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By Day, An MTA Board Member; By Night, Paul McCartney's Fiancee

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Nancy Shevell NY MTA Board member and famous fiancee. (Photo: NY MTA)

(New York, NY -Jim O'Grady, WNYC) For ten years, New York MTA Board member Nancy Shevell has been going to meetings at the authority's headquarters in Midtown Manhattan. This week, she attended her first meeting as the fiancee of singer Paul McCartney.

Maybe they were amazed, Ms. Shevell's fellow board members, to see her conducting business as usual as chairwoman of the bus operations committee after she became engaged to McCartney earlier this month.

The development has certainly sharpened the contrast between the two sides of Shevell's life. By night, she steps through swarms of paparazzi on her way to A-list events, the ex-Beatle on her arm. By day, she presides over discussions about the latest additions to the city's articulated bus fleet.

"At no charge to us?," she asked an MTA staffer who'd reported a manufacturer would be repairing defective seat brackets on a new set of buses. When told yes, she reacted procedurally: "OK, a motion...a second...all in favor...?"

Former New York Governor George Pataki appointed Shevell to the NY MTA board in 2001. She is vice president of New England Motor freight, her family’s trucking company in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The Daily Mail, a British tabloid, calls her "the most glamorous trucking executive in the world."

The newspaper, along with other publications, also refers to her as a "millionairess."

She and her ex-husband Bruce Blakeman, who she divorced in 2009, have been major contributors to the Republican Party. Blakeman is a lawyer who's been been on the NY-NJ Port Authority board and was such an effective fundraiser that the party tapped him to run for New York state controller in 1998, a race he lost. He also ran unsuccessfully in 2010 against U.S. Senator Kirstin Gillibrand.

Shevell's political contributions have leaned heavily Republican. Her list of favored candidates has included Alfonse D'Amato, Rudy Giuliani and the Republican National Committee. Pataki frequently appointed donors with that kind of track record to posts on public authorities.

Shevell began dating McCartney in 2007, when he saw her standing there at an event in the Hamptons, where they both have houses. He's a British knight so once they're married, the rules of etiquette will require her to be called Lady McCartney.

Her fellow MTA board members might need some time to get used to that. Like the one at the committee meeting who needed her attention so he yelled, "Hey, Nanc!" She replied, "Yes?" Just as she did to Sir Paul's wedding proposal, perhaps without the question mark.

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As New York City's Job Rate Rises, So Does Subway Ridership

Friday, May 27, 2011

(Photo by AZY_NYC / Flickr Creative Commons)

(New York, NY - Jim O'Grady, WNYC) Even though the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority raised subway fares three times in the past three years, subway ridership is on the rise. That may be a sign of an improving economy.

New Yorkers experienced a 17 percent fare hike last December, one of the biggest ever. But except for a slight dip during the January blizzards, subway ridership has risen every month since, according to data given to Transportation Nation by the New York MTA.

The authority says subway ridership tracks employment -- when the job rate goes up, so does the number of straphangers.

In 2008, after a nearly seven percent fare increase, subway ridership went up nine months in a row. The opposite happened in 2009, when the recession moved transit use in one direction: downward.

Unlike the subway, New York's buses have seen dwindling numbers of riders in recent years. And after the largest bus route cuts in a generation last June, even fewer city residents have been taking the bus.

The ability of straphangers to absorb yet another fare hike will be tested next year, when the New York MTA is set to raise fares again by 13 percent.

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New York MTA's Website Promises More Timetables, Transit Apps

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

(New York, NY -- Jim O'Grady, WNYC) The NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority's website just got a makeover. It now sports a simplified design and better tools for planning trips and saving money on fares.

The new homepage lets riders find out if delays are expected at a particular time in the future because of construction work, while the old site only let people check the current status. And the "service status" function--which gives updates on everything from closures on bridges to escalator breakdowns--can now be installed as a widget on other websites.

The site famously failed last January when some 500,000 users at once tried to access the site during a 19-inch snowstorm. Users were given a plain text version of the site. The MTA said at the time it was a victim of its own success, and had attracted more users than it can handle.

The MTA site also features 36 mobile apps by independent companies that do things like help riders pick the subway car that will get them closest to their exit and compile travel alerts and advisories.

Riders can use the site's "Ways to Save" box to find out whether they qualify for reduced fares.

What do you think?

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Taxi Bathrooms and Disabled Transit Award Finalists

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Taxi Driver John McDonagh (Kathleen Horan/WNYC)

Where do NYC cabs stop for bathroom breaks?   How are disabled riders coping with bus cuts?  WNYC's Kathleen Horan and Ailsa Chang's terrific stories on these issues were both Deadline Club Award finalists.  If you missed these stories, catch them here, you're in for a treat!

Relief in Short Supply for the  City's Taxi Drivers is here.

Disability Groups Suing MTA Over Transit Cuts is here.

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TN Moving Stories: NJ Gov Christie No Friend to Commuters, and Hydrofracking Leads to Attorney Boom

Monday, May 16, 2011

NJ Governor Christie's approach to transportation has led to higher tolls and more expensive transit.  (NY Times)

Automakers are trying to convince the Chinese to drive electric vehicles -- not an easy sell. "In addition to general suspicions of new technology and logistics of where to plug the cars in, there is also a huge problem with Chinese government oversight and regulation." (NPR)

NY's MTA is testing out buses which apparently have low ceilings and cramped legroom. (NY Post)

The U.S. natural gas boom is paving the way for another kind of all-American boom: litigation. (Marketplace)

The NY Times has a photo essay about old subway cars used as reefs -- a practice which is ending.  (Can't help but note that WNYC had this story a year ago, almost to the day. )

Ray LaHood returned to his alma mater to deliver the commencement address; video below. (FastLane)

According to a Detroit Free Press editorial, transportation in Grand Rapids is one of the reasons why that city is in better shape than Detroit.

British author Robert Penn already owned six bicycles -- but none of them was the perfect one. NPR interviewed him about his quest to build the perfect bike.

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In case you  missed it on Transportation Nation:

-- DC's DOT is losing key staff, and the mayor has yet to appoint a head (link)

-- Boston says 1/3 of transit riders are using transit apps (link)

-- the AAA says 630 bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2009 (link)

-- does driving make you fat? Could be. (link)


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TN Moving Stories: High-Speed Rail Grants Announced, NY's MTA To Unveil its "Post-MetroCard" Future, and Will There Be A "No Ride" List on Amtrak?

Monday, May 09, 2011

Fifteen states and Amtrak will receive Florida's rejected high-speed rail money (AP).  The Northeast will get the biggest share; California and the Midwest also benefit (Bloomberg). Ray LaHood will be making announcements in both New York and Detroit today; stay tuned to TN for the latest.

(photo by Steven Vance/Flickr)

Meanwhile, an Amtrak derailment under New York's East River caused LIRR delays. (NY Daily News)

PATH service is back on schedule after yesterday's crash in which a train overshot the Hoboken (NJ) platform. (Star-Ledger)

Senator Schumer wants to implement a "no ride" list on Amtrak to guard against terrorist attacks. (Reuters)

An allegedly drunk tour bus driver killed a pedestrian in Manhattan this weekend. (NY Times)

The next iteration of NY's MetroCard is being unveiled this week. In the future, you could use either a credit card or the MTA's version of the E-Z Pass to ride transit. (NY Daily News)

Big week ahead on the House and Senate floors over offshore drilling and oil-and-gas industry tax breaks. (The Hill)

A Marketplace staffer talks about commuting in LA on an electric bike.

More on San Francisco's dynamic parking pricing. “If it works in San Francisco, the whole world will take notice,” says one urban planner. (NY Times)

The New York Post editorializes about the recent council hearing about the city DOT pedestrian plaza program.

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In case you missed it on Transportation Nation:

--we're crowdsouring bike tickets; let us know if you were pulled over while on two wheels (link)

--rising fuel prices spur farmers to become more creative (link)

--President Obama is connecting the dots between terrorism and fuel-efficient transportation (link)

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TN Moving Stories: EU Wants To Ban Conventional Cars in Cities by 2050, and NY's Bike Lanes Continue to Fascinate the Media

Monday, March 28, 2011

A European Union policy paper calls for halving conventional cars in cities by 2030 -- and banning combustion engines altogether by 2050. "Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas also set out plans to shift half of "middle distance journeys" from road to rail, and to cut shipping emissions by 40%. He said: 'Freedom to travel is a basic right for our citizens. Curbing mobility is not an option. Nor is business is usual.'" (BBC, Bloomberg)

Massachusetts is vying for the high-speed rail funds rejected by Florida, and the Boston Globe writes about the state's application process -- and how state officials all got on the same page.

Meanwhile, New York City's bike lanes continue to be covered by the world's major media outlets. An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal says the lawsuit over a Brooklyn bike lane "isn't a culture war, as many would have it. It's about New Yorkers who want to walk safely across the street—maybe even while smoking a cigarette or eating a salty pretzel." The New York Times writes of Senator Charles Schumer's reticence to go on record about whether he supports the bike lane -- or the lawsuit. And the British paper The Guardian asks: "is New York really "too New York" for cycling ever to be acceptably mainstream?"

Banner recently spotted on Bergen Street and 4th Avenue, Brooklyn (photo by Jody Avirgan/WNYC)

San Antonio launched a bike-sharing program this weekend, the first of its type in Texas. (Houston Chronicle)

New York collects 90 tons of garbage a day on the subway system. (NY Daily News)

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is backing legislation that would allow cities to rail fuel-efficiency standards in taxis.  From an email sent by her office: "Just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked a New York City program aimed to create a fuel-efficient taxi fleet, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and TLC Commissioner David Yassky will announce federal legislation ...(today)  MARCH 28th that would allow all major cities to raise fuel efficiency standards for taxis. With the City’s green taxi plan now at a legal impasse, an act of Congress is required to give the City and other local governments the ability to upgrade to fuel-efficient taxi fleets."

The Cincinnati Zoo installed four acres of solar panels over its parking lot, which should produce 20% of its energy needs. (USA Today)

A Baltimore Sun transportation reporter writes about driver's ed and bicycles: "Most likely, the subject of interacting with bicycles got short shrift in your driver's ed class...many of us could use such a bit of midlife education in the things our driving instructors failed to mention. And nowhere is that more apparent than in the devastating consequences of clumsy interactions between motor vehicles and bicycles."

San Mateo County's "Comprehensive Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan" has some people worried about what they call a lack of coordination at the county level, leading to a patchwork network of bike routes. The plan lists projects throughout the county’s 20 cities that would cost an estimated $57 million to build and cover some 290.4 miles of roadway. (San Francisco Examiner)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: New York State is continuing to issue thousands of parking placards -- despite Governor Cuomo's promise to end "business as usual." A recent air traffic control issue has raised larger questions about how towers are staffed. And: high-speed rail might be dead in Florida, but some are hoping that the governor will agree to move forward with a commuter rail project.

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As Massive Bus Cuts Loom, Long Islanders Get Emotional At Hearing

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Long Island Bus (photo from mta.info)

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) An emotional NYC MTA hearing went well into the night last night in Hempstead. The transit authority is considering cutting service for some 16,000 Long Island Bus riders beginning this summer. And the financially troubled Nassau County government says it wants to privatize all bus service.

Alfonso Castillo covers transportation for Newsday.  He was at the hearings at Hofstra University, and he spoke with WNYC's Amy Eddings about what happened at the hearing, what the cuts would mean for some Long Islanders, and what the next steps are.

You can listen to the interview here.

Read more about the hearing here. For more about Nassau County's troubled finances, go here and here.

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TN Moving Stories: Japanese Automakers Scale Back US Production, Miami Beach Begins Bike Share, and Chinatown Bus Riders Undeterred

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chinatown bus (Sam Lewis/WNYC)

Many travelers have remained undeterred from taking Chinatown buses in the wake of two deadly crashes this week involving smaller bus lines. (WNYC)

Some Japanese automakers are scaling back US production as they assess the difficulty in getting parts from Japan. (NPR)

And the NY Times reports, of life in Tokyo: "In a nation where you can set your watch by a train’s arrival and a conductor apologizes for even a one-minute delay, rolling blackouts have forced commuters to leave early so they will not be stranded when the trains stop running." (NY Times)

Transit agencies, experiencing a rider increase because of higher gas prices,  would like more money - but no one wants to raise the gas tax, and Congressman John Mica says he won't support an increase in transit funding. (WSJ)

A new report says Indiana's increased restrictions on teen drivers have resulted in a steep reduction in car accidents involving young drivers. (Indiana University)

There's a new bike share program in Miami Beach -- DECOBIKE began operations yesterday. (Miami Herald)

The Chinese government has halted a tree removal program for planned subway construction in Beijing after residents protested. (Xinhua)

The NYT writes about real estate developers and NY's MTA. “The MTA has learned the hard way that it is one thing to ask a developer to make an upfront capital investment, and quite another one to maintain something on a day-to-day basis over the years," says one policy analyst.

The governor of Rhode Island said the state needs to stop borrowing money to pay for transportation projects. (The Providence Journal)

Opponents of the bike lane on Prospect Park West offer up an alternative: move it a block. NYC DOT says “the ‘compromise’ doesn’t hold up.” (Brooklyn Paper)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: the Northeast Corridor is now a federally designated high-speed rail corridor. Lawmakers are trying -- once again -- to create an infrastructure bank. And a subway artist passes away.

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TN Moving Stories: As Gas Prices Rise, So Does Public Transit Ridership, and See Google's Street View Trike

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Los Angeles says that higher gas prices are pushing more people onto that city's public transit (KABC-TV). Raleigh is experiencing the same ridership spike (News & Observer).

Meanwhile, LA's City Council approved a bicycle master plan that sets a long-term goal of some 1,680 miles of interconnected bikeways and calls for 200 miles of the new bike paths to be added every five years. (AP via Silicon Valley Mercury News)

Georgia may tweak its gas tax so that the rate rises with inflation--and be pegged to the cost of road construction. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Say hello to Google's street view trike, which can boldly go where no car can:

New York's $370 million subway communications network is years late and $76 million over budget. (NY Daily News)

DOT Secretary Ray LaHood wants your questions; he'll supply video answers. (FastLane blog)

D.C. Council member and former mayor Marion Barry has racked up so many parking tickets that his car has been booted. (Washington Post)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: Two Florida senators filed a lawsuit to force Governor Rick Scott to accept the feds' high-speed rail money. The Governor was not amused. Metro-North's beleaguered New Haven line will have full service restored -- and gets some new cars to boot.  We take a look at a California court decision on transportation equity. And: where should the seed money to fund an infrastructure bank come from? One person's idea: inducing US multi-nationals to repatriate some of their foreign profits with a tax holiday--and using those funds as seed money.

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NY MTA Chief Spars With Legislators Over Paying for Transit With Payroll Tax

Monday, February 28, 2011

(New York, NY - Jim O'Grady, WNYC) In a sometimes heated hearing, state legislators and NYC Chairman Jay Walder squared off on the payroll tax that the NY state legislature approved in 2009 to bail out the agency. The tax applies to businesses in the twelve counties the MTA serves in an around New York City.

"We are paying greater freight in the suburbs for the services that are basically New York City services," said Assemblywoman Nancy Calhoun from Orange and Rockland Counties, reflecting a common view among suburban legislators.

Walder said he didn't see the tax as a short-term fix but a part of the MTA's permanent financing solution. "I don't foresee a plan in any time frame in which you can phase out the payroll tax," he said, when asked if the MTA could ever balance its budget without it.

Walder said the tax--in which each employer pays one-third of one percent of its payroll to the state--brings in $1.4 billion a year to the authority. That's fifteen times the money saved by all of last year's service cuts.

Walder said the MTA wouldn't raise fares or cut service to meet its 2011 budget. But he wouldn't rule out adding more layoffs to the 1,700 workers laid off last year.

New York Governor Cuomo has repeatedly said that he is open to a "better way" of funding the MTA than by a payroll tax. But has yet to propose an alternative.

The payroll tax was part of a bailout package proposed by Richard Ravitch, the former MTA chief who later became Lt. Governor under David Paterson. Ravitch had initially proposed the tax in conjunction with a toll on the East River Bridges that are now free -- including the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg Bridges.  But those tolls were rejected, and a watered-down package including the payroll tax, a taxi-cab surcharge, and a tax on rental cars was ultimately passed.

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TN Moving Stories: Maryland's Transpo Woes, GM Reports Profits, and TED Takes On Transportation

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Although Virginia gets a lot of attention for its transportation woes, Maryland may be in a worse position. (Washington Post)

General Motors says it earned $4.7 billion last year -- the most in a decade -- and turned its first profit since 2004. (NY Times)

Google invests in a company that could make electric cars more efficient. (AltTransport)

New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority approved a five-year contract with McKinsey & Company -- where Jay Walder once worked -- to help managers cut costs in a range of expected purchases totaling $880 million. (NY Daily News)

At a field hearing in California, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chair John Mica said “Anyone who comes to Los Angeles and thinks we do not need improvements in transportation must be living on another planet." Meanwhile, LA Mayor Villaraigosa tells the committee he has some ideas about how to fund mass transit. (Los Angeles Times)

TED takes on transportation: the TEDActive Mobility Project is exploring ways to reduce the cost, time and necessity of driving. (PSFK)

RayLaHood blogs about streetcars.

Streetsblog reports on a wide-ranging panel discussion about the future of large infrastructure projects in the NY region.

Second Avenue Sagas looks at yet another plan for a trans-Hudson tunnel that's making the rounds -- wonders "if too many cooks are stirring the cross-Hudson soup."

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: With two days left to save Florida's high-speed rail program, talks are ongoing -- but the governor remains unconvinced. The NRDC lists its 15 "smart cities" for public transit. Chicago has elected a mayor who is pro-bike and pro-transit. And greater Houston politicians may vote to curtail funding for alternative transit projects.

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TN Moving Stories: DOT Doesn't Like Mica HSR Plan, Israel Lowers Transit Fares, and Some Cities Get On Board With A "Crash Tax"

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Department of Transportation doesn't like Congressman Mica's plan to scale back Florida's high-speed rail. (Miami Herald)

A New York Times editorial accuses some federal fund-rejecting governors of trying to "keep up with the Christies."

Census data shows that Chicago's central core gained population over the past decade, while outlying neighborhoods lost. (Chicago Tribune)

Some communities are imposing a "crash tax" -- a fee for services -- after car accidents. (Marketplace)

Israel's cabinet lower bus and rail fares and increase subsidies in an effort to encourage the use of public transportation as an alternative to private vehicles. “This will greatly benefit society,” said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. “Who uses public transportation?  Not the people in the top decile, but rather those without means and those who want to, and can, use buses and trains, as well as whole groups of people who want to avoid traffic jams while entering cities.  We want to encourage this." (Jerusalem Post)

The NY Daily News's Pete Donohue says the MTA knew it needed better snow-thrower cars two years ago -- but "relies in part on a bunch of deafening relics" to clear the tracks.

The Star-Ledger profiles Jim Weinstein, the head of NJ Transit, and previews the "balanced scorecard" the agency plans to release this summer detailing on-time performance, employee safety, financial stability and customer service.

Snow day tweet, courtesy of Newark Mayor Cory Booker: "Snow Snow get out of here/ Leave my city alone until Jan of next year/ Snow Snow I want rain instead/Cause of u my budget is heading 2 red"

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: John Mica proposes a plan to save Florida's high-speed rail, after Rick Scott's rejection of the program leaves bidders perplexed. DC's new mayor slams his predecessor over transportation. And: do more cyclists mean safer streets?

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TN Moving Stories: Metro-North Gets Earful from CT Commuters; Home Buyers Moving Closer to Transit, and Florida Pols Try to Save That State's HSR

Friday, February 18, 2011

NY's MTA scrapped plans to hire the main technology company working on the city's scandal-plagued CityTime project. (NY Daily News)

Metro-North got an earful from Connecticut commuters about this winter's service woes. "We need a reliable commuting system. This is not just an inconvenience, it's affecting our economy," said one. (Hartford Courant)

Home buyers are moving closer to public transit. (Marketplace; adapted from Back of the Bus)

Princeton University and local officials meet to try to resolve issues over the university's $300 million arts and transit neighborhood. (Star-Ledger)

Florida politicians try to save that state's high-speed rail project. (Marketplace)

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford “can’t get into details” on his ambitious plan to privately fund $5-billion worth of subway, but he says residents should feel confident they’re getting the transit they voted for. (The Globe and Mail)

Good posts a beautiful film about cycling in Copenhagen.

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: Florida politicians met with RayLaHood to try to make an end run around Governor Scott's decision to refuse federal money for high-speed rail. California tells feds: if they don't want the HSR money, we'll take it. Delta got hit with a $2 million fine for violating disability rules. And rural residents are losing access to intercity transportation.

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TN Moving Stories: NYC Council Votes To Improve Bike, Pedestrian Crash Data, Toronto Wants Private $ For Subway, and What's HSR's Future Looking Like?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Now that Florida's governor has 'pulled a Christie,' what does that mean for the future of the country's high speed rail program? (The Takeaway)

Good time for an ominous Ray LaHood tweet: "We have choices to make—not between left and right, but between forward and backward."

New York's City Council unanimously passed a suite of bills that will require police to provide monthly reports of traffic accidents and summonses -- as well as require the city's Department of Transportation begin annual reporting on the number of bike and pedestrian crashes broken down by police precincts. (WNYC)

Toronto's mayor is seeking private money to extend that city's subway. (Toronto Star)

The head of the influential U.S. Chamber of Commerce threw his support Wednesday behind Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's proposal to speed the building of local transportation projects. (Los Angeles Times)

The Bay Area's transportation funding agency doesn't discriminate against minorities by steering state and federal dollars to trains instead of buses, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday in dismissing a suit by AC Transit riders. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Should we focus on mass transit ...or mass transit AND road improvements? Maryland's Montgomery County Council can't decide. (The Gazette)

A NYC bus driver quizzes his passengers -- then leads the bus in song. The M86 has never been this much fun. (via NYC The Blog)

NY's MTA Board's committees will meet throughout the day today, starting at 8:30 a.m. Watch the meetings live: http://bit.ly/mtawebcast

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: High speed rail will not come to Disneyworld.  Or will it? And: New Jersey lawmakers present a united front in opposition to repaying feds for cancelled ARC tunnel, while Houston METRO gets a refund from a Spanish rail car supplier.

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TN Moving Stories: Maryland Population Growth Expected Near Transit, Transpo Groups Like President's Budget, And NCDOT Combats Junk in Your Trunk

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Transportation groups have much to like in President Obama’s budget request for infrastructure improvements -- but fear the spending plan might not get off the ground in Congress. (The Hill)

Planners in Montgomery County, Maryland, expect population growth will happen around transit centers and mixed use developments near the area's Metrorail station. (WAMU)

Christine Quinn announced her plan to ease NYC's parking restrictions and introduce new legislation that would allow ticket agents to literally "tear up" tickets. (WNYC)  Also: Quinn will be on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show today, and it's safe to say that this parking plan will come up in the conversation.

A political battle brewing over the New Starts transit funding program could endanger at least $394 million for Minneapolis's Central Corridor light-rail line. (Star-Tribune)

The North Carolina DOT has launched a campaign to combat junk in your trunk. Drive lighter, save money at the pump:

Ray LaHood takes to his blog -- and Twitter, and Facebook -- to defend the president's high-speed rail plan in the face of critics. "As the Secretary of Transportation, let me be clear: there is no amount of money that could build enough capacity on our highways and at airports to keep up with our expected population growth in coming decades."

Greece's socialist government was able to pass its sweeping public transportation reform legislation in a final vote two hours past midnight on Wednesday, despite protracted strikes since December. (Dow Jones)

NY's Metropolitan Transportation Authority has refused to move from a parking lot slated to be turned into a park on Greenpoint's waterfront. (NY Daily News)

Is Burlington's pro-bike policy part of the secret behind Vermont's low unemployment rate? (Good)

An app to report potholes has come to Boston. (Wired/Autopia)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: We look at the politics behind the iconic beleaguered middle class driver. Senator Jeff Sessions weighs in on high-speed rail -- and what he thinks transportation policy should focus on. Montana grapples with megaloads. Houston's light rail system stands to get more money if the president's budget is passed. And: we just can't get enough of love on the subway.

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TN Moving Stories: Worst January In 6 Years for NJ Transit, DC Metro Haunted By Bad Decisions, and Columbus Shelves Streetcar, Light Rail Plans

Friday, February 11, 2011

January snowstorms dealt NJ Transit’s its worst month for train delays in six years. "Trains were late six or more minutes 8.8 percent of the time last month, the worst showing since January 2005, when the number was 11.1 percent. Last year, only 4.1 percent of trains were tardy for the same month." (The Star-Ledger)

Pennsylvania counties try to coordinate public transportation for senior citizens and disabled people. (The Patriot News)

Will private plane info become public? Most private plane owners would no longer be able to prevent the public from tracking their flights in real time under a new policy being considered by the U.S. Department of Transportation. (ProPublica)

DC's Metro recently underwent a change in leadership -- but some of the financial decisions it made in the past are still haunting the organization. (WAMU)

A survey showed that 31% of New Yorkers dislike Taxi TV. And the Taxi and Limousine commissioner feels their pain. (NY Times)

Columbus shelves its streetcar and light rail plans. (Columbus Dispatch)

But, elsewhere in Ohio: a bipartisan group of northern Ohio congress members met with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to discuss building a high speed rail line along Lake Erie that would link Cleveland with Chicago, Detroit, Toledo and Buffalo. (Cleveland Plain-Dealer)

The NY MTA is trying to appease local businesses disrupted by the building of the 2nd Avenue subway with better-designed construction barriers and fencing -- and a sign that reads, "Shop 2nd Ave."(NY Post)

Own your own ferry: a former Staten Island ferry boat, named the Gov. Herbert H. Lehman, is being sold on eBay at a starting bid of $500,000. (NY Daily News)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following:  Climate change is threatening -- among other things -- New York's transit infrastructure. Amtrak sets ridership records. And Nancy Pelosi says we have a several trillion dollar deficit in our infrastructure in America.

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TN Moving Stories: New Trans-Hudson Tunnel To Be Announced Today; Disabled DC Residents To See Fare Hike; Congestion Pricing Opponents Fret About Its Comeback,

Monday, February 07, 2011

Amtrak and NJ Senators Lautenberg and Menendez are set to announce the next iteration of a planned trans-Hudson tunnel: The "Gateway" tunnel, which would largely follow the same footprint as ARC from Secaucus to New York City, but connect to new tracks in an expanded New York Penn Station instead of dead-ending deep under West 34th Street. (TN)

Traffic deaths are up slightly in NYC -- but the city’s traffic fatality rate remains among the lowest in the country, holding steady around a quarter of the national rate. (New York Times)

A NY Daily News editorial accused NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan of being too secretive about where her office plans to install future bike lanes. "Trying to pry information about bike lanes out of Sadik-Khan's shop is this city's version of phoning North Korea to ask about atomic weaponry."

More cheer for JSK: Potholes wreak havoc upon New York's roads. "Mother Nature has thrown everything at us this winter, and we're striking back,"says the NYC DOT commissioner. (NY Daily News)

South Africa's transport minister turned over ownership of Johannesburg's bus rapid transit company --which had been opposed by taxi drivers -- to taxi industry shareholders. (Times Live)

Disabled Washington area residents are facing significantly higher fares starting this month on MetroAccess. Officials say the price of travel on the para-transit service will nearly double. (WAMU)

Ford will boost vehicle production for US market while trimming Lincoln dealerships. (Wall Street Journal)

The Obama administration has decided to allow limited collective bargaining rights for transportation security officers. (Washington Post)

A Charleston (SC) paper comes out in support of a bike/pedestrian walkway over a bridge, says: "It is time to recognize that transportation should include driving, biking and walking."

Opponents of congestion pricing in NYC are moving swiftly. "We'd like to prevent that proposal from seeing the day of light of day," said Queens Assemblyman David Weprin. (WNYC)

New York's MTA says the tunnel boring machine that has been making its way down Second Avenue is about to complete its first run.

Snakes on a train! Boston transit officials say a 3-foot-long boa constrictor that slithered away from its owner on a Red Line subway car a month ago has been found on an adjoining car. (Boston Globe) (And nope, there was NO WAY that headline could be avoided.)

And speaking of ARC: NJ's state Ethics Commission has dismissed allegations the state’s transportation commissioner might have violated ethics policies through his involvement with the ARC train tunnel to New York City. (The Star-Ledger)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: A new trans-Hudson tunnel will be announced today. Meanwhile, NYC has hired an engineering firm to study the feasibility of extending the #7 train to NJ.  Opponents of the Prospect Park bike lane have lawyered up, while adjustments are in the works for the Columbus Avenue bike lane. And Metro North has slashed service on the New Haven line by 10%.

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TN Moving Stories: NYC Mulling Over Sliding Doors for Subway Platforms, Netherlands to Put Solar Panels on Some Bike Lanes, and SF Considers Parking Permits for

Monday, January 31, 2011

Another day of wintry delight in NYC. (Kate Hinds)

Hope you're not flying today. Via CNN: "Airlines canceled flights by the hundreds for Tuesday as a massive snowstorm of historic proportions began to coat the nation's heartland with a thick blanket of snow."

New Jersey Transit opened a new light-rail station in Bayonne, marking the completion of a one-mile extension of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Line from the previous southern terminus at 22nd Street to 8th Street in Bayonne. (NorthJersey.com)

New York's MTA may install sliding mechanical doors on subway platforms so riders can't fall, jump -- or get pushed -- onto the tracks.  The metal-and-glass doors would be part of a barrier along a platform's edge and would open only after a train stops at the station, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority document shows. (NY Daily News)

The US issued a travel warning for the United Kingdom, citing “the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems, aviation and other travel infrastructure in the U.K.” (Bloomberg News)

You can listen to NY Governor Andrew Cuomo's budget address--and learn how transit will fare--on It's A Free Country beginning at 1pm. Which brings us to Tweet of the Day, from WNYC's Azi Paybarah: "anyone on this Amtrak train to Albany not going to #nygovCuomo's budget presentation?"

Florida ranks number one in the country for fatal bicycle crashes. The problem is so bad, communities are spending hundreds of thousands of tax dollars on plans to make the roads safe, but a TV news investigation found little to nothing has been done. (NBC2)

Birmingham's mayor said he will pursue a two-pronged approach to transit that involves lobbying for state funding for the area's existing bus system along with federal dollars for a new light-rail train service. The state does not provide money for the constantly struggling Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority, and Mayor William Bell said he'll work to change what a succession of other city leaders couldn't. (The Birmingham News)

Traffic cameras save lives: a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says cameras at red lights have reduced the rate of fatal crashes by 24 percent in 14 large cities that introduced them from 1996 to 2004. (AP via NYT)

Construction began yesterday on two bicycle lanes in downtown Long Beach, part of an overall plan to make the city more bike-friendly, officials said. (Los Angeles Times)

The Netherlands will be placing solar panels on a cycle path in one town. The project, called Solaroad, will be installed in 2012, and is expected to generate 50 kWh per square meter per year. (AltTransport)

The San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Authority is considering issuing parking permits available exclusively to childcare providers. (AP via Washington Post)

This past weekend a blind man successfully navigated a 1.5 mile road course section at the Daytona International Speedway. The car, a specially modified Ford Escape the uses non-visual technology to convey spacial information to the driver, was built by the National Federation for the Blind and Virginia Tech. (Good)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: America's fastest growing form of transportation? The high-tech bus. Houston's planned Grand Parkway would go right through the Forbidden Gardens. And: an art project turns the NYC subway map into a musical instrument.

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NY MTA to Increase Tolls

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) Tolls are going up for New York's bridges and tunnels. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority approved on Wednesday increases expected to generate an extra $107 million per year.

The new rates will take effect on December 30. Most crossings will cost drivers an additional $1, with the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge toll increasing by $2.

Drivers using the electronic payment system, EZ Pass, will see a 5 percent increase on their already reduced tolls. In effect, these toll hikes will fall disproportionately on cash customers. This is intentional, to encourage more and more commuters to adopt EZ Pass for the growing discounts.

Earlier this month the same MTA raised mass transit fares, so it is not just autos catching the brunt of a transportation money crunch in the NY metro area.

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