Monday, September 1, 2008

Weekly News Post

BALTIMORE

A fifteen-year-old was charged in a stabbing that occurred near the Light Rail in May, The Baltimore Sun reports. I love how the lede includes that it “snarled traffic for hours as authorities investigated.” Wow, it’s not appalling that the suspect is fifteen, or that someone was stabbed or even that someone was stabbed near a transit stop, or maybe it effect The Light Rail (it does at least get to that at the end). I’m so furious that I can’t even see straight (and watching the contrived video doesn’t help). Clearly, when it comes to transit, The Sun is falling down on the job.

The suspect was arrested in her home. She’s been charged with one count of first-degree murder and four counts of first-degree assault. She’s also been charged with a separate stabbing that happened in Cherry Hill.

There has been consistent drama over the MARC crowding. Now there’s thirteen new cars and that might ease the pain. Or not.

Sun columnist talks about maps.

Four people were injured when they hit a bus.

And MTA is adding more commuter buses. As an extra note, those commuter buses coming and going from the shore have priority over motorists on the bridge.

An agreement has been reached in providing round-trips to Ravens games. The rides, one $10 per game, are now $20. Season ticket holders will ride for $18. (Or you can take the Light Rail for $3.50.)

CHICAGO

Starting TODAY the blue and red lines will include wireless service from Verizon (U.S. Cellular has had service underground for two years). Verizon and CTA are in a ten year contract; CTA is receiving $27,950 a month for the service. Another plus for the Moving to Chicago column.

A woman died after she was struck by a train Saturday on the North Side.

This is an old one (weeks before I even went to Chicago!) but just popped up on my Google Alerts this week: a bus caught fire on Lake Shore Drive. The 147 evacuated 140 people. (It’s also probably my favorite route.) No one hurt but people yelled for the driver to stop minutes before he did, and cars and taxis on Lake Shore Drive tried to flag him before he noticed. Understandably, everyone was panicked.

Speaking of old news: When I was in Chicago I noticed a letter to the Tribune from a reader that amused and infuriated me. In the citywide debate about bicycles in the city—a topic that seems to have risen to new heights at the result of high gas prices—and anti-bike reader asked the mayor to remove “abandoned” bikes in the city. He added that these bikes are often without tires or seats. The nerve of people to leave their bikes chained up around town without seats or tires! I’m hoping the mayor isn’t dumb enough to follow through. I’m hoping the mayor knows that cyclists remove their seats and tires because both are common targets for theft and necessary for getting around down on a moving bicycle. (I tore out the letter but now that I’m home, I can’t find it. I can’t seem to find it on the internet either.) A few days after the bus fire ABC 7 reported that CTA was going to start to provide “covered bicycle parking.” I didn’t see any in the city but I was only in a few neighborhoods in the same area.

Two CTA employees were injured working near the Lincoln Park train station by a Commonwealth Edison cable. They were on the North Side. Both were hospitalized for smoke inhalation.

A Loyola student writing for The Examiner connects the joys of childhood, safety, and Bike Chicago 2008 with cycling in the city. The lede’s a little weak for me but she provides some interesting facts about the city: Chicago totals 100 miles of bike lanes, bike paths accumulating in 50 miles, and 10,000 bike racks (and she asks if that’s more than any other city—I’m going to research and find out). And, like every city, the buses have bike racks.

Three men were indicted in a murder that occurred at a red line (Roosevelt) stop. They beat him so badly that fell on the tracks and was electrocuted. All suspects have been charged with first-degree murder.

DC

Metro installed handles on eight of it’s cars on the red and orange lines. This is supposed to be good, but now we have more surfaces to pick up germs.

DCist posted a video detailing the profound stupidity of Metro riders waiting in an epicly long line to use the elevator at Foggy Bottom. Writer Heather Goss asks what I want to know—why didn’t [those able to] you walk to the next stop?!

LOS ANGELES

Some dude is perpetually annoyed with MTA. I read the article but his irritation is hard to stomach. Who wants to be the one to tell him that the MTA in Los Angeles will never bring him joy while the city suffers endless sprawl? Anyone? Please don’t make it be me. I admire your passion for the Orange Line, sir, but good luck holding out for a reliable plan for everyone. Your transit is serving the people your city doesn’t care about.

There’s been some drama over the MTA tax. The judge is waffling.

NEW YORK

The design and budget of the World Trade Center Transfer hub is changing, reports The New York Times. It’s too expensive. The budget is 2.5 billion dollars and is estimated at hundreds of dollars over budget.

I am not the only one unable to throw out my Metrocards/bus passes. Sad fact: I think I lost my subway token. I bought one and saved it on my key ring when they were getting phased out.

MTA wants to prevent flooding so to as avoid last year’s water-caused paralysis. The plan is not popular.

RED LINE SEASON

You know what makes me feel better about the Red Line woes in DC and Chicago? (I am filled with some angst about it in DC, honest.) “Red Line Season” by These Arms Are Snakes. The song isn’t about the red line of any train (uh, that I know of) but it’s aggressive and makes my transit angst dissipate, and isn’t that what alleviating commuting headaches are all about?

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