U of M light rail tunnel could be back on the table by Laura Yuen,
Minnesota Public Radio May 13, 200
St. Paul, Minn. — Oberstar, who chairs the influential House Transportation Committee, supports the Central Corridor project linking St. Paul and Minneapolis.
The DFLer said a recently passed bill changes how the Federal Transit Administration evaluates transportation projects that are seeking federal money.
Under the old system, Oberstar said the FTA focused on what's known as the cost-effectiveness index. The CEI is a complicated formula that looks at travel times, ridership and construction costs.
But Oberstar said the index means the agency essentially ignores other factors, such as environmental benefits and the potential for economic development. He pushed for the recent changes, which will require the FTA to also give comparable weight to five other criteria.
TROUBLE ON THE HIGHWAY
AND PARKED IN CHINATOWN
Questions about 'Chinatown bus' policies gain urgency after last month's deadly crash. > By I-Ching Ng
City Limits WEEKLY #591
June 11, 2007
Best known for their bargain prices, interstate buses run by Chinese companies have attracted travelers in droves, and helped many Chinese immigrants who can't communicate in English to travel to far-flung parts of the country. But a recent fatal accident involving a New York-bound bus has prompted new calls for the bus industry to step up safety measures.
New York City is the largest hub for these Chinese-run charter buses. The immigrant transportation industry started as an alternative and more affordable means to shuttle Chinese workers to Chinese restaurants in different locations. As the Chinese bus routes expanded rapidly along the East coast and Midwest over the years, commuters including students, artists, budget travelers and immigrants nationwide also caught the cheap fare trend. Currently the Chinese buses travel from New York City to Albany, Boston, Chicago, Providence, Michigan, Washington, D.C. and even as far as Florida for as little as $12 to $20 one way.
Low costs don’t necessarily mean low conscience, some say. City Councilmember John Liu, chairperson of Council’s transportation committee, said there is no pattern showing charter buses run by the Chinese companies are more accident-prone than those run by big national bus companies. He warned that the public should not stereotype these vehicles. “If an accident happened to a Greyhound or Trailway bus, you won’t say the 'Port Authority Bus' crashed. Likewise, Chinatown is not a company and it’s absurd to say the 'Chinatown buses' are not safe,” Liu said.
I-80 toll plans moving forwardThe Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will take over operation of I-80 and turn the freeway into a toll road under terms of a 50-year lease signed late Monday.
The lease with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation was signed just before a midnight deadline set by the legislature. Tolls could be in place by 2010 if permission is obtained from the Federal Highway Administration.
The state's two highway agencies made formal application for that approval on Saturday. In the application, the turnpike agency said it planned to double the money available for I-80 repairs and upgrades over the next decade to $2 billion.
The state's plan envisions as many as 10 toll booths between New Jersey and Ohio, with an initial cost of about $25 for motorists to drive the entire 311-mile highway.
The I-80 tolls would be set at the turnpike's rate, which is anticipated to be about 8 cents per mile in three years, for cars. That would represent a 33 percent increase from the current turnpike toll rate, which now averages about 6 cents per mile. (Tolls would be 23 cents per mile for trucks weighing 30,001 to 45,000 pounds.)
Tolls on I-80 are part of a plan created last July by the legislature to raise about $965 million more per year over the next 10 years for highways, bridges and mass transit. The new law, Act 44, has been under fire from northern Pennsylvanians along the I-80 corridor who fear it will hurt the economy of the region.
The derived nature of transportation demand implies that enhancement of mobility per se is not a reasonable goal for transportation policy; instead, improved mobility is desired to the extent that it furthers accessibility—a goal that can be achieved through a variety of measures. The paper uses the mobility–accessibility distinction to distinguish different implementations of congestion pricing. A mobility-based congestion pricing promises to alleviate congestion but threatens to deteriorate from overall regional accessibility as it accelerates metropolitan deconcentration. In contrast, accessibility-based congestion pricing avoids acceleration of sprawl by incorporating policies to ensure that drivers tolled off roads are replaced with residents and travelers arriving at previously congested areas by other means.
Through estimation of a discrete choice model of residential location, this study argues that commute time remains a dominant determinant of residential location at the regional scale, and that provision of affordable housing near employment concentrations can influence residential location decisions for low-to-moderate-income, single-worker households. However, the significance of jobs-hunting balance is not in reducing congestion; even when successful, such policies will have little impact on average travel speeds. Rather, the relaxation of suburban regulation that could lead to improved matches between home and workplace is seen as enhancing the range of households' choices about residence and transportation.
Study: Americans Commute an Average 25 Minutes
Morning Edition, October 12, 2007 · A new study shows the average American commutes an average of 25 minutes. That's almost nine full days a year behind the wheel. Commutes have worsened over the last two decades because highways haven't kept pace with population growth and urban sprawl. If you work in New York City, your average commute is the worst in the country: almost 36 minutes long. For the nation's easiest commutes, you have to turn to the colder climes of Omaha and Buffalo.
Call#: Lippincott Library HE355 .S49 1989
Authors: Martin Wachs a; Brian D. Taylor a; Ned Levine a; Paul Ong a
Affiliation: a Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Published in: Urban Studies, Volume 30, Issue 10 December 1993 , pages 1711 - 1729
Commuting patterns between home and work were studied among 30 000 employees of Kaiser Permanente, a major health care provider in Southern California. The study tracked the differences between home and work location among employees over 6 years by analysing employee records and responses to a survey of over 1500 of the workers. It was found that work trip lengths had in general not grown over the 6 year period. Growth of the work force had contributed more to the growth in local traffic congestion than had a lengthening of the work trip over time. The automobile remains the dominant mode of travel between home and work for these employees, and choices of residential location were found to be based upon many factors in addition to the home-work separation, such as quality of neighbourhood and schools and perceived safety.
view references (10) : view citations
|Journal||Papers in Regional Science|
|Publisher||Springer Berlin / Heidelberg|
|ISSN||1056-8190 (Print) 1435-5957 (Online)|
|Issue||Volume 25, Number 1 / December, 1970|
Call#: Van Pelt Library HE336.T7 T735 2002
Call#: Van Pelt Library HE359.L293 C64 2004
In the Region | Long Island
Transit as Downtown's Savior
By VALERIE COTSALAS
WHEN Maurice Fox, a vice president for a development firm, heard that an acre of land four blocks from the Valley Stream Long Island Rail Road station was for sale, he told his boss at the Dennis Organization, and "we jumped on it."
Next week, the developer will start laying the foundation for a $26 million 90-unit condominium complex with 37 one-bedroom units starting at $325,000, and 53 two-bedroom units starting at $395,000. Sales haven't begun yet, but Mr. Fox said there were 293 names of potential buyers on a waiting list.
The main selling feature of the complex, called Hawthorne Court, is its proximity to the station, which offers a 32-minute commute to Manhattan by express train, he said. With so many young commuters and empty nesters living in the area, he added, "I realized that Valley Stream is in dire need of it."
In Chile, Commuters Sue City over Transit System
by Julie McCarthy
All Things Considered, October 8, 2007 · Cities around the world have been trying to lure commuters out of their cars and onto mass transit with the aim of making urban life cleaner and greener. While a state-of-the art system installed in Chile has reduced pollution in the city of Santiago, a bungled adjustment has also left millions of passengers reeling - and hundreds of others suing the government.
The new system may be generating less pollution, but it is also generating mountains of complaints. What was once a 40-minute trip can now take 2 hours. As a result, commuters report losing their jobs for being late, or being forced to change jobs because routes have changed.
So troubled is Santiago's new mass transit system, known as Transantiago, that President Michele Bachelet made an unusual admission just days after its disastrous roll-out.
M.T.A. Says Mayor's Plan to Ease Traffic Will Cost $767 Million to Accomplish
By ROBERT D. McFADDEN
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's plan to ease traffic congestion by charging motorists who drive into the busiest parts of Manhattan would cost hundreds of millions of dollars for new bus and subway services and mass transit improvements to accommodate tens of thousands of new riders, transportation officials say.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, in a report to a commission created to evaluate the mayor's plan, estimated that expanded transit service and capital improvements for city and suburban riders who would give up their cars to get into Manhattan over the next five years would cost $767 million.
The total, the authority said, comprised $284 million in 2008 and 2009 for 367 new city and suburban buses, 46 new subway cars and many station renovations and service enhancements; $163 million for other subway and bus improvements from 2010 to 2012, and $320 million for two new bus terminals in Queens and Staten Island.
Rachel Gordon, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, October 5, 2007
Regional officials are taking a close look at trying to increase the Bay Area's gasoline tax by as much as 10 cents a gallon and believe voters might agree to it as a way to help combat global warming, The Chronicle learned Thursday.
Although the regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission has been able to ask voters for a higher gas tax since 1997, a decade of polls indicated there was little chance such an unpopular idea would ever secure the necessary two-thirds approval in the nine Bay Area counties.
Now, however, with public concern building over climate change, the electorate might not be so opposed to a new gas tax as long as voters see it as a way to help the environment, officials said.
A 10-cent-a-gallon increase in the Bay Area could generate an estimated $300 million a year or more to pay for transportation-related projects. Although the money could be used for roads, the emphasis probably would be on public transit and efforts to reduce auto pollution.
"People will kill their puppies to stop global warming these days," said Dave Snyder with a smile. Snyder is transportation policy director at the San Francisco Policy and Urban Planning Association, a think tank.
State Route 91 Value-Priced Express Lanes: Updated Observations
Transportation Research Record
Issue Volume 1812 / 2002
Abstract: Recently over 5 years of field observations were concluded of the value-priced express lanes that opened December 27, 1995, in the median of State Route 91, in Orange County, California. Data collection, covering about a year and a half of observations to establish baseline conditions before opening day, included traffic measurements, vehicle occupancy counts, transit ridership, and comprehensive travel surveys of current and former commuters. The corresponding data analysis included the calibration of choice models of route, occupancy, transponder acquisition, and time-of-day behavior of commuters and the estimation of air pollution emissions. Findings are presented on traffic trends, toll lane use, travelers' responses to changing congestion and tolls, shifts in ridesharing and transit use, shifts in trip purpose, differences associated with income and other demographics, public opinion, collision experience, and the results of choice and emissions modeling. As the first practical application of value pricing in the United States, the State Route 91 express lanes provide many important insights, both technical and institutional, some of which are relevant to the implementation of value-pricing projects in other locations.
Economica, New Series, Vol. 44, No. 175. (Aug., 1977), pp. 297-304.
Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0013-0427%28197708%292%3A44%3A175%3C297%3ATDEOCT%3E2.0.CO%3B2-T
Journal Title - Networks and Spatial Economics
Article Title - Congestion Pricing with Heterogeneous Travelers: A General-Equilibrium Welfare Analysis
Volume - Volume 4
Issue - 2
First Page - 135
Last Page - 160
Issue Cover Date - 2004-06-01
Author - André de Palma
Author - Robin LindseyDOI - 10.1023/B:NETS.0000027770.27906.82
Link - http://www.springerlink.com/content/t317779845j42x04
Traffic congestion pricing is studied using a general-equilibrium framework that incorporates public goods expenditures, an income tax, a government budget constraint, and preferences for equity. Individuals differ with respect to wages, values of travel time, and the congestion characteristics of their vehicles. Formulae for optimal tolls are derived and decomposed to reveal the separate influences of individual and vehicle heterogeneity, road network effects, fiscal effects and equity concerns. Using an example various tolling regimes are considered, defined by how much of the network is tolled, by whether and how tolls are differentiated by route, and by vehicle and individual characteristics.
portation, it has become a major target for policy-makers and planners. However, policies to curb congestion
have had little effect. It is suggested that there is a wide gap between the assumptions which underlie policy
measures and the manner in which individual users perceive and, consequently, respond to policy measures.
This gap can partially be explained by the fact that the set of alternative responses to growing congestion is
wider and somewhat different from that assumed by policy-makers. Moreover, the distributional impacts of
various responses are such that their benefits and costs, as perceived by the user, create barriers to adoption.
The dynamics of the behavioral response are also often overlooked by policy-makers, resulting in the pro-
mulgation of measures which have little or no effect on users’ behavior. This paper reviews 16 possible
behavioral responses from a coping strategy perspective, and emphasizes their distributional impacts. Finally,
the paper analyzes some of the implications of the gap between policy-making and user response.
To Ease a City's Traffic, Shifting From 4 Wheels to 2
By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS
On many mornings, as commuters pack themselves into subway trains and drivers squeeze onto the streets, Janette Sadik-Khan, the commissioner of the Department of Transportation, rides her bicycle to work.
That the head of an agency long associated with car travel is an avid bicyclist symbolizes what might be a new way of thinking about how New York's asphalt should be used. In recent months, the city has pledged to add bicycle racks and hundreds of miles of bike lanes on city streets and has been exploring a program similar to one in Paris in which people can use bikes at minimal cost.
The Bloomberg administration says it wants to develop cycling as a viable transportation alternative to ease traffic congestion, reduce carbon emissions and encourage physical activity. But the new attention to cycling has also encountered resistance in some neighborhoods, especially when it threatens to remove traffic lanes for cars and trucks.
Ms. Sadik-Khan said her time on two wheels has become an important part of her work.
"It's invaluable to get on a bike and see firsthand the conditions that our projects are trying to address," said Ms. Sadik-Khan, who became the city's transportation commissioner in the spring. "We are really emphasizing connectivity in the bicycle lane network, because all cyclists, myself included, know that it's maddening to be coming along a lane and have it simply end and leave you off on your own on a big avenue."
To that end, the Bloomberg administration has said it will add 200 miles of bike lanes by 2010 - the equivalent of the number added during the last 20 years.
Volume 59 Issue 3 Page 365-377, August 2007
To cite this article: Edmund J. Zolnik (2007)
Cost Attribution in Unlimited Access Transit Programs: Case Study on the UConn Prepaid Fare Program Failure
The Professional Geographer 59 (3), 365-377.
Using a case study approach, this article explores the potential to increase public transit ridership via the expansion of Unlimited Access (UA) from a university- or employer-based program to a community-based program. UA partners universities or employers with regional transit organizations to provide free or discounted public transit service to students as well as employees and, potentially, to local community residents. A case study on the only known UA program failure highlights the importance of equitable cost attribution as well as stakeholder coordination and dedicated operations funds to the long-term success of community-based UA programs.
Pennsylvania Political War Over Planned Tolls on I-80
By SEAN D. HAMILL
BROOKVILLE, Pa., Aug. 23 - Anthony Foote spends a lot of time driving his Kenworth T-600 truck on Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania. He prefers it to the state's other east-west highway, the Interstate 76 turnpike, which can cost him $140 in tolls.
So the news that the state plans to impose tolls on I-80 was as upsetting to Mr. Foote as finding an ugly scratch in the purple paint on his rig.
"I hate paying tolls," he said. "It eats up my profit. If this goes through, you'll have a lot of truckers avoiding Pennsylvania - including me."
Pennsylvania officials plan to build up to 10 toll areas along the 311-mile stretch of Interstate 80 in the next three years to help pay for road, bridge and mass transit projects and subsidies.
The move has sparked a political war between the bipartisan coalition of state legislators who approved the plan and two Republican congressmen who say it is a "shell game," taking revenue from rural Pennsylvania to bail out the state's urban areas.
"It's absolutely horrendous for my district," said one of them, Representative John E. Peterson, whose Fifth Congressional District covers about half of I-80 in north central Pennsylvania. "Every major bill like this should be measured by whether this will make people less likely to come here. And if this stays active, we'll never get another distribution center or similar business again in my district."
Paying for new roads with tolls, or adding tolls to sections of older urban roads, is common across the country. But experts say that imposing tolls on an entire interstate highway that had been free may be unprecedented, in part because the federal government typically bans tolls on highways paid for with federal money, as I-80 was.
Gridlock's Other Toll
In a matter of weeks, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to issue his report on what New York needs to do to sustain itself as a desirable destination for residents, businesses and visitors. The report, called PlaNYC 2030, is intended to be an important guidepost for the city's future. Done right, it could become a global model and an important piece of Mr. Bloomberg's legacy.
To get there, though, the mayor will have to deal aggressively with a vexing problem, traffic congestion. If that piece of the plan falls short, the rest of Mr. Bloomberg's vision won't much matter. In just a couple of decades, New York is expected to add nearly a million more people. To have any hope of keeping people moving, the city will need to take real and substantial action to unclog its roads - including some form of congestion fee and other disincentives to driving on the busiest streets.
The city has told the transit agency that it might reclaim part of the subway system unless it is granted "certain rights."
By Paul Nussbaum
Inquirer Staff Writer
Philadelphia is trying to get more clout with SEPTA by threatening to take its subways and go home.
The city owns the Broad Street subway and half of the Market-Frankford Subway-Elevated line, both of which it leased to SEPTA in 1968 when the transportation agency was created.
The lease was written to expire on Dec. 31, 2005, or when SEPTA made the last of its required rent payments, whichever came later. In 2005, unable to agree on whether the lease was about to expire, the city and SEPTA extended the lease until the end of 2007.
Transit crisis awaits a mayor
SEPTA, parking fees and a regional outlook are crucial issues facing the primary contenders.
By Paul Nussbaum
Inquirer Staff Writer
One gauge of a city's health is its mobility.
A city that thrives is one where congestion doesn't become gridlock, where commuters, shoppers and beer trucks can coexist. Bustle is good, immobility is bad.
For Philadelphia's next mayor, the big transportation challenges will be to improve mass transit and deal with chronic traffic and parking problems. And the mayor will have to persuade skeptical suburbanites to help because the city's transportation network is the hub of a vast regional web.
"Where does transportation land on your priority list? It has to rate very highly," said Steven Wray, executive director of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, citing transportation's importance to the region's economy.
Center City "can't continue to boom without a transportation policy," said Vukan Vuchic, a professor of city and regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania.
April 4, 2007
Stay on Track
Americans made 10.1 billion trips on public transportation last year, the highest that ridership has risen in nearly half a century. That's good for congestion on the roads as well as the pollution that goes with it. But any mass-transit renaissance will come to a grinding halt unless a commensurate investment is made in upkeep and expansion.
As Libby Sander reported recently in The Times, Chicago's elevated train system, known as the El, appears to be near a breaking point. The second-largest public transit system in America after New York's is suffering from rising commute times as the century-old system deteriorates.
Public transit systems are financed through a combination of federal and local money, so parochial priorities play a big role in underinvestment. For instance, the Chicago Transit Authority's financing formula hasn't changed since 1983. But at the same time, the federal gas tax - which contributes money for public transportation systems as well as highways - hasn't changed since 1993. That means it hasn't even kept up with inflation in maintenance and construction costs, much less rising demand.
Bush official promotes Rendell's push to lease Pa. Turnpike
By Marc Levy
HARRISBURG - Gov. Rendell enlisted the Bush administration yesterday in his push to get wary legislators to agree to privatize the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Rendell, a Democrat, appeared with U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters to extol the benefits of a proposal to lease the turnpike, an arrangement Rendell hopes will provide nearly $1 billion a year for the state's highway network.
"This partnership," Peters said at a news conference in the state Capitol's rotunda, "could generate billions of dollars that could be used to repair deteriorating roads and bridges, and free up money for construction and keep the state moving both now and into the future."
They're both en route in Pa., N.J.
By Paul Nussbaum
Inquirer Staff Writer
Would you pay $34 to drive the Pennsylvania Turnpike? How about $11 for the New Jersey Turnpike? Or $8 for the Garden State Parkway?
Those are the billion-dollar questions for private companies interested in leasing the toll roads.
In figuring out the price tag for a turnpike, nothing is as important to a private bidder as future tolls. If drivers will pay more - and not divert in droves to other roads - companies will offer more for the toll road.
Morgan Stanley & Co., hired by Gov. Rendell to advise his administration on leasing the Pennsylvania Turnpike, is expected to publicly release its recommendations later this month.
"It all depends on the tolls," said one banker who asked not to be identified because his company is involved in the bidding for the Pennsylvania Turnpike. "You want an equitable toll rate, one that isn't so high that people don't want to take the road or so low that you get a lot of congestion."
Members Named for Panel Studying Traffic-Cutting Plan
By WILLIAM NEUMAN
A commission heavy with advocates of congestion pricing was named yesterday to study Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's contentious traffic-cutting proposal and present a recommendation to state and city lawmakers.
Gov. Eliot Spitzer nominated Marc V. Shaw, a former deputy mayor under Mr. Bloomberg, as head of the 17-member commission, which must make its recommendation by Jan. 31 on whether to impose an $8 daily charge on drivers entering Manhattan below 86th Street. The charge for trucks would be $21.
The commission includes two other members appointed by the governor, who has endorsed the mayor's proposal, three members appointed by Mayor Bloomberg and three appointed by City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, who has also supported the plan.
It would appear from those appointments that the mayor can count on a majority of commission members to back his plan. The commission was created by a law passed during a special legislative session in July as a compromise between supporters and opponents of the congestion pricing plan.
The federal Transportation Department said last week that it would give New York $354 million if it went ahead with the mayor's congestion plan. The money would go mostly to improve bus service for drivers who switch to mass transit.
City Experiments by Adding Color to Bus Lanes
By Sewell Chan
bus lanesA new red bus lane on 57th Street. (Photo: New York City Department of Transportation)
With support from the Federal Highway Administration, New York City will be the first locality in the United States to test painted bus lanes, the city's Department of Transportation announced today.
As part of a trial period, existing bus lanes on East 57th Street, from Second to Fifth Avenues, and on Fordham Road, from University Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, are being painted terra cotta, a deep red like the color of bricks. If the experiment works, officials hope that more motorists will stay out of the lanes, which are used during the morning and evening rush, on weekdays.
The coloring of bus lanes - red is the most common color, but green and yellow have also been used - has been used in London; Edinburgh; Rouen, France; Seoul, South Korea; and Melbourne, Australia.
The colors do not affect the current bus lane rules. Vehicles other than buses may not drive in any bus lanes during the hours that they are in operation, except to make the next legal right turn. On East 57th Street and Fordham Road, the bus lanes are in effect from Monday to Friday, 7 to 10 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m.
The painting on 57th Street should be complete by Sept. 1, and the Fordham Road painting will begin after that.
Two different paint treatments are being evaluated. "One option involves adding color to the entire bus lane, while the other option involves applying the color only down the center of the lane," the department said in a news release. "A five-foot wide strip down the center may be more cost effective and more durable, since the strip will experience less wear from bus tires than a full lane striping would. However, this treatment may not be as effective as the full lane striping at reducing unauthorized use." On 57th Street and Fordham Road, one treatment will be used on one side of the street, and the other treatment on the opposite side.
New York Up Close
Hue and Cry
By GREGORY BEYER
In 2001, the city's Transportation Department tested a light blue bike lane in Downtown Brooklyn and found that in terms of making the lane sufficiently visible to cyclists and drivers alike, it did the trick. But at the urging of the Federal Highway Administration, the department has forgone blue for the Brooklyn Heights bike lane and decided to experiment with green, echoing a growing national movement to make green the official bike lane color.
Other streets are getting paint jobs, too. Last week, in an experiment in making bus lanes more visible, the city laid down coats of terra-cotta-colored paint on bus lanes along part East 57th Street, and it will soon do the same for lanes on Fordham Road in the Bronx.
After the Second Avenue subway finally rolls, it also may eventually bring a new color. The Web site of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority shows a T - the letter tentatively chosen to denote the new line - sitting in a circle of turquoise. (According to Jeremy Soffin, a spokesman, the agency has not yet chosen a permanent color for the circle.)
The choice is of special interest to Lynne Lambert, whose New York City Subway Line is an official licensed maker of subway-themed merchandise. Whatever color is chosen will make its way onto T-shirts, hats and other items Ms. Lambert produces, and she said she would be happy to see the choice on the transportation authority's Web site become permanent.
I-5 closure shows we're adaptable
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Last updated 8:38 a.m. PT
By CARY MOON AND KAMALA RAO
Whether you're surprised or not, the unfolding story of I-5 construction is remarkable.
The highway is usually so congested at rush hour we've come to think of its traffic as absolute, as a necessity of life. When repairs meant partial closure, hearts sank. But the Washington State Department of Transportation planned ahead and got the word out. It threatened nightmarish delays; it urged working from home and avoiding rush hour. It offered a discount on van pools, mapped alternative routes and reminded us of all the transit options.
A few days in, and so far so good: About half the 120,000 daily drivers have found other ways to get around. Hats off to the media for educating us on options, and thanks to all the conscientious travelers for doing their part.
But doesn't it blow your mind to see, in real time, how profoundly adaptable people are? Turns out we're not like dairy cows heading home to the barn. We survey the options and make choices: We can take transit, go early, go late, stay local, shop local, walk, bike, share rides. And the city and region keep right on working.
Our collective "need" for highway capacity is about as certain as our "need" for bottled water.
I-5 is mostly flowing smoothly on reduced lanes. Surface streets aren't clogged. Traffic on the Alaskan Way Viaduct is fine. Transit is full, but not overwhelmed -- without any increased Metro bus service. Freight is moving. Funny, the only place where there seems to be a problem is on I-405, where people don't have as many real alternatives.
The agency vowed to appeal the ruling in a suit brought by Philadelphia
By Paul Nussbaum
Inquirer Staff Writer
The transfers live.
A Common Pleas Court judge ruled yesterday that SEPTA must not eliminate the paper transfers that permit bus and subway riders to change vehicles for 60 cents.
The transit agency said it would appeal Judge Gary F. DiVito Jr.'s decision.
SEPTA had wanted passengers to pay full fares ($2 with cash or $1.30 with tokens) whenever changing from one bus to another. The city sued, saying that poor and minority passengers would be especially hard-hit by the elimination of the transfers.
In ordering the board to reinstate the transfers, DiVito called the SEPTA decision "capricious and . . . a manifest and flagrant abuse of discretion."
"What the evidence demonstrates," DiVito wrote, "is that SEPTA's board (1) voted to eliminate paper transfers (2) to mollify the legislature in hopes of ensuring funding (3) without any study of the impact on those who would be most adversely affected (4) without any semblance of a 'modernization plan' ready (5) with no agreement with the school board in place when (6) they could have designed a plan with an equitable impact on all of its riders."
By Sruthi Pinnamaneni
Holding fluorescent-colored signs calling for a halt to a proposed relocation of bus zones in their neighborhood, hundreds of Chinatown and Lower East Side residents poured into the M.S. 131 auditorium on the evening of Tues., July 24. Some had waited almost an hour for the start of the Community Board 3 meeting.
After several hours of discussion, C.B. 3 voted against a contentious proposal to relegate hundreds of interstate buses to a two-block stretch where Pike St. meets the F.D.R. Drive, in the heart of a cluster of housing developments. The protesters got what they hoped for in the board vote, but many say the buses remain a problem.
The proposal was a response to a thriving curbside bus business in multiple locations of Chinatown's commercial hub that some officials say has become virtually impossible to regulate. There may be as many as 600 interstate buses going in and out of the neighborhood in a single day, Sergeant Frank Failla of the Fifth Precinct estimated.
But when city officials recommended moving the buses to one central location to improve their regulation, residents of the nearby Rutgers Houses and Knickerbocker Village were outraged, saying they refuse to put up with what they call a "mini bus depot" on their doorsteps. The neighbors say the proposal would worsen pollution, garbage and traffic violations by relocating the buses to a more residential area.
"We are not the Port Authority. We are housing projects with families," said Janice McLaurin at the meeting. "So don't treat us as though we are expendable." McLaurin, a Rutgers Houses resident and a mother of two asthmatic children, is worried her family's health could deteriorate if more buses are moved near her home.
In this debate, residents found themselves on the same side as the bus companies.
Mixed Signals: Driving to Work as a Tax Break
By WILLIAM NEUMAN
They have made it a priority at the United States Department of Transportation: Get people out of their cars.
This week, the department announced $848 million in grants to help cities discourage people from driving, in many cases by imposing new tolls or fees.
But at the same time, another arm of the federal government seems to be sending a very different message. Congress provides a tax break to many of those same drivers to help them shoulder the costs of taking their cars to work.
Close to 400,000 commuters nationwide - about half of them in the New York City area - take advantage of a provision in the federal tax code that allows them to use up to $215 a month in pre-tax wages to pay for their parking at work, according to executives at corporate benefits firms that specialize in administering the tax break.
While some drivers use it to pay for parking at commuter rail stations or bus stops, most take advantage of it to pay for parking near their workplace, mostly in city centers, the executives said.
The tax savings can equal about $1,000 a year for some drivers. And the effect makes driving to work more desirable.
"It is perverse," said Jeffrey M. Zupan, a senior fellow for transportation at the Regional Plan Association in New York. "If you're going to institute pricing measures that are intended to reduce the amount of driving, you don't want to keep in place other measures that encourage people to drive. What you want is a set of policies that work together."
The federal government said on Tuesday that it would provide $354 million for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s broad plan to reduce traffic, but left it to the city to come up with more than $200 million needed for the most controversial part of the plan: a system to charge people who drive into Manhattan.
In addition, under the agreement outlined by the United States secretary of transportation, Mary E. Peters, the release of the funds is contingent upon the City Council’s and the State Legislature’s approving the plan, including the new fee on drivers, by next March.
The announcement was mixed news for Mr. Bloomberg, who is trying to establish the first broad-based congestion pricing program in the country, and to raise his national profile on environmental issues. While the federal support helps to advance his initiative, it is now up to the mayor to find the money — through borrowing, appropriation, or perhaps from a private corporation — for what has been seen as the centerpiece of the plan, the new charge on drivers.
In its federal application, the city estimated that it would cost $223 million to install a computerized system to monitor traffic and impose the fee on cars entering the busiest parts of Manhattan, and asked the United States to cover $179 million of that. But the Department of Transportation said it would contribute only $10 million to that initiative. Most of what the department agreed to provide on Tuesday is designated for the construction of bus depots and other mass transit improvements.
The concept of "complete streets" — with bike lanes, sidewalks and room for mass transit — has attracted a diverse national alliance of supporters, including advocates for senior citizens and the disabled.
Fourteen states, six counties, 10 regional governments and 52 cities have complete streets policies, according to the National Complete Streets Coalition. In Illinois, a complete streets bill awaits the governor's signature. In California, a bill passed one house.
Massachusetts and at least 11 cities — including Seattle, Honolulu, Chicago, Salt Lake City, Madison, Wis., and Jackson, Miss. — have approved complete streets policies since last year, the coalition says.
Some states, such as Oregon and Florida, have had the equivalent of complete streets policies for years, but the "overarching concept jelled just in the last few years," coalition coordinator Barbara McCann says.
Taxi drivers and other critics said that it would never work, but three weeks after Paris was sprinkled with 10,000 self-service bicycles, the scheme is proving a triumph and a new pedalling army appears to be taming the city’s famously fierce traffic.
Bertrand Delano�, the city’s mayor, and his green-minded administration are jubilant at the gusto with which Parisians and visitors have taken to the heavy grey cycles that have been available at 750 ranks since July 15.
Nowhere is the project being watched with greater interest than in London as the city prepares for London Freewheel day next month, when miles of roads will be car-free for the day. After witnessing first-hand the ease with which Parisians have taken to pedalling, Ken Livingstone, the Mayor, has asked Transport for London to develop a similar plan for London and bring together several smaller schemes across the city.
In Paris there have been few teething troubles with the high-tech system that supplies the bikes for up to €1 per half-hour — but one is a result of residents using them to glide downhill to work and then taking public transport home, resulting in gluts of bikes at some low-level stands and shortages at higher altitude stations, such as Montmartre.
Development of mega cities of Pakistan and China has greatly been affected by the growth in urbanization and motorization. The uncontrolled rise in urbanization, motorization, exclusionary planning and disproportionate investment in transportation infrastructure has created a socio-economic imbalance, thereby challenging the issue of equity. This paper focuses on a comparative social equity assessment of urban development, characteristics of supply and demand of transportation and infrastructure systems and the impact of existing strategies over equity in the development of urban and transportation system of Beijing and Karachi. The paper concludes by suggesting some strategies for the development of sustainable and equitable urban transportation systems.
Keywords: Urbanization; Equity; Accessibility; Affordability; Motorization; Sustainable transportatio
By Steve Hymon
Times Staff Writer
August 6, 2007
In November 2004, voters in the Denver metro region went to the polls and, much to the surprise of some political observers, decided to tax themselves to begin the nation's largest ongoing expansion of mass transit.
If all goes as planned, the Denver region is expected to build 119 miles of light rail and commuter rail by 2016. Among the projects are six new lines from Denver to the suburbs, including one to the airport, the extension of two other light-rail lines and a new rapid transit bus line.
It's a relatively unusual approach. Constrained by a lack of money, most cities build one or maybe two lines at a time. In Denver, they're betting the entire system can be built at once.
As with any massive public works project, there are reasons for skepticism. The projected cost of the program — called FasTracks — has grown from $4.7 billion to $6.2 billion because of rising construction costs, before construction has started. Transit officials and politicians continue to insist that each of the new lines will be built, but cuts will have to be made, perhaps in the form of smaller stations or lines that have only one track.
© 2005 Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning
Spatial and Transportation Mismatch in Los Angeles
Paul M. Ong
UCLA's Ralph and Goldy Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies
Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy at Columbia University
This article compares the impacts of spatial mismatch (the geographic separation of workers and jobs) and transportation mismatch (the lack of access to a private automobile) on neighborhood employment-to-population ratios and unemployment rates. The study uses tract-level data for the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The analysis uses an instrumental-variable approach to correct for the simultaneity of employment and car ownership. Results indicate that transportation mismatch is the more important factor in generating poor labor-market outcomes, particularly for disadvantaged neighborhoods. Areas with relatively more jobs increase female employment rates but not male employment rates. On the other hand, lower car ownership rates significantly decrease the employment ratio and increase the unemployment rate for both sexes.
Key Words: employment • unemployment • poor neighborhoods
BY ALYSSA GIACHINO, NICOLE BODE and LEO STANDORA
Wednesday, July 25th 2007, 4:00 AM
Taxi drivers on a collision course with the city over new tracking technology and credit card payment systems may play the strike card today.
The Taxi Alliance is widely expected to warn that medallion cabbies will walk off the job Sept. 1 if the Taxi and Limousine Commission holds to its plan to install the new gear in their hacks.
The 8,400-member Alliance has been moving toward a strike declaration for months.
"If the City Council and Mayor Bloomberg continue to stay silent as drivers' privacy and economics are trampled on, we will strike," Alliance Executive Director Bhairavi Desai said yesterday.
The TLC said the Global Positioning System tracking devices are meant to be used only to help cabbies get around the city, reunite passengers with lost belongings and perhaps catch criminals who prey on cabbies.
But drivers say the system will invade their privacy, create a new breed of backseat drivers who disagree with GPS directions and cost them money.
Recent estimates put the cost of the new equipment and maintenance at $2,800 to $5,400 per cab over three years.
The Alliance said each credit card transaction also would cost the driver 5% of the fare.
Just about every driver around Penn Station yesterday turned their thumbs down on the GPS and up for a strike.
"If it goes though, I'll have to pay more money and I'll be making less money," said Herjit Sangh, 55, of Queens. "You do the math."
Constantine Tentomas, 69, also of Queens, predicted that even if installed, the GPS system would be a bust.
"Everything they put in the taxis since I started in 1977 has failed," he said. "It's gonna break; riders will destroy it."
By ANNIE KARNI
Staff Reporter of the Sun
July 24, 2007
From charging wealthy drivers hundreds of dollars to cross the Shinnecock Canal to levying hefty taxes on New Yorkers arriving by helicopter, East End residents and their local officials are taking a cue from the city and floating congestion-pricing schemes to convince more New Yorkers to ditch their cars before heading to the beach.
"There's too many cars on the road, too many people who don't know how to drive, and the feeling here is, ‘Wouldn't it be lovely to keep some of them away?'" the editor of the East Hampton Star, David Rattray, said in an interview yesterday.
Hamptons business owners say the heavy traffic flow is damaging their livelihoods, and weekend beachgoers say they have become more inclined this summer to avoid driving into town to dine out.
"The traffic is beyond disgusting," the co-owner of Vered Gallery in East Hampton, Janet Lehr, said. "We see our clients from Southampton to Westhampton and Quogue in the winter, but they just don't come during the summer months, and I don't blame them."
Call#: Lippincott Library HE5623 .D86 1998
© 2007 SAGE Publications
Taming the Neighborhood Revolution: Planners, Power Brokers, and the Birth of Neotraditionalism in Portland, Oregon
Gregory L. Thompson
Florida State University
In the early 1970s, neighborhood-based movements arose in Portland, Oregon, against freeways, while networks of individuals championed a revival of rail transit. At decade's end, regional leaders rejected two interstate freeways, repudiated a freeway-based regional transportation plan, and agreed to build the beginning of a regional rail system. In seeming contradiction to their anti-auto actions, they also lobbied Congress to change federal law so that they could spend money from deleted interstate highway projects on noninterstate roads rather than on transit. This article documents how planners and power brokers in Portland negotiated among themselves to channel the energy from what began as a citizen- and neighborhood-based revolution into the beginnings of a new consensus about transit, road, and land use development by the end of the decade, one that implicitly recognized personal preference for mass mobility but that explicitly championed designs of transportation facilities to reflect local objectives.
Key Words: interstate transfer • light rail • TriMet • Neil Goldschmidt • Glenn Jackson • Gerard Drummond • Don Clark • neighborhood • antifreeway movement • Mt. Hood Freeway • Banfield Freeway
In the first week of a rental program, officials report 45,000 rides and counting.
By Marjorie Miller, Times Staff Writer
July 22, 2007
PARIS - The Tour de France hasn't arrived yet, but the bicycles have. Paris is awash in two-wheelers, thousands of taupe bicycles that are part of a plan by City Hall to get people out of their cars and onto more eco-friendly transportation.
The bicycle rental service still has some kinks to work out, but the first week of the Velib program was a big hit with Parisians. City Hall reported 45,000 rentals a day and counting.
"It's superb," said IT engineer Olivier Lemaitre, 35, who rode a bike from Les Invalides on the left bank of the Seine to La Madeleine on the right. "I used to come by Metro, but it's better to be outside."
"It's healthier and the weather is beautiful," science writer Sophie Antoine, 29, said, taking her purse out of the metal basket on the front of the bike.
Politicians who helped it get a dedicated financial base and its riders want to see improved services.
By Paul Nussbaum
Inquirer Staff Writer
Memo to SEPTA: Be careful what you ask for.
The state last week gave the Philadelphia region's long-suffering transit authority what it had always needed: money. Now, riders and politicians expect something in return: better service.
After years of blaming budget crises for its dingy subway stations, antiquated fare system, crowded trains, balky buses, and indifferent customer service, SEPTA has funding for this year and a dedicated, inflation-sensitive source of money for years to come.
Gov. Rendell on Wednesday signed a landmark transportation law, establishing new funding streams for mass-transit agencies. It provides about $156 million more in operating funds and $58 million more in capital funds for SEPTA this fiscal year, and eliminates the need for threatened service cuts or additional fare increases this year.
When he signed the bill, Rendell said he hoped SEPTA, and the state's other transit agencies, would use the money not to just stave off cuts but to "enhance some services."
He has lots of company.
The New Yorker
The Financial Page
Fuel for Thought
by James Surowiecki July 23, 2007
In the auto industry, there’s one thing you can always count on: if a new environmental or safety rule is proposed, executives will prophesy disaster. In the nineteen-twenties, Alfred Sloan, the president of General Motors, insisted that the company could not make windshields with safety glass because doing so would harm the bottom line. In the fifties, auto executives told Congress that making seat belts compulsory would slash industry profits. When air bags came along, Lee Iacocca told Richard Nixon that “safety has really killed all our business.” A few years later, when Congress was thinking about requiring fuel-economy standards, auto executives warned that instituting such standards would create “massive financial and unemployment problems.” And now, with Congress debating a bill to raise fuel-economy standards, for the first time in almost twenty years, the Chicken Littles are squawking again, forecasting doom for Detroit and asserting that making higher-mileage vehicles is technologically unfeasible and economically suicidal.
Of course, much of this is simply stonewalling by executives determined to keep meddlesome politicians out of their business. But sometimes the industry’s fears have been founded on real market research. In the case of safety glass, G.M. believed that consumers weren’t prepared to pay more for cars with safety glass, so Sloan worried that it would be hard to recoup the cost of installing it. Similarly, when, in the mid-nineteen-seventies, G.M. offered front-seat air bags as an option on Cadillacs, Buicks, and Oldsmobiles, they didn’t sell. Fuel-economy standards present the same difficulty: although there are plenty of affordable models that get good gas mileage, over the past two decades some of the most powerful and least fuel-efficient vehicles on the market—S.U.V.s and pickup trucks—have also been among the best-selling. Thirty years ago, so-called “light trucks” accounted for about a fifth of all auto sales. Today, even with a recent slowdown, they account for more than half.
From Some Cabbies, a New In-Taxi Video System Gets No Stars
By JAMES BARRON
New York City taxi driver No. 523687 was not happy about what was going on in the back of her cab.
Her passengers were watching television- specifically, the news anchors from WABC-TV, who were introducing a story about stylish-looking dresses on racks.
It was not the story that irritated driver No. 523687, Lea Acey. It was the TV itself.
"It's annoying," she said. "It makes too much noise."
Ms. Acey is one of the many taxi drivers frustrated by a high-tech video-and-fare system that must be installed by the end of this year in all of the city's 13,000 yellow cabs. Besides watching TV, customers can follow the taxi's route on a map on the screen.
On November 16th, 2005, REBAR opened eyes worldwide by transforming a metered parking spot into a park. Locating a site that was underserved by public outdoor space, we installed a small, temporary park that provided nature, seating, and shade. By our calculations, we provided 24,000 square-foot-minutes of public open space that afternoon. See the video!
Since the initial PARK(ing) project was created we've been contacted by people worldwide. What began as a simple, playful idea has become a lively and visible symbol of the desire to reprogram the street and increase public open space in cities all over the planet.
In 2006, with support from The Trust for Public Land, we built upon this groundswell of interest and created an international event. PARK(ing) Day 2006 brought artists, designers, and activists together to create 47 PARKs in 13 Cities worldwide, including New York, London, and Rio de Janeiro. See our PARK(ing) Day 2006 page and the video!
In 2007, we will show how our temporary PARKs can become permanent new urban places and connect people with ways to transform their entire city's streetscape for a sustainable future.Join artists, designers, and activists around the world who are peacefully demonstrating how to reduce congestion, clean the air, save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve urban neighborhoods.
A New French Revolution's Creed: Let Them Ride Bikes
By KATRIN BENNHOLD
PARIS, July 15 - About a dozen sweaty people pedaled bicycles up the Champs-Élysées on Sunday toward the Arc de Triomphe, as onlookers cheered.
These were not the leading riders of the Tour de France racing toward the finish line, but American tourists testing this city's new communal bike program.
"I'm never taking the subway again," said a beaming Justin Hill, 47, a real estate broker from Santa Barbara, Calif.
More than 10,600 of the hefty gray bicycles became available for modest rental prices on Sunday at 750 self-service docking stations that provide access in eight languages. The number is to grow to 20,600 by the end of the year.
The program, Vélib (for "vélo," bicycle, and "liberté," freedom), is the latest in a string of European efforts to reduce the number of cars in city centers and give people incentives to choose more eco-friendly modes of transport.
"This is about revolutionizing urban culture," said Pierre Aidenbaum, mayor of Paris's trendy third district, which opened 15 docking stations on Sunday. "For a long time cars were associated with freedom of movement and flexibility. What we want to show people is that in many ways bicycles fulfill this role much more today."
Users can rent a bike online or at any of the stations, using a credit or debit card and leave them at any other station.
Mileage Bill Draws Fire From Buyer of Chrysler
By NICK BUNKLEY
ROCHESTER, Mich., July 11 - John W. Snow, the chairman of the private equity firm that is buying Chrysler, said Wednesday that a Senate bill to significantly raise fuel economy standards could devastate the American auto industry.
Mr. Snow said he was optimistic, though, that lawmakers would ultimately agree on a less stringent way to reduce dependence on imported oil. He said his company, Cerberus Capital Management, would fight the Senate measure because it intended to own Chrysler long term. Chrysler lost $1.5 billion last year and is cutting 13,000 jobs in efforts to reverse a long decline in its share of the United States vehicle market.
"We're committed to Chrysler; we're committed to making it an enormous success," he told a Detroit Economic Club audience here. He also said that Cerberus had no plans to sell Chrysler or to take it public after making it profitable again.
For Parking Space, the Price Is Right at $225,000
By VIVIAN S. TOY
In Houston, $225,000 will buy a three-bedroom house with a game room, den, in-ground pool and hot tub.
In Manhattan, it will buy a parking space. No windows, no view. No walls.
While real estate in much of the country languishes, property in Manhattan continues to escalate in price, and that includes parking spaces. Some buyers do not even own cars, but grab the spaces as investments, renting them out to cover their costs.
Spaces are in such demand that there are waiting lists of buyers. Eight people are hoping for the chance to buy one of five private parking spaces for $225,000 in the basement of 246 West 17th Street, a 34-unit condo development scheduled for completion next January. The developer, meanwhile, is seeking city approval to add four more spots.
Parking in new developments is selling for twice what it was five years ago, said Jonathan Miller, an appraiser and president of Miller Samuel.
Although spaces in prime sections of Manhattan are the most expensive, even those in open lots and in garages in Brooklyn, Queens, Riverdale and Harlem are close to $50,000, although at least one new Brooklyn development is asking $125,000.
Clear Up the Congestion-Pricing Gridlock
By KEN LIVINGSTONE
THE New York State Assembly ended its session on June 22 without reaching a consensus on Manhattan's congestion pricing proposal - a delay that may cost New York City some $500 million in federal transportation money. Assembly members have voiced concerns about the economic impact of the program, the effect on traffic outside Manhattan and even the effectiveness of the idea itself.
Four years ago, London was engaged in a very similar debate. We now have the luxury of hindsight. While the two cities' situations are not identical, they certainly have analogies and therefore, perhaps, the success of London's program can shed light on the current debate in New York.
At that time, London's business district was undergoing rapid growth, but it was at capacity in terms of traffic. Efforts to channel more cars into the city center simply led to ever lower traffic speeds, which in turn led to business losses and a decrease in quality of life. Simultaneously, carbon emissions were mounting because of the inefficiency of engine use.
In 2003, London put in place a £5 (about $9) a day congestion charge for all cars that entered the center city (the charge is now £8). This led to an immediate drop of 70,000 cars a day in the affected zone. Traffic congestion fell by almost 20 percent. Emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide were cut by more than 15 percent.
By Lena H. Sun
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 2, 2007; A01
Metro's new general manager wants to get rid of the carpet in trains, brighten the lighting in stations and increase advertising in stations, trains and buses.
In many places, such mundane changes would be met with a shrug.
But this is the Washington area Metro, which has long prided itself on a dignified ambiance that is supposed to make it better than the average commuter system.
The changes are intended to help make the nation's second-busiest subway more modern and functional. As the system struggles to keep pace with growing demand, Metro's new top executive, John B. Catoe Jr., wants to focus the agency's limited resources toward moving people to and from work and away from some costly features that gave the subway a distinctive, first-class feel when it opened 31 years ago.
With ridership continuing to swell, the debate over those trade-offs is sharpening.
POLITICAL FORCES KEEP DREAMS OF ETHANOL ALIVE
By Gary D. Libecap
Ethanol is a politician's dream. It is supposed to reduce automobile emissions of carbon monoxide and other gases, promote energy independence, and assist midwestern corn farmers (not to mention large ethanol producers such as Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill). In April, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved a plan that, if enacted, would double ethanol production.
But ethanol fails to perform as promised. Its use appears to have no net positive air quality benefits; its production may entail other environmental costs such as soil and water degradation; and it probably does not contribute to energy independence. Only in helping corn growers and ethanol producers does ethanol pull through as advertised.
Ethanol's political history goes back to the Arab oil embargo of 1973 and the related oil price shocks, which made America's growing dependence on foreign oil a political issue. Ethanol, which is alcohol produced from renewable sources of biomass such as corn, looked like a way to stretch gasoline supplies.
Although the cost of producing ethanol was nearly twice that of gasoline in 1980, forecasts of gasoline prices issued by the U.S. National Alcohol Fuels Commission-as high as $4 per gallon by 1990-1991-made ethanol seem a reasonable supplement. The nineteen congressional members of the commission came mostly from agricultural states.
Bogota's urban happiness movement
From living hell to living well: A radical campaign to return streets from cars to people in Colombia's largest city is now a model for the world
On a clear, cloudless afternoon, Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Bogota, leaves his office early in order to pick up his 10-year-old son from school. As usual, he wears his black leather shoes and pinstriped trousers. As usual, he is joined by his two pistol-packing bodyguards. And, as usual, he travels not in the armoured SUV typical of most public figures in Colombia, but on a knobby-tired mountain bike.
Mr. Peñalosa pedals through the streets of Santa Barbara in Bogota's well-to-do north side. He jumps curbs and potholes, riding one-handed, weaving across the pavement, barking into his cellphone with barely a thought for the city's notoriously aggressive drivers.
On most days, this would be a radical and perhaps suicidal act. But today is special.
Ever since citizens voted to make it an annual affair in 2000, private cars have been banned entirely from this city of nearly eight million every Feb. 1. On Dia Sin Carro, Car Free Day, the roar of traffic subsides and the toxic haze thins. Buses are jam-packed and taxis hard to come by, but hundreds of thousands of people have followed Mr. Peñalosa's example and hit the streets under their own steam.
By Paul Nussbaum
Inquirer Staff Writer
Imagine the new slogan on license plates: "Pennsylvania, Land of Tolls."
The state legislature is increasingly enchanted by the notion of converting free interstates into toll roads as a way to raise money for highway maintenance and mass transit operations.
When the state House reconvenes Monday to tackle transportation funding, there are likely to be new calls for new toll roads. I-80 across northern Pennsylvania. I-81 in eastern Pennsylvania. I-79 in western Pennsylvania. Even Philadelphia's two main interstates, the Schuylkill Expressway (I-76) and I-95.
But there are serious federal barriers to widespread tolling on existing interstates that could burst the bubble in Harrisburg.
Nothing seems right in cars
How do you "get people out of their cars" and, if you can't do that, will Smart Growth plans accomplish anything other than increasing traffic? All this week, author Robert Bruegmann and activist Gloria Ohland debate the shape of America's cities.
Times Staff Writer
Today, Bruegmann and Ohland debate modifying public behavior. Previously, they discussed Smart Growth, and the social tensions over urban sprawl. Later this week, they'll debate environmental concerns, and more.
Measuring Change in Small-Scale Transit Accessibility with Geographic Information Systems: Buffalo and Rochester, New York
Journal Transportation Research Record
Publisher Transportation Research Board of the National Academies
Issue Volume 1887 / 2004
Category Public Transit
Online Date Tuesday, January 30, 2007
A new method has been developed to measure directly changes in transit accessibility—the combined spatial effect of shifts in land use patterns and transit service—between metropolitan jobs and census tracts with high proportions of the people who most depend on good transit. Through focused analysis of transit routes serving one neighborhood in Buffalo and one neighborhood in Rochester, New York, two main questions are addressed. First, did transit-dependent poor people who lived in inner-city neighborhoods lose capacity to access jobs by transit during the 1990s? Second, if so, how much of the reduction in accessibility was due to changes in transit service rather than to dispersion of land use? Steps include formulating a gravity model using geographic information systems (GISs), calculating an accessibility index at two times during the 1990s at the census tract level, and disaggregating the accessibility change into subcomponents of change in land use and change in transit service by holding relevant variables constant to a base year. Findings do not support the a priori expectations: the transit component of change does not appear to contribute to a loss in accessibility from high-poverty neighborhoods. The model provides insights into the causes of accessibility change, the geographic distribution of accessibility change, and better assessments of whether transit agencies are successfully adapting to changes in land use.
Transportation policies, infrastructure, and operation have enormous impacts on New York's economy, and upon the quality of life of every New Yorker. Our transportation network plays a major role in determining where we can live and work, and is a key driver of land use and value. Transportation infrastructure itself can be a boon, or a burden. Transit nodes can leverage density and create vibrant neighborhood hubs; greenways provide not only mobility options, but green open space in areas where parkland is scarce. But highways, bus depots, and railyards can also fragment and blight neighborhoods, creating large local costs, and little local benefit.
The Pratt Center's Transportation Equity project will examine ways that New York's transportation systems can help to create a city that offers opportunity and a high quality of life to all of its residents. During the next two years, Pratt Center staff will work with community and civic organizations to analyze our transportation systems from an equity perspective, and to develop proposals and strategies for maximizing their benefits to all New Yorkers. The project is timely; transportation initiatives now being debated will shape our city and region for the next century. But the voices of communities with the most at stake are rarely heard in the discussion. Grassroots organizations may advocate for or against individual projects, but are less often involved in the technical and political processes that shape transportation infrastructure and policy priorities overall. The Transportation Equity project will develop tools to enable social and environmental justice advocates to participate effectively in decisions that will have far-reaching impacts on the communities that they represent.
The project is funded by a federal grant authorized under the August 2005 federal surface transportation reauthorization bill- the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU)- and administered by the New York State Department of Transportation.
Are You Ready to Pay to Park on Your Street?
By Danny Hakim
New York City could start charging residents to park in their own neighborhoods under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's congestion pricing plan. The mayor's proposal, which was introduced in the State Senate this month, would charge most drivers $8 to enter Manhattan below 86th Street on weekdays. To mollify people just outside the zone who feared their streets would turn into parking lots, the Senate bill would allow the city to issue permits so that most parking spots would be restricted to neighborhood residents.
But the bill says there would be unspecified fees that residents would have to pay to get those permits. The money would go to the city's general fund.
John Gallagher, a spokesman for the mayor, said "discussion of a fee structure for residential permit parking is very premature." Among other details of the plan, visitors coming into the city could deduct the cost of bridge and tunnel tolls from an $8 fee to enter Manhattan, but only if they use E-ZPass. And the state's environmental review process would be waived to speed up the plan.
We took a dive into the fine print of the mayor's proposal. As one might expect with such a voluminous piece of legislation, a number of notable items emerge from the fine print.
It's not spelled out how visitors driving into New York City would be made aware that they had to pay $8 within 48 hours or face a $115 fine. The mayor and his administration have said most people would likely have heard about the congestion fee, though some lawmakers say many might not. The mayor's staff says there would also be adequate signage. Lawmakers have wondered how this would actually work: The signs, presumably, would have to explain how and where to pay, requiring a lot more words than "toll ahead."
The state leaves it little leeway for a local, dedicated source of revenue.
By Paul Nussbaum
Inquirer Staff Writer
When Pennsylvania legislators complain that SEPTA already gets more state funding and less local funding than most transit agencies in the United States, they're right.
But whose fault is that?
In Pennsylvania, the state prevents regional transit agencies and local governments from raising money in many of the ways used by their counterparts elsewhere.
Colorado and Georgia provide none of the money to operate Denver's and Atlanta's mass transit. Instead, they authorize local sales taxes, approved by local voters. New York, Michigan, Illinois and Ohio are among the states where local property taxes are earmarked for mass transit. Los Angeles County uses a 1 percent sales tax, approved by county voters.
Thirty-three states have authorized local or regional sales taxes specifically for transportation.
The Show Me state is spending half a billion dollars to rebuild a 10-mile stretch of I-64 in the heart of St. Louis. The project's so big it's causing some businesses to take their own detours. Tom Weber reports.
By Erico Guizzo
São Paulo operates the world's most complex bus system
It's a warm Tuesday night in São Paulo, and as on most nights during rush hour here, a swarm of cars clogs every centimeter of Rebouças Avenue, slowing traffic to a crawl. But inside bus 7598, Carlos Soares holds on firmly to keep his balance as the jolting vehicle whizzes past the congestion. The bus he's on is one of thousands in this city that run in special lanes that cars are forbidden to use. Convoying one after the other, the buses form a kind of virtual train on tires.
"Look at their faces," says Soares, a 20-year-old video producer, pointing at the drivers stuck nearby. "They're mad because the buses took one of their lanes. But for us on the bus-we love it."
With 26 391 buses, 1908 lines, 34 transfer stations, and 146.5 kilometers of dedicated busways, São Paulo operates what is currently the world’s most complex bus system. Extending from bustling downtown avenues to narrow neighborhood streets, this sprawling network of lines is the basis of public transportation here. One in every five paulistanos—as residents of São Paulo are called—hops on a bus every day to go to work, school, or other destinations. Daily bus ridership in the metropolitan area is some 10.5 million passengers. With such people-moving capacity, the entire population of Belgium could ride on São Paulo’s buses over the course of a single day.
Latin America and Beyond
The sleek red bus zooms out of the station in northern Bogotá, a futuristic symbol of an (almost) transformed city. Nearby, thousands of cyclists of all ages enjoy a sunny morning on Latin America's largest bike-path network.
The TransMilenio, as the modern bus network is called, moves 750,000 passengers per weekday-almost 100,000 more than Washington D.C.'s subway system. And Bogotá's citizens are proud of their transportation, proud of their city.
That wasn't always the case. In 1988, during Colombia's first mayoral elections, a local radio station launched its own "virtual" candidate. The candidate's transport platform was simple: instead of fixing all the roads, why not remove the pavement remaining to level out potholes. Vehicles would then no longer have to "sink" into potholes-instead they would simply ride over the unpaved street.
In the 1960s, Curitiba, Brazil, took a radical approach to solving the problems most cities face: pollution, traffic, unchecked growth, and social and economic inequities. FRONTLINE/World Fellow Tim Gnatek traveled to Curitiba to discover whether this experiment in urban design has kept pace with the city's tenfold population boom.
Lobbyist Corner: Walter McCaffrey Helps Congestion Pricing Foes
May 16th, 2007
As several outer borough politicians knock each other over en route to the podium to protest the mayor’s congestion pricing proposal, one former Queens Council member is helping craft a strategy to defeat the plan.
Walter McCaffrey, term limited out of the Council in 2001, has been working as advisor and strategist to Keep New York City Congestion Tax Free, committed to blocking Bloomberg’s plan. He said his opposition to a similar proposal in the 1990s while on the Council helped win him the job now.
Started by the Queens Chamber of Commerce last year, Keep New York City Congestion Tax Free is currently funded by private contributors. He declined to specify who they were, but a consortium of Manhattan garage owners is believed to be putting up at least some of the money.
City Traffic Pricing Wins U.S. and Spitzer's Favor
By DANNY HAKIM and RAY RIVERA
ALBANY, June 7 - Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's plan to reduce traffic by charging people who drive into the busiest parts of Manhattan received significant support on Thursday as Gov. Eliot Spitzer endorsed the idea and the Bush administration indicated that New York stood to gain hundreds of millions of dollars if the plan were enacted.
If the measure is approved by the Legislature, New York will become the first city in the United States to impose a broad system of congestion pricing, which was introduced in London in 2003 and has been credited with reducing traffic there.
Governor Spitzer said he would work to ensure passage of the plan, which is a major part of the mayor's blueprint for improving air quality and traffic flow for the next several decades. The Bloomberg administration has estimated that it could put the program into effect within 18 months of legislative approval.
"This is a necessary investment for the future of New York City, which is to a great extent the economic engine of New York State," the governor said. "And so this is not really a question of whether, it's a question of how, it's a question of making sure that we do it properly."
Mr. Spitzer appeared alongside the United States transportation secretary, Mary E. Peters, who announced that New York City was one of nine finalists for a share of $1.1 billion in federal aid to fight urban traffic. Ms. Peters warned, however, that the city's potential share could be endangered if the mayor's plan did not have state approval by August.
West Harlem Environmental Action, Inc. (WE ACT) is a non-profit, community-based, environmental justice organization dedicated to building community power to fight environmental racism and improve environmental health, protection and policy in communities of color.
WE ACT accomplishes its mission through community organizing, education and training, advocacy and research, and public policy development.
Since 1988, WE ACT has worked with citizen groups, youth, community residents, environmentalists, local/state/federal governments, and educational & medical institutions.
WE ACT, a vigorous advocate for and a significant monitor of the Northern Manhattan environment, is a non-profit, incorporated, community-based organization that was staffed in October 1994. WE ACT's mission is to inform, educate, train and mobilize the predominately African-American and Latino residents of Northern Manhattan on issues that impact their quality of life -- air, water and indoor pollution, toxins, land use and open space, waterfront development and usage, sanitation, transportation, historic preservation, regulatory enforcement, and citizen participation in public policy making.
Heavy New York Traffic Puts Health at Risk
Mayor's groundbreaking plan to make New York the world's cleanest, healthiest city is welcome
Posted on: 04/19/2007
Hi-res jpg image of ad
Mayor's Sustainabilty Plan
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg wants the city to have "the cleanest air of any big city in America" by 2030.
Just after Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his bold "greenprint" for New York City, Environmental Defense called for people to share stories about traffic. Arturo, a resident of Long Island City, Queens, New York, responded. He describes the perils of living on a busy high-speed thoroughfare:
"Trucks, buses, cars whiz by at high speeds. The green [light for drivers] is at least 90 seconds, perhaps longer, so vehicles are inclined to drive very fast. .... I play a game of chicken every time I cross. And during rush hours, other pedestrians like me are forced to jaywalk," he writes. (Share your story, too. How does traffic affect you? Does your child go to school or play near a busy road?)
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
WASHINGTON, June 6 - It is no secret that campaign contributions sometimes lead to lucrative official favors. Rarely, though, are the tradeoffs quite as obvious as in the twisted case of Coconut Road.
The road, a stretch of pavement near Fort Myers, Fla., that touches five golf clubs on its way to the Gulf of Mexico, is the target of a $10 million earmark that appeared mysteriously in a 2006 transportation bill written by Representative Don Young, Republican of Alaska.
Mr. Young, who last year steered more than $200 million to a so-called bridge to nowhere reaching 80 people on Gravina Island, Alaska, has no constituents in Florida.
At the Local Level
MTC is taking a grass-roots approach to identifying barriers to mobility and working to overcome them. With its Community-Based Transportation Planning Program, MTC has created a collaborative planning process that involves residents in minority and low-income Bay Area communities, community and faith-based organizations that serve them, transit operators, county congestion management agencies (CMAs) and MTC.
Launched in 2002, the Community-Based Transportation Planning Program evolved out of two reports completed in 2001 - the Lifeline Transportation Network Report and the Environmental Justice Report.
The Lifeline Report identified travel needs in low-income Bay Area communities and recommended community-based transportation planning as a way for communities to set priorities and evaluate options for filling transportation gaps. Likewise, the Environmental Justice Report identified the need for MTC to support local planning efforts in low-income communities throughout the region.
MPO actions to address EJ -
Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). Whether in response to non-compliance determinations, litigation, or because it’s just “the right thing to do”, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) have become increasingly involved in identifying, providing special outreach, and engaging environmental justice populations in the development of transportation plans and programs. Resources on this topic include the following:
The TCDI program is an opportunity for the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) to support local development and redevelopment efforts in the individual municipalities of the Delaware Valley that implement municipal, county, state, and regional planning objectives. The TCDI program is intended to reverse the trends of disinvestment and decline in many of the region's core cities and developed communities by:
1. Supporting local planning projects that will lead to more residential, employment or retail opportunities;
2. Improving the overall character and quality of life within these communities to retain and attract business and residents, which will help to reduce the pressure for further sprawl and expansion into the growing suburbs;
3. Enhancing and utilizing the existing transportation infrastructure capacity in these areas to reduce the demands on the region's transportation network; and
4. Reducing congestion and improving the transportation system's efficiency. FY 2007 TCDI awards have been approved by Board on May 24, 2007.
By MARIA SAPORTA
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 05/28/07
Vancouver, British Columbia - To metro Atlantans, congestion is a dirty word.
But when a delegation of 117 regional leaders recently visited this Canadian city, they were introduced to a whole new concept.
"Congestion is our friend," said Larry Beasley, former city planning director for Vancouver, who has been recognized worldwide as helping create a new urban model. "Density is good."
Metro leaders were exposed to a vastly different approach to growth and development during the 11th annual LINK trip, organized by the Atlanta Regional Commission, short for "Leadership, Innovation, Networking, Knowledge."
Vancouver's strategy of density and transit is a stark contrast to the Atlanta region's road-oriented sprawl.
In the 1970s, Vancouver residents waged a 10-year battle to keep freeways from its urban core. They successfully defeated a plan that would have run a highway through its Chinatown and run along its downtown waterfront.
Now a traffic light at the edge of city limits signals that the interstate from Tijuana to Canada has come to a stop and is now a city street.
No Highway to Heaven
Published: March 25, 2007
The recent rejection of a proposed bill to build the "Super 7" highway between Norwalk and Danbury is a blow to advocates fighting for the expressway and to commuters who have the misfortune to crawl along in the traffic jams that plague the current Route 7.
The State Legislature's transportation committee tabled the bill despite passionate testimony from both sides. People have been fighting over this multi-lane expressway for 57 years; it has never gotten off the drawing boards. Opponents, including environmentalists, have had good reason to block it.
© 2003 SAGE Publications
Reframing American Highway Politics, 1956-1995
Mark H. Rose
Florida Atlantic University
In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and members of Congress approved the Federal-Aid Highway Act, launching the nation on a vast and expensive program of highway building. As part of this legislation, the federal government would finance 90 percent of the cost of constructing a national system of freeways, known popularly as the Interstate system. Control of highway building rested exclusively in the hands of state and federal highway engineers. In 1991, however, President George H. W. Bush and members of Congress approved the Intermodal Surface Transportation Act of 1991 (ISTEA). Although the federal government would still pay most of the cost of highway building, day-to-day control of projects devolved into the hands of local politicians located in Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). Moreover, leaders of those MPOs were authorized to spend money not only on highways but also on bicycle paths, buses, and on projects dubbed "intermodal." In great measure, approval of the ISTEA represented another triumph of suburban politicians seeking federal funds and local control over their use. Both in 1956 and in 1991, federal officials had framed the institutional relationship that guided transportation politics and subsequent land uses.
Key Words: George H. W. Bush • devolution • highway engineer • Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act • ISTEA • Daniel Moynihan • Samuel Skinner • U.S. Department of Transportation.
Call#: Van Pelt Library HN90.C6 P536 1994
1. Affordable housing: Decent shelter is a fundamental right
2. Transportation, social equity, and city-suburban connections
3. Environmental LULUs: Is there an equitable solution?
4. Economic development: Partnership, innovation, and investment
5. Planning for human services
6. Social impact assessment sensitizes planning
7. Urban education: Issues, reforms, and the role of planners
8. Planning, community policing, and neighbrhood revitalization
9. Citizen participation: Whose vision is it?
11. Capital improvements and equity
12. The university's role in community development
13. Rural diversity: Challenge for a century
Manville, on Why We Don't Use Congestion Pricing
Guest post by Michael Manville, UCLA.
Along with David King and Donald Shoup, I recently completed an article on the politics of congestion pricing, and Dave, Don and I are beginning another project on the same topic. Congestion pricing is getting a lot of press of late, and moving closer to reality, but politically it still has a long way to go. Rather than rehash our article here, I'll discuss some of the broader issues about pricing's political viability that I've been thinking about, some of which made it into our paper and some of which did not. I make no claims to completeness and only minor claims to originality. I also don't want to implicate my coauthors in any of this, as they may disagree with some of it (although most of the good points are probably theirs). As a means of organizing the discussion, I'll pose the simple planning research question that I think dominates this topic: if congestion pricing is so great, why don't we do more of it?
I'll put forward four possible explanations, none mutually exclusive but each with different research implications, and then end with a more general research question about the effect pricing's political costs might have on the larger urban transportation system.
Selling Off Public Roads Isn't A Transit Strategy
March 1, 2007
Back in the 1970s, the humor magazine National Lampoon wrote a commentary on corporate influence in America titled "We're Changing the Name of the Country to Exxon."
It doesn't seem like such a stretch today. From naming rights to professional sports venues, to companies offering financial support to cash-strapped public schools in exchange for marketing their brands and products, corporate influence in America today is pervasive.
Now, commercial interests and smart investors are turning their eyes toward some of our nation's most prominent roadways. We need to slow down.
Certainly states and cities across the country face massive transportation challenges. Roads and bridges are crumbling, traffic congestion has become intolerable, air quality is deteriorating, working families are having difficulty reaching many jobs, and several transit systems are either constrained or seriously overcrowded.
So politicians are looking for a quick fix.
Robert Puentes is a fellow at Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. His expertise is in transportation, urban planning, growth management, suburban issues and housing. This was distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
COURSE NUMBER: FHWA-NHI-142042
COURSE TITLE: Fundamentals of Title VI/Environmental Justice
LENGTH: 2 Days CEU: 1.2 Units
FEE: $270 Per Participant
CLASS SIZE: Minimum:20; Maximum:30
Environmental justice and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 apply to every stage of transportation decisionmaking. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and its partners are committed to integrating the nondiscrimination principles of environmental justice and Title VI into all Federal-aid programs. Through these and other transportation programs, many opportunities exist to establish partnerships with other public and private organizations to create livable communities that meet the needs of all people. This course presents participants with a framework for using a variety of approaches and tools for accomplishing environmental justice goals in Federal-aid programs and other transportation projects.
Enrique Penalosa, former Mayor of Bogata, Columbia, addresses the issue of rapid transit. Penalosa describes his experience implementing TransMilenio, the world's model bus rapid transit system that moves over one million people a day. Over 20 percent of the system's riders have switched from driving cars to making the same trips via TransMilenio. Event presented by the Cascadia Center of Discovery Institute, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, and Breakthrough Technologies Institute.
Posted on Fri, Feb. 16, 2007
SEPTA says fares will rise, service could drop
Gloomy transit forecasts are a rite of spring, but the agency's chief said this one's for real. Said a board member: Don't panic.
By Paul Nussbaum
Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA must increase fares by at least 11 percent and perhaps as much as 31 percent, the agency's general manager said yesterday, and she warned of service cuts and employee layoffs unless more money comes from the state.
If the state increases its subsidy of SEPTA by $100 million, the proposed fare increase, effective July 1, will be 11 percent, general manager Faye Moore said.
Without an increase in state aid from the current $300 million, she said, 1,000 of SEPTA's 9,200 jobs would be eliminated; bus, subway, and rail service would be cut by 20 percent on weekdays; and fares would be hiked by 31 percent.
Regional transportation plan gets cold response from feds, state board
By Jim Redden
The Portland Tribune, Feb 13, 2007 (28 Reader comments)
For months Metro leaders have said that the old way of solving transportation problems no longer works.
Led by Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder, officials at the regional planning agency repeatedly have said that building new highways is no longer the solution for the area’s growing congestion problems.
Instead, Burkholder and the others have said that the Regional Transportation Plan to be adopted next year will stress such land-use goals as encouraging people to live closer to where they work and shop, in part by encouraging more mass transit.