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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Chicago Wants To Sell Naming Rights to L Stops, NJ Transit Says There is Life After ARC, and Montreal Unveils Bus Shelters of the Future

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A just-released 300 page audit shows that DC Metro failed to keep up with escalator maintenance in its subway stations (WAMU)--and knew that its escalator brakes were faulty a month before an incident that left six people injured.

The cash-strapped Chicago Transit Authority wants to sell naming rights to its L stops, lines, and bus routes. (Chicago Sun Times)

NJ Transit's "quiet cars" pilot program is such a hit, they're expanding it to additional lines. (Star-Ledger)

One thing NJ Transit does want to trumpet in a loud voice:  "You can see, we really are about more than just one big project — no matter how big that project is," said exec director Jim Weinstein, at the first post-ARC NJ Transit meeting. (Star-Ledger)

Now everyone is joining in the "save HSR in my state" fray on Ray LaHood's Facebook page.

Behold: scenes from inside the Chevy Volt Factory.

Montreal unveils its "bus shelters of the 21st century," complete with solar panels, STM network maps, signs showing bus schedules and routes, and motion-sensors that turn up lighting when people enter.

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Transportation Nation

Stargazing at Grand Central Terminal

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

New Yorker Hatmane Gacevic looking at the new lights at Grand Central Terminal (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

The iconic constellations on the roof of Grand Central Terminal are shining again after new LED lights were installed yesterday. Read the story--and see more photographs--over at WNYC.

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Transportation Nation

When Public Transit Kills, Who To Sue?

Friday, November 05, 2010

(Washington, DC — David Schultz, WAMU) You can sue your boss, you can sue your spouse, you can sue your best friend - you can even sue yourself!

But you can't sue the government.

Photo courtesy: flickr user kristinashan

If the government enacts a law or a policy that injures you in some way - either physically or financially - you can't sue it for damages. That's because of a legal clause known as "sovereign immunity."

The clause has roots dating back to monarchical times. It's designed to give legislative bodies the freedom to make laws in the public good without fear of crippling legal payouts that would deplete their treasuries.

Of course, if you or your loved one has had your lives upended by, say, a horrific subway train crash, you're not a huge fan of sovereign immunity.

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Features

Queens Court Charges Graffiti Tagger 'ZEB'

Friday, November 05, 2010

Zebadiah Arrington, 19, was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Thursday for spray painting his tag, "ZEB," onto seven New York City subway cars.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: London's Underground Grinds to a Halt, PATH Trains A Bargain Alternative, and The Boss of HopStop

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Transport Politic does election analysis, says that "for advocates of alternative transportation, (it was) a difficult election day."

London subway workers go on strike for the third time in as many months. (AP)

New York City's transit court will soon provide translation services via telephone. This is a change from their current policy, in which "people who do not speak English are asked to bring a friend or family member who can translate." (New York Times)

The PATH train, at $1.75 a ride, is a bargain for New Yorkers who use it to avoid the MTA's higher fares. (New York Times)

The Guangzhou subway system is struggling to cope with an explosion in riders, as the system is free in advance of the Asian Games. (Global Times)

The Infrastructurist asks: where should ARC money go?  They have a couple of ideas.

Fast Company profiles the Springsteen-loving founder of HopStop.

San Francisco's population of computer workers has boomed in recent years--in part because employers like Google, eBay, Twitter, Yahoo and Facebook provide private shuttle buses to their suburban campuses.  "Like Google's buses, the Yahoo buses run on biodiesel, giving environmentally conscious employees another reason to feel good about their commute, besides comfortable seats, the cup holders and the Wi-Fi." (Silicon Valley Mercury-News)

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Transportation Nation

Snapshots of the American Commute

Friday, October 29, 2010


Our partner The Takeaway asked for your snapshots and sounds from your daily commute. They got some striking photos, some cluttered traffic and a healthy dose of personality.

See the full slideshow here.

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Transportation Nation

TRANSCRIPT: Senator Lautenberg Reacts to Gov. Christie on ARC Tunnel

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Here's the full statement from NJ Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) on the decision to kill the ARC tunnel by NJ Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) earlier Wednesday.

We've also posted video of the full speech from Christie, and the reaction from Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood.

LAUTENBERG BLASTS GOV. CHRISTIE’S DECISION TO KILL ARC TUNNEL PROJECT

SENATOR DEBUNKS GOVERNOR’S ARC TUNNEL MYTHS

NEWARK – Today, U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) issued the following statement in response to Governor Chris Christie’s decision to kill the critical Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) Tunnel project:

“The Governor was given a deal from the federal government on Sunday that put no extra imposition on the state of New Jersey for its obligation to the ARC Tunnel project, and the Governor refused it.  It was clear from the beginning that Governor Christie planned to kill the ARC Tunnel no matter what.  In doing so, the Governor has once again put politics over performance.

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Transportation Nation

VIDEO: Christie Speech Killing ARC Tunnel

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Here's the video and full transcript of NJ Governor Chris Christie's speech announcing his decision to kill the ARC Tunnel for a second, and final, time.

(Part 1)

(Part 2)
Full Transcript after the jump from the Governor's office.
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Transportation Nation

Feds Foil DC Metro Bomb Plot in Planning Phase

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) Federal officials indicted a naturalized American citizen on charges that he was plotting a series of attacks on DC area Metro stations. He was arrested after meeting with men he thought were part of Al-Qaeda about the plan.

Authorities stress the plot was in the very early stages, the public was never in any danger, they say.

The Washington Post has more.

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Transportation Nation

ARC Tunnel is Dead--Again UPDATED

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

UPDATED 10:25 p.m. EST

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) An official familiar with the project confirms that NJ Governor Chris Christie is terminating the largest infrastructure project currently underway in the United States.

Christie first announced his intention on October 7th to halt progress on the ARC tunnel after cost projections were as much as $5 billion more than allocated funds. Federal officials had convinced Gov. Christie to take two weeks to reconsider his plans. A final decision from his office has been expected since Friday.

The Star-Ledger and AP report federal officials offered to change the terms of financing for the $8.7-$14 billion dollar ARC tunnel, but did not offer additional federal funds to the State of New Jersey which would have to pay for any cost overruns. That was, apparently, not enough to sway Gov. Christie who has received national support and attention, particularly from the Tea Party movement, for his "belt-tightening" stance on the ARC tunnel project.

The tunnel would have doubled commuter rail capacity between New Jersey and New York City.

The Governor's office is expected to make a formal announcement Wednesday.

Matthew Schuerman is following the story closely for our partner WNYC.

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WNYC News

MTA Pledges to Help Second Avenue Businesses

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The MTA is pledging to be a good neighbor to the dozens of businesses along Second Avenue that are being inconvenienced by the construction of the new subway line on the Upper East Side.


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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: DC Metro Blogs Booming, MTA Restores Some Bus Service, and Paladino on the MTA

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A cut too far: the NYC MTA restores some express bus service that it had cut earlier in the summer. (WNYC)

The DC Metro may be struggling, but blogs and twitter feeds about it are booming. (WAMU)

Excerpts from the New York Times' interview with Carl Paladino:  On waste in the MTA, he says: "It’s a very complex function, but we’ve compounded its problems by letting it become so political. It’s the political aspect of it that’s really defeating it."

The Ford posts 6th straight profitable quarter--"the highest in the automaker’s 107- year history." (Bloomberg)

New bus transit center unveiled in Las Vegas amid much Vegas-style ceremony. "I've done a number of these things, never with pythons and roller girls," said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

San Francisco Examiner op-ed says that "the Bay Area is reeling from a continuing series of really bad transportation decisions. The region tends to evolve through single-purpose 'fixes' that fail to address the Bay Area’s real transportation needs."

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Transportation Nation

Participate: Show Us Your Commute

Monday, October 25, 2010

One of our partners The Takeaway has opened a collaborative project to get people like you all across the country helping us really understand the American commute. You can send in snapshots and sounds of your daily routine.

Share the pictures and the sounds of your morning commute. Send us a photo, a video or audio of one thing that tells the story of your commute. It could be the train that always comes late. The people you see on the bus line. The spot where you always park your car.

The Takeaway will harvest your daily observations, insights and gripes and post the collection here for listeners to vote on their favorites. You can upload a photo or audio file here, or you can download The Takeaway iPhone app and use that.

What is the American commute? Tell us.

Link

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Car Accidents Biggest Threat to Americans Abroad, ARC Decision May Be Delayed, and the Evils of the Subway Door Stander

Friday, October 22, 2010

Biggest threat to Americans abroad isn't terrorism -- it's "a lethal cocktail of killer roads, unsafe vehicles, dangerous driving and disoriented travelers."   (USA Today)

Will Governor Christie hand down his ARC tunnel decision today--or think some more over the weekend? (AP via Star Ledger)

French president Sarkozy forcibly opens one oil refinery--but 2,500 gas stations are still empty. (BBC)

Palo Alto city council doesn't want high-speed rail stop, says "it doesn't make good transit sense." (Silicon Valley Mercury News)

Drum Major Institute report says: invest more in the MTA or face fiscal disaster (via New York Daily News).

The New York Times' Complaint Box takes subway door standers to task...and deputizes their readers to enforce subway etiquette. Plus: they have a beautiful online photo exhibit of historic images of the subway.

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Transportation Nation

Infrastructurist: What Transit Capacity Looks Like

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) For the visual learners out there, Infrastructist came up with this infographic charting the growth in ridership—it has more than quadrupled since 1984. NJ Transit wants that green line above to keep getting fatter. But right now it can't. The agency says all the Hudson river crossings are currently at or near capacity already.  The ARC tunnel would allow an additional 70,000 commuters to cross.  Governor Chris Christie has said he's for the project, but that NJ can't afford it, particularly if there are cost overruns.

If you want moving visuals, here's the official NJ Transit promo video. (Still up, even though Gov. Christie says he's shutting the project down, pending the two-week review) It's a bit slow going at first, so fast forward to about 2:15 into the video to see renderings of the tunnel and new station (the computer generated commuters are a little creepy though, unless you're a fan of the video game the SIMS)

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: GM Gives Volt a Boost, HUD Funds Development Along Transit Corridors, and Christie Says Sen. Lautenberg Should Find Money to Pay For ARC

Friday, October 15, 2010

HUD awards $100 million in sustainability grants (Streetsblog).  Among the winners: the Twin Cities area, which received $5 million to plan for development along transit corridors. (Star Tribune)

GM says consumer demand for the Volt is so high, it will boost production (Detroit Free Press)

MTA still working out the kinks in the whole electronic countdown clock process (New York Daily News). Meanwhile, a mistake in the Second Avenue Subway work cuts the gas off for more than 100 families (New York Times). But there is some good news: love is now allowed on the subway.

The Southtown Star looks back at the career of Metra's first female engineer, who's now ready to retire.

Are driverless taxis in Berlin's future? (Marketplace)

And, from the Star-Ledger: a video of Governor Christie's response to Senator Lautenberg's press conference yesterday: "Senator Lautenberg should find the money to pay for it."

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Studio 360

Design for the Real World: London Underground Map

Friday, October 15, 2010

London's old, intensely convoluted subway required a new kind of map that broke the rules of cartography. Chris Spurgeon explains why the 1931 Underground map was copied from Tokyo to Chicago.

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Transportation Nation

"Fare Media" And Other Logistical Nightmares

Thursday, October 14, 2010

(Washington, DC — David Schultz, WAMU) "Fare media" is the transit industry term for the stuff you use to pay for a ride on a bus or a train. It used to be tokens, then slips of paper with magnetic strips. Now many cities use a rectangular piece of plastic that riders can put money on, much like a debit card.

D.C.'s version of this is called the SmarTrip card. (Note the photo at the right of my SmarTrip card. And of my hand.)

Metro, the transit agency here, would like as many people as possible to use SmarTrip cards. Unlike paper fare cards, they're reusable and, thus, cost much less to produce. So, earlier this year, Metro's Board of Directors cut the price of a SmarTrip card in half - from $5 to $2.50 - as an incentive to get more Washingtonians to use them.

And that's where the trouble began...

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Airline tarmac delays down, complaints up; MTA sued for lack of access; and New York's most veteran cabbie retires after 62 years

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A class-action lawsuit being filed today says that New York's MTA "makes travel next to impossible for New Yorkers with physical disabilities." (New York Daily News)

Ridership on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor line is up almost five percent over last year -- which translates into $900 million more in revenue for Amtrak. (WBUR)

Long tarmac delays for airlines continue to decline (Los Angeles Times). It's not all rosy, though: complaints about airlines are up over a third (Columbus Dispatch).

DC's Metro conducts review of escalators and elevators, finds a host of problems (WAMU)

Vancouver creates a continuous network of protected bike lanes (Good)

Will Silicon Valley become the Detroit of the electric car industry? (NPR)

New York City cabbie hangs up license after 62 years behind the wheel (New York Daily News)

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Obama's Infrastructure Push, Commercial Space Flight, SF Transit Ridership Down

Monday, October 11, 2010

President Barack Obama is convening cabinet members, governors, mayors and other leaders to drum up support infrastructure spending. He's expected to make the case that his $50 billion transportation bill will create jobs as well as roads, rails and airports. Our man in Washington, Todd Zwillich, will be watching this and checking back with any developments.

Affordable, commercial space travel passed another toll yesterday. Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic completed a successful test flight Sunday. Branson called it the world's first manned commercial space flight, but were no passengers, just two pilots. There are already 370 customers on the waiting list paying a total of $50 million so far.

Two public transportation systems released figures that showed reductions or lack of growth in riders. San Fransisco's MTA estimates 10 million fewer riders than last year. In Dallas, DART held steady.

It won't help bring in riders in the short term, but London transit officials are initiating talks with counterparts in major cities around the world, including New York, to implement a single transit card that would work on all subway and bus systems. Great for travelers, and credit card companies, commuters won't get to weigh in until after 2012 at the earliest.

Fill more seats, fly fewer planes. That seems to be working as airlines are finding stability, and profits, without buying new planes. It is the first time since the 1970s that airlines have avoided buying new aircraft.

And finally, the Hoover Dam has a rival. The Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge, set to be dedicated next week, opened to cyclists over the weekend. It connects Arizona and Nevada with a 1,900 foot span across Black Canyon, 900 feet above the Colorado River just 1,500 feet downstream from its massive neighbor. Great views of the dam is the early word.

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