EcoLocalizer Link Drop

New Transit Projects for 2011

A comprehensive list of transit projects scheduled to start construction or open in 2011.

“Streetcar lines dominate the nation’s new transit construction landscape, but this year only light and commuter rail lines will open for service.”

NYC Tries ‘Rapid’ Buses in Bid to Cut Transit Costs

The city’s much-maligned bus system is getting a face-lift.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) surprised commuters on Manhattan’s East Side last fall by launching shiny stretch coaches to replace old grimy buses on the route that links the island’s southern tip to East Harlem. The new buses cruise 90 percent of the route in a new “bus only” lane marked by signs warning motorists that they face $115 fines for parking or driving in the path….

Seville is new cycling capital of Spain

Seville is to host an international conference in March marking its rapid ascendence to the position of Spain’s ‘cycling capital’. From a base of very little cycling in 2006, the city’s residents now make 6.6 percent of all trips by bicycle….

America’s Infrastructure Deficit

Seven of the country’s major transit projects received a late (or very early) Christmas present last week, when the Federal Transit Administration announced the distribution of $182.4 million under the New Starts program, which provides aid to local subway, light rail, and bus rapid transit lines — and, we’ve argued, creates jobs in the process….

Early infrastructure investment might be the plan for these seven projects — but unfortunately it’s not the plan for the country at large. Ezra Klein, no stranger to the argument that now is a great time to spend on infrastructure, says there are two types of deficits in present-day America: The budget deficit we’ve heard about to death, and the “investment” deficit that’s rarely mentioned. Infrastructure projects, Klein wrote Monday, are a great way to address the latter….

A Road Less Traveled

Amid the planes, trains and automobiles of the holiday season comes a surprising finding from transportation scientists: Passenger travel, which grew rapidly in the 20th century, appears to have peaked in much of the developed world….

America’s Crown Communities 2010

The six winners of American City & County’s 2010 annual excellence awards, described on the following pages, exhibit the qualities that build strong communities: cooperation, creativity and leadership. In some of the winning projects, necessity was the mother of invention, and in others, foresight and perseverance came together in the right formula to achieve success….

San Francisco’s Cesar Chavez Street Gets Makeover

Cesar Chavez Street, six lanes of asphalt that’s the dividing line between the Mission District and Bernal Heights, is about as close as it comes to a freeway while still being a city street.

But unlike a freeway, it’s surrounded by housing, schools, a church and a smattering of businesses. Now it’s the latest city street in line for a major transformation to make it more inviting to pedestrians and bikes….

California Amtrak Ridership Rising on State (Slow) Trains

While everyone’s talking about high-speed rail, more Californians are hopping aboard Amtrak’s state-subsidized intercity passenger trains, which typically travel slower than 80 mph….

Turning Redfields to Greenfields in Philadelphia and Beyond

When a single good-sized maple tree can add over $7,000 to a home’s sale value, according to a study in Portland, Oregon, it’s not difficult to imagine the effect of turning large swaths of derelict urban land into parks, gardens, and playgrounds. Private properties in financial distress, or “redfields,” are the focus of a number of cities, such as Philadelphia, that are developing creative re-utilization strategies for underused land….

As U.S. Dithers, China, U.K. Pursue Major Rail Projects

The train from Shibi in Guanghzou to Hong Kong will reach speeds of 217 mph before arriving at a 15- story atrium topped by impossibly thin ribbons of solid roof alternating with glass.

This is the $8.6 billion West Kowloon Terminus, fed by 88 miles (141 kilometers) of high-speed rail. The package was commissioned in 2009, began construction this year and will start receiving passengers in 2015. And it’s not the only eye- opening rail project in progress today….

Mainstreaming Bicycles

Contrary to what most people think, the revolution in personal mobility did not begin with the automobile.  It started about two decades before Henry Ford’s first Model T, and it was based on a combination of the electric railway and the safety bicycle….

New York’s transportation chief is a latter-day Robin Hood

Janette Sadik-Khan’s brilliant marketing of sustainable transport (dedicated bike lanes, cycle sharing, even pedestrianising Times Square) has transformed New York. Now for that congestion charge …

By Car, Train or Buggy, Trips to the A.T.M. Will Rise

Subways? $104 a month. Bridge tolls? Going up. Gas? Don’t even ask. It can be enough to make a New Yorker yearn for a horse-and-buggy.

But even that one is going to cost more….

Rep. Blumenauer: New Republican Rules Threaten Infrastructure Funding

This is a guest post by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR).

This week, the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives adopted a new set of rules for the way the House runs – rules which threaten to undermine funding for our nation’s critical infrastructure needs….

New Report: Roads Don’t Pay for Themselves

Yesterday’s post on high-speed rail argued that bullet projects are held to a higher standard than road projects. The chief example of this disparity is that critics typically demand that fast trains pay for themselves, even though roads do not….

DOT Pursues Pay-As-You-Drive Insurance, Which Could Cut Traffic

It could reduce driving statewide by more than eleven percent, put money in the pocket of two-thirds of the state’s motorists and put little to no strain on the government budget. That sounds-too-good-to-be-true idea is called pay-as-you-drive insurance, and the city DOT is looking into how it might work in New York….

Obama’s Urban Policy: Slow Start. Sustainable Finish?

The president’s campaign pledge to pay attention to cities got some tough early reviews. But now communities around the country are getting federal help to plan for the future….

Bike lanes create more jobs than other road projects, per $ 1 mil

According to a new report by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst says that building bike lanes and pedestrian projects, and bike boulevards, create more job per million dollars spent than road repairs and road resurfacing….

Image Credit: US PIRG (pdf), p. 16