Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday Wrap: On the Blink

  • Guns, Bullets, and Rail: Ryan Avent wonders what we could do with just one year of defense spending invested in infrastructure.
  • On the left track with its left blinker on: Some Floridians are pushing for a special session of the state legislature to kickstart the SunRail project. The federal government has hinted that funding for high speed rail is contingent on the Sunshine State finding funding for SunRail and the existing TriRail.
  • What's the point?: One wonders why they even bother with that little 'D' next to their names. Some Democrats are feeling a bit of anxiety over next year's legislative agenda. They would prefer not to face votes on Climate Change, Immigration Reform, or Gays in the Military. In fact, it seems the only things some want to deal with are jobs, jobs, and jobs. One representative uses a football analogy, saying we shouldn't be going for a Hail Hary when a first down will do. But we shouldn't punt on second down either.
  • Blue screen of gridlock: In Montgomery County, Maryland, an affluent suburb of Washington, a computer (apparently installed when Jimmy Carter was wearing sweaters in the oval office) crashed and plunged the county into two days of gridlock. With the signals unable to talk to each other or adjust to rush hour timing, traffic lined up for miles. This incident just goes to show how fragile and vulnerable our transport network is.
  • What's that smell?: A recent analysis by Forbes shows that Atlanta is America's most toxic city. Detroit, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia round out the top five.
  • Another Maryland transit project: The Corridor Cities Transitway proposal in Montgomery County, Maryland is gaining steam as cost-benefit estimates look good.
  • Pedestrian Accelerators: Walkscore has finally added transit stops as an attribute of their famous neighborhood walkability scoring matrix.
  • The Separation of Church and Bus: A MARTA bus driver has been suspended for five days after refusing to let a passenger leave his Route 125 bus and insisting that passengers join hands while he led them in a prayer.
  • The Bridge is Falling: In yet another example of decaying infrastructure, the Lake Champlain Bridge, built in 1929, which connects New York and Vermont, was closed October 16 after inspectors discovered it was facing imminent collapse. Drivers face a 90-mile detour for now.
  • Internet Rides the (metro)Rails in Miami: Miami-Dade Transit is bringing WiFi to buses and metro trains as a part of a pilot project.
  • Commuters and Diners: RTD, Denver's transit agency is going to "license" a part of the rail line they purchased for a northern commuter rail line to a historical society for free. The society will run excursion trains on the part of the line not being used for commuter service.

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