In Reversal, ConnDOT Studies Bike/Pedestrian Path on Putnam Bridge

According to the Hartford Courant, ConnDOT is studying the feasibility of building a bicycle and pedestrian pathway along the William H. Putnam Route 3 Bridge, which connects the towns of Glastonbury and Wethersfield. The pathway is supported by Glastonbury and Wethersfield’s town councils, State Rep. Thomas Kehoe (D-31), the Capital Region Council of Governments, […]

A Tribute to George Warrington

Transit advocates lost a great champion when George Warrington passed away on December 24th. Warrington, 55, enjoyed a well-deserved reputation as a national leader in mass transit development and operations, with more than 30 years of experience in the transportation, transit and railroad industries.

Warrington is credited with turning NJ Transit into one of […]

Connecticut Transportation Strategy Board to Study Congestion Pricing

On Wednesday, Connecticut’s Transportation Strategy Board (TSB) unanimously and (according to one board member) “enthusiastically” resolved to “undertake a comprehensive review and analysis of electronic tolls and congestion pricing as a means of both managing transportation and raising revenue.” Funding for the pricing study will come from the $5.5 million allotted to the TSB […]

Variable Tolling Options Presented to Traffic Mitigation Commission

At Monday’s Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission meeting, an agency research team led by NYCDOT presented ten scenarios (out of several hundred possible scenarios) to the commissioners showing modifications or alternatives to Mayor Bloomberg’s original congestion pricing plan.

First introduced was the Mayor’s original plan with revised projections due to a recent update of the NYMTC (New York Metropolitan Transportation Council) model. The revised model raises the reduction of Vehicle Miles Traveled under the Mayor’s plan from 6.3% to 6.7% and increases annual net revenue to $420M from initial projections of $380M.

(The graphic is an excerpt from a comparison of pricing scenarios distributed at Monday’s meeting; the excerpt compares the Mayor’s original plan with the four cordon pricing scenarios which raise the most annual net revenue for transit. For the entire table, click here.)

Two particularly intriguing scenarios included variable tolling. The first would charge a one-time fee for cars entering the pricing zone only (60th Street is defined as the northern boundary in this scenario). Cars leaving the zone would not be charged. The fee would be in effect for 12 hours (6 am to 6 pm) but the amount of the fee would vary depending on the time of day: $10 between 6-10 am; $8 from 10 am – 2 pm; and $6 from 2 pm – 6pm. According to the NYMTC model, this scenario would reduce VMT by 6.8% (0.1% above the city’s plan) and generate $464M in net revenue (an increase of $44M from the original plan). The costs of both implementing and operating this option are significantly less, $73M and $62M respectively, than the original proposal which put costs at $224M and $229M.

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Sad Day for Transit Riders: MTA Board Approves Fare Hike

The MTA Board approved a fare hike this morning, despite calls from advocates, elected leaders, and a few MTA board members to postpone the hike until next year. Under the plan, base subway and bus fares will remain the same, but the majority (86%) of subway and bus riders who pay with discount or […]

Staff Rider Report Cards: Michelle Ernst

As noted in the press, NYC Transit has been passing out “rider report cards” on its subway lines to gauge customer satisfaction. Most TSTC staffers happen to be NYC Transit customers as well. So how satisfied are we? The fifth in a series of answers to that question comes from staff analyst Michelle Ernst, who gives the E train a grade of C.

Home: Spring Street/SoHo
Work: 34th Street/Penn Station
4 Stops/15 minutes

I admit I have a relatively easy commute, especially in comparison to some of my colleagues who face long delays and torturous rides. I can take either the C or E train from Spring Street, though as Ryan noted in his report card, the E train runs much more frequently.

Because the E originates downtown, there are usually plenty of seats on my way to work, at least until we get to West 4th Street and pick up the flood of commuters from the F/V/B/D lines. Still, I listed “adequate room on board at rush hour” as my top priority, maybe as a show of solidarity to the riders who pack in the train at West 4th and 14th Street. And my return trip is usually standing-room-only, even after the bursting trains empty out at Penn Station.

My other primary complaints are about the poor communication to riders. Sometimes it seems as if the station managers maliciously wait until a train is pulling into the station to make an important announcement. You can almost see them laughing as they do it. But even when the announcements are audible, they are often not remotely helpful. I don’t think anyone really cares about the cause of a delay, whether it be a signal malfunction, a sick passenger, or police activity. Riders just want to know how long they will have to wait until the next train arrives so they can decide if they need to find an alternate way to get to work.

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Only Fare: Transit Agencies Plan Upped Service in 2008

This year NJ Transit, Westchester County, and the MTA raised fares, approved a fare hike, and are about to approve a fare hike, respectively. As ridership on all three transit networks hits historic levels, all three have announced plans for increased service in 2008, which is certainly the least they could do for cash-strapped […]

ConnDOT Reform Recommendations Delayed Until January

The Governor’s Commission on the Reform of the Department of Transportation announced that its much-anticipated recommendations, due to be submitted to Governor Rell today, will be delayed until the first part of January.

A short statement on ConnDOT’s webpage, as well as subsequent news reports, indicate that the Commission postponed its meeting this past […]

The Most Obvious Idea Ever

Who needs the space on 32nd Street more?

NYC’s Penn Station is the busiest transit hub in the country, handling more people a day than the three NYC-area airports combined. Every day, thousands upon thousands of commuters and travelers spill through its entrances. So why is the surrounding area so inhospitable to pedestrians?

The Tri-State Campaign office is mere blocks from Penn, so Campaign staffers often ponder this question as they circumnavigate vehicles in crosswalks on their way to work. With increased attention focused on Penn as the Empire State Development Corporation’s Moynihan Station environmental review moves forward, now is as good a time as ever to change this state of affairs. That’s why Tri-State is launching a campaign to win pedestrian improvements around Penn Station.

Others are concerned about this lack of regard for pedestrians, particularly Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer. Last week Stringer proposed widening sidewalks and creating bike lanes on West 33rd Street, an idea supported by the Regional Plan Association, Transportation Alternatives, and the Tri-State Campaign. Stringer and the three groups are also pushing for inclusion of pedestrian improvements in the Moynihan Station environmental review.

The prioritization of cars reaches its most absurd on 32nd Street between Seventh and Sixth Avenues. This stretch of 32nd Street is one of the heaviest traveled areas around Penn Station, since it leads directly to the Seventh Avenue entrance of Penn Station and links it to the Herald Square subway and PATH stations on Sixth Avenue. Its narrow sidewalks are made narrower by scaffolding and street vendors, and can’t handle the commuters’ parade which unfolds every weekday morning and afternoon. (Images after the cut.)

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Spitzer Creates a Smart Growth Cabinet

On Tuesday, Governor Spitzer announced an executive order that created a Smart Growth Cabinet charged with “reviewing state agency spending and policies to determine how best to discourage sprawl and promote smart land use practices.”

Congratulations to groups like the New York League of Conservation Voters, Regional Plan Association, and Vision Long Island for […]