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Soundcheck

Justin Townes Earle: In Studio

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Nashville-bred New York-based singer and songwriter (and son of troubadour Steve Earle), last joined us with his critically acclaimed 2010 album, "Harlem River Blues." His latest release has hints of Memphis soul, and is called "Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now." Justin Townes Earle joins us for a live acoustic performance. Plus – he records a song with The 78 Project.

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Transportation Nation

Your Top 12 Abandoned Bike Photos: Saran Wrapped, Crumpled, Stacked Six High and Sad Sad Sad

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The most conspicuous collection of forgotten bikes in one photo comes from the well-to-do Upper East Side at Lexington Ave and 67th st.

We've received more the 400 photos of bike blight around New York City in our mapping project. That's about 10 times the total number of abandoned bikes the city has removed in the past 18 months.

Tomorrow we submit them all to the city for inspection and potential removal. We'll ask you to you check back and see how many of these rusted frames (or saran wrapped beach cruisers) are eventually removed. For now, have a gander below at our favorite busted bikes chosen for photographic merit, level of "abandonedness," fun factor, and just because we liked them.

Pick your own favorites from the full gallery here. See the map, and read all about derelict bikes, the laws and stats here.

THE "MOST ABANDONED" BIKES:

Some parts remain, mild street trash tumbleweed factor. Park Slope, Brooklyn.

 

Bent frame, creeping rust, sun bleached belly. Pretty abandoned in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.

 

BEST PILE OF KIDS BIKES:

We've found many piles of bikes -- which we fear tell sordid (or at least hoarding) stories. This was the most flagrant from Central Park North.

 

UNIQUE CASTOFFS:

Part art project, part bulletin board, this Williamsburg fixture hosts flyers, string, saran wrap and a teddy bear. Does that make it less abandoned or more?

 

That's a twofer. Photographer comment:  "I mean? This also has been here for over 6 years." From 9th Street and Ave C, Lower East Side.

 

More wheels does not always mean less abandoned. 10th street and 6th Ave, Brooklyn.

 

How long does it take to grow a few feet of vines? Tribeca.

 

 BEST PHOTOGRAPHY:

Deceptively unrideable in Midtown.

 

We call this one: arsty arcs. Downtown Brooklyn.

 

BEST COMMENT:

Though far less abandoned than other bikes, this one comes with a standout caption. "If NYC can also remove the dudes selling crack at this location, that would be great, too!" 167th Street, Manhattan

 

If the Department of Sanitation of NY finds a bike to be abandoned, it is tagged for seven days, then removed.

 

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Transportation Nation

PHOTO: NYPD's Chevy Volt

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Chevy Volt marked NYPD patrol car (Photo: NYC Dept. of Citywide Administrative Services)

Forty percent of New York City government vehicles are hybrids or run on alternative fuels. The New York Police Department is exempt from the aggressive environmental vehicle procurement requirements of other city agencies and yet, they have at least one marked patrol car labeled for traffic enforcement.

As a commenter notes, this will be for meter maids and intersection control, not armed police officers.

 

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Soundcheck

Singing the Titanic Blues

Thursday, April 12, 2012

100 years ago today, the Titanic was in the midst of its ill-fated voyage across the Atlantic. As the centennial of the ship sinking disaster approaches, we listen back to songs inspired by the event - from Blind Willie Johnson's "God Moves On The Water" to the Dixon Brothers' "Down With The Old Canoe." Joining us to discuss is Grammy-winning engineer and producer of the "People Take Warning" compilation set, Christopher King.

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Ray LaHood Talks Transpo on The Takeaway, Made in America's Unintended Consequences

Friday, February 17, 2012

Top stories on TN:
Adele Has It All: 6 Grammys…And a Great Bike (link)
Study: Teen Driving Deaths Up After 8 Years of Decline (link)
House Transpo Bill Stalled In a Frenzy of Fingerpointing (link)
Houston Loop Project Moves to Next Phase (link)
Feds Pitch First-Ever Distracted Driving Guidelines For Automakers (link)
Boehner: ‘Fundamental Change’ Means This Bill Stays in GOP Territory (link)

San Francisco bus (photo by jonathanpercy via flickr)

U.S. DOT head Ray LaHood talked about the deadlocked transportation bill on The Takeaway.

Enforcer buses: by early next year San Francisco's entire fleet of 819 buses will be equipped with forward-facing cameras that take pictures of cars traveling or parked in the bus and transit-only lanes. (Atlantic Cities)

Opinion: the transpo bill is a backlash against the Obama Administration's "cluelessness about the difference between national transportation policy and urban transport policy." (Politico)

The unintended consequences of "Made in America:" Boeing -- a U.S. airplane manufacturer -- is selling its planes to foreign airlines, which are then taking over routes previously pioneered by U.S. carriers. (Washington Post)

Nevada --where Google test-drives its robotic cars -- is becoming the first state to create a licensing system for self-driving cars. (NPR)

Any consumer savings from the payroll tax cut will probably be erased by higher gas prices. (Marketplace)

A routine repair project on a California highway went awry -- and has turned into a full-fledged scandal. (Los Angeles Times)

High-speed taxiways  -- designed to get jets off runways faster -- are coming to Newark airport. (Asbury Park Press)

Bike share is coming to Austin's SXSW. (Bike World News)

Want one of the wooden benches NYC is phasing out of the subway system? It can be yours for a mere $650. (New York Daily News)

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Transportation Nation

Calm Reigns at First Planning Meeting for Bike Share Stations

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Given all the sturm and drang that has accompanied New York's bike lane expansion, you might think the first meeting to discuss where to put 600 bike share station when New York rolls out its bike share program in July, tempers would be hot.

After all, in a place where every inch of space is contested, figuring out where to locate 600 bike share stations is no small task.

But you'd be wrong.

Tuesday night the city held what will be the first of many planning workshops. About 50 people gathered in an overheated room on West 42nd Street to pore over large maps of Community Board 4, which stretches from 14th Street to 59th Street on Manhattan's west side.

People taking part in a NYC DOT-led planning workshop (photo by Kate Hinds)

“We’re very excited,” said Corey Johnson, the chair of CB4. “I’m glad New York is finally catching up to something that has performed quite well in other cities across the country and across the globe.”

That attitude seems typical:  ever since the city put up an online map requesting ideas, more than 8,000 locations have been suggested.

City Department of Transportation employees walked community members through a presentation about the bike share program, then unveiled a large map of the district that had suggested bike share station locations on it. There had already been some vetting.  "We have technical criteria," said DOT policy director Jon Orcutt. "You’re not going to put one that blocks a fire hydrant, you’re not going to block a narrow sidewalk." He said there's no one-size-fits-all approach to station siting. Some will be on wide sidewalks, some will be in the street, some will be in plazas.

Renderings of types of bike share station locations (photo by Kate Hinds)

Corey Johnson said for him, pedestrian space trumped parking. “[Bike share stations] may eliminate a parking space or two on a residential block, but it’s not going to eliminate sidewalk space for pedestrians,” he said. “So is it worth having a dozen bicycles that are easy access on a residential block and give up one or two parking spaces? I believe the answer is yes.”

Orcutt said the DOT had held over 100 meetings about the bike share program so far. "We're talking to property owners, talking to everybody we can, and carving out space here and there," he said. "You can't just say they're all going to be 15 feet from odd-numbered street corners. There's no way. You have to go and plan each single one of these."

Members of the community were invited to put green arrows on the station locations they liked, red on the ones they didn't, and black on locations where they wanted to suggest one. (Photo by Kate Hinds)

So dozens of people gathered around six separate tables and scrutinized the map, block by block. "This specific site, I think, is very challenging," said Ben Donsky, the vice president of the Chelsea Improvement Company, as he put a red arrow on the map at 14th Street and Ninth Avenue. He said there was already scant space for pedestrians to relax, and that the sidewalk there is too narrow. "However, I think there are probably a dozen great locations right nearby."  Richard Gottlieb, who lives on West 44th Street, put a black arrow on West 57th Street. Why?  “West 57th Street is a very busy area and it would strike me as a good place to have a stop. It’s that simple.”

Others were thinking more macro. "I really like the idea of using the bike share as a means of expanding the transportation network," said Tyler Gumpright, who lives in Jackson Heights. He'd like to see stations "both close to existing transit options, like the subway, and putting them a little bit further away from existing transit."

Those long crosstown blocks between Eighth Avenue and the waterfront were also on the mind of Steven Collado, who works in Herald Square. "People will come in from the subway and want to get to say all the way down to the Hudson River or even 11th Avenue, they'd have a long walk. If they had a bike share, they would definitely take advantage of that."

They were singing Orcutt's tune. "One of the places we think this will really serve are the parts of the city are developing fast away from the traditional subway spines, like the waterfronts and other former industrial places," he said, "so you’re seeing a lot of feedback there.   Like ‘hey, it’s really hard to get anywhere from here,' or ‘I can’t get to the next neighborhood without taking a bus that takes all day.’"

Jess Berlin, who lives on the Upper West Side and works near Herald Square, said after the workshop that the experience was valuable. "I really liked the fact that they had a large map that we could really envision how the system would work," she said. She lives in a fifth-floor walk-up, she said, and didn't own a bike because she didn't want to have to carry it up and down stairs.  Bike share "makes someone like me able to have a bike in the city," she said.

Orcutt said the next step is to take all the public feedback and "synthesize it into a recommendation, and then come back to community boards, business improvement districts, electeds, and get further input, make some further adjustments." He said the city would have a final station siting plan by early summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Transportation Nation

LOOK: NYC's First Ever Late Night Subway Map

Monday, January 30, 2012

In the city that never sleeps, the subway rolls on through the night, but with enough route changes to befuddle even the most seasoned straphanger. The result is passengers, guided by a daytime map, waiting on empty platforms for the trains that don't run, or equally frustrating, letting a train rumble past that could have worked while trying to sort out if the nighttime route would work, or why the A is on the F line in the first place.  So, for the first time ever, the NYC MTA has released a Late Night Subway Map (full size).

During the overnight hours three subway lines stop running, three become shuttles, six express trains go local and one extra shuttle poofs into nocturnal existence (at the Queens end of the A line). Now there's a map that shows all that. This map is in effect, roughly, from midnight to 6 a.m.

In text form, here's what's different at night, captured on the map:

  • There are no B, C, or Z trains on the map, nor the 42nd Street Shuttle.
  • Five subway lines offer shorter service than usual:
    • The 3 terminates at Times Square.
    • The 5 runs as a shuttle in the Bronx between E. 180 St and Dyre Av
    • The M runs as a shuttle between Myrtle Av, Brooklyn, and Metropolitan Av, Queens.
    • The Q terminates at 57 St/7 Av in Midtown Manhattan.
    • The R runs as a shuttle in Brooklyn between 36 St and 95 St.
  • Six lines make additional stops they don’t make during the daytime.
    • The 2 makes all local stops in Manhattan.
    • The 4 makes all local stops in Manhattan and Brooklyn and is extended to New Lots Av, Brooklyn.
    • The A makes all local stops in Manhattan and Brooklyn; it runs to Far Rockaway but not Lefferts Blvd or Rockaway Park, which are served by shuttle trains.
    • The D runs local via Fourth Av in Brooklyn.
    • The E runs local via Queens Blvd.
    • The N runs local via the Financial District.
  • There is no skip/stop service on the J, which terminates at Chambers St on weekend overnight periods
  • Six subway lines (the 1, 6, 7, F, G, and L) and Franklin Avenue Shuttle run their normal routes as local trains. (There is no 6 or 7 express service.)

Map.

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Transportation Nation

There's a Map for That

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

An image from the NYC Street Closures map

New York City -- which has put street ratings online (in the winsomely named Daily Pothole) and promised real-time snow plow data -- has now added street closure information to its toolbox.

Called NYC Street Closures, it pulls information from a variety of city agencies, including the Department of Transportation (which handles work permits for groups like large contractors and Con Ed) and the Office of Citywide Event Coordination and Management. It's searchable by date and location, and a tab on the bottom allows readers to toggle between event closures and construction closures.

“We all know how frustrating it can be to wake up and find your street has been unexpectedly blocked off for a street fair, a parade, or any other event,” said Council Member Garodnick, the author of the bill that created this online tool, in a press release. “The least we can do is make sure that New Yorkers know in advance what is happening out there.  This online tool will give all of us a chance to find the events when we want them, and to avoid them when we don't.”

One caveat: the map shows planned closures. So if  work or an event has been cancelled due to weather, the map will still show the street as closed.

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Transportation Nation

NYC DOT: Commuter Biking in NYC Doubled in Last Four Years

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Chart Courtesy NYC DOT

This just in from the NYC DOT. Their numbers show commuter cycling has doubled in the last four years and nearly quadrupled since 2001. This comes as NYC has aggressively, and some say contentiously, added some 260 miles of new bike lanes during that period.

For a recap of the fight over the Prospect Park West bike lane, see this TN analysis. Opponents of the lane had claimed that lack of use was one reason to remove them, the DOT countered that the lanes increased commuting. Our more recent coverage on the battle brewing in East Harlem over another planned bike lane expansion may escalate along similar lines, where some say that potential "change is scary" and risks hurting local businesses to supplant parking space with bike lanes.

Analysis on these latest data coming soon.

 

PRESS RELEASE:

 

NYC DOT ANNOUNCES COMMUTER BIKING HAS DOUBLED IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS

AND CONVERSION OF PARKING METERS INTO BIKE RACKS TO MEET
GROWING DEMAND FOR BIKE PARKING

Commuter bike riding nearly quadrupled in the last decade, growing 8% in the last year

175 decommissioned parking meter poles repurposed as bike racks, 6,000 more planned citywide

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced a continued steady increase in commuter bike riding in New York City, with an 8% increase in bike riders counted at commuter locations this year compared to last year’s record number. According to counts of bike riders made at six commuter locations, bike riding has increased 102% compared to 2007 and by 289% compared to 2001. In that time, safety has increased for all street users, with fatalities at their lowest levels in the century that records have been kept, while serious bike injuries and fatalities have remain unchanged despite the near-quadrupling in bike riding. DOT also announced the installation of 175 of the city’s first parking meter bike racks, using an innovative design that allows hoop-shaped bike racks to be securely fastened to former parking meter poles. The City currently is reviewing responses to a Request for Proposals for a vendor to manufacture 6,000 additional racks to be installed at meters citywide to help meet the city’s growing demand for public bike parking.

 

“Our infrastructure needs to keep pace with new demands on city streets,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “By transforming obsolete parking meters into off-the-rack bike parking, we are recycling old facilities to meet this growing need.”

 

DOT estimates changes in bike riding through counts of bike riders at six commuter locations: the City’s four East River bridges, the Hudson River Greenway at 50th Street and at the Whitehall Ferry Terminal. An average of 18,846 cyclists per day was recorded this year, up from 17,491 in 2010; 9,327 in 2007; and 4,927 in 2001. The growth in commuter bike riding and increase in safety come as DOT has brought an unprecedented campaign to engineer safer streets citywide. In the last four years, the agency has added some 260 miles of bicycle lanes to streets in all five boroughs to enhance safety for all users, especially pedestrians. In its landmark Pedestrian Safety Report and Action Plan, DOT found that streets with bike lanes are 40% less deadly for pedestrians. The complete Commuter Cycling Indicator can be found at nyc.gov/dot.
175 decommissioned parking meter poles have had a hoop-shaped bike rack secured to it to provide
new bike parking, eliminating the cost of removing the obsolete poles and installing an entirely new rack.

Made from galvanized, durable ductile iron, meter racks easily slide on to former parking meter posts that have had their heads removed following DOT’s installation of new, user-friendly muni meters. By taking advantage of already-installed infrastructure, the meter racks eliminate the cost of removing old posts combined with the cost of installing an entirely new bike rack. DOT completed initial installations this year, with 175 meter racks now complete on Columbus Avenue from 68th – 85th streets and Amsterdam Avenue from 66th -86th streets in Manhattan; on Seventh Avenue from Garfield to Fifth streets in Brooklyn; on 37th Avenue from 73rd-77th streets in Queens; and on Johnson Avenue in the Bronx.

 

The new meter rack’s design is based on the standard “Hoop” rack designed by Ian Mahaffy and Maarten De Greeve, which was selected as the winner of a DOT and Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum-sponsored competition in 2008. The design also reflects time-tested methods pioneered by DOT to secure the racks to the poles in a way that improves durability, reduces the need for maintenance and helps to prevent theft and vandalism.

 

Through its CityRacks program, the DOT has installed more than 13,000 city bicycle racks citywide to date, providing parking for more than 26,000 bicycles, most of which were installed within the last four years, and with a record 2,700 racks installed in the last fiscal year. New Yorkers can also request rack installations atnyc.gov/dot.

 

For more information, visit nyc.gov/dot.

 

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Transportation Nation

NYC Builds First "Slow Zone" to Fight Speeding

Monday, November 21, 2011

 

Distinctive blue signs have been installed at 14 locations to mark the entrance of the city's first Slow Zone. (Photo: NYC DOT)

New York City unveiled a new tactic to combat speeding on local streets Monday: the Slow Zone. The city has long been pushing an awareness campaign with billboards and even lighted skeleton signs to scare speeders into easing up on the gas pedal. The Claremont section of the Bronx became the first neighborhood in the city to get a new streetscape designed to slow drivers down.

NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said, "one in four traffic fatalities involved unsafe speed. A pedestrian struck by a car going 40 m.p.h. has a 70 percent chance of dying while a pedestrian stuck by a car going 20 m.p.h. has a 95 percent chance of surviving. Making neighborhoods safer can be as simple as reducing the speed on our residential streets.” As Streetsblog points, similar slow zones in London have proven effective at lowering accidents.

(NYC DOT Rendering)

The roughly 30-square-block residential neighborhood in an often overlooked section of the Bronx has fresh lane markers to make streets feel narrower to cars while making room for cyclists. The new 20 m.p.h. speed limit is painted across the width of streets at the entrance to the Zone and reinforced on highly visible stanchions (pictured above). According to a map of the zone released by the DOT, nine new speed bumps have been installed as well, making speed reductions somewhat of a requirement for cars passing through.

The DOT announcement says:

"Claremont was selected for its relatively high frequency of serious traffic crashes and for the area’s definable boundaries that could be easily marked for a zone. Between 2005 and 2009 there was one fatality in the largely residential area, which also houses six schools... Slow Zones are also expected to reduce cut-through traffic and traffic noise in residential neighborhoods."

The Slow Zone's were announced last year  as part of a broader plan to tackle speeding, including the installation of 1,500 speed bumps around the five boroughs.

The DOT has established a system for communities to nominate themselves as future Slow Zones as well.

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Transportation Nation

Stats Show NY Subway More Hospitable to Criminals, Perhaps Less So To Rats

Monday, October 24, 2011

The MTA has 10 trash trains like this one to collect garbage overnight from subway stations. (Photo by NotoriousJEN/flickr)

(New York, NY -- WNYC) Crime is increasing in the subway, according to NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority figures. Compared to last year, major felonies are up 17 percent and robberies are up 8.6 percent.

MTA board member Charles Moerdler, speaking to reporters today in a hallway at the MTA's Midtown headquarters, said the steady upward trend in underground crime is troubling.

"These numbers are starting to show there's a terrible concern as to whether there's a parallelism between the downturn in the economy and the upturn in the crime rate," he said.

Subway felonies steadily dropped for over a decade, before beginning to climb in 2009.

But even as crime rises, arrests in the subway are going down: there were 12 percent fewer arrests this year compared to last. Pressed by board members for an explanation, Transit president Tom Prendergast said, "I can't answer that. We'll have to get an answer for you."

Moerdler said that sends a troubling message to straphangers. "My worry is we need to demonstrate that we're on the job. We need to demonstrate a sense of protection."

The discussion came at a meeting of the MTA transit committee, where MTA chief of station operations John Gaito unveiled a program meant to starve rats in the subway by more quickly removing trash from stations--especially discarded food. He said the authority has added two "trash trains" to the eight it already has in service to shorten the amount of time that garbage bags are left for pick-up on platforms.

Workers remove trash from a station overnight by taking thick plastic bags from large metal bins and either stashing them in a storage room or lining them up on a platform for removal by trash train. With more frequent pick-ups, the goal is to have no more smelly or leaking trash bags on platforms awaiting pick-up--and serving as snack food for rodents--each day by 6 a.m. The NY MTA says about 75 bags now await pick-up from platforms each morning. That's down from 107 bags.

The authority removes about 40 tons of garbage a day from the subway. The NY MTA will also test removing trash cans entirely from platforms at two subway stations. The authority hopes the move encourages riders to dispose of their garbage elsewhere.

The initiatives come as 84 percent of subway customers surveyed by the MTA reported being satisfied with the overall comfort and convenience of the subway, up six percentage points from last year.

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Transportation Nation

New Census Data: For Commutes, Car Use Up, Transit Down, NYC Shows Opposite Trend

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Transit use is down. Carpooling is down. And driving to work alone is up. That’s according to data just out this morning from the American Community Survey.

The U.S. Census Bureau released detailed survey data showing how commuting habits have changed in recent years. As we begin to parse the numbers, here's an initial look at how Americans are getting to work, and how New Yorkers are different from the rest of the country when it comes to rush hour habits.

Between 2006 and 2010, the data show, the percentage of Americans driving to work alone rose from 76.0 percent to 76.6 percent. During the same period, the number of Americans taking public transportation rose just a tenth of a percentage point – but declined last year to 4.9 percent, down from 5.0 percent in 2009.

The U.S. Census says those number are statistically significant.

Carpooling nationally dropped more dramatically from 2006, down from 10.7 percent to 9.7 percent. Meanwhile, walking to work has hovered around 2.8 or 2.9 percent. And people getting to work by other means, including bike or motorcycle, has remained steady at 1.7 percent.

The American Community Survey measures the primary way of getting to work not combinations of different modes.

The data also show what an outlier New York City is -- more than eleven times as many New Yorkers take public transportation to work as do their counterparts nationwide. Click around on the map above for a sampling of the numbers by neighborhood.

New Yorkers by and large take transit or walk to work, with the notable exceptions of Eastern Queens and the entire borough of Staten Island.

A big chunk of Lower Manhattan residents -- more than a third in some census districts -- walk to work. No other neighborhood in the five boroughs fields close to that number of walkers.

Bucking the national trend, transit use in New York City has been steadily rising since 2006 -- from 54.2 percent of New Yorkers in the five boroughs in 2006 to 55.7 percent in 2010. In some neighborhoods, more than 70 percent of people commute by transit. New York City had previously estimated that 76.7 percent of people commute without the use of a private car.

These new ACS figures show the figure is even higher. Just 22.7 percent of New Yorkers drive to work, down from 23.6 percent in 2006.

Despite the changes in how New Yorkers get to work, commute times have held more or less steady over this period. The median commute nationally is about 25 minutes -- and 40 minutes in the New York area. All the more time to read the paper on the subway.

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Transportation Nation

NYC Energy Audit Shows Cleaner City, But Not Because of Transportation

Monday, September 19, 2011

New York City is polluting less. The city's newly released 2010 greenhouse gas audit reveals that America's largest city reduced carbon emissions by 1.1 percent in 2010, down to a total of 54.3 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent. That's a slightly smaller reduction than previous years.

On a per capita basis, New Yorkers use about one third the national average when it comes to energy consumption. The report attributes that strong environmental showing to several factors including smaller average home size, especially in apartment buildings, and the nation's highest rate of non-automobile commuting. The city says, 76.7 percent of New Yorkers get to work without using a private car.

That's partly why transportation in New York emits just 21 percent of GHGs compared to 29 percent nationally, according to the most U.S. recent greenhouse gas audit from the Environmental Protection Agency. Here's how the transportation energy consumption breaks down in NYC, in the NYC audit:

2010 Transportation greenhouse gas emissions in NYC. Click to enlarge.

It is buildings, though, that are the biggest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters in the big apple at 75 percent of the total. Commercial and residential buildings -- including the fuel to heat them and the electricity to power the air conditioners that cools them -- combine to emit almost four times as much CO2 as transportation sources in New York City. That's why much of the gains in environmental efficiency recently have come from more efficient energy use in buildings and in power generation improvements.

As explained in the audit, there are myriad factors at play: "New York City’ s carbon footprint decreased 11.7 percent from 2005 to 2010, due to milder weather, reduced electricity use, reduced heating fuel use, reduced solid waste generation, new power plants and cleaner imported electricity, more efficient steam generation..." Transportation didn't even make the long list.

As this chart shows, how New Yorkers get around hasn't changed all that much, so it just isn't a major factor in the environmental changes from the last year:

Click to enlarge.

For a national point of reference, according to the EPA greenhouse gas audit, transportation emissions dropped four percent from 2008 to 2009, the most recent data available. That's due in large part to the economic slowdown that reduced travel and shipping levels. Before that, America had been on a steady march towards higher and higher transportation emissions, according to the EPA. Transportation emissions have risen 17 percent since 1990, "due, in large part, to increased demand for travel and the stagnation of fuel efficiency across the U.S. vehicle fleet."

New York City is nearly on pace to meet the goals set by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2007 to reduce overall emissions by 30 percent by 2030.

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Transportation Nation

Early Photos of NYC Bike Share

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

NYC announced Wednesday that Alta bicycle share company will run New York City's bike share program to launch next year. Here's an early peak at what it will look like.

The official announcement is underway right now. We posted a few details already (10,000 bikes, $100/year membership fee, planned launch date in 2012) and we'll have a lot more soon.

Keep checking back for updates all day.

(Photo Kate Hinds)

Alta is affiliated with Bixi bike share which runs Monrteal's bike share program and Barclay's bikes in London.

(Photo Kate Hinds)

The pay station. Membership fees will be $100 per year. The first half hour of a trip will be free.

(Photo Kate Hinds)

Expect this kind of bik share station in 600 locations around Manhattan and Brooklyn. They are slated to stretch from 79th street south as far into Brooklyn as Bed-Stuy, Windsor Terrace and Park Slope. Pilot locations will also be tested in the other three boroughs.

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Transportation Nation

After Irene: Your NYC Morning Commute

Monday, August 29, 2011

Triumphant notice in NYC subway (photo by Kate Hinds)

TN/WNYC reporter Jim O'Grady went on the Brian Lehrer Show earlier today to update listeners on the NYC area commute. You can listen to the audio below; click on this link to read comments on the website.

 

 

WNYC has transit updates here.

 

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Transportation Nation

New York: Here's What We Know About Your Monday Morning Commute

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The quick update: subway service begins to be restored Monday morning at 6am. There will be no Metro North service, but there will be Long Island Rail Road service on six branches. PATH trains will be operational as of 4am. There are no NJ Transit trains, and NJ Transit buses and light rail will be on a modified schedule. Area airports will be open. There's no Amtrak service between Boston and Philadelphia. The Staten Island Ferry and the Staten Island Railway are operational. There have been no reported problems on NYC's bike lanes. Details below!

The parking lot of the Metro-North's Beacon station (photo courtesy of the MTA)

Subway service resumes Monday morning at 6am. Caveat: trains will not run as frequently and you can expect crowding. See the MTA's service advisory here.

Exceptions:

  • 3 trains will operate between 137th Street/City College and New Lots Avenue; substitute bus service will be provided between Harlem 148th Street and 135th Street connecting with the 2 train.
  • C trains suspended; A trains will make all local stops from 207th St. to Lefferts Blvd.
  • No service in the Rockaways. (Rockaway Blvd. to Far Rockaway and Rockaway Park)
  • 6 trains runs local in the Bronx
  • 7 trains run local
  • S Franklin Avenue Shuttle (FAS) Suspended
  • N trains terminate at Kings Highway. Shuttle bus service between Kings Highway and Stillwell Terminal.

· The Staten Island Railway will resume normal service at midnight tonight.

Buses: Limited bus service was restored in all five boroughs of New York City earlier this evening. Service levels will continue to increase but may not reach normal levels tomorrow.

Bridges and Tunnels: All MTA Bridges and Tunnels are open as of 7:00 p.m.

Access-a-Ride and Able Ride are expected to be operating normal service beginning at noon tomorrow. In the morning, these services will help return evacuees to their homes.

Long Island Rail Road service will be restored on the Babylon, Huntington, Ronkonkoma, Port Washington, Hempstead and West Hempstead Branches. Service remains suspended on the Oyster Bay, Port Jefferson, Long Beach and Far Rockaway Branches and as east of Babylon and east of Ronkonkoma.

Metro-North service remains suspended on Monday. Grand Central Terminal will open as usual at 5:30am.

The MTA's website is here. And check out their Flickr page for pictures.

NJ Transit: No rail service tomorrow, with the exception of the Atlantic City Rail Line. Buses will operate on a modified schedule. The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and River Line will operate on a weekend schedule. Newark Light Rail will operate on a Saturday schedule. Details can be found on NJ Transit's website.

PATH trains will be operational as of 4am on Monday morning. (Website)

Airports: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says JFK and Newark Airports will open to arriving flights at 6am on Monday, and departures will resume at noon. LaGuardia will open to both arrivals and departures at 7am on Monday. AirTrain JFK is expected to be back in service at 4 a.m. with AirTrain Newark scheduled to resume operations at 6 a.m.

The Staten Island Ferry is running.

Amtrak is canceling all trains between Boston and Philadelphia Monday -- including all Acela service. Check out their Northeast Corridor twitter feed for more details.

Roads: the storm has caused extensive damage in upstate New York; check road conditions here. NJ's Department of Transportation says roads are open but work continues on removing downed tree limbs and power lines. Check the NJ DOT's website here. A map of Connecticut roadway conditions can be found here.

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Transportation Nation

Straphangers Campaign Rates NYC Subway Lines From Best To Worst

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

C Train. (Photo by [(O) Photography / Flickr)

(New York, NY - WNYC) Pity riders of the C train, named by the Straphangers Campaign as New York's worst subway line for the third year in a row. But the C was not alone--it tied with the 2 train for last place. 

Straphangers researchers found both lines to be crowded and prone to delays. While riders pay a base fare of $2.25 to ride the lines, the advocacy group rated their value at 90 cents.

Despite those poor performances, the system as a whole didn't fare too badly in this year's report.

Straphangers said the best of New York's twenty subway lines was the J/Z, which runs from Broad Street in Manhattan to to Jamaica, Queens. The J/Z scored above average in trains arriving at regular intervals, seats available during rush hour and miles between breakdowns.

Subway trains in general were more robust in 2010. They broke down an average of every 270,000 miles--a fifteen percent improvement over 2009. Cleanliness and the quality of car announcements remained high at 95 percent and 87 percent of all trains.

To take one example of best vs. worst from the report, riders on the 6 line could expect a train every two and a half minutes during rush hour; riders on the C waited 9 to 10 minutes throughout the day.

If you're a New Yorker, go here to see how your subway line fared in the report.

Listen to the conversation about the report on the Brian Lehrer Show:

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WNYC News

Straphangers Rate Subway Lines From Best To Worst

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

WNYC

Pity riders of the C train, named by the Straphangers Campaign as New York's worst subway line for the third year in a row. But the C train was not alone — it tied with the No. 2 train for last place.

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Transportation Nation

A Tense 40th Anniversary for NY's Taxi Commission

Friday, July 29, 2011

(Kathleen Horan, WNYC -- New York) The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission’s recent monthly meeting was well attended at their new offices on Beaver Street in Lower Manhattan.Yellow cab drivers and others affiliated with the drivers’ group, the Taxi Worker’s Alliance, stood along the back wall of the hearing room closely monitoring the Commission’s discussion about possible rule changes regarding rooftop ads that can be seen affixed to the top of more than 8,000 yellow cabs.

Others in the industry were also accounted for: fleet owners, taxi leasing agents, livery base owners and others whose livelihoods are affected in one way or the other by the TLC.

Various stakeholders had received invites to stick around after the meeting for a reception celebrating the 40th anniversary of the agency whose initials don’t actually abbreviate the words tender loving care.

Rather than a festive birthday party atmosphere, the meeting felt palpably tense. It was the first since the Bloomberg administration won support in Albany for legislation that would legalize street hails for specially permitted livery cars in the outer boroughs.Some in the room had vigorously fought the bill. Arms were tightly folded in many of the chairs as the commissioners went through the day’s agenda.

As the meeting adjourned, various factions of the industry clustered in different areas of the floor like cliques in a high school quad.

The TLC’s longtime press secretary Alan Fromberg asked that people stick around -- that sandwiches were on the way.

When Commissioner David Yassky was asked about the meaning of 40th birthday of the agency that’s responsible for licensing and regulating the city’s cabs and other for-hire vehicles -- he said a lot has changed since 1971 and plenty has stayed the same.

“If you look back over the very first year of the TLC existence they were dealing with two big issues: one was taxis that refused service to Brooklyn and Queens -- still with us -- and the fact that people can’t hail a cab in Brooklyn and Queens and the Bronx, Staten Island. That’s also still with us although I believe we are on the verge of solving that one.”

Yassky said he thinks the great triumph of the TLC has been the establishment and maintenance of the brand: the yellow taxi. The mandate that all NYC metered cabs be uniform yellow predates the TLC by a year -- taxis have been officially yellow since January 1st, 1970 -- but 40 years of brand management leaves Yassky proud.

“It’s been known world wide,  respected, admired and desired... The value of the medallion is the proof of it.The value of the medallion has gone up four times the rate of the stock market! So that tells you the TLC does something right."

Sporting his TLC 40th anniversary commemorative lapel pin (left), Yassky boasted, "600,000 people a day get into cabs. That’s not a bubble that’s real.That revenue is going to keep coming in."

David Pollock who represents a group of medallion owners and taxi leasing agents, agreed that the city did a great thing when they created a medallion system.But he criticized the way the TLC was currently being run, on his way to the elevator.

He added, “we have a commission who want to destroy the same medallion system that had worked so well for 75 years who the whole world looks at and models their own transportation systems after.”

Pollock and others believe the new outer borough street hail rule will devalue yellow medallions who have had the exclusive right to street hails since the 1930’s.

Twenty minutes after the commission meeting adjourned, the sandwiches and drinks hadn’t arrived and the last few taxi driver’s left to go grab lunch before shift change.

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Transportation Nation

NYC DOT Planning Unified Pedestrian "Wayfinding" Signage Around City

Monday, June 27, 2011

Manhattan's numbered waffle iron street grid makes central New York one of the easier global cities to navigate by foot. But that doesn't mean walkers don't need a little help, especially in the outer boroughs and Lower Manhattan, where right angles are scarce and the streets twist and tangle like the Indian paths that, in some cases, they are based on. According to a survey by the city Department of Transportation, nine percent of New Yorkers and 27 percent of visitors admitted to being lost in the past week. The DOT wants to help those people—and encourage more walking—with a system of "wayfinding" signs for pedestrians.

It's not all about tourists either. Thirteen percent of local New Yorkers were not familiar with the area where they were surveyed. Many couldn't point to north.  So the idea is to place directional signage and easily readable maps with walking directions at transit points to guide pedestrians, especially after they emerge from the disorienting underground of the subway.

The DOT issued a request for proposals for a single integrated wayfinding system that will be piloted in four New York City districts: Long Island City, Queens; Prospect Heights/Crown Heights, Brooklyn; and Chinatown and parts of Midtown, Manhattan.

“As our streets become safer, more inviting places, it’s even more important that a common language unite these spaces and open them up in new and exciting ways,” said Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “An information system that points the way to key destinations knits together neighborhoods and makes local businesses even more accessible.”

Wayfinding can also direct pedestrians to take commercial streets, upping retail sales, or encourage people to walk longer distances, relieving transit congestion. Some of the sample wayfinding images released by the DOT for explanatory purposes show maps with walking times to encourage people to hoof it instead of hopping on the subway for one or two stops.

Some neighborhoods are ripe for visitor guidance, like Long Island City, Queens, which is in the midst of a transformation from an industrial district to a residential one, with an increasing number of restaurant and entertainment destinations, said Gayle Baron, president of the Long Island City Partnership. “The neighborhood is home to thousands of additional residents, 16 new hotels, and expanded restaurant and retail offerings... It is an ideal time to help residents, visitors and employees navigate our often confusing street grid through improved pedestrian signage.” And if people don't get lost, their more likely to come back.

Chinatown boosters hope that pedestrian signs will show how close—and how easy to walk to—Chinatown is from the Brooklyn Bridge and City Hall, encouraging more people will combine visits. Wellington Chen, Executive Director of the Chinatown Partnership says, "pedestrian signs would make our neighborhood more accessible to visitors and locals alike. The street grid can be confusing, even to people who live here.”

Thirty-one percent of all trips in New York City are made by foot.

The deadline to respond to the RFP is July 27.

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