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 Red Line’s 100th anniversary
Boston’s venerable Red Line subway is celebrating its 100th year in service in 2012 — and just think the Metro Blue Line is a mere 78 years away from that milestone! What else was happening in 1912 when the line opened, thus connecting the Harvard Square and Park Street Station? For one, the Red Sox auspiciously won the World Series, and somewhat inauspiciously that was the year the Titanic sank. All the while the subway — originally called the Cambridge Main Street Subway — has chugged along to the tune of over 200,000 daily riders. The Boston Globe has a very Art of Transit–worthy collection of historical photos of the line that is definitely worth a click.
In San Bernardino County, Omnitrans’ college student fares arrive at 1 million trips
Omnitrans’ Go Smart student fare program logged its one millionth rider during the one-year pilot program, reports the Riverside Press-Enterprise. That’s an exciting, but not necessarily surprising result. Students at participating colleges get “free” rides on Omnitrans just by swiping their student ID cards. Students actually contribute to funding the student fare program through an additional student fees. The P-E notes that the program has also been “funded by 14 local cities, San Bernardino County” and Omnitrans. A transit agency official told the P-E that the additional student ridership has helped boost overall ridership by nearly nine percent over the course of the year. The trial program will end on June 30 this year; we’ll try to find out what the prospects are for it being re-upped.
Capital Bikeshare both replaces and promotes transit Trips
Washington D.C.’s new bike sharing program has been a hit since its debut in 2010. Tens of thousands have signed up as annual members and many more have tried it out on a daily or weekly basis. But where did all those bike riders come from? Were they previously using their own bikes, riding transit or driving? It’s an important question to answer in order to understand the program’s effect on the larger transit system. District blog The Wash Cycle analyzes some official numbers that show 42 percent of bike share users were previously on transit, 30 percent walked, 9 percent drove and the rest were divided among those who previously just stayed put, used their own bike or took a taxi. The Wash Cycle concludes: “[Capital Bikeshare] is about is giving people a choice they didn’t feel they already had. There was a large number of people out there who wanted to bike, but felt they couldn’t and Capital Bikeshare has made that an option for them.” Well put.
Real estate strong in New Jersey towns served by transit
In the face of a topsy-turvy real estate climate, the housing market around transit hubs in New Jersey has remained surprisingly strong. The New York Times examines a couple of statewide programs that have helped spur investment in transit-oriented development in the Garden State. One program in particular provides tax credits to developers “investing more than $50 million in projects within half a mile of [a designated] cities’ transit stations, and generating more than 250 full-time jobs.” Perhaps this is a good time to mention that Metro has a grant program of its own to help fund TOD planning in L.A. County cities that have recently received or are about to receive transit projects.
Mesa light rail to open in 2015 — a year earlier than expected
It’s music to every transit-rider and tax-payer’s ears: “early opening.” That’s the case in Mesa, Ariz. — Phoenix’s neighbor — where transit officials have bumped up that timeline for completion of a 3.1-mile light rail extension. The East Valley Tribune reports that part of the objective is to minimize the impacts of construction on Mesa’s downtown, which has sought of late to attract more activity and investment.
Categories: What's happening at other transit agencies?
The Blue Line itself may only be 22 years old, but there have been trains running on its right of way since 1902, 110 years ago. The Blue Line is the direct descendant of the Pacific Electric Long Beach trolley line that ran from 1902 to 1961. After that line closed down, there has still been freight trains running along it ever since then. So technically, we have already passed the milestone that the Boston Red Line has.