Streams

 

 

Infrastructure

Transportation Nation

Canvassing the Brooklyn Bridge

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

How is the Brooklyn Bridge spending its summer vacation? Being draped in canvas to prepare for being repainted.

Canvas being draped over the Brooklyn Bridge

You can see more pictures here.

(And yes, we did ask a NYC Department of Transportation staffer if there was any chance the canvas would be, say, Christo orange, or hot pink. The response: "Not on my bridge!")

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories

Monday, August 02, 2010

Chevy Volt to increase production by 50 percent (LA Times)

Nearly 9 out of 10 teens has driven while texting or talking, says survey by AAA/Seventeen (USA Today)

Twin Cities mark third anniversary of I-35W bridge collapse without a memorial (KARE TV)

Ninety-nine cent gas in Detroit?  NASCAR promotion makes it possible today  (Detroit Free-Press)

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Brooklyn Bridge to get "Christo"-Style Treatment

Sunday, August 01, 2010

(New York -- Kate Hinds, WNYC)  As part of its $508 million rehabilitation, the Brooklyn Bridge will get wrapped in canvas beginning in about two months.

Hasan Ahmed, who oversees the Brooklyn Bridge for the New York City Department of Transportation, says workers will install a huge canvas shield that will protect motorists while the bridge is repainted. "It will be lots of material."

Workers will repaint five million square feet of steel -- and first the old leaded paint has to be removed. Hence the need for a canvas shield. And that necessitates a lot more than throwing down a drop cloth.

"In a couple of months you will see a major difference in the outlook of the bridge," Ahmed tells WNYC's Kate Hinds. "When the containment is styled to creep up from one side ittle by little a whole section of the bridge will be covered."

The canvas won’t cover the bridge’s wood-plank pedestrian walkway, which is elevated above the road.  But the drive across the span will soon change.

Says Ahmed "When you are driving on the bridge, you will not see the sky, because you will see a while or off-white or light brown shield on the top of you."

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: vanishing car poolers, show me the T&I pork, and pilots to need more experience

Thursday, July 29, 2010

If you toll it, they won't car pool: Bay Bridge traffic decreases after car pool toll goes into effect (San Francisco Examiner).

Bumpy ride in store for Pennsylvanians? As stimulus funds dwindle for the state's transportation projects, future spending on roads and bridges to be cut by 32% (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

New aviation safety legislation would require six times as much flight experience from pilots (Bloomberg)

Where's the pork? The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee releases searchable earmark database; download the spreadsheet here.

New York's Transit Workers Union suing city to keep commuter vans from taking over slashed bus routes (NY1)

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

NTSB Report Could Prompt Congressional Action, Transit Analyst Says

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

(David Shultz, WAMU), Today, after more than a year of investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board will release its final report on last year's Metro train crash on the red line.The report could be the final word on the official cause of the crash, which killed nine people and injured dozens more.

WAMU's David Schultz spoke with Bill Vantuono, a transportation industry analyst and editor-in-chief of the trade magazine Railway Age. Vantuono says Metro is not legally obligated to follow any recommendations in the NTSB's reports. Listen here.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Bridge is Up the River, Bronx Span Floated into Place

Monday, July 26, 2010

Photo: Stephen Nessen

Bridge goes under a bridge. (Willis Avenue, under the Manhattan)

(Stephen Nessen, WNYC) To make everything less disruptive, the New York City DOT says, it had a new Willis Avenue Bridge built upstate, floated it down the Hudson, and had it make a brief stay in Bayonne, NJ, before floating it up the East River this morning. Rubbernecking abounded. See the slide show, here.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: How is a Tesla Like a DeLorean, and NJ's Free Roadside Assistance may soon be not so free

Monday, July 26, 2010

Will the Tesla become the DeLorean of electric cars?  (New York Times)

Senator Schumer wants to make the mass transit tax break--which is due to expire at the end of the year--permanent.  (WNYC)

Alabamans brace for the largest --and most expensive--road project in Birmingham-area history: the $169 million link between Corridor X and I-65.  (Birmingham News)

Auto accidents soar on one Tuscon road; state DOT says it's because drivers aren't obeying a yield sign.  And not that many offenders are being ticketed for this offense, either.  (Arizona Star)

Your NYC subway commute may get even louder: a plan to bring cell service and Wi-Fi to underground stations is back on track.  (New York Daily News)

Parsing Nevada's rail proposals:  mag lev versus high speed versus good old fashioned diesel.  (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

New Jersey's free roadside assistance program  may be on the way out.  "I can take that $12 million and use it for asphalt," says one official.  (The Record)

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Bay Area Airport Connector Approved, Despite Concerns

Thursday, July 22, 2010

(Oakland, California - Casey Miner, KALW News)  After a marathon hearing today at which more than 20 people spoke, the BART board gave its final approval to the Oakland Airport Connector project, pending a guarantee of funds from the Port of Oakland. The project stalled earlier this year when it ran afoul of federal civil rights statues and lost $70 million in stimulus money, but roared back to life a month ago when BART found a way to fund the project without stimulus dollars.

Advocates say the 3.2-mile elevated connector will make reaching the Oakland Airport faster, easier, and more convenient than the current AirBART bus which shuttles passengers back and forth between the airport and the Coliseum BART station. In the best-case scenario, they promise thousands of new jobs for Oakland residents and as much as a 40% increase in ridership on the BART system.

But today's hearing offered little solace to those with persistent concerns about the project

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

California's Planning Problem: Bad Math (Pt. 1)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

(San Francisco, Califorina - Nathanael Johnson, KALW News)  For years, it seemed clear that freeways designed for automobiles were the cheapest way to move people from here to there.  But, in recent years, politicians and planners have started to say that cars don’t seem so cheap when you count the cost of things like the BP oil spill.  And so, California is taking the first step in the country toward real, long-distance high-speed rail.  I traveled the planned route of that rail, stopping in on supporters, detractors and those taking a hard look at the math behind a project that will cost at least $40 billion dollars by the time its done.

Part 1:

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

GAO Report: A Quarter of Bridges "Deficient"

Thursday, July 22, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) And that's an improvement. In a report released to Congress today, the GAO says "one in four bridges in the United States is either structurally deficient and in need of repair, or functionally obsolete and is not adequate for today's traffic." Turns out that's better than it was twelve years ago, but the GAO is decrying the lack of comprehensive information on state and local bridge spending. The GAO says that makes it impossible to measure whether federal bridge spending is effective, and whether localities are using federal funds to supplant spending they would have made anyway.

Read More

Comments [1]

Transportation Nation

What happens when you teardown an urban highway?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) There's a proposal in New York to tear down the Sheridan Expressway in the Bronx, and another to get rid of the southern tip of FDR drive. The idea of ripping down an urban highway produces a range of reactions -- from scoffing dismissal to a foaming frenzy. How can all those cars NOT clog urban streets? Turns out, in cities that have lost urban highways to earthquake, neglect, or just decisions by mayors and planners, traffic volume goes down, not up. Proponents of highway teardown say it's the road to development, not congestion. The story, on Marketplace.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

A Bridge Floats Down the Hudson

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

flickr user: Pro-Zak (by-nc)

(New York, NY - Collin Campbell, Transportation Nation)  A 350-foot bridge floated into New York harbor under the cover of night this morning. It’s the replacement span for the Willis Avenue Bridge and was built near Albany and sent down the river.

New York City’s Department of Transportation assembled the bridge in Coeymans, New York to avoid the impact that construction

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: NYC MTA fares up, FL motorcycle deaths down, and a bridge floats up a river

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New York's MTA is planning to cut back on its bulk discount metro cards, which is especially bad news for passengers who buy monthly passes  (WNYC).  Meanwhile, above ground, the replacement span for the Willis Avenue Bridge is floating into New York Harbor and will be towed up the East River next month.

Up to 30 people were stranded on an Alaskan highway since it flooded this weekend. (Anchorage Daily News)

A California court judges puts a halt to a suicide barrier on a  Santa Ynez Valley bridge and orders the  state DOT to recirculate a portion of the environmental impact report.  Opponents of the barrier say it will obstruct views -- and won't prevent suicides.  (Santa Barbara Daily Sound)

The Florida DOT says its state safety program helped reduce motorcycle fatalities in that state by almost 25% after a decade of increases.  (Sun Sentinel)

How is the Maryland Transportation Authority compensating passengers stranded on last month's "hell train?"  With free...train passes.   But if you're a monthly pass holder, you can't take full advantage of the offer.  (Baltimore Sun)

Early tests seem to suggest that the Toyotas cited for sudden acceleration may have done so because the drivers hit the gas pedal instead of the brake.  (Wall Street Journal)

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Big Brooklyn Bridge Contractor Got "Marginal" Rating on Minority Hiring

Friday, July 02, 2010

(Kate Hinds, WNYC) One of the main reasons WNYC decided to monitor the renovation of the Brooklyn Bridge is that we thought following this $508-million project would provide a good test case for government transparency. We would publicly mull over questions like How does the city award contracts? Where will the materials come from? Who will get the jobs? Read on, and we'll tell you how the main bridge contractor, Skanska-Koch, got a "marginal" rating for hiring women and minorities. But first...(more)

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Bay Area Bridge Toll Congestion Pricing Arrives: Chaos Does Not Ensue

Friday, July 02, 2010

Tolbooth at the Bay Bridge. Photo by Casey Miner

(Casey Miner, KALW) After months of preparation and public service announcements, on Thursday morning Caltrans and the Bay Area Toll Authority officially debuted congestion pricing on the Bay Area’s bridges. The system, used in several cities around the world but relatively new to the US, sets prices at different levels based on the volume of traffic, rather than a flat rate across the board.

Tolls on all but one of the region’s seven bridges rose to $5; on the Bay Bridge, the toll during peak commute hours – 5am-10am and 3pm-7pm – went to $6. The extra revenue will be used to pay for seismic retrofits on the Antioch and Dumbarton bridges.

It’s a major change, and one that’s required a good deal of planning.

Read More

Comments [2]

Transportation Nation

Highways get a $3.7 billion boost in House bill

Thursday, July 01, 2010

(Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation, Washington, DC) National transportation programs get a $3.7 billion dollar boost over last year in the House’s latest appropriation bill funding the Department of Transportation.

The increase includes new money for highway repairs and improvements, which have been in limbo with Congress unable to reach agreement on transportation or highway policy bills.

The House Appropriations Committee released a summary of the bill Thursday as the bill works its way through the legislative process on its way to the floor later this summer. DOT would get a total of $79.4 billion in Fiscal 2011, which begins Oct 1. That’s $3.7 billion more than the agency’s budget this year and $1.7 more than requested by President Obama.

Most of the money in the bill—$45.2 billion--goes to federal highway maintenance and construction. It’s a $3.1 billion increase designed to help fill a hole left by the stalled transportation reauthorization bill.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Transit Safety Bill Clears U.S. Senate Panel

Thursday, July 01, 2010

(Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation, Washington, DC) Transit systems across the country would have to abide by a common set of safety standards under a bill that cleared a Senate panel this week.

The bill forces public transit systems receiving federal money to adopt new minimum safety standards created at the Department of Transportation. The agency could conduct ad-hoc safety reviews, and it also gets new powers to conduct safety investigations and issue subpoenas after transit accidents.

The bill was approved by the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee earlier this week. It was largely motivated by the last year’s Metro crash in Washington, DC that killed 9 people.

It’s one of several transit safety bills circulating in Congress now. Another beefs up funding and clout at the National Transportation Safety Board.

Meanwhile, the Homeland Security Department is trying to give rail safety a boost. DHS Sec.Janet Napolitano was in New York’s Penn Thursday morning launching a new safety campaign for Amtrak.The campaign is based on the “See Something, Say Something” message familiar to New York City subway riders.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Prince Harry Causes GrId-lock at Governors Island Dock

Monday, June 28, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) Governors Island lies in New York harbor a short ferry ride from Brooklyn and Manhattan, within spitting distance of the Statue of Liberty. It's one of the jewels in the crown of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's New York, a shared public space accessible only by (free) boat, one you can get around only on foot, bike, or tram. A space filled with public art, free hammocks, and award-winning street vendor food.

But yesterday, thanks to the Prince of England, that vision of a plebian park paradise collided with, well, royalty.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

How Should Houston Spend Its Road Money?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

(Houston, TX - Melissa Galvez, KUHF NewsLab)  Regional transportation planners here are looking at less money for road projects in the coming years.  Knowing that commuters will face crowded highways and bumpy roads longer, they're connecting with motorists to ask where the money should go.  To where the people are?  Where the congestion is?  Here's more: read, listen:

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Minnesota Says It's Making Progress With Bridge Inspections

Friday, June 18, 2010

(St. Paul, Minnesota - Dan Olson, MPR News)  The Winona Bridge underscores Minnesota's aging transportation infrastructure.  State bridge inspectors on a routine inspection last week spotted  spreading corrosion, made a repair and slapped on some weight restrictions. The rust illustrates the problems associated with that 69-year-old structure and dozens of other spans around the state.

The 2007 collapse of the 35W bridge in Minneapolis put bridge safety at the top of the state's transportation agenda. In 2008, a report from the Office of the Legislative Auditor found problems with the Minnesota Department of Transportation bridge inspection system.  The Auditor's report cited untimely bridge inspections, with only 85 percent of bridges inspected within the federal 24-month standard. MnDoT had too few inspectors and documentation of maintenance performed following bridge inspections was inadequate.  State officials say they're making progress responding to bridge inspection shortcomings.

Read More

Comment