Land Use Focus Finally Comes to Tappan Zee Bridge Project

On Tuesday, Tappan Zee Bridge/I-287 Corridor project team consultant DMJM Harris quietly released a Request for Proposals, seeking the services of a contractor to perform transit-oriented development training for communities along the I-287 corridor. The development is a huge victory for TSTC and other groups, such as Scenic Hudson and Regional Plan Association, which [...]

NJ's Transportation Holding Pattern

If no news is good news, New Jersey is jumping for joy. After a year-long deluge of transportation, asset monetization, and toll road press and controversy, discussion of transportation funding and priorities has now taken a back seat in Trenton. Gov. Corzine’s “fiscal restructuring” plan to fund transportation with large toll increases has atrophied, [...]

MTA: PR Snafu, Economic Linchpin

The MTA’s credibility has not been helped by its decision to delay planned service improvements; the news broke just three weeks after the agency announced that the improvements would go forward. But the immediate cause of the delay — March real estate tax revenue which came in $31.5 million lower than projected — points [...]

New Haven's Road to Revitalization: Re-creating a Community from the Route 34 Connector

L-R: New Haven’s Oak Street neighborhood in the 1950s, the area in the 1970s after the construction of the Route 34 Connector, and today.

The negative impacts of postwar urban renewal — wanton highway construction, residential displacement, social fragmentation — are still felt in cities throughout America. New Haven, the recipient of more [...]

NYC's First – And Only? – Bus Rapid Transit Route

Bronx BRT press conference this morning. L-R: NYS Assemblymember Adriano Espaillat, Bronx BP Adolfo Carrion, MTA CEO Lee Sander, NYCDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, Mayor Bloomberg.

NYCDOT and the MTA today announced the first of NYC’s planned bus rapid transit routes, the Bx12 Select Bus Service on Fordham Road in the Bronx — but warned that without approval of congestion pricing, it would be the city’s only BRT route for the foreseeable future.

The Bx12 Select would replace the existing Bx12 Limited service beginning June 29, running more often than the Limited and with service on Sundays. Bx12 Local service would not be affected.

Buses would be sped up with three major improvements. Fares would be paid under a “proof of payment” system where riders would pay at stations and show a receipt if asked by on-board fare collectors. This model has been successfully used on BRT systems like the Las Vegas MAX, as well as the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, and solves one of the most significant sources of bus delay — the backup as passengers pay one by one at the head of the bus. It would also allow riders to board at the front and back of buses.

Bx12 Select buses would also have traffic signal priority, gaining the ability to extend green lights and shorten red lights by several seconds when behind schedule.

Finally, the Select route would include bus lanes between the Bronx Zoo and Cedar Avenue, as well as between the Broadway/207 St and 10th Ave. subway stations in Manhattan.

This significant service improvement is one example of the innovative projects which congestion pricing can open the door to. While NYCDOT and the MTA said that this year they would roll out improvements to local bus service on 34th Street and Fifth/Madison Avenues in Manhattan, Jamaica, and downtown Brooklyn, they warned that planned BRT routes in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island could not go forward without the $354 million in federal grant money the city would receive if congestion pricing legislation is passed by April 7.

(Bx12 Select route map after the jump:)

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The Congestion Pricing Countdown

$354 million in immediate transit improvements and the long-term health of the New York regional transit system are at stake with one week left for the New York City Council and State Legislature to pass congestion pricing legislation.

Interested readers, please help out in any way you can: Testify or show support at a [...]

Drivers Finally Responding to Rising Gas Prices?

Two weeks ago, the price of crude oil reached an all-time high of about $110 a barrel. The price has since fallen to about $102. (For some perspective, last year Americans were cringing at prices of $60 a barrel). If the dollar’s value continues to plummet, there’s no reason to believe that oil will [...]

As Region Moves Towards Sustainability, Suffolk Calls for More Roads

Suffolk County’s vision for the future: Making sure roads like this become congested [Image from NYMTC 2008 Annual Report].

At the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council’s annual meeting last week, principal members laid out their visions for growth over the next few decades. Principals, or their representatives, from Nassau, Westchester, Rockland, and New [...]

"Transit Lockbox" Not a Far-Fetched Idea

New Yorkers support congestion pricing 59%-38% if the money raised is used to improve mass transit, according to a Quinnipiac poll released last week. The results are virtually identical to those of a January poll (which MTR covered here).

The poll also found, however, that only 43% of New Yorkers think it is very or somewhat likely that pricing revenue will go to transit.

MTR can’t blame New Yorkers for being skeptical about any elected official’s stated intentions, even if congestion pricing has the support of environmental, business, labor, equity, and civic groups. It must be pointed out, however, that revenues from several tolls and taxes are already partially or entirely dedicated to transit funding.

For example, the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (MTA Bridges and Tunnels) has since the late 1960s financed billions of dollars of mass transit expenses with revenue gained from vehicle tolls, according to a legislatively set formula. Portions of the mortgage recording tax, petroleum business tax, corporate franchise tax, and sales tax have also been dedicated to transit since the 1980s.

In other words, the State Legislature has the power and responsibility of creating a “transit lockbox,” and congestion pricing’s elected supporters have on multiple occasions insisted that congestion pricing legislation, when it is introduced, must and will include such a provision.

To help convey this message, Environmental Defense Fund launched an ad campaign last week which emphasizes that 100% of the net revenue from congestion pricing will go to public transit and that this extra funding will lead to better transit and a more livable city. This is in addition to the Empire State Transportation Alliance/Campaign for New York’s Future campaign already underway. Ads for the EDF campaign will appear on bus shelters (an example is shown above), subway cars, print media and radio.

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New ARC Design: Smaller Station, Larger Crowds

Absent mitigation, Access to the Region’s Core will bring overwhelming crowds to the NYC crosswalks and sidewalks highlighted in black. [Image from ARC SDEIS.]

NJ Transit has released a Supplemental Draft EIS (SDEIS) for Access to the Region’s Core, a project whose main component is a new cross-Hudson tunnel which will [...]