June 1, 2009

Car-free Broadway
Car-free Broadway in Times Square
(Photo courtesy New York Times)

Highlights

  • Efforts to renovate BU Bridge stall between state agencies (Boston Globe)
    By Stephanie Ebbert -- The deterioration of the Boston University Bridge, which had a lane closed two weeks ago for emergency repairs, was not a secret. Inspectors who had labeled the bridge structurally deficient in 2001 had been watching curbs crumble and sidewalks gape with holes that offered pedestrians an unwelcome view of the Charles River below. But efforts to renovate the span - even when it became one of the Patrick administration's top construction priorities - were delayed because of disagreements between two state agencies that oversee highways in Massachusetts.
     
  • Start saving: Parking meter rates and hours to increase, permit parking to expand citywide (Somerville Journal)
    By Auditi Guha -- If parking in Somerville isn’t bad enough already, the Traffic and Parking Commission recently decided to hike meter rates, extend meter hours and change all streets to permit parking. The new parking regulations were passed by the Traffic Commission at a meeting on May 21 and do not require aldermen’s approval. The new policy now enters a three-week public notice period and will go into effect on August 1, 2009.
     
  • Improving the T (Radio Boston)
    We all know the T is broke; but over the last couple of weeks, it’s been looking increasingly broken too. Ultimately, it’s no surprise; it’s the oldest subway system in North America. Obviously, the funding mechanisms for the T need to be updated, but what about the trains themselves? This week, we’re talking to T officials, T riders, and transit gurus about ways we can bring this 19th century system into the 21st.
     
  • Neighbors divided over proposed bike path [Newton/Wellesley] (Boston Globe)
    By Peter Schworm -- On the Wellesley side of the Newton-Wellesley line sits an old lumberyard, abandoned for 15 years, its sprawling parking lot an unsightly legacy of thwarted plans to replace it. On the Newton side, at the edge of a thickly settled neighborhood, rests a rotting railway bridge, forsaken since the 1970s. Back then, a small train rattled down the tracks toward the Grossman's home repair center every few weeks. Now, the state has plans to build a bike path over the former rail bed that would follow the same route across the Charles River from Newton's Lower Falls to Wellesley.
    Rail trails: Your backyard is better for it (Boston Globe)

    LivableStreets responds:
    To the editor,
    Newton and Wellesley residents need only to speak with their neighbors, many of whom were skeptical of the extension of the path along the Charles River into their community.  Since it was built, however, abutters who once feared the path have come to embrace it.  Their fears of crime and noise did not materialize, and they were left with a beautiful place for themselves and their families to walk, bike, and enjoy nature right in their own neighborhoods.  And yes, in addition to benefiting the community as a whole, a multi-use path is indeed good for one's property value! 
    Charlie Denison, Board of Directors, LivableStreets Alliance
     

  • No Vehicles, but Plenty of People on Broadway (New York Times 1, 2, 3, NY Daily News 1, 2, 3, 4 NY Post 1, 2, 3, 4, NY1, Huffington Post, Streetsblog)
    By David W. Dunlap -- Paul Ziemer and Pikkam So traveled to Times Square on Sunday from their home in Inwood, at the northern tip of Manhattan, and allowed their 14-month-old son, Benjamin, to do what few New Yorkers have ever done: Walk safely right down the center of Broadway in the middle of the day. On Sunday, the Bloomberg administration put a plan into effect to reduce traffic congestion in Midtown by closing two sections of Broadway to vehicles, from 47th to 42nd Streets and 35th to 33rd Streets. The idea is to eliminate the crosscurrents Broadway traffic creates on nearby avenues.
     
  • European Train Travel: Working on the Railroad (TIME)
    By Bruce Crumley -- As any of the millions of young people who have roamed the Continent with a pack on their back and Eurail pass in hand can attest, there is something quintessentially European about traveling by train. Or was. European airline deregulation 12 years ago has turned hopping on a plane into a bargain-basement no-brainer. Thanks mostly to the increased competition, improved services and lower prices spawned by regulatory liberalization, air travel in Europe grew at an average annual rate of 4.5% between 1995 and 2005. Over the same period, the total number of miles traveled by all rail passengers chugged along at less than 1% annual average growth.

"Streets"

  • Somerville creates tree inventory (Somerville Journal)
  • Crumbling White Paint Lines Have Costly Solution (WBZ)
  • Efforts to renovate BU Bridge stall between state agencies (Boston Globe)
  • Pack up these pedestrian playpens (Boston Globe)
  • Starts & Stops: I-90 produce market; T cellphone ban improves bus service; Wasted Turnpike tickets (Boston Globe)

Walking

Transit

Cars/Parking

Transportation financing/Government

Parks

  • Neighbors divided over proposed bike path [Newton/Wellesley] (Boston Globe)
  • Rail trails: Your backyard is better for it (Boston Globe)

Development projects

Land Use/Zoning

  • City launches comprehensive planning process for Somerville's future (Somerville News)

Out-of-state

National trends

International news

  • Bigger garages 'will clear roads' (BBC News)
  • London Mayor Nearly Killed While Cycling (New York Times)
  • European Train Travel: Working on the Railroad (TIME)
  • Singapore's Circle Line Next Step for a Network of Automatic Metros (Transport Politic)
  • Spain's High-Speed Rail Offers Guideposts for U.S. (New York Times)