Streams

 

 

Dc Metro

Transportation Nation

As D.C. Transit Chief Steps Down, A Last Pitch for Longer Train Cars

Friday, September 26, 2014

WAMU
D.C.'s Metro trains are packed, and with predictions of growing ridership, the problem is getting worse. Richard Sarles, Metro's general manager, says 8-car trains are the answer. 
Read More

Comments [1]

Transportation Nation

DC Metro Wants Smarter Fare Card, Including FarePhones

Saturday, March 16, 2013

(Photo CC by Flickr user Mr T in DC)

(Washington, D.C. -- WAMU) Metro is working on a system that would ease the process of paying for bus or train fare, turning it into a tap of a smart phone or credit card at a turnstile. While such a system would no doubt simplify the transit process for many, it is still years away.

Boarding a Metro bus or train now is a bit like visiting a foreign country, at least in one respect: you have to convert your dollars into Metro currency, either by using a SmarTrip card or a paper fare card. Metro wants to bring its payment system into the 21st century, even if some long-time riders feel the SmarTrip is just fine.

"I think [SmarTrip] was one of the best ideas Metro has ever put into existence since I've been riding the bus, and I've been riding the bus most of my life," says Greg Olden in Columbia Heights.

SmarTrip may have been a great idea at one time, but it costs the transit authority millions annually to maintain. That is why Metro is now accepting bids from tech companies to develop a new system that would let you tap your credit card or mobile phone to pay your fare.

"The way transportation agencies are looking at this market now is, 'Why don't we allow people to use the existing payment options that they have in their pockets, like the credit cards and debit cards they currently carry to make other purchases, and use those to access the transit system?'" says Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of Smart Card Alliance, which advocates modern payment technologies in a variety of industries. "That way, we don't have to inconvenience consumers, nor do we have to maintain the system that converts that money into transit fare dollars."

Vanderhoof says that while a new system would require installing new fare gates and computers, eliminating the cost and services of the SmarTrip system would save WMATA millions every year.

Metro declined to comment on this story because the transit authority is in the final stages of a competitive bidding process to design a new payment system.

Metro hoped to award a contract early last year, but, as The Washington Examiner reported, the process has been delayed a year.

Once that is finally taken care of, it will likely take about three years to phase in a new payment system.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Streetcar Could Make Virginia's Community Pike Neighborhood More Walkable

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

This is the second part in a series of ongoing reports about the metropolitan Washington, D.C. region’s changing neighborhoods. Listen to the radio version of this story here. The first part highlighted Southeast D.C.'s Capitol Riverfront neighborhood.

Columbia Pike stretches three and a half miles through the center of densely populated Arlington County, Virginia just west of D.C.  The corridor, extends southwest of Arlington National Cemetery, into an evolving landscape of mixed-use development that builders and community activists alike are hoping to improve into more livable communities. But unlike the nearby Rosslyn-Ballston corridor that was built up around Metro rail, the Columbia Pike has no rail link to attract real estate development. The future does hold plans for a streetcar.

“We’re working toward implementing light rail in the form of the Columbia Pike Streetcar which will connect the density at the west end in Fairfax to Pentagon City and Crystal City in the east end,” said Chris Zimmerman, an Arlington County Board member who has been heavily involved in the county’s transit-oriented planning. He said the county just submitted its application to the Federal Transit Administration for streetcar grant dollars.

The future path of a light rail line is currently used by the busiest bus service in the Commonwealth of Virginia at roughly 15,000 daily riders.  While residents have access to transit – a key requirement to be considered a thriving WalkUP in a study by George Washington University professor Chris Leinberger – Columbia Pike’s population is missing some important elements. For one, the corridor needs more people.

“We need more density. Density is sometimes viewed by people as the antithesis of what you want in development, but what density has proven to do in Arlington is create places where you can move around easier,” said David DeCamp, a real estate developer, who accompanied a WAMU reporter on a tour of the pike along with John Murphy, the vice president of the board of directors of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization.

The corridor also lacks commercial development.

“Mixed-use has three components: residential, office, and commercial," Murphy said. "The pike sorely misses office right now.”

A streetcar line will not be a cure-all, so county planners implemented two other measures to spur development along Columbia Pike: zoning laws were changed to make development easier, and the housing overlay zone was altered to double the unit density. Landowners will be required to maintain roughly one-fourth of their new apartment units as affordable housing; the county will build a streetcar line so their tenants can move easily up and down the corridor.

The combination of maintaining some affordable housing and expanding access to transit will allow the pike to avoid some of the negative consequences of gentrification, namely population displacement, Zimmerman said.

“Our goal is to make it possible for everyone who lives there today to live there tomorrow,” he said. “We believe it’s possible to accommodate the same number of people who make, say, 60 percent of the area median income or less, if we build it into our planning.”

Zimmerman said thirty years ago, when the county began planning for the Orange Line, it was so focused on attracting affluent residents to the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor it neglected affordable housing units. That lesson is serving Columbia Pike planners today, he said.

“The community is very supportive of this because people understand that a lot of what they like about the Columbia Pike corridor is its diversity,” he said. “We don’t want it to become homogeneous. We don’t want it to become a place that is just for affluent people.”

Arlington County is considered a national leader in urban planning and land use. Although the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor on the Metro's Orange Line covers about 10 percent of the county’s land mass it produces 55 percent of its tax base, according to George Washington University professor Chris Leinberger.

“If you were to look at it 25 years ago you’d say, this may become a slum. All the obsolete strip retail was vacant,” Leinberger said in an interview with WAMU. “Today they have fabulous public schools. It’s a very diverse community and it’s extremely walkable.”

Murphy and DeCamp believe the same will be said for the Columbia Pike corridor.

“I’m excited about the potential of the pike to save the diversity of residents we have here,” said Murphy, who said the goal of zero population displacement is attainable. “They’ve made that happen. It’s going to be an incredibly dynamic, diverse, energetic engine with the streetcar in combination with the housing overlay.”

 

Read More

Comments [2]

Transportation Nation

Special Report: How Transit Is Shaping the Gentrification of D.C., Part 1

Monday, September 10, 2012


This is the first of a two-part series on the relationship between gentrification and access to transit in Washington D.C.'s rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods. Part 1 examines the Shaw and Pleasant Plains neighborhoods in the Georgia Avenue corridor in Ward 1. Listen to the WAMU radio version of this story here.

This two-mile stretch of Georgia Avenue NW, sandwiched between two Metro stations, looks like a construction zone. Every few blocks a new apartment building with ground floor retail space is under construction, surrounded by scaffolding or heavy equipment. A neighborhood that has changed dramatically in the past decade is in store for further gentrification.

"There were eight major development projects that were in various stages of planning," says Sylvia Robinson, 51, a community organizer who helped form a neighborhood task force to monitor proposals for new development over the past two years.

According to data compiled by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education policy think tank, the 20001 zip code -- which includes the Georgia Avenue corridor in Ward 1 -- was the sixth-fastest gentrifying zip code in the entire country last decade, based on the change in the share of the white population. In 2000, whites were only 6 percent of the population; by 2010 the white population had increased to 33 percent in the zip code, according to U.S. Census data. Washington has several of the fastest changing neighborhoods in the country.

Gentrification is an attitude

While gentrification is often simplified to mean the displacement of poorer black residents by wealthier white newcomers, Robinson says the change is more complicated where she lives.

"I consider gentrification an attitude," Robinson says. "It's the idea that you are coming in as a planner, developer, or city agency and looking at a neighborhood as if it's a blank slate. You impose development and different economic models and say that in order for this neighborhood to thrive you need to build this much housing, this much retail."

Robinson does not oppose gentrification; she wants her community to have a voice in the inevitable changes. "We are primarily an African-American, low-income community. Typically, we are not asked about changes that are coming," she says. For instance, in addition to new market-rate condominiums, neighborhood advocates are lobbying for new affordable housing units to prevent the displacement of long-time residents when property values ultimately rise.

Changes here have been dramatic. The Shaw and Pleasant Plains neighborhoods are safer, have seen property values increase and shopping opportunities multiply.

"It's an extraordinary change," says Peter Tatian, a senior researcher at the Urban Institute. "I've been in D.C. over 25 years and I remember when that part of town was considered off limits by many people, that you wouldn't want to even go there. And now it's become one of the priciest areas." The median price of a home is over $500,000 in many parts of Ward 1, Tatian says.

The transportation angle

"The development of our community is really going to hinge on people being able to move up and down that segment of Georgia Avenue freely and easily," Robinson says.

The congested corridor connects two Metro stations in Northwest D.C: Petworth in the north and Shaw/Howard University in the south. Significant new development is being constructed close to the Shaw Metro station, leaving Robinson concerned that hundreds of new apartment units and thousands of square feet of retail space will focus economic activity there at the expense of older neighborhoods further away.

"[Developers] don't have a sense of what the natural boundaries are for the neighborhood," Robinson says. "Neighborhoods were here before the Metro Stations came in, so it's not like you are creating a new neighborhood. You are already in a neighborhood and that neighborhood can really benefit from that Metro station, but not if you are only focused on the station as a center of development."

When a "thriving neighborhood" is measured largely by how much money people are spending or how high rents are climbing, Robinson says gentrification causes damage.

"That is my main issue with all of this: everything is looked through the lens of shopping," she says.

Just a mile or so north of the Shaw Metro on Georgia Avenue, one will find shops and restaurants that are long-time establishments in the neighborhood. To get to them, Robinson says residents and Howard University students will have to rely on the 70 bus line.

"It's just notoriously unreliable and always has a very interesting set of characters on it," she says. "They're supposed to run every ten minutes, but what you'll get is three buses in a row and then nothing for half an hour."

Anika Rich, a Howard University senior who has witnessed the neighborhood's transformation, doubts the current bus service is adequate to connect people to different parts of the Georgia Avenue corridor.

"I don't think that people are going to be connected to it. I know that there are plans that Howard University has to lure us to the other side of the street, and have us patronize a section that doesn't necessarily get much attention from other people," Rich says.

Robinson worries that "isolated" pockets of economic development will be the result. Moreover, as the population of this part of the city continues to grow (14 percent increase in the 20001 zip code between 2000-2010), so will pressure on the existing infrastructure to efficiently move people between work and home, home and shopping.

"We're talking about improving the bus lines. We're talking about the Circulator bus... moving up this corridor. We're talking about possibly working with Howard University to have shuttles circulate further north," she says.

While Ward 1 has the look and feel of a dramatically different neighborhood, other areas of the city have not seen development follow access to transit. In part two of this series, we will visit the Deanwood and Kenilworth neighborhoods in Ward 7 to examine why development has been slow to rise up in an area that has had four Metro stations for many years.

Read More

Comments [1]

Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: SF's Newest Subway Line Moves Forward; DC's Population Is Up, But Cars Are Down; LaHood Bearish On Transpo Bill

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Top stories on TN:
NY MTA Board Member: Overnight Shutdowns Too Broad--And More are On the Way (Link)
Will High Gas Prices Hurt Obama’s Reelection Chances? (Link)
Residents Look at Ways to Bring Walkability Back to Old Houston Neighborhood (Link)

(photo courtesy of San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency)

It's all systems go for San Francisco's newest subway. (San Francisco Chronicle)

DC's population is up, but car registrations are flat lining. (Or as WTOP puts it, "New DC residents: I couldn't 'car' less.")

Airline co-pilots would have to meet the same experience threshold required of captains—the first boost in four decades—under regulations proposed Monday by the Federal Aviation Administration. (AP via Mercury News)

Ray LaHood is bearish on Congress' chances of passing a transportation bill before the March 31st deadline. “I’m going to use past as prologue. We’ve gone 3½ years beyond the last bill...I don’t see Congress passing a bill before this one runs out, before this extension runs out." (Politico)

Meanwhile, state and local transportation officials are anxiously watching Washington for news about the transpo bill. (Politico)

Auto sales are growing so fast American auto makers can barely keep up -- which could lead to shortages that drive up prices. (NPR)

Lawyers for NYC are heading to court today seeking an appeal of a judge's order that the Taxi and Limousine Commission must submit a long term-plan for wheelchair accessibility. (WNYC)

Following safety concerns, NYC will unveil proposed changes to the Prospect Park loop in Brooklyn that would reduce cars to one lane -- and create two separate lanes for bicyclists and pedestrians.  (New York Times)

Future roads will have new technology to ease congestion -- and more congestion because of the new technology. (Marketplace)

TransCanada says it will start building the Oklahoma-to-Texas portion of the Keystone XL pipeline. (NPR)

A bill calling for more transparency at the Port Authority was approved by a New Jersey state senate committee. (Star-Ledger)

New York Times' Room for Debate: how to make cities safer for cyclists and pedestrians? The answers: better street design -- and better enforcement. (Link)

One DC bus rider wrote a song about the errant #42 bus: "One bus, two bus, three bus, four/Can't seem to find those open doors/At this rate how am I gonna get anywhere." (Washington Post)

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Florida Bullet Train Would Have Been Profitable, Cheap Natural Gas Boosts US Energy Independence, Historic Wright Bros. Shop May Be Demolishe

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Top stories on TN: the Senate will move its highway bill Thursday. An audit of the Port Authority called it a "challenged and dysfunctional organization" and found cost overruns at the World Trade Center. Houston is a leading purchaser of green energy. Gas prices are creeping higher -- especially in D.C. And: listen to what happens when a subway platform becomes a musical instrument.

 

(courtesy of NASA)

The high-speed rail project that Florida's governor killed last February would have made an annual surplus of $31 million to $45 million within a decade of operation, according to a state report. (TBO)

The boom in shale oil and natural gas is moving the U.S. closer to energy independence -- but cheap natural gas means less incentive to invest in cleaner energy. (Marketplace)

New York City will unveil a pedestrian safety plan for Delancey Street, nearly a month after a 12-year-old was killed while crossing the busy intersection at the entrance to the Williamsburg Bridge. (DNA Info)

Toronto's city council is preparing to kill the mayor's transit plan. (Toronto Sun)

Four consortiums of engineering and construction companies have been found qualified to bid on the $5 billion project to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge. (Times Herald-Record)

An Ohio building constructed around the first Wright brothers' bicycle shop has been declared a public nuisance and may eventually be demolished. (AP via ABC)

Meanwhile: Newt Gingrich, campaigning in Ohio, says the Wright brothers rose from bicycle mechanics to world renowned inventors – without the assistance of government funding. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

U.S. DOT head Ray LaHood is blogging enthusiastically about Denver's light rail expansion. (FastLane)

Some DC Metro bus signs are telling passengers to "alight" instead of "exit." (Washington Post)

Just what is Detroit? A city, an industry, or an idea? (Forbes)

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: DC's Proposed Airport Metro Rail Station Under Fire, San Francisco's Central Subway Moves Closer to Reality

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Top stories on TN:
President Kills Pipeline: Full Statement (Link)
Backers of the Keystone XL Vow To Continue To Push For The Pipeline (Link)
Federal Money for Transpo Robot (Link)
Governor Jerry Brown, In State of State, Makes Impassioned Case for California High-Speed Rail (Link)
House To Hold Hearings on Cruise Ship Safety (Link)
NY Gov Cuomo: MTA Considering “Additional Transit Applications” For New Convention Center (Link)
VIDEO: How the Dutch Got Their Bike Paths (Link)

A prototype of a mega bus (image courtesy of Jinhua Youngman Automobile)

Canada said it will begin selling oil to China after the U.S. rejected the Keystone XL pipeline. (Bloomberg)

The authority in charge of building DC's Metro rail extension to Dulles International Airport is considering eliminating the Metro station at the airport. (TN's emphasis, not the Washington Examiner's.)

Indiana recently became the second state to approve an LGBT license plate. (NY Daily News)

San Francisco has received a key approval from federal officials to move forward on its 1.7-mile Central Subway. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Cuts to school bus service in Death Valley, CA --  where 85% of the students are from low-income households and parents say monthly gas prices for round-trip school transportation could exceed $1,000 -- will be "catastrophic." (Los Angeles Times)

China is about to roll out the world's largest bus, which is 82 feet long and can carry up to 300 passengers. (Digital Trends)

The California High-Speed Rail Authority takes issue with the Los Angeles Times' reporting. (CAHSR blog)

Hoping to boost sales, GM is revamping its Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric vehicle to meet California's strict emissions requirements. (Wall Street Journal)

Despite pumping 2 million barrels of oil daily, Nigeria's four national refineries are barely functional. (Guardian)

China's Ministry of Railways expects a record 235 million passengers to travel across the country between Jan 8 and Feb 16, the country's most important holiday season. But: new ticket policies make purchasing tickets "torture." (China Daily)

How to make transit more family-friendly? "An open-stroller policy is a crucial first step." (Grist)

Occupy Boston is taking on that city's proposed transit fare hikes. (Boston Globe)

Hudson Valley legislators returned to the capital this month ready to fight any attempt by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration to merge the New York State Bridge Authority into the New York State Thruway Authority. (Albany Times-Union)

The first television ad of President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign is about his energy policy record -- and takes aim at the Koch family. (NY Times; video)

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Beijing Bike Scheme, Florida Traffic Deaths Drop, Airlines Sue DOT Over Advertising Rules

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Top stories on TN:
Trying Out Staten Island's Bus Time (Link)
Montana To Parents, Kids: We Know It’s Winter — But You Can Still Walk & Bike To School (Link)
As Presidential Race Moves to South Carolina, Pothole Ads Do, Too (Link)
Amtrak: In 2012, We Want eTickets, Electric Locomotives, and Speedier Trains (Link)

Bicyclists in Beijing (photo by Superflow via Flickr)

Beijing will put 20,000 rental bikes on the street this year to ease congestion -- and open four new subway lines. (Xinhua)

Parts of Nigeria are under a curfew after protests against the ending of fuel subsidies grew violent. "Overnight, prices at the pump more than doubled...The costs of food and transportation also doubled."  (NPR)

Adding mass transit to the Tappan Zee Bridge would delay the project at least two years, says the head of the New York State DOT. (Journal News)

New MTA head Joe Lhota says he'll continue to pursue a smartcard system for NYC transit. (New York Times)

Traffic deaths in Florida dropped to a 33-year low in 2011, although the state's population doubled in that span. (AP via Miami Herald)

Some airlines are suing the DOT over its requirement that advertisements include all taxes and fees in ticket prices for flights. (The Hill)

Sales of diesel-powered cars in the U.S. rose  27.4 percent in 2011 while hybrid sales dropped 2.2 percent. (AutoBlogGreen)

Capital Bikeshare has posted data files with individual (but anonymous) trip data. (Greater Greater Washington)

DC's Metro would have to condemn many more properties than originally thought in order to build the Purple Line. (Washington Post)

Volkswagen unveils the E-Bugster -- an electric Beetle concept car -- in Detroit. (Gizmag)

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: BART Extension To Silicon Valley Clears Hurdle, Edmonton Transit Riders to be Scanned for Explosives

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Top stories on TN:
A Whole New York City Borough Gets Real-time Bus Information (Link)
Lhota: Don’t Hate on the MTA (Link)
NY Gov Cuomo to NY Pols: I Don’t Have To Ask Your Permission To Build the Convention Center, But Let’s Work Together (Link)
Senator Dianne Feinstein Wants To Save CA High Speed Rail — As Republican Assemblywoman Tries to Kill It (Link)

BART train (photo by Keoki Seu via Flickr)

The deal to extend BART to Silicon Valley is finally clearing its last major hurdle after a six-decade struggle -- and is likely to win $900 million in federal support. (San Francisco Examiner, Mercury News)

Status update: I'm driving right now! Mercedes-Benz USA is bringing Facebook to its cars. (Reuters)

Because it's become so popular, organizers have made some changes to New York's 5 Boro Bike Tour. (New York Times)

Transit riders in Edmonton will have their train tickets scanned for explosives. (Vancouver Sun)

Metro's proposed fare increase is infuriating riders. (Washington Post)

What happens when the NYC subway closes for repairs: workers work, and riders swear. (New York Times)

The new head of NY's MTA hates peeling paint. (NY Daily News)

Tweet of the day, by @lhrtobos: I like this kid's technique: "I WANT A SEAT!!!!!" Seat granted. I'm trying that tomorrow. #mbta

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Transit Fare Affects School Attendance in Chicago, Singapore's Subway Snarl

Friday, December 16, 2011

Top stories on TN:

More Congressional outrage for high-speed rail. (Link)
Chicago bike share, VA toll road big TIGER III winners. (Link)
Taxi advocates plead their case to New York's governor. (Link)

Singapore's subway (photo by DDay209 via Flickr)

Chicago school officials say the cost of transit fare can discourage school attendance. (WBEZ)

Two legislators from New York and New Jersey -- steaming over recent toll hikes -- have introduced a bill that would put the Port Authority under federal oversight. (Staten Island Advance)

Cuomo's approach to the outer borough taxi bill is "the legislative equivalent of the slow-food movement." (New York Times)

The new Tappan Zee Bridge must have bus rapid transit or be obsolete from day one, says a coalition of elected officials and local groups. (Journal News)

Singapore's subway system suffered a major breakdown yesterday when four trains stalled during rush hour, trapping thousands of passengers and affecting some 127,000. (Wall Street Journal)

The number of bicyclists in and around Minneapolis has soared in the past year. (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

Has crime really fallen on DC's Metro? Yes...and no. (TBD)

Read More

Comment

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)

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Occupy Oakland Shuts Down Port, A Look At East Side Access, and Moscow's Subway: Best In the World?

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Top stories on TN:

High-speed rail naysayer Rick Scott says California's program is a "boondoggle." (Link)

Although an agreement should happen soon, almost 1,000 Long Island Bus employees could be laid off. (Link)

Obama takes 30 minutes to pitch the transportation jobs bill in DC. (Link)

Protestors at the Port of Oakland (photo by Cherie Chavez via Flickr)

Occupy Oakland demonstrations shut down the port. (Marketplace)

The Department of Defense will pay $270 million to ease traffic congestion created by the recently implemented Base Realignment and Closure. (WAMU)

The full City Council will vote on whether to send a plan to implement residential parking permits in NYC to Albany for consideration. (New York Times)

Moscow's state-owned subway system is efficient, attractive and profitable. (Atlantic Cities)

A Chicago suburb is ending its red light camera program. (WBEZ)

Is DC's Metro intrinsically child-unfriendly, or is it the riders? (Washington Post, with a hat tip to GGW)

A look at New York's East Side Access project, which will bring the LIRR to Grand Central Terminal. (DNA Info)

Biking: it's good for you. (NPR)

What if electric cars could charge without plugs? (Good)

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Long-Awaited DC Metro Audit Will Be Released By GAO Thursday

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

(David Schultz, WAMU -- Washington, D.C.) A long-anticipated federal audit of Metro will be released to the public Thursday, according to a spokesman at the Government Accountability Office.

We've reported on Transportation Nation in the past about several Metro governance criticisms and scandals. The GAO says it expects to complete the audit of Metro and its governance structure by Thursday and may release it to the public then, or it may allow Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski to review the report or 30 days before making it public.

Mikulski requested the audit nearly two years ago after the deadly Red Line train crash.

Since then, the GAO has been looking into the way Metro makes decisions and governs itself. Many prominent local leaders, especially Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, have been calling for sweeping changes in Metro's governance, and this report could provide them with the momentum needed to enact those changes.

To listen to the radio version of this story, go to WAMU.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

A New Transit Problem: Excessively Wordy Train Station Names

Friday, May 27, 2011

(Washington D.C. - David Schultz, WAMU) Metro, the public transit agency here in D.C., is facing a problem familiar to Twitter users everywhere: it needs to shorten the names of its train stations so they fit within a defined character limit.

Read More

Comments [1]

Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: DC Metro to Shorten Station Names, and House GOP Wants To Privatize the Northeast Corridor

Friday, May 27, 2011

Cars heading toward the Holland Tunnel yesterday (photo by Kate Hinds)

Listeners have been texting the price of gas at the pump to The Takeaway. Today, TN's Andrea Bernstein discusses those findings.  (The Takeaway)

While exiting cap and trade program, NJ Governor Chris Christie pivots on Climate Change (WNYC's Empire Blog)

High gas prices won't be affecting holiday travel. (Marketplace)

House Republicans want to takeaway the Northeast Corridor from Amtrak, giving private investors the task of building and operating high-speed rail service between Washington and Boston. (Washington Post)

There may be less car owners in Manhattan, but real estate developers are betting that the wealthy will pay extra for in-house parking. (New York Times)

DC's Metro will be shortening station names. Names like U Street/African American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo or New York Avenue/Florida Avenue/Gallaudet University. (WAMU)

The Los Angeles Times debates the location of future subway stations -- and one participant protests his community's exclusion. "It is inconceivable to many of us who live, work and worship in South Los Angeles that the Crenshaw/LAX line would bypass the heart of the community."

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

In case you missed it on Transportation Nation:

-- DC's Metro unveils new LED signs...look familiar, NYkers? (link)

-- the new NY MTA website is easier to use -- unless you're mobile (link)

-- Christie pulls plug on NJ's greenhouse gas initiative (link)

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

DC's Metro Unveils New In-Train Signs

Thursday, May 26, 2011

(Washington D.C. - David Schultz, WAMU) In a few years, Metro will be getting a crop of all new trains. And this morning, it unveiled the LED signs that will let riders in those new trains know where they are and where they're going.

Look familiar, New Yorkers?

Read More

Comments [1]

Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Transit Cuts May Hit Minneapolis, DC, Following Canadian Oil's Tension-Filled Trek South, and Will Poetry Return to NY's Subways?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Will "Poetry in Motion" placards make a return to NYC's subway cars? Signs point to maybe. (New York Times)

If Congress cuts $150 million from DC's Metro, the agency's general manager says "the customers will really bear the burden...They will see the system deteriorating at a more rapid rate.” (Washington Post)

Twenty years from now, Canada may be supplying one-fourth of the US's oil needs. Which means more megaloads in Montana now. (NPR)

But Canadian drivers have their own problems: "In a new survey of major world cities by the Toronto Board of Trade, Toronto and Montreal have the worst commute times, worse even than London or New York City...Canadians need real options, and that means more public transit." (Globe and Mail)

A Wall Street Journal opinion piece takes President Obama's high-speed rail plan -- and Amtrak -- to task. "With Amtrak now the key to the President's rail program, a review of Amtrak's recent performance reveals that this "transformational" event will take place upon a foundation of epic failure, gross mismanagement, and union featherbedding."

Two freshman Republican representatives from upstate New York want to derail plans for high-speed trains across the state, leading to a new division in the state delegation. (The Buffalo News)

But a few hundred miles away, the Southeast High Speed Rail Association is holding an event called "The Conservative Case for Intercity & Higher Speed Passenger Rail” in Richmond. “Not every conservative — not even every libertarian — believes America’s unofficial motto should be ‘drive or die,’ ”the center's website reads. “There is a long conservative tradition of not wanting to see America reduced to nothing but strip malls, gas stations and pavement.” (The Hill)

The Minnesota House voted to trim the state budget deficit by reducing spending on Twin Cities transit, a strategy that could trigger fare hikes and service cuts. (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

Clinton Hill (Manhattan) residents say that the intra-city bus company, Megabus, has made the area of 9th Avenue in the lower 30s a "circus." (DNAinfo)

FastCompany passes along an infographic that shows, by state, what percent of commuters use bikes -- and then breaks down the 10 most popular bike cities.

The latest installment of WBEZ's "Dear Chicago" series interviews a bike advocate who wants the city's transportation infrastructure to pay more attention to pedestrians and bicyclists:

And finally:  a plot synopsis of a new movie about a killer tire. "Rubber is the story of Robert, an inanimate tire that has been abandoned in the desert, and suddenly and inexplicably comes to life....Leaving a swath of destruction across the desert landscape, Robert becomes a chaotic force to be reckoned with, and truly a movie villain for the ages." Metaphor alert!

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: New York City’s effort to create a fuel-efficient taxi fleet is getting a new legislative boost. Demand for fuel-efficient cars is "sluggish" -- despite high gas prices. And recent fatal bus crashes have led to a disagreement between the drivers' union and management.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

The Revolving Door: Despite Ethics Rules, Former Metro Executive Now Lobbying On Behalf Of Metro Contractor

Monday, March 21, 2011

Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/waba/2511198017/

(Washington D.C. -- David Schultz, WAMU) A private email obtained by WAMU shows that Emeka Moneme, a former top executive at D.C.'s Metro, may have violated ethics rules by lobbying his former coworkers on behalf of one of Metro's largest contractors.

Metro says it still believes in the integrity of its contracting process.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: DC Metro Crime Up, Big Dig Tunnel Light Down, and New York's Bike Share Program Makes Progress

Friday, March 18, 2011

One-quarter of those arrested on the DC Metro are younger than 20, and the transit agency has hit a five-year high in the number of rapes, robberies and assaults. (WAMU)

Criticism continued over news that state transportation officials did not immediately reveal that a light fixture fell inside a Big Dig tunnel last month. (WBUR)

Crain's New York reports the city has chosen two (or three!) finalists for its bike share program.

Flint (MI) built a $8.1-million parking deck -- and it's now surrounded by a sea of free street parking, making the city's financial investment in the structure shaky. (Flint Journal)

The FAA and US airlines are watching Japan's radiation plume to ensure that planes avoid the cloud. (Marketplace)

GM plans to temporarily close a plant in Louisiana because it can't get enough parts from Japan. (NY Times)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: Central Park is center stage for NYC's bike crackdown. Florida Governor Rick Scott is a man with a port plan. And: we mull the ethics of using a subway seat as a bag rest -- while the injured rider stands.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Titan of D.C. Transit Abruptly Resigns

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chris Zimmerman

(Washington D.C. - David Schultz, WAMU) In news that has come as a shock to many—especially myself—Chris Zimmerman announced this morning that he will be stepping down from the Board of Directors of Washington D.C.'s Metro system at the end of this year.

Zimmerman had served on the Board for more than a decade, and he had been instrumental in guiding Metro through the darkest period of its 34 year existence. Over the past 18 months, Metro has faced multiple budget crises, a rapidly crumbling infrastructure, federal condemnation and a train collision that killed eight of its passengers. Zimmerman, whose main job is as a local politician in Arlington, Va., was there through it all, rarely—if ever—missing a Board meeting.

Before I joined WAMU, I reported for a weekly newspaper in Arlington, so I got to know Zimmerman fairly well. And I can say definitively that he lives and breathes transportation. His influence in the D.C. region far exceeds that of his job title, as he sits on no fewer than four regional transportation bodies. (Although, after today, that number is reduced by one.)

Zimmerman has become something of a boogeyman for the pro-roads set in Northern Virginia. Many believe he is the man pulling the strings behind Arlington's efforts to block the expansion of several major highways that lead in and out of the District. But he is also a hero to the burgeoning transit-oriented anti-sprawl community in D.C.

We will continue to follow this story and watch to see if other changes are coming to Metro's leadership.

Read More

Comment