California’s Amtrak Capitol Corridor carries a minuscule number of passengers, but is spending a whopping $325 million on capital improvement projects. What exactly are we getting for that money?
$70 million for the Sacramento station relocation. In effect, a real estate development funded in part by transit dollars.
New platforms at Sacramento and San Jose, and the new Fairfield-Vacaville station — plus $50 million for new rolling stock. Of course, no consideration whatsoever to provide level-platform boarding at the new platforms. (The new trains, by the way, are ludicrously over-priced thanks to FRA and Buy-America.)
$50 million for track improvements along the Oakland-San Jose segment. Prop 1A (High-Speed Rail Bond) is paying for this. Ridership on this segment of the Capitol Corridor has always been under-performing, and will get worse once the BART-SJ extension opens.
Posted in transit | Tagged Amtrak | 14 Comments »
Some of the best cycling anywhere can be found in California’s remote Del Norte county. In particular, Hwy 199 running from Crescent City to Grants Pass (OR). Now Caltrans wants to make “improvements” to Hwy 199, in order to permit heavy over-sized trucks to use the highway:
Friends of Del Norte, Center for Biological Diversity, and Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) filed suit in state court challenging the $26 million “197/199 Safe STAA Access Project.” The project would increase unsafe heavy and oversized truck use on narrow roadways along the designated “wild and scenic” Smith River Canyon, increasing the likelihood of deadly accidents and toxic spills, especially in dangerous winter conditions. The project would harm old-growth trees and habitat for protected salmon runs and hurt tourism and local residents.
“The North Coast has been under assault by massive Caltrans projects that the agency refuses to examine for their cumulative impacts on local communities and sensitive environments,” said Gary Graham Hughes, executive director of EPIC. “For Caltrans to barge ahead with this huge project on the precious Smith River after the explosion of controversy around the Willits Bypass project in Mendocino County shows that the agency is completely oblivious to concerns of North Coast residents.”
“Another bad idea by Caltrans, trying to jam an unnecessarily wide highway into a narrow canyon despite the impacts,” said Jeff Miller with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Public distrust of Caltrans is at an all-time high with revelations of Caltrans quality-control issues on the new Bay Bridge, conflict over the massive Willits Bypass project, the need for court and federal intervention to resolve Caltrans problems with the Niles Canyon project, and the agency’s proposal to needlessly vandalize the ancient redwoods of Richardson Grove State Park.”
The purpose of the project is to create a reliever route for I5. This isn’t for the benefit of Del Norte county, as most of the trucks would just be passing through.
Posted in bicycling, highways | 4 Comments »
Or as Krugman puts it, Nazi islamic bikes from hell:
Not, I hasten to add, because annoying conservatives is the goal per se; instead, what we’re getting is a wonderful window into the conservative psyche. Here’s Front Page magazine:
Bicycles are one of the obsessions of Mayor Bloomberg and his transportation secretary Janette Sadik-Khan. Khan is the granddaughter of Imam Alimjan Idris, a Nazi collaborator and principle teacher at an SS school for Imams under Hitler’s Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini. The bio of his son, Wall Street executive Orhan Sadik-Khan, frequently mentions the bombing of the family home in Dresden and surviving trying times after World War II. It neglects to mention that the times were only trying because their side was losing.
In partial revenge, Khan has made many New York streets nearly as impassable as those of her grandfather’s wartime Dresden.
No, this isn’t a parody.
It isn’t hard to see why conservatives are upset about Citi Bikeshare. The program is a private venture by a financial firm, not requiring government subsidies. Conservatives hate that sort of thing.
Posted in bicycling | 3 Comments »
Yet another flawed bike helmet study:
Researchers analyzed the number of U.S. bicycle deaths between 1999 and 2010 and found that states with bicycle helmet laws reported about 20 percent fewer bike-related fatalities among people younger than 16 years old.
“The impetus is that when you make it a law, parents realize it’s important and parents get their kids to do it,” said Dr. William Meehan, the study’s lead author from Boston Children’s Hospital.
About 900 people die as a result of bicycle crashes every year in the U.S. and about three quarters of those are from head injuries, according to Meehan and his colleagues.
Previous research has found that wearing a helmet may reduce a person’s risk of a head or brain injury by up to 88 percent, but few studies have looked at the effect of helmet laws on national injury and fatality rates.
If you read the actual paper, the final sentence shows the problem with the methodology:
The present study did not address the effect of helmet laws on ridership.
There are other problems. The paper (unless there is a longer version?) lacks any data, just presenting the conclusions. It does not correlate bike fatalities against a state’s overall traffic fatality rate.
However, the biggest problem with this (and all other helmet studies) is the lack of data on bike facilities. Bike helmets are no substitute for proper bike facilities. Instead of focusing on bike helmets, states need to provide safe routes for kids to ride away from the danger of motor vehicle collisions.
Posted in bicycling, risk | Tagged helmets | Leave a Comment »
Faregates are the answer…now what was the question again?
The MTA Blue Line opened in 1990, and according to Garcia’s office, it is the second busiest line in the Metro system. Specifically, Long Beach has eight Blue Line stations with an estimated 6 million boardings every year at those eight stations.
The request would ask the City Manager’s Office to look into the possibility of lobbying for electronic turnstiles for the Long Beach stations.
“They’re really helpful when it comes to public safety and ensuring everyone is paying their fees,” Garcia said. “There are none in Long Beach … but we have one of the largest volumes (of passengers) in the county.”
Lowenthal said the main reason she came on as a co-author of the agenda item was the turnstile issue, which she also said could help with safety issues.
So let me get this straight: Long Beach riders have the slowest street running, and some of the busiest stations. And your plan is make trips take even longer by adding turnstiles?
And as for turnstiles making the stations “safer”:
The big problem, he said with Long Beach stations in particular, would be the fact that those stations are placed in the median of the roads there. With those locations, latched gates could queue up potential riders and push them into dangerous areas along the street — creating a new safety issue.
Posted in risk, transit | Leave a Comment »
A man who says he is homeless and an alcoholic was being paid by a New Jersey Transit employee to direct buses in and out of a midtown Manhattan parking lot, according to a report on NBCNewYork.com.
NBC witnessed the visibly intoxicated man directing traffic out of a lot on West 37th Street while wearing an agency vest and using a red flag as the NJ Transit employee slept in a parked bus, according to the report.
The man, who identified himself as Hector Santiago, is not a New Jersey Transit employee, the agency confirmed. Santiago said the employee paid him to help buses navigate in and out of the lot onto the traffic-clogged street.
Posted in transit | Tagged NJT | 1 Comment »
As discussed earlier on this blog, Amtrak has no interest in allowing pets to travel on trains. Even though there is a huge market potential, and many other train operators permit pets on-board.
Congress may now force Amtrak’s sclerotic management to implement a pets policy:
H.R. 2066, the Pets on Trains Act of 2013, introduced by U.S. Reps. Jeff Denham, (R-CA) and Steve Cohen, (D-TN), would require Amtrak, the national rail operator, to implement a pet policy to allow passengers to travel with domesticated cats and dogs on certain trains.
“My dog, Lily, is part of our family and travels with us to and from California all the time. If I can take her a on a plane, why can’t I travel with her on Amtrak, too?” said Rep. Denham. “Allowing families to bring their animals with them will facilitate transportation and efficiency while also providing a much-needed source of revenue for Amtrak.”
Under the legislation, Amtrak would be required to develop a policy for people to travel with their pets, and to designate, where feasible, at least one car of each passenger train in which a ticketed passenger may transport a dog or cat.
In related news, the Amtrak Board extended Joseph Boardman’s contract by another two years. Given his $350,000 annual salary, he is way overpaid if you ask me.
Posted in transit | Tagged Amtrak | 2 Comments »