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TRANSIT SYSTEM NEWS
So you’re sore from pushing your car out of a snow drift? Just imagine how Washington Lewis and several others feel. They freed an NFTA bus with shovels and their muscles. Lewis, the bus driver, got some help from an NFTA police officer, a couple of passengers and some men from the neighborhood. They started shoveling snow at about 6:50 a.m. to free the bus. They spent an hour and a half digging, and then they started pushing. “These guys are fantastic. I was stuck in a snow bank and they all helped,” Lewis said of the others.
Transportation is an essential feature of any city, but not merely because of the need for residents and visitors to move around efficiently. How transportation networks and arteries are set up can have a big impact on development and the quality of life in an urban area. For this reason, the opening of the RTS Transit Center a block from Main Street--could have a major, positive impact on downtown Rochester for years to come. The 87,000-square-foot facility will be safe, comfortable and easy to use--qualities that will significantly improve the experience of the 20,000 riders who travel to, from or through downtown each day.
STATE NEWSSuffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced a new $1.5 million grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to be used toward planning, design and construction of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system along Nicolls Road, which will connect from Stony Brook University to Patchogue Village. On Tuesday, the Suffolk County Legislature voted unanimously to accept the grant. The design and installation of BRT technology will include Transit Signal Priority, which will allow buses to communicate with traffic signals to help improve service, reduce delay and stay on schedule.
A ceremony complete with a 50-gun salute marked celebration of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge 50th anniversary. A fireboat water display with the bridge itself serving as a spectacular backdrop also helped to kick off the festivities. The bridge, which is 4,260 feet from tower to tower and links Staten Island and Brooklyn, opened to traffic on Nov. 21, 1964. In its first full year of operation, 17.6 million vehicles crossed the span. To celebrate the anniversary, MTA Bridges and Tunnels is also curating exhibits of historic photographs from the MTA Bridges and Tunnels Special Archive at the New York City Transit Museum in Brooklyn.
The nation’s transportation system is threatened by short-term federal funding measures and will be “in trouble” unless it gets more money, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told reporters Wednesday. Foxx said that even if the transportation system is funded at current levels for the next six years, “we’re going to be in trouble because we actually are under-invested in the system to begin with.” Foxx said he’s “hopeful” Congress can move forward with a long-term bill during the lame-duck session, but he’s prepared for the possibility such a bill won’t come until next year.
OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST
NEW YORK -- Bus rapid transit has grown by 383 percent in the last ten years, with hundreds of systems in dozens of countries qualifying as true BRT, according to new data released today by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. While costs vary across nations, BRT capital costs are generally less than ten percent of the cost of metro, and 30-60 percent of the cost of light rail. BRT can also be implemented much more quickly that rail-based transit, allowing systems to be created and expanded quickly to meet ever growing needs.
London, -- The United Kingdom's first ever bus powered on food waste and human waste launched this week, which engineers believe could provide a sustainable way of fuelling public transport - cutting emissions in polluted towns and cities. The 40-seat Bio-Bus, which runs on gas generated through the treatment of sewage and food waste that's unfit for human consumption, helps to improve urban air quality as it produces fewer emissions than traditional diesel engines, according to the company.
New York -- The commuter parking benefit results in $7.3 billion in forgone revenue annually while also increasing traffic congestion in our most congested cities, according to a new report. The report, “Subsidizing Traffic Congestion: The Multibillion-Dollar Tax Subsidy That’s Making Your Commute Worse,” released today by the civic organizations TransitCenter and Frontier Group, also found that the $1.3 billion public transportation benefit removes only about a tenth of the roughly 820,000 cars added to the road by the parking subsidy. “Regardless of whether the Treasury is spending dollars or not collecting them in the first place, those dollars ought to be targeted for maximum positive impact on our transportation system,” said David Bragdon, Executive Director of TransitCenter.
Akron, Ohio -- Metropolitan Regional Transit Authority is trying to get more people to ride its buses and get away from driving their cars around town, and is selling that message with a singing video. Metro RTA's "We're All About That Bus!" borrows heavily from a popular music video and hit song by Meghan Trainor, substituting transit-focused lyrics about enjoying the bus experience or learning how. This is a toe-tapping example of how transportation agencies are increasingly using innovative methods to get the public to pay attention to their messages.
NYPTA TRAINING AND EVENTS
When: Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 2:30-3:30pm Eastern
Kristi McLaughlin, Training & Technical Assistance Specialist at Easter Seals Project ACTION, will discuss key issues, best practices, and requirements related to customer sensitivity, ADA transportation regulations, and how to provide reasonable assistance to customers.
This one-hour webinar will be beneficial for rural and tribal transit drivers and managers, for those who are new and as a refresher for more experienced drivers and managers.
The following will be covered in the webinar:
Save the Date for NYPTA’s 2015 Transit Awareness Day. Join us at the Capital in Albany February 3 to bring lawmakers a unified message on the importance of investing in transit infrastructure.
The Governor and Legislature need to take the lead on securing resources to fund critical infrastructure investments necessary for safety and meeting increased public demand.
We need a unified voice, we need to be heard and we need you make it happen.
Our industry partners can play a key role, too. Become a Transit Awareness Day sponsor and secure a prominent position on Transit Awareness Day 2015!
Plan to be in Albany on February 3. More details to come.