» This week’s big news. Open thread in the comments.
Follow my Twitter account (@ttpolitic) to get news in real time. I’ll be traveling this week and next; if you’d like to meet up in New Orleans (July 29-August 1) or San Francisco (August 2-7), send me an email.
On The Transport Politic:
- Ohio Hub advances as passenger rail connections to Toledo and Pittsburgh studied
- New Haven, Stamford enter streetcar wars with proposed station-to-downtown links
- Ensuring the efficient workings of a bike-sharing system
- The U.S. emphasis on passenger rail and the future of freight
- Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell announces that he’ll consider “flexing” some of his state’s highway dollars for the purposes of funding transit. Despite the fact that federal law allows almost all roads money to be used for public transportation, the instances of that being done are rare.
- High-speed rail plans in Florida and Illinois are rapidly approaching reality. In the Sunshine State, surveying has begun despite the fact that not all cash has yet been appropriated to the project. Meanwhile, Illinois has announced that construction on the Chicago-St. Louis line (110 mph) will begin in September.
- Two rail projects of vastly different magnitudes are beginning to have their tracks laid. In Sonoma and Marin Counties north of San Francisco, Caltrans has been installing steel along Highway 101 for the 70-mile SMART commuter train (pictured above). In China, the 820-mile Beijing-Shanghai line has had its right-of-way cleared, and similar operations are under way.
- A Québecois leader, affirming his desire to be closer to the U.S. than the rest of Canada, suggests that high-speed rail between Montréal and New York is a top priority, but does little to advance Montréal-Toronto link, despite that being a more realistic and probably more attractive project.
- Detroit Mayor Dave Bing argues that the U.S. Government is planning to fund the expansion of his number one goal: a light rail line from downtown to 8 Mile. The U.S. DOT has yet to demonstrate its commitment to the program outside of the initial corridor to Grand Avenue.
- The San Francisco Bay Area’s BART commuter system, advances plan to fund the Oakland Airport Connector, in face of months of protests.
- After one year in service, Seattle’s Central Link light rail system demonstrates steadily increasing ridership, but it may not be able to reach pre-opening projections for the end of 2010. Aaron Renn of the Urbanophile says that “commuting market share is the wrong way to judge transit,” but it would be interesting to know what percentage of people along Seattle’s transit corridor are using the new line to get to work. In the U.S. capital region, overall transit commute share increased from 17% to 21% between 2001 and 2010; that’s an exciting change.
- Jarrett Walker argues that the Strasbourg model, which uses light rail to promote sustainable transportation between top destinations, isn’t necessarily applicable to many cities in the United States. Now that the U.S. Senate has reduced spending for high-speed rail, increased money for highways, and removed references to “livability” and a future infrastructure bank, that seems especially true. Nevertheless, the DOT continues its relentless pursuit of transit-oriented cities.
Image above: Proposed Petaluma SMART Station, from SMART