Top stories on TN:
In the tech sector, bikes are the new cars. (Link)
Reports: House GOP considers reversal on transit funding. (Link)
A Brooklyn, New York subway station house that was shuttered some four decades ago is open again. (Link)
About a quarter of employees who work in New York area airports make wages that are below the poverty line. (Link)
Seemingly enjoying the fact that neither Rick Santorum nor Mitt Romney supported the bailout of the auto industry, the Obama campaign is out with an ad rubbing it in. (Link)
The House will revamp its transportation bill -- and is killing its controversial transit funding provision. (Politico)
...and Democrats are crowing. (The Hill)
The Twin Cities transit system will now be known as "Metro," and the light rail system is being color-coded. Bonus: new logo! (Minnesota Public Radio)
President Obama on high gas prices: “Anybody who tells you we can drill our way out of this problem doesn’t know what they’re talking about, or just isn’t telling you the truth." (New York Times)
Meanwhile, in France, gas has hit $8 a gallon, and prices could go higher. (NPR)
The projected budget deficits for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency operations are shrinking. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Denver's rapid transit to the northwest suburbs might actually come in the form of a bus system rather than a rail line as initially promised to voters nearly eight years ago. (Denver Post)
Social seating: Dutch airline KLM is testing a program it calls Meet and Seat, allowing ticket-holders to upload details from their Facebook or LinkedIn profiles and use the data to choose seatmates. (New York Times)
Los Angeles's Metro is locking gates in an effort to curb fare evasion. (Los Angeles Times)
Driverless trains will come to Australia's mining industry by 2014. Next up: driverless trucks. (PSFK)
In Toronto, light rail plans are full speed ahead, regardless of politics. (The Star)
With another stunning come from behind victory against the Bears last Sunday, the Tim Tebow train keeps rolling. The Denver Broncos’ quarterback has become a cultural phenomenon. But his on-field exploits only make up one part of the Tebow mystique. Tebow’s public displays of faith play a major role in the star athlete’s public persona and the narrative surrounding him.
What is the Tim Tebow effect? The new Denver Broncos quarterback has garnered a lot of national attention, partly for his talent, partly for his prayerful play. But is the attention — or the critiques, which are growing after Tebow failed to lead Denver to a win over Detroit Sunday — fully warranted? We find out, and get a general NFL update from Takeaway sports contributor Ibrahim Abdul-Matin.
The nation's debt crisis has all eyes on the politicians on Capitol Hill. But we wanted to know how the debt crisis is playing out in different cities across the country — what local fears and concerns are, and what people have to say about what's happening in the District of Columbia. We headed to Denver, Colo., Detroit, Mich., and Miami, Fla. to hear what people have to say about the current debt crisis.
(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) On Memorial Day weekend, bikes are allowed on the subway. In fact, they're allowed on the subway 24/7, year round, though the MTA doesn't recommend it during rush hour. But on the Long Island Railroad? Not on the Friday before memorial day weekend, so that would mean, no bikes on the commuter rail to the Hamptons tomorrow.
Bikes are okay (with a permit) on a very limited number of Metro North trains to upstate counties and Connecticut, but not in both directions, and not at peak times this holiday weekend, one of the busiest driving times of the year, according to the AAA. For the complete rules, and an explanation of why the MTA would seem to be lagging behind commuter rail systems like those in the Bay Area and Denver, which actually encourage bikes on commuter trains, look after the jump.
San Francisco is rolling out demand-based parking fees ranging from 25 cents to $6 an hour, depending on how many spaces are available. (Silicon Valley Mercury-News)
A turkey visits the parking lot of Minnesota Public Radio. (Full-size picture here.)
The Minnesota Senate passed a bill that reduces spending on Twin Cities bus and rail operations by $32 million over two years. (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
Electric car owners in Washington (state) may soon have to pay a $100 annual fee to make up for lost gas-tax revenue. (Seattle Times)
Amtrak applied for nearly $1.3 billion to start planning two new Hudson River tunnels, as well as an expanded in- New York City station -- and Governor Christie signed off on it. (NorthJersey.com)
Peer-to-peer car sharing -- or 'l'auto se partage' -- comes to France. (Sustainable Cities Collective)
Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: New York has applied for more high speed rail funding. So has Amtrak. Short haul flights are on the decline. And: the Texas DOT says road projects need to be bike- and pedestrian-friendly.
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Iowa, the new Saudi Arabia? The EPA is now allowing up to 15 percent ethanol in gas. (NPR)
A plan to to pave parking lots and roadways with solar panels (turning them into solar grids) gains traction--and a little more R&D money. (Wired)
London's bike share program is on track to turn a profit--making it the only Transport for London system to do so. (The Guardian)
Jay Walder, head of New York's MTA, wants to stay in his post through 2015 (Bloomberg). That's a lot of bus and subway rides: so far he's taken 887 in his first year on the job (New York Daily News). But some of those trips get thwarted, because sometimes he forgets to check for subway diversions before he goes out on weekends (WNYC).
Arlington and Alexandria officials to meet today to talk about joint transportation issues. Why is this news? Because "this is the first meeting of the two local governmental bodies in recent memory." (WAMU)
Ray LaHood imagines a United States in which 80% of all cities are accessible by high-speed rail by the year 2035. (Las Vegas Sun)
Car-eating rabbits plague Denver International Airport's parking lots. Mmmm...soy-based wiring compounds! (Jalopnik)
(Denver, CO - Nathan Heffel, Transportation Nation) With the wave of a yellow and orange flag, Mayor John Hickenlooper initiated the beginning of the end. Denver's airport, which landed in the middle of the mountains 15 years ago, will no longer be only a long drive from downtown.
The flag wave was followed by a groundbreaking Thursday, as six earth movers began digging the path of a rail project, which will link Denver International Airport with downtown.
As we rode a shuttle bus for press and dignitaries out to the event, a fellow rider said, "I remember coming out here in the early 90’s for the groundbreaking ceremony for the airport. I remember the tumbleweeds and the heat! It was so far from the city we wondered if the airport would even be viable.”
Fast forward 15 years: the airport, which many considered too big to sustain and too far from Denver to be practical (it's 24 miles from downtown), is now the ninth busiest airport in the world, with over 50 million passengers traveling through it a year.
Called the "$22 billion dollar economic engine of the Front Range" by Mayor Hickenlooper, the only way to get to DIA has been by car. However, after years of planning, RTD is now building the $1 billion dollar East Corridor commuter rail line, which will link DIA to Denver’s Union Station, the hub of RTD’s FasTracks system.
Boeing now has more cancellations than new orders in 2010 for Dreamliner (AP)
Tribune puts out list of Chicago's 10 worst transportation blunders.
Cost will be highest hurdle for high-speed rail (Philly Inquirer, four part series)
State and local money done, Denver looks to feds to finish "T-REX" rail and road project (Denver Post)
Good takes a look at San Francisco's new parking pricing system, designed by Adam Smith.
And the New York Times over the weekend looks at how Clayton County Georgia and other localities, facing budget shortfalls, have axed public transit entirely....and how red light cameras are becoming an issue in the 2010 elections.
(Andrea Bernstein Transportation Nation) Boston's bike share was supposed to start this summer, but it's been pushed off at least until April, 2010. Nicole Freedman, Director of Bicycle Programs for the Boston Redevelopment Authority, explains "we felt like we need more time to ensure we could get the operations correct." Each city's structure for bike share is different. Montreal has contracted out operations to Bixi, Washington's DDOT has hired Alta Bike Share to run the system, and Denver and Minneapolis have non-profits setting up theirs.
But Boston is still working out the details of how its system will be run. Freedman says Boston might have been ready by early fall, but setting up a system so close to Boston's notorious winters didn't seem wise.
The news comes on the heels of announcement by New York that a major expansion of protected bike lanes, seen as a prerequisite for bike share, was being postponed.
At about 40 locations around downtown Denver, you can pick up a bike, ride it somewhere else and drop it off. The "Bcycle" program began yesterday, on Earth Day. Bike sharing is a mode of community transportation that's been tried in several European cities, and will be popping up in U.S. cities this summer; Denver is the first big American trial. Nathan Heffel, producer for jazz89 KUVO, checked in on the first day of Mile-High residents trying it out.
Collin Campbell, out in Denver with John Hockenberry.
In 1985, KUVO started broadcasting here. The station began, and continues today, to be the great beating heart of jazz in Denver. Its studios sit in the Five Points neighborhood, the first predominantly African-American section in Denver, and a place famous for its cultural scene since the 1930s.
In January, KUVO started airing The Takeaway. We began to hear from Denver listeners, and we've kept an eye on the local economy, the city's future and its rising political stars. This month, we planned a trip out to visit the KUVO community and to connect with the political mood at the 62nd Annual Conference on World Affairs. That's a forum that began as America was recovering from World War II, where they debated things like the Marshall Plan.
Long time fans of Saturday Night Live will surely remember the androgynous character with the nasal voice and grating chortle, known simply and ambiguously as Pat. The actress/writer/comedienne behind that iconic 1990s character, Julia Sweeney, has gotten herself into some interesting projects since she left the late night sketch show.
John Hockenberry sat down with Colorado Attorney General John Suthers earlier this week, and part of their conversation we're bringing to you here online. John asked Suthers about the growing numbers of medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado, the voters' initiatives that Suthers says are being badly stretched to allow this many dispensaries, and his desire to have Colorado voters explicitly vote on what he calls "back door legalization."
Activists seem to be gaining ground in their fight to normalize pot use in the U.S.: Fourteen states have legalized medical marijuana to some extent, and fourteen others have marijuana-related proposals in the works.
Colorado Governor Bill Ritter recently announced he won't run for reelection in 2010, leaving wide speculation about who will succeed him. Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper was in the midst of recording an interview with The Takeaway on Wednesday afternoon when Ritter called Hickenlooper to talk about what the job entails. Hickenlooper took the call, called us back, and strongly implied that he's considering running for governor.
Colorado Governor Bill Ritter recently announced he won't run for reelection in 2010, leaving wide speculation about who will succeed him. Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper was in the midst of recording an interview with The Takeaway Wednesday afternoon when Ritter called Hickenlooper to talk about what the job entails. Hickenlooper took the call, called us back, and strongly implied that he's considering running for governor.
Back in August of 2008, during the Democratic National Convention, we sent Takeaway contributor Patrik Henry Bass out to report from Denver. He visited a hair salon called Hairworks in Denver's Five Points neighborhood to talk with locals on the evening Barack Obama accepted his party's nomination. This morning we check in with the owner of that salon, Tracy Moore, about how she and her customers are doing.
Colorado's population has just rate hit the five million mark. It is in the top five fastest growing states in the nation and its rate of growth has remained steady, even during the recession. What is attracting new residents to the Rocky Mountain State and are all of those new residents a good thing for a state is dealing with a budget crisis? Denver Post staff writer Burt Hubbard says there are certainly some growing pains that come with new residents moving in. Rajeev Vibhakar and Chip Raches explain what attracted them to move to Denver.
Last July, Adolfo Carrión, Jr. paid a visit to an urban garden in Philadelphia. In casual khaki slacks and rolled-up shirt sleeves he was digging up potatoes, throwing the long stems into a wooden wheelbarrow, to be turned into compost. The potatoes, he offered, would be good for “home fries.”
Carrión is now the director of the brand-new White House Office of Urban Affairs, part of a campaign promise President Barack Obama made to re-focus attention on urban America.
A small crowd was gathered around Carrión in the garden--the Mayor of Philadelphia, a Deputy Secretary from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, a host of neighborhood activists and a few teenagers. Two of the teens, Amber and Shardae, were standing a bit off to the side, knee-high in collard greens.
The high school students were part of the “Teens for Good” program. The program hires local teens, gives them summer jobs, and sells the produce the raise at a neighborhood farmers market. Amber and Shardae were joking about sneaking a few of the ping pong ball-sized raspberries. But for Amber this was serious.