March 12, 2010

I-70 St Louis
Depressed section of I-70 in St Louis
(Photo courtesy STLToday)

Highlights

  • Walk and Bike the Longfellow Bridge (Commonwealth Conversations)
    By Luisa Paiewonsky -- Whether you are cycling to work, walking to the Charles/MGH station, jogging over the Longfellow Bridge, or driving through Charles Circle, I hope you’ve noticed the new signs and freshly painted bike lanes and crosswalks we just installed earlier this week. In order to improve safe travel for all users, MassDOT employees have replaced and installed a number of traffic signs, including thirteen new signs to increase drivers' awareness of cyclists and pedestrians. MassDOT Highway crews painted and marked with bicycle emblems the bike lanes on both sides of the bridge, and re-painted ten pedestrian crosswalks and stop lines at Charles Circle.
  • Union Square makeover takes shape (Boston Globe, Somerville Journal, Somerville News)
    By Danielle Dreilinger -- Union Square will continue to be a mess of Jersey barriers for a good five years. But after that, residents and visitors will frolic amidst a lofty European-style plaza with outdoor performances, oodles of bikes, and a convenient Green Line link to Boston. That's the takeaway from a March 1 public meeting to discuss the square's new traffic plan, said Rob May, city director of economic development.
  • Walking group has a major footing in transportation [scroll down] (Boston Globe)
    By Noah Bierman -- There probably aren’t many people who consider themselves antiwalking. But that didn’t stop a half a dozen local activists from gathering for drinks at Jacob Wirth two decades ago to imagine a prowalking group. “They were very unfriendly times for pedestrians,’’ explained Ann Hershfang, one of the original organizers. "The sidewalks were too narrow. They tended to disappear in places. The walk/don’t walk lights never said 'walk.'" So maybe they had too much time on their hands. But the idea stuck. And 20 years later, WalkBoston is one of the region’s mos influential transportation groups, a model for similar advocacy organizations around the country that followed it.
  • Google offers directions for Boston-area bikers (Boston Globe)
    By Shana Wickett -- Considering a bike ride in the Boston area? Google Maps can help you pick a route. Google unveiled the bicycling layer to its Google Maps feature at the National Bike Summit in Washington today, the company said in a news release. When users select the bicycling option -- under the "More ... " link -- on a map of the Boston area, a web of green strings appears. The map uses color-coded lines to depict bike-only trails (dark green), roadside bike lanes (light green), and roads without bike lanes that are more suitable for biking, depending on terrain, traffic and intersections (dotted green), the company said.
  • THE RIDE: How the Transportation Bill Becomes Law (PBS)
    The transportation bill — the massive legislation authorizing and funding the country’s roads and mass-transit infrastructure (from highways to bus lanes to railways to bike lanes) — expires every six years. That, however, does not mean a new bill is passed every six-years. It’s Washington, D.C., after all. The current transportation bill first expired last September. And not unlike ‘The Bill‘ from the 1970s children’s program Schoolhouse Rock, it has been spending a lot of time sitting around Capitol Hill, waiting to be rewritten. That is why it’s the current transportation bill that expired last September.
  • "Eisenhower 2.0": Update on the East Coast Greenway (Harvard Magazine)
    By Nell Porter Brown -- Elizabeth Brody ’53 and Linda Cabot Black ’51 biked around Cambridge during their Radcliffe years, but they never met until last November, while logging upwards of 20 miles a day on a cycling tour of the scenic East Coast Greenway (ECG) trail in northern Florida. Both are longtime supporters of non-motorized transportation and have spent years helping the ambitious ECG project—a 3,000-mile series of linked pathways from Canada to Key West—become a reality.
  • Transit Funding Disaster: A Hard Look at What Happens When Money Is Tight (EDF, NBC News)
    By Carrie Denning -- Over the last several months, we've written occasionally about the need to solve the impending transit funding crisis. For longer than that, we've worked around the country, but especially in California and New York, to find new and innovative ways to advance transit service. Lately, we've also implored Congress to provide emergency funding to keep drivers employed as legislators have considered jobs bills. So far, our efforts as well as the work of our allies, to keep drivers driving, mechanics working, the transit system available—and ultimately keep some of the worst tailpipe emissions in check—have been frustratingly unsuccessful.

"Streets"

Walking

  • Cell phone impairment and pedestrians (WalkBoston)
  • Walking group has a major footing in transportation [scroll down] (Boston Globe)

Bicycling

Transit

Cars/Parking

Transportation financing/Government

Parks

Development projects

Land Use/Planning

Out-of-state

  • Crosswalks Left Out Of $26 Million Road Overhaul [Indianapolis] (WRTV)
  • LAPD Chief Charlie Beck vows to better protect cyclists (Los Angeles Times)
  • VIDEO: Local Bridges To Receive Electronic Tolling System (NY1)
  • Riding the bus changes her view (Los Angeles Times)
  • Designers should plan removal of I-70's downtown lanes [St Louis] (STLtoday)
  • Lost in Penn Station (Slate)
  • VIDEO: Seattle's Link Light Rail -- The Start of Something Big (Streetfilms)
  • Bury This Big Mistake [Humboldt Parkway, Buffalo] (ArtVoice)
  • Surface Improvements [Times Square] (Wall Street Journal, New York Post)
  • New York Plans Transitway on 34th Street, but It's Not BRT, for Better or Worse (Transport Politic)
  • VIDEO: Central Park To Allow Produce Vendors (NY1)
  • Experimental Clocks Tell Straphangers if the Wait May Soon Be Over (New York Times)
  • Pedestrian Management Agents in NYC (How We Drive)

National trends

  • FTA Livable Communities Website (Reconnecting America)
  • A new public health-care option -- smarter transportation planning (Seattle Times)
  • Fla. deadliest state for walkers, cyclists (USA TODAY)
  • THE RIDE: How the Transportation Bill Becomes Law (PBS)
  • What Should The Gas Tax Pay For (National Journal)
  • Rep. Blumenauer Introduces Active Community Transportation (ACT) Act of 2010 (LAB)
  • Bunning Throws in the Towel, Congress Restores Transport Funding (Streetsblog)
  • Editorial: Why the anti-urban bias? (Boston Globe)
  • Digital designer shows what future towns could look like (Grist)
  • Benefits and Pitfalls of a National Infrastructure Bank (Transport Politic)
  • Transit Funding Disaster: A Hard Look at What Happens When Money Is Tight (EDF, NBC News)
  • High-Speed Rail: A Social Cohesion Strategy for the U.S.? (Brookings)

International news