This weekly post features news from other transit agencies and planners from around the world. Did we miss a good story? Let us know in the comments.
Edmonton: Listen up, Ottawa: Transit is our No. 1 need
The city of Edmonton — that’s Alberta, Canada — has big plans for expanding its popular light rail system. But it’s not getting a lot of funding love from the federal government in Ottawa. The Edmonton Journal calls for the province’s policy leaders to create a long term transportation plan that puts public transit at the forefront and urges local politicians to fight hard for federal funding. Sound familiar?
Top Leaders and Organizations Honored by the American Public Transportation Association
APTA announced the winners of its Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement awards at a New Orleans conference last week and there are a couple local highlights. Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus took honors for best transit agency with over 20 million boardings. APTA cited the agency’s success in boosting ridership despite the economic downturn and its attendant budgetary challenges.
APTA also gave a Hall of Fame Award to former Metro CEO Roger Snoble, acknowledging a career that included stints in Ohio, Dallas, San Dieg and Los Angeles County.
Should Seattle spend millions to plan more streetcars?
Seattle already has
two one streetcar line up and running; the Seattle Times wonders, however, if citizens have the appetite for more if it means higher fees on automobiles. The decision will come down to voters, who will be asked to approve a $200 million measure supporting a variety of transportation projects, including $18 million for the streetcar. Even some transit advocates are making the case that the city has more pressing needs, given that streetcars don’t necessarily offer mobility benefits over buses. Transport Politic offers some helpful context in a piece that considers the rise in popularity of streetcars nationwide and asks some tough and important questions.
Campus carpools get a free ride on hydrogen fuel (UCLA)
UCLA’s Sustainable Transportation Initiative is launching a pilot program that will test four of Toyota’s hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles. It’s a sweet perk for a handful of lucky carpools that will get to use the vehicles for travel to and from campus, including free fuel and free parking for three months. Allison Hewitt reports that the program specifically targeted long-distance commuters because Toyota wanted to see how their vehicles fare in the daily meat grinder that is L.A. traffic.
Suburban Detroit bus authority announces 22% cut; region must act now
Transit in Detroit is pretty grim these days. Among other things, Detroit is the largest metro area in the U.S. without a regionally funded transit system, meaning all bus service is a precarious line item in the city’s budget. That transit budget has been slashed from $80 million to $53 million a year since 2006. In this Detroit Free Press column, Jeff Gerritt implores leaders in Detroit, “Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties to create a regional transit system to run well-funded and reliable buses, as well as planned light-rail service.”
Atlanta region’s $6.14 billion transportation list passes unanimously
The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the metro area’s leaders have agreed to a list of transportation projects that would funded by a proposed $6.14 billion ballot measure. According to the AJC, the program would spend “51.5 percent of its money on mass transit, with bus projects and rail expansion including the Atlanta Beltline and a line to the Emory University and Clifton Corridor area.” This move paves the way for Atlanta-area residents to vote on the package, much like L.A. County residents did with Measure R in 2008. Early polling suggests residents of the 10-county metro area are warming up to transit investments.