Hoboken and Weehawken Seeking Bike Share Input

Bike-Share-locations-mapHelp improve bike access and mobility in Hoboken and Weehawken! Where would you like to see a bike share station: near your favorite restaurant, at a movie theater, in the park, in front of your office building?

As the cities prepare to launch the first phase of a 300-bicycle joint bike share program this fall, the public has a key opportunity to identify where they’d like bike share stations to be located. Suggestions can be input directly into this map.

By adding bike share, Hoboken and Weehawken are taking the next step to increase transportation choices for residents, making it easier to access the PATH, ferries and buses, and to more easily travel between and within the two cities. Hoboken and Weehawken will join only a handful of New Jersey communities that currently offer bike share: Collingswood, Camden County, and Rutgers New Brunswick.

The deadline for feedback is Wednesday October 8.

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Rate the Ride: Aaron’s Adventure

LIBRU RtR 2Bus riders in Nassau County are facing unrelenting fare increases and unmet service needs, while the County Executive completely reneges on a commitment to help fill the NICE Bus deficit. State legislators ignored pleas from elected officials and advocates for increased county transit funding and let the state’s legislative session end without securing additional funds to support last year’s wildly successful weekend service expansion on Suffolk County Transit.  If state and local representatives in these counties can’t advocate for the frustrated bus riderswho can?

To draw attention to the importance of Long Island’s public transportation system and the struggles its riders face, the Long Island Bus Riders’ Union is hosting its first-ever “Rate the Ride: Aaron’s Adventure” event. Aaron Watkins-Lopez, a LIBRU organizer, and other BRU members will be embarking on a two-day journey to traverse Long Island from Jamaica, Queens to the North and South forks of the Island using only the bus systems. The trip will begin on Wednesday, October 15 at the Jamaica Station and end at the East Hampton Long Island Railroad Station on Thursday, October 16. During the endeavor, the group will be live Tweeting, Facebooking and blogging their struggles and successes, as well as their conversations with other riders they encounter along the way.

If you’d rather join in than tune in, please contact Aaron Watkins-Lopez at awlopez.lijwj@gmail.com or (516) 724-6145 for more information on how to join the ride.

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Wednesday Winners (& Losers)

A weekly roundup of good deeds, missteps, heroic feats and epic failures in the tri-state region and beyond.

Jersey City, NJ Mayor Steven Fulop | Photo: Wikipedia

Jersey City, NJ Mayor Steven Fulop | Photo: Wikipedia

WINNERS

Metropolitan Transportation Authority – The MTA has taken a giant step forward by designing its proposed 2015-2019 Capital Program as an image-rich, stat laden, user-friendly update to its unappealing 2010-2014 Program.

New Hyde Park, NY Village Trustee Donald Barbieri – Barbieri led a successful effort to finally complete Operation Main Street, a project to redesign Jericho Turnpike with safety upgrades, after 12 years.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop – The mayor is seeking to attract New Yorkers to visit Jersey City by bringing Citi Bike to the town.

Connecticut vulnerable users - The state’s Vulnerable Users Law, which mandates a fine of up to $1,000 for any motorist “who fails to exercise reasonable care” and severely injures or kills a bicyclist, pedestrian or other vulnerable user, goes into effect today.

» Continue reading…

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MTA Capital Program Offers Metro-North Riders New Access

mta_cp_mnrMore than 275,000 daily commuters on Metro-North received good news in the MTA’s newly-released 2015-2019 Capital Program: the agency is moving forward with Penn Station Access, a $743 million project which has spent decades on the drafting table. Benefits of Penn Station Access include:

  • a one-seat ride with substantially reduced travel times to Manhattan’s west side for New Haven Line customers
  • expanded job access for Manhattan’s growing west side and more options for New York’s growing population of reverse commuters
  • improved capacity and tri-state connectivity, improving links between Metro-North, LIRR, New Jersey Transit and Amtrak
  • cost-effective use of existing tracks, and no new tunnels
  • four new stations in under-served Bronx neighborhoods expanding transit options and economic and residential development near Co-op City, Morris Park, Parkchester and Hunts Point

This new service can’t begin until after completion of the $10.2 billion East Side Access, which will free up track space at Penn Station. Once complete, it will alleviate congestion at Mott Haven Junction, a system bottleneck where the Hudson, Harlem, and New Haven Lines all converge.

And in addition to service enhancements, the project will also bolster the transportation system’s resiliency for extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy. Mott Haven Junction, for example, is particularly prone to flooding so increasing redundancy between Manhattan and points north a key fix that can’t be built soon enough.

» Continue reading…

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Event Reminder: Sunrise Highway Safety Meeting This Thursday

crossing-freeport

The walking audit group led by traffic safety expert Dan Burden crossing Sunrise Highway in Freeport. | Photo: Samantha Thomas/WALC

This past June, AARP partnered with Tri-State and Vision Long Island to bring internationally-renowned traffic safety expert Dan Burden from the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute (WALC) to the notoriously dangerous Sunrise Highway. His visit included a series of walking tours through the communities of Valley Stream, Baldwin and Freeport. AARP is hosting a follow-up community meeting this Thursday to discuss the recommendations that WALC has generated and next steps for ensuring that Sunrise Highway is safe for all users.

The New York State Department of Transportation is in the process of developing a $3.8 million pedestrian safety plan for this corridor, but unfortunately the agency has not reached out to local communities for input into the plan. This community meeting is an opportunity to organize thoughts and efforts moving forward with the intention of influencing NYSDOT’s planning.

The meeting will be held this Thursday, October 2 at 7 p.m. at the Freeport Public Library. Please RSVP your attendance by visiting http://aarp.cvent.com/sunrise or by calling 1-877-926-8300.

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Does Nassau County Executive Mangano’s Budget Renege on a NICE Bus Funding Increase?

Photo: Newsday/John Paraskevas

It appears that any additional funding for NICE bus is going to come from a fare hike — not from Nassau County’s budget. | Photo: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Nassau County Legislators are set to hear testimony on County Executive Ed Mangano’s proposed 2015 budget at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, October 1, at the County Legislature in Mineola. Most of the attention surrounding the release of the $2.98 billion budget earlier this month has been centered on the County Executive’s proposed property tax hike. But another issue seems to have gone unmentioned: it appears the County Executive is reneging on his commitment to increase funding for Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE).

In order to help fill a 2014 NICE funding deficit of $3.3 million, Nassau County agreed last spring to increase its funding for the bus system by $1.8 million. This 70 percent increase in funding would bring the County’s total contribution to NICE up to roughly $4.4 million. According to the recently released budget proposal, however, the County’s contribution remains stagnant at $2.5 million a year. Instead, the budget estimates that the system will generate $51.4 million in farebox revenue — a nearly 13 percent increase over NICE’s 2014 farebox revenue estimate of $45.6 million.

How this revenue jump will occur is not outlined in the budget, and seems far-fetched given that NICE annual ridership in 2013 was at a 15 year low, according to the National Transit Database. And through July, ridership is only slightly higher than that of 2013.

What is clear is that the County Executive seems to be trying to get out of his commitment by relying on a 4 percent fare hike anticipated in 2015. A 4 percent fare hike would, according to a Tri-State estimate, raise $1.8 million: the exact amount of revenue that Nassau County committed to providing to NICE.

» Continue reading…

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Stadium or No Stadium, Hartford Must Prioritize Connectivity and Walkability in Downtown North

Downtown North's wide streets funnel fast-moving traffic to and from Interstates 84 and 91, and will certainly need to be reconfigured if this area is to be transformed into a walkable, mixed-use neighborhood. | Photo: Joseph Cutrufo/TSTC

Downtown North’s wide streets must be reconfigured if this area is going to be transformed into a walkable, mixed-use neighborhood. | Photo: Joseph Cutrufo/TSTC

Hartford’s Planning and Zoning Commission voted earlier this week to amend the City’s zoning so that a stadium would be a permissible use in the “B-1 zone,” which covers most of downtown. But then, citing concerns that building a stadium in the Downtown North area — as it has been proposed — may be inconsistent with the City’s plan of conservation and development, the Commission voted against giving the project a favorable recommendation to the city council.

Before the vote on whether to amend the City’s zoning, commissioners debated the pros and cons of having a stadium in the Downtown North area. Some expressed concern about foot traffic around the stadium area. Because of their size, stadiums can create “superblock” conditions, which limit permeability and pedestrian circulation. And although they attract a lot of people on game days, they sit mostly empty outside of events.

Trumbull-looking-north

Old-fashioned lighting is a nice touch in this section of Trumbull Street where Downtown transitions to Downtown North, but it doesn’t make up for Trumbull Street’s excessive width or lack of buildings. | Photo: Joseph Cutrufo/TSTC

On the other hand, it’s probably a better idea to stick with putting the ballpark downtown, where fans have multiple transportation options, rather than, as Commissioner David Blatt put it, having a stadium “plopped in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by asphalt.”  After all, by the time the Rock Cats take the field in Hartford, the CTfastrak bus rapid transit system will be up and running; by the time the team’s second season begins, fans will be able to ride commuter rail to Union Station and walk to the game, “no parking required — just like a real city.”

» Continue reading…

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Save the Date: Join Us For AARP’s Sunrise Highway Safety Follow-Up Meeting

Advocates, elected officials and community members join Dan Burden for the Baldwin leg of the June 19 walking audits along Sunrise Highway.

Advocates, elected officials and community members join Dan Burden for the Baldwin leg of the June 19 walking audits along Sunrise Highway.

Tri-State, Vision Long Island and AARP have been working together for years in efforts make communities safer, more walkable and a destination for all people regardless of age or ability. This past June we brought traffic safety expert Dan Burden from the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute (WALC) to one of Long Island’s most dangerous roadways, Sunrise Highway, for a series of walking tours through Valley Stream, Baldwin and Freeport. Advocates, elected officials and community members alike joined in the event, providing personal feedback about their experiences trying to navigate the roadway and efforts to revitalize the corridor and their downtowns.

AARP is hosting a follow-up community meeting to discuss the recommendations that WALC has generated based on the assessments and next steps for ensuring that Sunrise Highway is safe for all users. The New York State Department of Transportation is in the process of developing a $3.8 million pedestrian safety plan for this corridor, but unfortunately the agency has not reached out to local communities for input into the plan. This community meeting is an opportunity to organize thoughts and efforts moving forward with the intention of influencing NYSDOT’s planning.

The meeting will be held next Thursday, October 2 at 7 p.m. at the Freeport Public Library. Please RSVP your attendance by visiting http://aarp.cvent.com/sunrise or by calling 1-877-926-8300.

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Wednesday Winners (& Losers)

A weekly roundup of good deeds, missteps, heroic feats and epic failures in the tri-state region and beyond.

New York State Senator Brad Hoylman | Photo: nysenate.gov

New York State Senator Brad Hoylman | Photo: nysenate.gov

WINNERS

New York State Senator Brad Hoylman – In response to Senator Hoylman’s letter challenging improper fines issued to cyclists, New York State’s DMV’s Commissioner conducted an internal audit and stated that she is pursuing an overhaul of the agency’s practices with regard to bicycle violations.

North Hempstead, NY Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio – To help alleviate parking woes at LIRR train stations, the councilwoman has proposed a ride-sharing app for Port Washington commuters.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy – For the first time ever, off-peak and weekend Metro-North trains will soon run every 30 minutes between New Haven and New York City, with additional scheduling improvements to prevent crowding on trains.

Green Brook, NJ – Somerset County is the recipient of a NJTPA grant to redesign a dangerous stretch of Washington Avenue in Green Brook with road safety improvements, including bicycle-friendly infrastructure.

AAA – AAA New York has joined Tri-State’s call to dedicate revenue generated from Albany’s proposed red light camera enforcement program to traffic calming projects.

» Continue reading…

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MTA Capital Program Highlights Dire Need for Sustainable Funding Sources

MTACPThe New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority recently unveiled its proposed $32 billion 2015-2019 Capital Program, subsequently adopted by the MTA Board at today’s meeting. The proposal is made up of “vital investments” derived from the 2015-2034 Twenty Year Capital Needs Assessment that will “renew, enhance, and expand the MTA network” by “addressing evolving customer needs and expectations, while at the same time reinforcing the importance of investing to keep MTA safe and reliable.”

A significant portion of the proposed plan is dedicated to the completion of large-scale transportation infrastructure projects, including the LIRR Ronkonkoma branch Double Track project, the Metro-North Harmon Shop replacement project, East Side Access and the expansion of the Metro-North New Haven Line to Penn Station. Each of these projects has its own major implications for regional transportation service. For the proposed 2015-2019 Capital Plan to include so many major capital investments sets the stakes a lot higher for this program being approved, and being fully funded.

» Continue reading…

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