House of Horrors: House Transportation Bill Would Take Ax to Region’s Projects

Earlier this month, House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chair John Mica unveiled an outline for a 6-year federal transportation bill that would cut funding levels by about a third from existing levels, costing the region tens of thousands of jobs. Here’s a closer look at the impact.

New Jersey

Rep. John Mica’s proposal [...]

A Tappan Zee Bridge With No Transit?

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino (far right) toured the Tappan Zee Bridge with State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (second from right) and Transportation Committee Chair Charles Fuschillo (far left).

Earlier this month, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino joined State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Senate Transportation Committee Chair Charles Fuschillo to [...]

One Assumption Too Many?

Today the MTA announced its budget proposal for 2012 and explained how it plans to fill a $9 billion gap in its capital construction program. Media reports were generally positive, but transit advocates were critical of the plan because it relies on the issuance of $7 billion in more debt and puts more of [...]

Doing What Needs to Be Done – Complete Streets and Limited Liability

The New York State Legislature’s recent passage of a Complete Streets law is just the latest step in a nationwide movement for balanced streets that are safe for everyone who uses them.  Almost every state has at least one city or town – over 200 jurisdictions in all – that has already adopted or implemented some type of Complete Streets policy.  The National Complete Streets Coalition explains that Complete Streets “are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users” and “by adopting a Complete Streets policy, communities direct their transportation planners and engineers to routinely design and operate the entire right of way to enable safe access for all users, regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation.”

Despite this strong movement, there have been and continue to be difficulties in this process of caring for the needs of all roadway users.  One concern in particular is legal liability.  Tri-State has worked with municipal officials regarding Complete Streets policies and, on several occasions, these officials have expressed concerns about liability that might arise from implementing Complete Streets policies in their communities.

Tri-State previously wrote about liability in a similar context in 2008.  That article addressed liability concerns arising from the implementation of traffic calming measures in Connecticut.  At the time, Tri-State’s opinion was that liability fears related to implementing traffic calming measures were unfounded:

Liability issues have caused some municipalities to balk at traffic calming, but in practice these concerns have proven to be unfounded. A 2003 Transportation Quarterly article by Reid Ewing found that there had been only two successful lawsuits against traffic calming programs, one of which was overturned on appeal.

Connecticut (and New Jersey and New York, for that matter) have immunity by law for the design of road improvements and the decision to use traffic calming on a given street. True, if speed humps are designed so poorly that vehicles get damaged solely by driving over the calming device as intended, the town may be liable. Connecticut courts have used the words “totally inadmissible” and “obviously in need of correction” to describe such grossly negligent designs… Many states and municipalities have adopted design standards for traffic calming. Thanks to the design work of the Institute of Transportation Engineers and other groups, it should be easy for a town to build improvements – even old fashioned speed humps – that don’t cross the line from deterrence to damage and danger.

» Continue reading…

Bike Share Storms the Suburbs in Simsbury and Long Beach

Decobike set up demonstration bike share stations in Long Beach, NY earlier this summer. A 400-bicycle program is set to launch this fall.

While New York City residents eagerly await the unveiling of the preferred operator for what will eventually be the largest bike share program in the country, two municipalities in the [...]

Bee-Line Revealed as Backbone of Westchester Employment

Click to view the survey.

(Click to view the survey.)

Westchester County’s Bee-Line bus system hit record ridership numbers last year (32.3 million), and a recent survey has revealed a transit-dependent and diverse ridership that relies on the system primarily to get to work. Unfortunately, at a time that riders’ incomes have taken a substantial hit, the bus [...]

Hoboken Getting Friendlier For Bikes

Hoboken's new bicycle and pedestrian plan includes new on-street bike lanes (in dashed orange) and "share the road" markings (in dashed yellow). Click to view the plan.

Sources in Hoboken tell TSTC that an ordinance (on page 89) introduced to designate several streets in Hoboken as Class II (on-street) bike lanes passed 9-0 during [...]

NJ Transit’s First Report Card: “Needs Improvement”

I can’t remember ever receiving a 52% on a test in school and that being considered “satisfactory” or “acceptable.”  Hopefully, NJ Transit doesn’t think so either.

Selected results from NJ Transit's SCORE Card customer survey. Click to view all results.

During April and May, 19,000 riders filled out surveys rating NJ Transit in [...]

MTA Chairman and CEO Jay Walder Resigns

Earlier today, the MTA announced that Chairman and CEO Jay Walder would step down effective October 21. Walder is leaving to become the new CEO of the Hong Kong-based MTR Corp. (no relation to this blog), which runs rail and other services in Asia and Europe. In a statement, Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s executive director Kate Slevin said:

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NYC Reaching Out on Sheridan Expressway

[EDITOR'S NOTE: THE JULY 23RD TOUR HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED TO SATURDAY, AUGUST 20TH DUE TO THE SEVERE HEAT ADVISORY. ]

Prospects for removing the little-used Sheridan Expressway in the South Bronx and replacing it with new development and open space took a big step forward last year when NYC won a federal grant to study [...]