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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Transpo Contractors Investigated Over Minority Hires, DC Metro Shakeup Coming, and Monetizing Old Car Batteries

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Arrive early and bring your patience: It's the biggest travel day of the year!

And it's snowing in the cities of Transportation Nation partners Minnesota Public Radio (Minneapolis) and Yellowstone Public Radio (Billings.) Could start snowing soon at WDET (Detroit).

In other news...

Did two of New York's largest construction companies finesse minority hiring requirements in order to win contracts? Federal authorities are investigating Schiavone and the U.S. unit of Swedish construction company Skanska AB. Skanska is working on a number of transit projects, including the Brooklyn Bridge rehabilitation, the 2nd Avenue Subway, and the PATH terminal at the World Trade Center site. (Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New York Daily News)

DC Metro shakeup in the works? The governors of Maryland and Virginia and the incoming D.C. mayor directed their top transportation officials to come up with a detailed plan for carrying out broad changes in how Metro is run. (Washington Post)

After your Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt dies, what will happen to its lithium-ion battery?  Automakers are trying to find ways to monetize old batteries. (Wired)

Riders at NYC's Union Square subway station might wonder: does this train go to Hogwarts? (New York Daily News).

The number of bicyclists in Portland continues to rise--8% increase over 2009. 190% increase (yes, 190%) since 2000. (KPTV)

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Transportation Nation

The Winding Path to Build an Unusual--and Expensive--Bike Lane

Friday, November 19, 2010

(Minneapolis -- Dan Olsen, MPR) An unusual, and expensive, bike trail through one of the most hectic areas of Minneapolis may not open this year. The Cedar Lake bike trail, just slightly more than one-mile long, is eagerly awaited by cycling enthusiasts, but the path to building it has been long and difficult.

City of Minneapolis civil engineer Jack Yuzna says building this stretch of the Cedar Lake biking and walking trail in downtown Minneapolis is one of the most challenging projects in his professional career.

Yuzna says it involves negotiations with office building owners, a railroad company, various levels of government and the Minnesota Twins.

"We're actually walking underneath the promenade overhead of the Target Field ball park," Yuzna said while showing the project. "And if you listen you can hear there's a freight train passing through which was all part of the complexities of building the ball park along with the trail."

Bicycling advocates have been waiting 20 years for the link.

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Transportation Nation

Moving Stories: 42 killed in Chinese plane crash; LA mayor: give bikes 3 feet; Twin Cities two-tier bus system

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Survivor of Chinese plane crash describes descent, malfunctioning exits on Embraer (LA Times)

Poor Visibility may have caused Alaska crash that killed former Sen. Stevens (WSJ)

China Railway in talks to build $30 Billion South African bullet-train (Bloomberg)

LA mayor backs law requiring motorists to give cyclists three feet on roads (Streets Blog)

Twin Cities asks: Are two tiers of bus service really fair?  (Star Tribune)

LA city officials debate parking regulations that will keep food trucks away from restaurants (KPCC)

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Transportation Nation

Engineering Firm to Pay $52.4M in Bridge Collapse

Monday, August 23, 2010

(St. Paul, Minn. - MPR News)  More than 100 victims and their family members have reached a settlement agreement with an engineering contractor over the Interstate 35W bridge collapse in 2007.  MPR News is covering.

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Transportation Nation

Report: Cycling Accidents Down Along Minneapolis Bike Lane - So are Cyclists

Friday, July 30, 2010

Photo: MPR

Photo: MPR

(Minneapolis -- Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio)   Minneapolis city officials say bike lanes have made biking safer -- but cyclists say new routes are confusing, and the number of cyclists along those routes is actually down.

Minneapolis is known as one of the more bike-friendly cities in the U.S. and has the largest-scale bike-share program in the U.S.

The city's report examined data from the first six months following the changes. The report found that the number of bicycle crashes on the downtown stretch of Hennepin and First Avenues dropped from a yearly average of about 12 to zero in the past six months.

"Although a longer study is needed, the data so far shows greatly improved bicycle safety in the corridor," city officials said in a statement accompanying Tuesday's report.

Despite the improved safety record, the report found that six months after the changes, bicycle ridership on the downtown blocks of Hennepin Avenue had dropped by more than 50 percent.

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Transportation Nation

Minneapolis Rolls Out Bike Share

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Friends Mark Hawkins, right, and Sherri Juenemann stopped to check out one of the new Nice Ride bicycle kiosks in Minneapolis. Nice Ride is the largest bike sharing program in the country, and allows riders to pick up, use, and drop off bicycles throughout Minneapolis for a user fee. (MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson)

(Minneapolis, MN - Dan Olson, MPR News) - As of today, residents of the Twin Cities can zip around on two wheels with one of the nation's largest bike share programs.  Seven hundred "Nice Ride" bikes are available for rent at 65 locations.

Nice Ride Minnesota Executive director Bill Dossett says downtown Minneapolis office workers are among his many potential customers.  Dossett said many workers arrive downtown by transit. Instead of going to a nearby meeting by bus or train they can rent a bike for $5 or for a yearly subscription of $60.

"Another group that we've seen in other cities that really use bike share are students. So, you've got all those students at the University [of Minnesota], at Augsburg and other colleges around downtown," Dossett said. "You've got a lot of them use public transportation and having the bike as additional tool they can use with the bus is really a great asset to them.  More.

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Transportation Nation

Boston Bike Share Postponed

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

(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.

But cheer up bike share enthusiasts. As MPR reports, Minnesota's bike share starts tomorrow. And DC's now has a name.

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Transportation Nation

Why Don't More Women Bike to Work?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Female biker's feet in heels

Rachel Bents, St. Paul consultant, now bikes to work after to give up her leased car a few weeks ago. (MPR Photo/Dan Olson)

(Minneapolis, MN - Dan Olson, MPR News) - The folks who organize national Bike and Walk to Work Week here are making an effort to address cycling's gender imbalance.  Surveys continue to show that more than two out of three bicyclists in this country are male.

Different cities are taking different approaches to try bring some balance to the equation.  Organizers in Minnesota are sponsoring rides specifically for women, in an effort to introduce and orient new riders on city streets.  Participants will get bright red T-shirts, urging women to wear red to show their commitment to women's health.

Still, a significant determinant in bike commuting - for women or men - is where you choose to live.  More enthusiastic bike commuters say they live where they know they can bike.  More.


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Transportation Nation

Bixi: Big Expansion of Washington DC's Bike Share System

Friday, May 21, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) -- "Bixi roulera de Washington a Washington" announces the website of the Montreal-based BIXI bike sharing company today.

Here's a partial (and somewhat loose) translation from the French: "The capital of the United States, Washington, District of Columbia, its neighbor, the city of Arlington, Virginia, as well as the campus of Washington State University, situated on the west coast, in the state of Washington, are adopting bike share systems like the one that made its debut in Montreal just a year ago. Starting this fall, 1,100 new BIXI's will be available in one of 114 stations that will be installed in the heart of the Washington/Arlington area, and 30 will be available to students on the campus of Washington State University."

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Studio 360

Now Playing: The Language of Names

Saturday, February 16, 2002

Alan Berliner’s installation of names opens this weekend at the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis. The filmmaker talks about how his fascination with identity has been building for years. 

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