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TRANSIT SYSTEM NEWS
New research from the Accessibility Observatory at the University of Minnesota ranks 46 of the 50 largest (by population) metropolitan areas in the United States for accessibility to jobs by transit. New York City ranks #1. Buffalo-Niagara Falls comes in at #25. The new rankings, part of the Access Across America study begun last year, focus on accessibility, a measure that examines both land use and transportation systems. Accessibility measures how many destinations, such as jobs, can be reached in a given time.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has received $301 million in federal money to fortify Lower Manhattan subways. More than 500 street openings — stairwells, elevators, escalators, sidewalk vents, access hatches and manholes — will be capped by fixed or deployable covers, according to an announcement by Governor Cuomo’s office. These necessary street openings are where water can flood in, which is what occurred during Superstorm Sandy, Oct. 29, 2012.
Construction of a new Amtrak station in Rochester is drawing ever closer, New York State officials say. Work on the project is to begin this fall. The agency is awaiting approval of the design-build contract by the state Comptroller's office before a final schedule is set. The new edifice will be built on Central Avenue in downtown Rochester, on a lot that will be cleared when the existing tatterdemalion structure is razed. While it won't be much different in size than the current building, the new station will make boarding a train easier, be fully accessible to people with handicaps and offer a variety of improved amenities.
The Federal Transit Administration announced it is moving forward with new rules for the emergency relief program, clarifying which cities would be eligible for federal funds to repair, reconstruct or replace public transportation systems that are ruined in earthquakes, hurricanes or floods. In some cases, the funds could also be used to help cities build public transportation systems that are protected from natural disasters before they occur, the agency said.
OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST
Burlington, VT, -- The University of Vermont (UVM) Transportation Research Center has been selected to host the Northeast Regional Surface Transportation Workforce Center under a four year grant from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The new Center will focus on developing programs with partner groups throughout the region to train transportation workers for future needs and to promote participation by underrepresented groups in the transportation industry. It will work closely with private industry and public sector transportation agencies as well as a rich network of education, labor and workforce offices across 11 states and the District of Columbia.
St. Paul, MN -- MetroTransit plans to double its number of rolling billboards in January, and reap the benefits of a widening stream of advertising on its network of buses and light rail lines. Bruce Howard, Metro Transit's Director of Customer Service and Marketing said for 2014, Metro Transit budgeted $3.85 million for ad revenue on its buses and trains, a figure it expects to surpass. That money is funneled to fuel, maintenance, salary and other operational costs, he said.
Richmond, VA -- The Virginia Department of Transportation is launching a new program this fall that will allow buses traveling I-66, inside the Beltway, to use the shoulder when traffic is backed up. The Bus-on-Shoulder pilot program, expected to start in mid-November, is part of a new strategy to improve the commuting experience of transit users in the delay-prone corridor. Transportation officials say it could help save bus riders time and improve the performance for many bus routes that are often stuck in traffic gridlock during rush hours— and increasingly during non-peak times too.
NYPTA TRAINING AND EVENTS
The Transit Training Institute is offering two October webinars presented by Debra Best, SPHR, owner of Deb Best Practices.
Note: Webinars will extend to 1:15pm for Public Transit Training Institute (PTLI) participants