities to encourage car-loving Texans to consider other ways to get around.  With Google Maps expanding its popular online directions to bike routes, KUHF's Melissa Galvez took to two wheels on her way to work, and took a microphone along for the ride.

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The Takeaway

Small American Bank Owners Meet the President

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

One week after meeting with the heads of major banks, President Obama is scheduled to meet with the leaders of small and community banks today. He is likely to make the same request to them as he did the big banks: 'Please lend more.' With major banks taking up most of the headlines all year long, we wanted to take a look at how community banks are doing, and the answer may surprise you. Mike Menzies is the president and CEO of a small community bank, Easton Bank and Trust in Easton, M.D. – he says his bank will finish the year with a profit, but fears the next couple of years will be rough. David Gillen is finance editor for The New York Times, and says that community banks have actually done well despite the constant reports of bank closings.

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Radio Rookies

I Stand Corrected...

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

I felt like such a hypocrite. Here I am in Queens, challenging the teens to find a sense of connection to their community, possibly eradicate their assumptions, and change their views about the place, while I think to myself 'me? Start a radio workshop in Queens? How dreadful! Love the kids, just not Queens - it's my least favorite borough.' Come on! Can Queens really be anyone's favorite borough? But after the 5 weeks long workshop, these kids and their stories about flushing made me reevaluate.

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Transportation Nation

The Takeaway: Just Where Is the Stimulus Cash Going?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Today, the White House releases a huge amount of raw data on how and where stimulus money is being spent. We talk about the numbers we know so far, what listeners have noticed, and what we'll be looking for in the tea leaves. We're joined by WNYC reporter Andrea Bernstein, Pete Herman, a currently unemployed ironworker from Brooklyn, N.Y., and Charlie Dilbert, a construction worker from Cincinnati whose job is being pad for with the stimulus money.

Listen to the full story.

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On Being

Repossessing Virtue: Wise Voices from Religion, Science, Industry, and the Arts [remix]

Thursday, July 30, 2009

As the global economic crisis began to unfold this past fall, we wanted to respond immediately, in our way. We began to conduct an online conversation parallel to but distinct from our culture's more sustained focus on economic scenarios. For in each of o

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On Being

[Unedited] Anchee Min with Krista Tippett (Repossessing Virtue: Repairing the American Individual)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

As the global economic crisis began to unfold this past fall, we wanted to respond immediately, in our way. We began to conduct an online conversation parallel to but distinct from our culture's more sustained focus on economic scenarios. For in each of o

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On Being

[Unedited] Esther Sternberg with Krista Tippett (On the Economic Crisis in Biological Terms)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

As the global economic crisis began to unfold this past fall, we wanted to respond immediately, in our way. We began to conduct an online conversation parallel to but distinct from our culture's more sustained focus on economic scenarios. For in each of o

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On Being

[Unedited] Martin Marty with Krista Tippett (On Repossessing Virtue: Trust in Uncertain Times)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

As the global economic crisis began to unfold this past fall, we wanted to respond immediately, in our way. We began to conduct an online conversation parallel to but distinct from our culture's more sustained focus on economic scenarios. For in each of o

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