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Infrastructure

WNYC News

New Rail Spur to the Meadowlands

Monday, July 20, 2009

Governor Jon Corzine at the ribbon cutting for the new Meadowlands rail station and 2.3-mile rail spur that ties the sports complex into the New Jersey Transit network.

Governor Jon Corzine at the ribbon cutting for the new Meadowlands rail ...

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WNYC News

Upzoning in Williamsburg

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

One of Mayor Bloomberg’s lasting legacies, whether or not he goes on to a third, will be his rezonings. He’s undertaken 97 of them, more than any other mayor since 1961. Most of them were actually downzonings in outlying neighborhoods like Canarsie—where the city actually limits building heights or ...

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The Takeaway

Take the Bus, Gus (and Sam and Sue and Steve)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

A new study by the Texas Transportation Institute showed that traffic jams cost Americans 4.2 billion hours of lost time. (You could listen to the entire War and Peace audio book 160 times.) So why not just take the bus or train? In 2007, public transportation saved commuters 646 million hours in travel time and 398 millions gallons of gas. Joining The Takeaway to discuss Americans' reluctance to get out of their cars is Tim Lomax, a research engineer with the Texas Transportation Institute.

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WNYC News

Atlantic Yards Hearing Draws Overflow Crowd

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

At the MTA headquarters dozens of people have signed up to speak for or against the new deal for the Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn. There are so many spectators that the MTA has opened an overflow room with a closed circuit television. The board is expected to sell a ...

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WNYC News

Green Market in Port Authority

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Say hello to a greener Port Authority. The bus terminal near Times Square opened its first green market today, offering fresh produce and baked goods to the more than 200,000 daily commuters who pass through. Florida native Laura Zequeira was on her way to upstate New York when she picked ...

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WNYC News

Bus Rapid Transit -- Can It Make It in NYC?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Say you’re standing on Second Avenue at rush hour, and you need to get downtown fast. You look uptown, at six lanes of traffic crawling along. Delivery trucks are double parked, bus drivers are waiting for a long line of passengers to board, and there is not a free taxi in sight. In 10 years time -- planners hope -- you’ll be able to get on a bus that feels nicer than the newest subway, and get downtown just as fast. But to embark on that future, New Yorkers will have to make some tough choices about whether to privilege mass transit or private cars. I have been listening in on the debate.

Facilitator: It’s like a subway train that operates in its own track –- without tracks. Rubber wheels.

A few dozen Bronx residents are attending a one of a series of work shop on bus rapid transit in New York.

Facilitator: Also, has subway-like station spacing.

Staffers from the MTA and the city DOT are showing mock-ups of what a New York street might look like.

Bus Rapid Transit – using buses like trains. You pay before you board. The bus pulls in, multiple doors open, you don’t have any stairs. There’s a lane only for buses, and stops about every eight blocks. BRT is working already in Istanbul, Mexico City, and most notably, Bogotá, Columbia

Vincente: In Bogotá, fugeddabout it that was out of sight!

Anna Vincente works for the Bronx environmental group Nos Quedamos. She was part of working group that travelled to Bogotá to see how that city has made it vastly easier to get around while greatly reducing pollution.

Vincente: If you could do something like that, that would be phenomenal because then you don’t have to worry about long lines. When we were in Bogotá Columbia, that went like (snaps fingers) that was fabulous.

But to get to that level of fabulous, a city has to be willing to make choices –- eliminating some street parking, for example, and taking lanes of traffic from private cars. Technology is readily available to turn red lights to green for buses. But there’s a catch.

Gualtieri: It reminds me last summer when I went to the Bronx zoo with my family in the car.

Retiree Richard Gualtieri got caught on the flip side.

Gualtieri: From the entrance to the Bronx zoo took a half an hour because it was constantly red so it could be green for the Fordham and it was unbelievable, half an hour, hungry kids.

The Fordham. That’s the so-called select bus service that links Upper Manhattan to the Bronx. It’s not BRT. It's a regular bus, with steps. But it shares some BRT features.

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The Takeaway

Denver's Design for the Future: The "New Suburbia"

Friday, June 12, 2009

In Denver, Colorado, a group of urban planners and architects gather this week to debate urban design. How can suburbia and downtown get closer? Joining The Takeaway from Denver is Ellen Dunham, the Director of the Architecture program at Georgia Institute of Technology and the co-author of "Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs".

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The Takeaway

City of the Future? Denver's New Urbanism

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

This week The Takeaway looks at how cities are reinventing themselves for a world that doesn't depend on cars. Transportation writer (and Takeaway Contributor) Matt Dellinger is in Denver, CO, a town that has epitomized American urban sprawl. But Denver wants to reinvent itself and as the host city for the Congress on New Urbanism, the city is well on its way to streamlining its infrastructure. Also joining the conversation is Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, to discuss how his city is reshaping itself.

Above is the 3-minute video that won the Congress for the New Urbanism's 2009 video contest. It's called "Built to Last" and it is from filmmakers First + Main Media from Julian, CA and Paget Films from Buffalo, NY (John Paget, Dr. Chris Elisara, and Drew Ward).

Follow along on The Takeaway's Urban Safari series.

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WNYC News

BRT in L.A.: "The Valley's New Shortcut"

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The orange bus rapid transit line in Los Angeles has been running since 2005. The BRT -- as it's called -- runs 14 miles along the San Fernando Valley on abandoned train line. It imitates a train -- with station stops, pre-paid boarding, and signal priority at red lights. This ...

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WNYC News

Breaking Ground in NJ on a Massive Transportation Project

Monday, June 08, 2009

Governor Jon Corzine and union leaders applauded the start of the massive project which they predict will generate 6,000 construction jobs and be completed by 2017.

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WNYC News

Atlantic Yards, for Better or Worse

Monday, June 01, 2009

small-ay-fbush-avenue

Atlantic Yards is looking like a worse and worse deal for the city treasury, according to the Independent Budget Office. Back in 2005, the nonpartisan IBO said the new Nets arena would bring the city $28.5 million more in tax ...

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WNYC News

Colombia's Transmilleneo: Bus Rapid Transit

Friday, May 29, 2009

If you haven't noticed, New York City is in the midst of re-thinking its street space. One person who's been influential in articulating the philosophy behind those changes is the former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia --- Enrique Pena Losa.

I recently sat down with Penalosa, who brought-the Transmilleneo system to ...

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WNYC News

Should NYC Turn Street Space Over to Buses? Hearings Start Tonight

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Been hearing about how BRT works in Bogotá and Cleveland on WNYC? Good for you, you're ahead of the curve! Now you can go to a hearing in your borough to see whether a BRT is slated to come to a neighborhood near you, and what ...

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WNYC News

Cleveland's Health Line: A Boost for Transit and for Business?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Reported by Dan Moulthrop

As American cities increasingly look to expand their transit options -- but keep costs low -- many planners are looking at Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT. The city of Cleveland, Ohio, launched a BRT, called the Health Line, about six months ago with two promises. The first: better, more efficient public transit on an important city artery. The second promise was more nebulous: that the BRT would provide an economic boost to the city's depressed downtown. In WNYC's look at BRTs around the world, Reporter Dan Moulthrop takes a look at how it's going in Cleveland.

Let's start with the buses.

CALABRESE: The vehicles we use are not buses, they're Rapid Transit Vehicles.

And the difference?

CALABRESE: A couple hundred thousand dollars.

Joe Calabrese is the CEO of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. And, he's really proud of the new BRT system. So proud, he still cherishes last year’s bus-of-the-month calendar from a manufacturer that featured Cleveland’s new vehicle.

CALABRESE: The uniqueness is the rail-like design and the rail-like operation. We really designed, built and are operating this as if it were a rail system. The only difference is that they’re operating on rubber tires.

Cleveland’s Bus Rapid Transit line has been running since last October. Euclid Avenue wasn’t supposed to be serviced by fancy buses. In the early 1990s, city leaders pushed for a surface rail line, but the cost for the four-mile line would have been close to a billion dollars. Like New York, perhaps, only more so, Cleveland couldn’t afford that. So the city leaders put their hope in what they saw as the next best much cheaper thing. And they said—and privately hoped—it would spur the economic development the same way light rail has in Portland, Oregon, and other cities.

The downtown end of Euclid Avenue is lined with tall historic buildings—mostly empty. This part of the city stood in for New York in parts of the movie Spiderman Three. Here, it’s not difficult to understand the need for economic development.

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The Takeaway

Get On The Bus, Gus: Bus Rapid Transit Takes Hold

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

With shrinking budgets and expanding populations, cities across the globe are desperate for cheap mass transit. From Johannesburg to Jakarta to Cleveland, city governments are choosing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)— a bus system that acts like a train but with no tracks or rails. The Takeaway talks to freelance reporter Steven Dudley, who explored the successful BRT system in Bogota, Colombia, and to Dan Moulthrop, reporter for WCPN, Cleveland Public Radio, where the city has been making the transition to a Bus Rapid Transit system.

To see the buses in action, watch the film below:

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The Takeaway

Re-Making Times Square

Monday, May 25, 2009

One of the most famously congested and crowded spots in the world is Times Square in New York City. Starting today, segments of its main thoroughfare, Broadway, will be closed to cars. In their place will be more room for pedestrians, and even cafe tables and chairs. The city says the plan will actually relieve traffic congestion. Transportation writer Matt Dellinger joins The Takeaway with a look at why New York is taking this step, and what it might mean for cities around the U.S.

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WNYC News

A Colombian Model for the MTA?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New York City's transit system faces two almost-certain realities. Its ridership will swell. And it will continue to struggle financially. But planners are hoping to bring a new type of transit to the city -- Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT. More than an express route, BRT is designed to act like an above-ground light rail system, but at a fraction of the cost. Reporter Steven Dudley begins a WNYC series on BRT with a report from Bogotá, Colombia, which has emerged as an unexpected model for BRT systems around the globe.


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The Takeaway

What the Transportation Bill Really Means

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Forget the fight over fuel efficiency standards. An even more controversial measure is on the horizon — the transportation reauthorization bill. It only comes up for debate every six years and could transform the way we commute and travel. Here to explain the behemoth transportation bill is Congressman Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from Eugene, Oregon.

For more on the transportation debate taking place across the country, listen to Miles O'Brien's interview, Traffic Jam: How to Reduce Congestion, on The Takeaway. Also, hear the lively debate on the fuel standards, California, Here We Come: New Fuel Standards.
"We’ve really been living off the legacy of the Eisenhower era ... And we haven’t even done a very good job of taking care of that legacy."
—Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio on transportation reform

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The Takeaway

Traffic Jam: How to Reduce Congestion

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

By 2050, there will be 130 million more people in the country, relying on an increasingly aging and inadequate transportation system. The stimulus money is supposed to help— tens of billions of dollars are slated to revitalize states' infrastructure. But how should that money be spent in order to actually reduce congestion? Joining The Takeaway is Miles O’Brien. He's a correspondent for Blueprint America and has just finished a documentary called Road to the Future, which looks at how Denver, Portland, Ore., and New York City are rethinking transit.

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WNYC News

A Seriously Ambitious Plan for Green Homes

Friday, May 15, 2009

Environmentalists have long considered energy efficiency the low-hanging fruit of cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Not as sexy as solar panels, but real savings that can be achieved right now.

Here's the obstacle: few homeowners are willing to swallow the up-front cost of improvements that will only pay for themselves over ...

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