Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday Wrap: 'Complicit in your own Oppression'

Wednesday Weekly Wrap-Up is a feature looking back on transportation and planning news and opinions from the last week or so.

  • Reprogramming freeways: A New York Times op-ed looks at ways we can reuse freeways once driving on them isn't as big a deal.
  • Bringing back the train: Jacksonville, Florida is seeking stimulus funding to get a transportation hub started. The second phase would bring passenger trains back to the old train station, which has since been converted to a convention center. It would be a big plus for riders, since the Skyway connects to the convention center and downtown.
  • Transit co-operation: BART, which shares rail stations with Muni in downtown San Francisco is now releasing real-time info for Muni trains on its website.
  • One-armed fare machines: Reno, Nevada is looking at constructing a streetcar line (later to be converted to LRT). The $67 million project would link downtown to the University of Reno campus. A second phase is also under consideration.
  • Turbotrain Redux: Some 86% of Canadians support high speed rail and think all levels of government should be involved in getting it done.
  • The Governator's Priority: California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, ordered state officials to drop all requests for rail stimulus funding except for the request for the California High Speed Rail program. Some are calling foul.
  • Locos in the HOV Lane?: An Illinois company is leading the field in producing low-emission switcher locomotives. Since yards are often in urban areas and usually have the oldest engines in a railroad's fleet, significant health benefits could be realized.
  • TSA Protecting Amcans: The TSA is now deploying personnel with bomb detection devices aboard Amtrak trains around the nation. Just as long as they don't have snow globe detectors, right?
  • A Nice Paint Job: Minnesota's first commuter rail line, the Northstar, opened on Monday, and carried 2,400 riders. The trains have a very colorful paint scheme.
  • Please Step Back to Allow Big Brother to Watch: The Obama Administration is planning to introduce new transit oversight legislation to Congress. Let's hope it doesn't kill transit off in the process.
  • Splitting the Switch: Seattle's Link LRT is facing some criticism this morning after an out-of-service train split a switch at a rail yard disrupting service yesterday Monday. It's important to note that the train did not "derail", in fact, photos show that all the trucks stayed on the rails. But the final truck of the train did not diverge. This can still be an issue. The 1982 Washington Metro crash that killed three near Smithsonian was caused by splitting the switch.
  • Veronica Moss Returns: Hillarious A.U.T.O. lobbyist visits the newly reprogrammed Times Square, telling motorists that they should take the space back: 'you're complicit in your own oppression!'

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