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Archive for December, 2013

The investigation has just begun, but it is likely that the NTSB will find that the fatal Metro-North derailment was due to excessive speed. It is precisely the kind of accident that PTC would have prevented.

But the FRA has a different view. FRA Administrator Joe Szabo sent a blistering letter to the MTA complaining of unspecified problems in its safety culture:

The Federal Railroad Administration today called for mandatory safety retraining of Metro-North workers and the creation of a confidential reporting system that lets employees report safety concerns, according to a letter from the agency to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. It directed MTA, which operates the railroad, to respond by Dec. 6. The MTA needs to show its employees “a serious, good faith commitment to the safe operation of the system and inform them of the steps that MTA will take to enhance safety in both the short- and long-term,” Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo wrote in the letter to MTA Chief Executive Officer Thomas Prendergast.

At best, his letter is premature. At worst, it is disingenuous for trying to deflect blame from the FRA.

Historically, the FRA was opposed to PTC technology (until Congress intervened in 2008). Since that time, the FRA has botched the PTC implementation. Rather than pointing fingers, the FRA needs to answer why the PTC implementation is taking so long, despite being a turn-key technology.

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Big Parking In Little Italy

Behold! San Diego’s new 10-story parking edifice:

sd_parking

This lot, near the Amtrak station and right at a light rail stop, is some very desirable real estate. How visionary of San Diego to utilize the lot for a giant parking garage:

The vision for the Waterfront Park at the County Administration Center led to the creation of the new garage. While visitors to the County building can use its new underground parking, employees needed a place close by to park. And the Little Italy structure allows the neighborhood to accommodate more visitors as well.

“It encourages people to visit this culturally rich and progressive community, a community with some of the best restaurants, hotels, stores, open markets and public events in the downtown area,” said Supervisor Ron Roberts.

General obligation bonds will be used to pay for the $24 million project.

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Did NPR Notify The Police?

From an NPR puff-piece on cycling. This lady is clearly deranged:

And then there’s the issue of safety. In fact, on Insua’s ride, a car cut through the single file of bicycles, missing one person by just a couple feet. So perhaps the greatest obstacle to bike trains is that drivers don’t like sharing the road.

“It’s like they enjoy taking up the lanes,” says Jackie Burke, who has lived in Los Angeles her whole life. She says bicyclists drive her crazy when she’s in a car and has to slow down for them.

“It’s very frustrating, to the point where I just want to run them off the road,” Burke says. “I’ve actually done one of those drive-really-close-to-them kind of things to kind of scare them, to try to intimidate them to get out of my way.”

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