And now for the much-awaited second iteration of TSTC’s ‘Winners and Losers’ column, your weekly guide to heroic and villainous actions in tri-state transportation.
This week’s winners:
Mayor Bloomberg—the Mayor’s State of the City speech showed his laudable urban planning ethos. He pledged to double the number of 20 mph school zones in New York City and talked enthusiastically about bike lanes, bike sharing, and Select Bus Service. As he put it at one point, “The reality is more and more New Yorkers are biking, and the more bike lanes we put in, the fewer deaths and serious injuries we have on our streets.”
Joe Lhota—the MTA’s new Chairman and CEO sailed through the Senate confirmation process and handled himself admirably in subsequent interviews. He’s got a tough job to do, but the former deputy mayor and Madison Square Garden exec knows a little something about the spotlight (and Penn Station). Lhota’s agency also launched real time bus tracking on Staten Island this week. Way to go, Joe!
West Windsor—the New Jersey Township became New Jersey’s 24th Transit Village, which means that they’ve shown commitment to smart growth near Princeton Junction. At one point, the NJDOT Transit Village designation gave municipalities access to dedicated funding, but this is no longer true. Until NJDOT Commissioner Jim Simpson follows through on promises to restore the program and give Transit Villages priority for other funding sources, TSTC’s praise will have to suffice.
New Jersey Transit—the agency has retrofitted 760 buses with particulate filters and electronic modules, which will reduce the vehicles’ emissions. The Sierra Club warns that the bus systems could still use a lot of work, but we’re encouraged by the progress that’s been made so far.
This week’s losers:
The State of New Jersey—figures released this week show that the state lost $279 million on the aborted Access to the Region’s Core project, which would have improved commuter rail service between New Jersey and Manhattan. Construction had already begun when Governor Christie nixed the venture.
Joan McDonald—at a luncheon in Westchester, the head of the New York State Department of Transportation said that adding transit to the Tappan Zee project would delay the project “by two years.” TSTC’s Veronica Vanterpool argued that community opposition to a transit-less bridge would delay the project further, and told the Journal News New York needs to take a long view. “We are building a bridge for the next hundred years; we should get it right,” she said. “Designing the bridge for bus transit on day one doesn’t preclude construction from starting on the bridge.”