Transportation headlines, Thursday, July 15

Here’s a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the library’s blog.

Chicago’s Transit Chief (Governing)

This story serves as a good reminder that Los Angeles isn’t alone in the transit challenges it faces – even historically transit rich cities like Chicago are cutting service and can’t afford to upgrade aging infrastructure. The man in charge of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Richard Rodriguez, has the unpleasant responsibility of navigating the agency – and city – through the fiscal crisis. Think L.A.’s recent service cuts were bad? Rodriguez was forced to cut service for every single rail and bus route in the city – taking 287 buses off the streets and resulting in 1,100 CTA jobs. The cuts weren’t made in a vacuum though: Rodriquez rides the system three days a week and requires his management staff to ride at least 40 times a month.

Some cities want fewer roadways, not more (Marketplace)

There’s a proposal in New York City to tear down a section of the FDR highway in Brooklyn and take back that section of the city – with parks, plazas and  restaurants. While tearing down highways and freeways is insane to most people, a growing number of cities are planning to do just that. It’s not the first time it’s been done – NYC tore down an elevated highway in the 70′s and San Francisco lost freeways in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake – and each time it’s happened the result was not chaos but increased transit use and urban development, often with less traffic congestion.

I Love Transit Week 2010: an interview with Jarrett Walker from Human Transit (The Buzzer Blog)

Our friends in Vancouver, who inspired The Source’s decision to celebrate I Love Transit Week, nabbed an interview with Jarrett Walker of the blog Human Transit (which we often link to). The interview is a chance to get into the mind of Jarrett, a passionate transit planner who loves to share his insights to the world via his blog. One thing I like about Jarrett, and something that he emphasizes in this interview, is that there are “geometric facts” that all transit systems adhere to (like transit just doesn’t work as well in low density suburban areas than in high density urban areas) and it pays to be aware of these when discussing (and critiquing) planning decisions.