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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Emergency ARC Meeting in Trenton, and BRT Begins in NYC This Weekend

Friday, October 08, 2010

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff head to Trenton to meet with Governor Christie about the ARC tunnel. (WNYC)

Paul Krugman gets into the ARC fray with an op-ed calling Christie's decision "destructive and incredibly foolish." He continues: "We have become...a nation whose politicians seem to compete over who can show the least vision, the least concern about the future and the greatest willingness to pander to short-term, narrow-minded selfishness." (New York Times)

Bus Rapid Transit to begin Sunday on New York's East Side.

The upcoming election will likely decide whether passengers on DC's future Purple Line will ride trains or buses (Washington Post). Meanwhile, Virginia governor fails in latest bid to put his representatives on Metro board. (WAMU)

From the Economist: electric vehicles are neither useful nor green. But here in the U.S., purchasers of EVs get bombarded with incentives. "It just keeps getting better and better," says one buyer. (New York Times)

San Francisco, Oakland, climb list of bicycle commuting cities, with Oakland posting a whopping 18% increase. (Streetsblog)

President Obama’s Transportation Department has collected nearly twice as much in aviation industry fines as in the final two years of George W. Bush’s presidency. (Boston Globe)

European high-speed rail network to expand: in 2014, Eurostar will offer trains from London to Amsterdam and Geneva. (Telegraph)

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Transportation Nation

MTA Fare Hike Now Official

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The long-awaited MTA fare hike is now official. MTA Chairman Jay Walder announced Thursday that the price of a monthly MetroCard will go from $89 to $104, weekly cards will rise from $27 to $29 and base fares for single rides will increase by 25 cents.

AltTransport points out that "For people earning minimum wage in this city (which is currently at $7.25), the $104 card is more than a 10th of their salary."

WNYC has the story.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Transportation Fatalities Down, Poverty On the Rise, and State of the Subways Report Out

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The National Transportation Safety Board says that transportation fatalities dropped 9% from 2008 to 2009. But on the rise: marine deaths and pipeline fatalities.  (Washington Post)

Poverty is on the rise across the country, but it's worse in the suburbs, where (since 2000) there's a 37.4% increase.  Rise in cities: 16.7%.  "Future poverty increases will be partly determined by...government policy decisions promoting job growth, affordable housing and transportation." (AP via New York Times)

The new Straphangers Campaign State of the Subways report says that overall, New York's subways have improved (New York Daily News). Especially compared to 25 years ago, when "17 percent of trains were mislabeled with the wrong line number or letter." All aboard the mystery train!  (WNYC)

The implementation of New York's "bikes in buildings" law is proving...challenging for some. (AM NY)

Ford is working with the New York Power Authority to prepare New Yorkers for electric vehicles. (Automotive World)

U.S., Japanese airlines win antitrust immunity for cooperating on pricing and routes (Bloomberg). Meanwhile, in other antitrust news, a company that provides ferryboat service to Mackinac Island (MI) is suing the local government and another ferry provider, saying that the latter two have conspired to create a monopoly. (Detroit Free Press)

The Seat Not Taken: John Edgar Wideman's op-ed on race and seating on the Acela. "Unless the car is nearly full, color will determine, even if it doesn’t exactly clarify, why 9 times out of 10 people will shun a free seat if it means sitting beside me." (New York Times)

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Bike Commuting on Rise, NJ Road Work Suspended Again, and Update on ARC

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Christie expected to pull the plug on ARC (WNYC) (Marketplace). Meanwhile, NJ transportation officials suspended about 100 early-stage road and rail projects yesterday. (AP via ABC news)

The number of people commuting by bike is on the rise. Slowly -- but steadily. (Wired)

Ray LaHood got an earful from Staten Islanders yesterday, who "face the longest commute in the entire country." (NY1)

A proposed bike lane drew more crowds at a Vancouver city council meeting than a discussion of a future transit link. (The Province)

Albany grapples with a parking plan, debates a "system that uses market forces and incentives -- rather than 'rationing and command and control.'"  (Times Union)

School bus driver training varies "wildly" from district to district in Georgia. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Fill That Hole! was once just a public works rallying cry. Now it's an iPhone app in London. (Good)

The New York Times reviews the new musical "In Transit," which chronicles subway life: "Some will scoff at those searching for enlightenment in the crowded underground world. Yet that wide-eyed wonder may remind others of why they came to the city in the first place."

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Transportation Nation

MTA Chief: $104 Monthly Metro Card Is a Go

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

It’s (nearly) official: MTA chairman Jay Walder said this morning that monthly Metro cards will go up a whopping 17 percent in January, from $89 to $104.  WNYC has the story.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Female Crash Test Dummies and $776 million for bus upgrades

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Federal Transit Administration will give communities $776 million to upgrade bus service and buy fuel efficient buses (Wall Street Journal). Read Ray LaHood's blog entry about the grants  here.

A new report says that the US's failing transportation infrastructure imperils our prosperity. "We're going to have bridges collapse. We're going to have earthquakes. We need somebody to grab the issue and run with it," says former transportation secretary Norman Mineta. (Washington Post)

US military orders less dependence on fossil fuels. (New York Times)

NHTSA to unveil changes to the government's 5-Star Safety Rating System that will make it more difficult for cars and trucks to earn top scores (AP). One change: female crash test dummies.

Republicans running for governor seem likely to block or delay the implementation of high speed rail, should they win office. (New York Times)

A Dallas Morning News editorial wants to know: why is transit flat and carpooling down? Apparently because "Dallas' love affair with the car is as torrid as ever."

The construction of the Second Avenue Subway line is taking its toll on merchants, who say business has declined 25 to 50% since work began. (New York Times)

Jay Walder, head of New York's MTA, will be on today's Brian Lehrer Show to talk about fare hikes. (WNYC)

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Road Work Grinds to A Halt in NJ, and A Look at the MTA's Most Delayed Trains

Sunday, October 03, 2010

In NJ, work on $1.7 billion of state Department of Transportation projects halts today as Gov. Christie and state Democrats clash over funding (WNYC). An emergency meeting between Governor Christie and NJ Democratic lawmakers is scheduled for 10am today.

AT&T, T-Mobile to strike deal bringing cell service to NYC subway stations (Business Week).

Possible strike that could affect a third of Phoenix's bus routes (Arizona Republic).

The Wall Street Journal takes a look at the MTA's most delayed trains.

Connecticut tries to prepare for plug-in vehicles. (Hartford Courant)

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood wrote an op-ed in AOL News about his safety efforts.

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Transportation Nation

Fighting for a spot

Saturday, October 02, 2010

(Matt Dellinger, Transportation Nation) - On Tuesday we posted about the Indianapolis manifestation of Park(ing) Day, wherein a prime loading zone on Meridian Street was turned to lawn as a demonstration of the importance of urban green space.

The residents of Indianapolis are a little sensitive about their parking ...

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Can NY's Subways Handle The Rain, and Seattle Launches RapidRide -- While Cutting Other Service

Friday, October 01, 2010

New York's subways brace for heavy rain. The Wall Street Journal points out that "the last heavy rainfall event of this magnitude in August 2007 caused epic flooding throughout the subway system." Gizmodo adds: "we depend on just 700 fragile water pumps to keep the tunnels dry—some a century old."

Seattle launches its RapidRide bus service this weekend, "but simultaneous service cuts will hit at the heart of Metro's regional system: densely populated Seattle." (Crosscut)

Chicago Transit Authority submits proposed budget, says system won't suffer further cuts -- but won't make improvements, either. (Chicago Tribune)

California gets $194 million stimulus grant to help with planning for a 520-mile high speed rail line linking San Francisco to Anaheim. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Maryland Governor O'Malley co-authored an op-ed about using public-private partnerships to fund infrastructure projects. (Politico)

The Hudson Valley's Stewart Airport will expand, hopes to attract international flights. (WNYC)

NJ Governor Christie to name a former state attorney general, David Samson, to head the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. (Star-Ledger)

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: More finger pointing in Hudson River Rail Tunnel, Google Invests in "A Bike Lane With A View," and MTA Deficit Plan "Risky"

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Department of Transportation wants airlines to refund baggage fees in the event of lost or delayed luggage.  Unsurprisingly, there's opposition from an airline trade group, which says defining a timely delivery is "subjective." (Marketplace)

The Hudson River rail tunnel saga continues: Senator Lautenberg says that Governor Christie won't let NJ Transit staff meet with the Federal Transit Administration. (Star-Ledger)

Google invests in Shweeb, a human-powered monorail line. "Think of it as a bike lane with a view," says NPR.

A Maryland ban on (cell phone) talking while driving goes into effect this week. (WAMU)

Bangladesh to develop the "Greater Dhaka Sustainable Urban Transport Corridor Project," which contains BRT lines and an elevated expressway.   (Daily Star)

The New York State comptroller says the MTA's plan to reduce $1 billion deficit is risky (DNA Info).  Read the audit here (PDF).

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WNYC News

MTA Unveils Plans For New Intercom System

Monday, September 27, 2010

The MTA is planning to install thousands of columns throughout its subway stations that riders can use to report emergencies or ask for travel information.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Amnesty for MTA Scofflaws, Moving day for Masdar, and Traffic-Clogged cities team up

Monday, September 27, 2010

The New York City MTA, in an effort to encourage scofflaws to pay up, has declared October to be late-fee amnesty month for subway and bus riders who have received tickets (New York Post). Meanwhile, lawmakers give the MTA a "B" for its work on the Second Avenue Subway (New York Daily News). And: this weekend saw planned work on nearly every subway line, culminating in the largest MTA shuttle bus deployment ever (Gothamist).

People have begun moving into Masdar, Abu Dhabi's "zero-carbon" experimental city--where the ground level was elevated 23 feet so that a fleet of electric vehicles could operate below the surface. (New York Times)

Southwest Airlines to buy rival AirTran, expand service on East Coast.  (Wall Street Journal)

Ray LaHood says that this year the Department of Transportation has "completed more NTSB safety recommendations than in any of the last five years" (Fast Lane).  But: a recent investigation found that "Americans are exposed every day to risks in highway, air, rail and water travel because of government delays in acting on recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board." (Washington Post)

The Transport Politic takes a look at the long-term consequences the recession has had upon urban transit agencies.

Los Angeles and Beijing are teaming up to share ideas on dealing with traffic. (AP)

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Transportation Nation

Houston's Metro To Make Cutbacks In Light Of Reduced Budget

Friday, September 24, 2010

(Wendy Siegle, KUHF - Houston) The Metropolitan Transit Authority in Houston posted its 2011 budget online today. It will be presented to the board in a public hearing on Monday. The proposed budget shows a 31 percent decrease from the 2010 spending plan. That's a difference of a whopping 430-million dollars.

Still, despite the drastic reduction, officials say customers won't feel the pinch: fares won't increase and services will remain intact. But Metro will have to do some significant trimming somewhere if it plans to stop operating in a deficit and on less than a billion dollars in the next fiscal year. But where to cut?

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Traffic Deaths Drop, DC Metro needs more whistleblowers, and 8 weird transpo devices

Friday, September 24, 2010

Decrease in traffic deaths nationwide, and Florida has the country's largest drop. But why? (Florida Times-Union)

California's budget stalemate has put $3.9 billion in transportation funding on hold. (San Jose Mercury News)

DC Metro safer than last year, but needs more whistleblowers. (Washington Post)

General Motors' return to the stock market might be a smaller sale than previously thought. (Marketplace)

MARTA cuts roll out Saturday. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Walking too passé?  Biking getting boring?  AltTransport lists the eight strangest transportation devices you can actually buy. Like the below PowerRiser.

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WNYC News

The Post-Season Express: Baseball Replays on Times Square Shuttle Trains

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Starting Tuesday, one of the three shuttle trains running between Grand Central Station and Times Square has what the MTA calls a subway first: an advertiser-sponsored video campaign. The ten-inch screens are promoting TBS's coverage of the baseball post-season.

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Transportation Nation

The Road to the World Series DOES Run Through New York City

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) Beginning today, one of the three shuttle trains running between Grand Central Station and Times Square has what the MTA says is a subway first: an advertiser-sponsored video campaign. The ten-inch screens will be running highlights of the previous night's baseball games. Although the screens are just repeating a commercial right now, subway rider Janet Vasquez appreciates it.

"I think it's great," she says. "I mean, I enjoy baseball, so it's a little different than looking at the regular, everyday mundane."

The MTA says it earns more than $100 million dollars a year from advertising -- but isn't saying how much it will earn from the video commercials. The baseball campaign will run on the Times Square Shuttle for a month.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: NJ Transit in the Hot Seat, the NYPD is Watching Straphangers, and Climate Week NYC

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The NYPD is monitoring 500 subway cameras, 24/7. (WNYC)

Houston's Metro has been criticized for a lack of transparency.  So it's now streaming board meetings live. (KUHF)

The New York Times wrote an editorial that's critical of the Koch brothers efforts to overturn California's clean energy law on the November ballot.

NJ Transit officials are in the hot seat for bad service this summer. Just how bad? "We encountered a series of events that caused 1,400 delays," says the executive director. (Asbury Park Press)

Also in New Jersey: the money that had been allocated for the rail tunnel under the Hudson River may be used to shore up the Transportation Trust Fund. (Star Ledger)

It's like magic: with a wave of your hand, you can ride the San Francisco Muni for free. D'OH! (San Francisco Weekly)

New York's state Public Transportation Safety Board wants subway motormen to have an early warning system to reduce track deaths. (NY Daily News)

And just in time for the UN General Assembly: it's Climate Week NYC, a series of events focused on global warming.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Oil Boom Agony and Ecstasy, CA drivers still texting despite ban, and old NYC Subway Cars Walk the Plank

Friday, September 17, 2010

California drivers are still texting while behind the wheel. At approximately twice the rate they were texting before the state ban went into affect last year. (Los Angeles Times)  Meanwhile, a battle is shaping up over a ballot initiative that would suspend that state's stringent greenhouse gas emissions rules. (New York Times)

Oil boom in North Dakota drives up revenue -- and rents. (Minnesota Public Radio)

BART votes to approve the Oakland Airport Connector.  Again.  (SF Streetsblog)

Shareholders of United and Continental Airlines vote today on the proposed merger.  (Marketplace)

Where do old NYC subway cars go?  Hint: their passengers now include black sea bass and flounder. WNYC takes a look at a photo exhibit of their watery graves.

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Transportation Nation

DC Metro Gets a Good Rap, Musically-Speaking

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

(Washington, DC - Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation) Chronic delays, elevator outages, comically dysfunctional escalators. So many things give Washington DC's Metro system a bad rap. So much so, apparently, that Metro's badness actually has... a rap.

Local musical lampooner Remy Munasifi has just hit Metro with a new rap video,

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WNYC News

Some NYC History: The MTA's Artificial Subway Reef and Belgian Paving Stones

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Stories of preservation always catch my interest. As a New York City history buff, nothing irks me more than watching an old building or a vestige of the past getting destroyed. That's why I was so interested in speaking with photographer Stephen Mallon whose exhibit, "Next Stop on the Atlantic," on view at the Frontroom Gallery captures images of retired subway cars plunging into the ocean as part of the artificial reef program. 

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