Monday, September 15, 2008

Weekly News...

Chicago

CTA is going to eliminate 80 jobs to save the budget. I know it saves a lot of money—$40 million—but that’s a lot of people without a job in a tough economy. Booo! (Here’s more from CTA Tattler)

Mimi Smartypants has grievances with Loyola students and irritating commuters. A highlight:

    Many times I have been trapped on the inside seat on a nearly empty bus or train with a stranger squished up next to my thigh. I can sort of see not moving if you are getting off very shortly, or have a ton of bags and other crap, but I have ridden for blocks and blocks all cozy with my unwanted seatmate even though he/she clearly had other options. Why are strangers so reluctant to leave my side and sit on their own? Do I have a comforting maternal presence? Do I smell nice?

CTA Tattler reports that the Red Line slow zone project is finished. A month early! High five, CTA.

DC

The intercounty connector is expensive. (I’m linking highway news because I think it could, in theory, be beneficial to commuter buses in the future.)

DC’s transit is finally, after thirty years’ of 25% performance records, meeting a 73% rating. So now you have a passing level of expectation (a C, but not a C+) of getting your bus on time.

Metro wants artists for a project with Farragut West. Applications are due October 3. The project will “revitalize” the corridor.

More motorcycles are parking at Park and Ride. Because it’s free.

Transit saves money! We knew that, right? DC is ranked eighth.

Reminder in Hurricane Season (we have more to come): if necessary, Metro will shut down. Be cognizant in the storm and make a back up plan.

Metro has a startling crime record.

New Metro Board Member is Deputy Mayor. Hmm.

Metrobus accident on Wednesday.

Councilmember (Ward 1) Jim Graham wants to extend the circulator to Adams Morgan (via DCist by way of Greater Greater Washington), which is just barely (and inconveniently) served by a Metro. (Definitely not close enough if you’re hanging out in Adams Morgan and anyone by my sister, a former New Yorker.) DCist writes:

    Check out Ward 1 Council member Jim Graham's proposal for how to bring the Circulator north into Adams Morgan. Graham was instrumental in getting the Yellow line extension to Fort Totten up and running, so his idea is as good an indicator of how it could actually end up working as any.

I’m sooo for this, I’d love to see this happen.

Maryland

MARC has scheduling issues.

Frederick will spend $800,000 on a bike project. It will connect downtown through a series of paths off road. This is where I live and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I like the idea that it’s a “peace of mind” but I think it will just add the disparity between drivers and cyclists, especially to on-road cyclists using road that isn’t covered by the paths.

New York

The Amtrak station in Queens is a hangout for ruthless teenage thugs hellbent on ruining the lives of neighbors through rock throwing. Cars have been obliterated and the people have had it. Getting near wires strikes fear in my heart. Isn’t this activity dangerously close to electricity? Bzzzt zap.

MTA tried out its double decker bus this week: (The trial run is scheduled for thirty days, reports City Room, emphasis mine.)

    Beginning on Thursday, the 13-foot-tall, 45-foot-long, 81-seat bus will alternate service on local and express bus routes: BxM3 from Yonkers to Manhattan, the X17J between Staten Island and Manhattan, the M15 limited on First and Second Avenues, and possibly the M5 along Fifth Avenue (if the tree pruning along the bus lane goes well).

MTA said that they will interview riders and drivers to determine the success. The buses will seat 83 when the onboard restroom is removed (are these rehabbed commuter buses?) and because the bus is low to the ground, allegedly does not require a wheelchair lift. (I’m going to need to see that in action to believe it.)

The bus is on loan from a Belgian manufacturer Van Hool. I look forward to looking into Van Hool in a few days. Everyone involved hopes the double deckers will work out. With the unease for double deckers in DC, I can’t decide if I’m excited (83 seats!) or wary (tippage!)

Bloomberg thinks the WTC transit hub is taking too much away from the development of the 9/11 memorial. CityRoom comments here.

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