What’s happening at other transit agencies?

Boston's new "Hubway" bikeshare system is already eying an expansion. Photo by flickr user effelarr.

Good question! 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.

Boston bikeshare to branch out next spring

Boston’s four-month-old public bike sharing system has blown past expectations, clocking 140,000 trips since its July debut, according to the Boston Globe. City officials are already planning to add 300 bikes at 30 stations across the Charles River in Cambridge and Sommerville, home to lots of able-bodied college students. My favorite part of this story: The bikesharing system is about to close for the winter. I’m just happy to live in a place where you bike year-round.

High-speed rail from Salt Lake to Vegas: long shot or good bet?

As Steve noted in his five transit thoughts yesterday, the Vegas-to-Victorville high-speed rail cleared an important federal hurdle and is now searching for financing. In the meantime, the Salt Lake City Tribune reports that Utah Democratic State Senator Ben McAdams has begun putting together a working group to see how SLC might tie into this line and potentially a broader network connecting the cities of the Mountain West. Salt Lake City to its credit has been working on one of the nation’s more ambitions transit expansion project called FrontLines. Here’s our look at that program from March.

NYC on track to have lowest traffic fatalities in a century

For New York’s recent bike- and pedestrian-oriented street projects, the bottom line has always been about one thing: improving safety. That approach appears to be bearing fruit. A blog post on Transportation Nation notes that the city is now on track to have the fewest traffic-related deaths in a hundred years. The number of casualties — 214 so far in 2011 — is still unacceptably high, says Noah Budnick of the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. Budnick notes that traffic deaths now exceed the number of people killed by guns in New York.

Lawsuit filed over $200B transportation plan

As part of California’s anti-sprawl bill, SB 375, regions are developing long range plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by linking sustainable land use and transportation. San Diego Association of Governments was the first to release its Regional Transportation Plan, and the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the $200-billion plan is coming under serious scrutiny from environmental groups. A lawsuit by the Cleveland National Forest Foundation and the Center for Biological Diversity alleges that the emphasis on freeways — not public transit — will actually increase pollution. The groups further also that those transit projects in the plan are too few and wouldn’t be constructed for decades.

Expanding Houston light rail will create more transportation choices, more jobs

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded a major grant — $900 million — to Houston this week to expand the sprawling Texas city’s light rail system by 12 miles. The one line already up and running carries 45,000 trips a day, making it one of the busiest in the country on a per-track-mile basis. I particularly like the chord that USDOT’s FastLane blog strikes regarding the benefits of transit: It’s about improving “access to jobs, education, and other opportunities,” as well as providing an alternative to wasting hours stuck in traffic.


5 replies

  1. I used to live in Phoenix where bikes were allowed on the trains, any time, no permits, no nothing.

    The bike racks were located in the center part of the car and you had to lift your bike to a hook and hang the front tire to a hook.

    Well, not everyone did that.. either because they had their entire life attached to that bike, they could not physically lift the bike or they were just too lazy.

    Let’s not forget those who ride their bikes on the platforms even riding them right into the railcars.

    In the City of Phoenix, the transit section of the police department has 16 officers. This is for the buses and the train.

    I was just in Japan and I totally agree, putting bikes on those trains would just make matters even worse. The Yamanote Line is a route that circles Tokyo in both direction, has about 29 stations and operates every 4 minutes and is used to connect between different rail lines. Especially on weekdays, no matter what time you board that train, they are pretty crowded. Good luck finding a place to sit more or less somewhere to stand.

    The best thing I loved about riding the Japanese trains is that you were not allowed to hold cellphone conversations on the train, you can use text/web (unless you were near the priority seats where you are expected to turn your phone completely off)..

    America could learn some lessons here..

  2. @Erik G.

    When trains in Asia are at 120% capacity in all eight to ten train cars, the priority is to maximize standing room space to squeeze in more passengers.

    JR Yamanote Line, Tokyo Japan during rush hour:

    And this is even considering that trains come every minute during rush hour and it’s still this packed. As such, bringing aboard a bicycle onboard a train is unheard of in Asia; it’s more of a hazard to other passengers than a convenience to the bicyclist.

  3. Funny that no trains in Asia carry bikes, because very few trains in Europe do not. The only exceptions are older high-speed rail trainsets. This is being remedied in most cases as the older trainsets get their half-life builds and the newer built ones are designed with the bicycle in mind.

    It will be much better the current Light Rail fleet has the bike area seats removed and when the next set of new cars arrive at LA Metro with bike capacity included from the start.

  4. Y, I agree. I know in Paris there were having problems with too many people using bikes one-way, leaving a lot of people who wanted to use the system only to virtually NEVER have a bike they could access, and those people were upset about. They couldn’t get people to do the socially responsible thing and ride in the other direction, but they didn’t because it didn’t suit them and they just didn’t care. I don’t know if they ever solved that problem, but it’s an example of how we think people will use something, but how they really use it being quite different. A lot like the sharing car idea, only to learn that people were pigs in the cars and left it filthy for the next driver and often did NOT return cars when they said they would, leaving people STRANDED of having to cancel their plans for the day because the car that was supposed to there for them isn’t, and it was because of the inconsideration of others, not legitimate unforeseen circumstances. Have you noticed that YEARS after those car sharing programs started, they STILL haven’t caught on.

    Yes, my sympathies are with the people who don’t have a bike that can transport them several miles rather quickly, but are pretty much stranded and at the mercy of the bus or train. I don’t believe creating trains that require more people to stand by removing seats is good either.

    The situation with the bikers is a lot like that dweeb from the LA Times who appears as the Consumer Reporter on Channel 5 always moaning and screaming that the MTA should design their service to meet the needs of the Choice rider. Uh, to focus on Choice riders means the transit dependent get kicked to the curb even more. Sorry, Times reporter, but I don’t she any tears for anyone who has the wealth to own a car. I’m sure the transit dependent would prefer the system to be designed form them first.

  5. IMO, the rent-a-bike system like they have at Paris and now at Boston is a much better way to provide a bike-friendly public transit system than trying to deal with the headache of bringing bicycles onboard the trains; they pose more of a hazard to other passengers than it benefits bicyclists.

    It may be a convenience for bicyclists now, but sooner or later, those bicycles will become more of a nuisance and a potential hazard once LA Metro starts to see increased ridership numbers.

    There are already increasing problems with rude bicyclists shoving their bikes over other passengers thinking they’re privileged to do so because they can bring their bikes onboard. IMO, said rude bicyclists are no better than road rage drivers who think they own the road.

    In all my travels to Asia, NOT ONE OF THEM allowed bikes to be brought onboard. In the end, it’s down to common sense: bringing a full bike on board when they’re filled to 120% capacity is utterly nonsensical.